Adobe has announced a great number of updates to the entire Creative Cloud set of applications (every single application is being updated in some way), but let's focus here on just what's new in Photoshop CC: New Motion Blur Effects, Focus Mask and improved Content-Aware color adaptation along with a set of other updates and enhancements to the entire experience.
Adobe has added Path Blur and Spin Blur effects, which they say will allow you to "add creative motion blurs that aren't possible to capture with your camera." They have also improved their graphics engine to work faster, so the effects will happen with less delay.
Path blur is a tool that allows you to add a dynamic sense of motion to your images. With Path Blur, you define paths that can simulate the effect of moving the camera while you drag the shutter. The filter can be used to accurately imitate in-camera effects. Path Blur features a simple and effective way to draw curved paths without Bezier curves, "which can be difficult to master."
The tool can be easily localized to areas of a photo quickly and easily. Adobe's example here was adding blur to a guy playing guitar on the floor, and the finished image was actually pretty believable.
Spin Blur lets you set an area that would be in a circular motion, like a turntable, and select how "fast" you want the area to have appeared to be moving. It has somewhat limited use cases, like on wheels or the aforementioned turn table, but it is, again, rather effective at what it does.
We already saw this as a teaser to what they were releasing, but probably the most exciting update to Photoshop is the Focus Mask selection tool. The Focus Mask feature works great with head shots and other images that have shallow depth of field. This would allow you to select a person, including their hair, from an image based on the focus, which gives a lot more flexibility during cut-outs.
The selections, at first, aren't perfect and Adobe recognized that. This is where you can add a refined edge, which actually makes the selections really, really good (at least in the examples we were shown). I want to try this on my own images, but if the selection of hair is as accurate as Adobe's examples, then this is going to be a much better way to select certain areas of a photo than the manual method I've been employing for years.
Finally, Adobe has added better features to the popular Content-Aware move tool. Previously when using Content-Aware features, if you selected an area that contained gradients, you didn’t always get smooth gradients in the final image. New technology smoothly blends areas containing gradients, such as skies, to give you much more realistic results.
Adobe also added updates to 3D printing, UI enhancements, upgraded Typekit integration, and smarter Smart Guides (they now act like they do in InDesign which is awesome), as well as the typical batch of bug fixes.
What do you think? If you've been holding out on CC, is what Adobe offering here worth it to you? Let us know in the comments below.