Here Comes Adobe Photoshop 2020: Faster and More Efficient in More Ways Than One

Here Comes Adobe Photoshop 2020: Faster and More Efficient in More Ways Than One

One of the chief complaints of Adobe’s software across the board is performance. While many are angry about Adobe’s performance updates not living up to their standards for apps such as Photoshop and, more notoriously, Lightroom, some changes are coming. Additionally, it may also be time to shift the way we think about performance. Here's what's new in Photoshop 2020. Give it a shot.

Some of the performance improvements coming to Photoshop 2020 are traditional performance improvements, as you might imagine such changes. The speed of the File>New dialog in Photoshop has improved dramatically. Whereas this could often take 2 seconds to load, Adobe has reduced this time to just 0.13 seconds. This might not seem like much, but when you use Photoshop every day, every little efficiency adds up quickly. Content-Aware Fill is 12 percent faster and comes with additional ways to choose what content in the layer is sourced. Lens Blur is 4-5 times faster. And general compositing performance is slightly faster, but was “re-architected for a big performance improvement coming in the near future.” Mac users will also be happy about improved performance across the board, especially with things such as file open times.

The new Object Selection tool is pretty sweet, especially in optimal conditions.

It’s easy to see how reducing load times for intensive tasks saves time, but adding performance improvements that create as many near real-time experiences as possible also helps create a workflow that feels ready at all times and is less prone to causing fatigue through monotonous several-second waiting games.

Other updates, however, may not be exactly what you had in mind. Adobe worked on the multiple areas of the user interface to improve usability and efficiency. Don’t worry, nothing too drastic has happened to the GUI you’re familiar with. In fact, it’s possible to not even notice any differences on a day-to-day level. But if you take the time to learn the changes, you may discover new one-click shortcuts for common tasks such as removing backgrounds, showing and hiding user guides, managing and creating new presets for gradients and more, and changing between color spaces or bit depths. Various panels and menu items have been adjusted, enhanced, or improved with additional Quick Actions to allow for an average of double the overall efficiency for common tasks when compared to Photoshop 2019. Some tasks are as much as four times faster. Finally, some new features, such as Object Selection Tool, provide additional speed for tasks in certain situations. While this Adobe Sensei-powered feature provides decent results in many circumstances and near-perfect results in ideal conditions with clearly separated subjects, it still won’t become a replacement for the Pen tool for more advanced selections.

These tweaks promote efficiency in a not entirely new way, but at least this time the user interface enhancements come from being placed at a seemingly higher level of importance. These types of improvements do result in saved time and a more pleasurable user experience. Those speed improvement figures quoted earlier — those aren’t just from Adobe. Adobe hired an outside consulting firm to do these comparison tests, which is their way of saying: “Please just try the changes long enough to get used to them, because we know it will help you. Look, they say so, too.”

In another nice turn, PSDs are now supported and synced in Creative Cloud. This should be great for anyone working with multiple systems, but it also naturally helps facilitate cloud syncing with Adobe's other big product announcement today: Photoshop on iPad.

This serves as a good reminder that performance improvements will always come in incremental steps we may take for granted along the way. But before everyone rushes to add comments of dismay with the lack of a solid jump in performance year over year, remember somewhere apart from those of us with enough spare time to complain on a blog post are hundreds of offices with thousands of people that quietly and happily use Photoshop eight or more hours each day without issue. Maybe we should be a little grateful for how far we’ve come on the eve of Photoshop’s 30th anniversary. 

I only say this for one reason: I’ve played around with Photoshop 2020 a bit, and the improvements add up for a nice little release. It makes me feel good. And it saves me some time. What more should an update to a 30-years-old mature product do for you?

Photoshop 2020 is now available for download as an update through the Creative Cloud app on your desktop. Read everything about what's new in Photoshop here.

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21 Comments

J Maloney's picture

Too late Adam. I jumped ship for Capture One. Got way too tired of Adobes excuses and greed. Adobe is just another greedy corporation with bloated, buggy, slow software that they are too cheap to fix. Kind of reminds me of Microsoft and the Office apps. Good companies listen and act on their clients complaints. The subscription model raised my expectations. Adobe and MS did not respond. They just shove more features at us that we don't want or need instead of addressing basic needs first. I hope both companies collapse and some young start ups take their clients. .

I get your point. I also use Capture One but you are comparing apples to pears here.

William Faucher's picture

Definitely agreed. Capture One does certain things great, but its not as broad a toolbox as Photoshop. If you're just editing raw files, that is one thing. But Photography is only a tiny, small thing Photoshop is used for.

There's nothing wrong with your complaints but, hoping both companies collapse? Have a cup of coffee and relax a bit.

David Love's picture

Performance tools, more selection and background erasing junk (which you'll spend more time cleaning up as usual) and some various other non important updates. How does adding more choices on the content aware tool make it faster? All of their auto tools are bad guessers and hardly ever get it right. To see people get excited about a few updated shiny things means Adobe's plan of distracting you with minor meh is working.

The question you have to ask yourself is if there were no subscriptions, would you buy this update like the old days. Me, I would still be back about 5 versions ago and Adobe would be bankrupt about now.

Daniel Medley's picture

The subscription was one of the big reasons I chose to go with PS.

David Love's picture

Sure, the $600 price tag on Photoshop made a lot of people sell their souls and now we have updates that consist of common sense fixes and downright bloat features. New Warp removes the grid by default so you have to turn it on every time to see what you are doing. That's not faster, that's bloat. That's "Give them something to look like we are doing things." "Adobe Unveils Photoshop Camera App" is for who? Do people dump pics from their camera on to their phones to edit or are they aiming more for kids to get more subs?

Daniel Medley's picture

"Sure, the $600 price tag on Photoshop made a lot of people sell their souls ..."

Good grief.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I went to the dark side and ended up doing the rental model with PS because my trusty CS6 wouldn't play nicely with High Sierra. How I wish Affinity would fine tune a few of its features, (showing the area masked in the thumbnail masks in the layers tab, allowing me to switch on/off adjustment layers from the actual adjustment panel rather than the layers panel, and opening up on my screen with a previously arranged screen arrangement rather than making me arrange things to be full screen again and again...) unless of course Affinity has fixed a few of these recently?

So stuck with PS cc2019 but using a few plugins, (an older Portrait Pro vs15, Portraiture, Real Grain, Noiseware, Topaz AI and the original version...)

So does anyone know about compatibility with plugins with cc2020 ?

If I update to cc2020, can I go back to cc2019 with ease?

Otherwise I'm sticking with what I have. I'm not noticing any particular speed issues.

The installation of 2020 left the 2019 version still available for me and it made my existing plugins available.

David Love's picture

Already had Photoshop and Premiere freeze up on me a couple of times. NONE of the new stuff added to Photoshop is anything to jump up and down about as usual. Just the smallest, laziest updates they can do. They know they've got us so they don't care. Literally a remove background button now and besides being not as jaggy as the other auto methods, it fails and leaves you having to clean up the mess. I've always used the pen tool to extract subjects. It takes longer but it's right the first time and clean.

Adam Ottke's picture

Exactly. It's not the biggest change in the world in terms of the code base. So most plugins should still work without issue. Of course, there may be some issues, but as John said, you can leave 2019 on your computer and verify before removing it (if you even want/need to save the space, etc.).

Spy Black's picture

More often than not interface changes just slow down and even bring to a halt your productive and, especially, creative flow, because you have a whole mojo setup that gets thrown out the window. It's all fine and well to have new interface options, as long as you can continue using the interface and hotkeys you're used to. For instance, there's nothing more annoying than being in a great creative or productive flow, and you hit a hotkey you use for x process, only to have some new feature pop up saying "Hey, look at me, I'm new! Ain't I cool?!"

No mother fucker, you're NOT cool. You just destroyed my creative and/or productive workflow.

You have to wonder if it STILL only runs off no more than 4 cores as well.

robertc's picture

Heads up: the latest release freezes constantly (no surprise) and inevitably crashes because of it. Give it time before you update.

Adam Ottke's picture

My copy worked flawlessly at first, but I did notice two freezing instances today for the first time... In any case, always a good idea to wait until the second release that inevitably comes with some bug fixes from things learned from the initial wider release.

robertc's picture

Mine will freeze anytime I add the "stroke" effect to a text layer, guaranteed.

Charlie Ewing's picture

Turn on Legacy Compositing. I've had it do that with multiple layers for color grades in the past and that fixed it on my end, probably a similar issue.

That said, I'm not updating until I know that Retouching Toolkit has a fix for the new PoS 2020.

I just want it fixed where when going from light to dark area's that I can easily see my brush or healing brush outlines so I'll know where they are!!!

James Evidon's picture

Be very careful about going to P.S. 2020 and think about it twice.Here is my experience.

I have a 2018 iMac 27 inch screen. It's the latest iMac and I am running Mojave v 10.14.6. I downloaded and installed P.S. 2020. The first thing I noticed was that the installation stripped the older stand alone versions of P.S. which I kept in case Adobe Cloud failed. Now I had P.S. 2020 and no backup. Then I discovered that P.S.2020 wouldn't open. I uninstalled and reinstalled three times with the same result. I no longer had a functioning Photoshop and only functioning Lightroom. I also kept getting a pop-up from dear Adobe telling my that P.S. 2020 is not open. Duh!

Ultimately, after finding a way to reinstall the older versions of P.S., I uninstalled P.S. 2020 and reinstalled P.S. 2019 and my standalone version of P.S.2017 which is bought, paid for and is subscription free.. The lessons I learned in this pointless exercise was this: Abbe wants to make sure that you no longer have functioning older versions and we will remain at the mercy of Adobe with their new versions and probable regular subscription price increases as it tries to maximize profits.

I will now follow the growing trend and spend more time with Capture One which is also installed and check out other alternatives as well. So long Adobe. You used to be great.

faster? hmmm - not what I'm seeing so far. But more bugs and failures though. Keyboard shortcuts work occasionally but mostly not. Lockups, slow downs...waiting waiting. way to go to completey stuff your work flow.

Matthew Davidson's picture

My favorite part is how it always hangs at the "what's new" page!