Adobe Photoshop Review
Summary: New AI-powered tools like Landscape Mixer and Color Transfer appear regularly. 3D modeling is no longer part of Photoshop, however; it now lives in the company's Substance 3D suite of products.
Looking for expert, lab-tested reviews on the latest Photo Editing? Photoshop started the digital image manipulation revolution more than 30 years ago, and Adobe's groundbreaking application continues to be the best photo editing software money can buy (or rent, to be more precise). If you need layered image editing, typography, drawing, and a multitude of effects, you need Photoshop. Designers and photographers alike find the most—and the most advanced—tools available for their crafts in this application. Mind-blowing neural filters, sky replacement, live shapes, more control over cloud-stored files, and pattern preview all appeared recently.
There's even more in the offing for Photoshop, much of it involving the web and collaboration. Exciting new announcements from Adobe include a new collaborative space for team ideation called Canvas and an online repository for sharing assets and projects called Spaces. In addition, the company announced a limited web-based version of Photoshop and Creative Cloud Express, a template-based design tool for people who need to make professional-looking content for social media. A recent smaller update added full support for Google's WebP image format, a bigger Share button, a faster Oil Paint filter, and more support for Windows on Arm PCs.
To get the latest version of Photoshop, you need a Creative Cloud subscription. To get one, you need to sign in with an existing Adobe ID or create a new one. The Photography plan is $9.99 per month, and that also gets you Photoshop Lightroom, our Editors' Choice winner for photo workflow software, and 10 Adobe Stock images.
You can no longer simply buy a one-payment license for Photoshop, which annoys some users who don't like the software-as-a-service model. Those who feel this way may want to consider options such as Corel's surprisingly capable PaintShop Pro ($79.99), CyberLink PhotoDirector ($99.99), or even Adobe's own Photoshop Elements ($99.99), all of which can be purchased outright. And if you don't want to pay a cent, you can use the free, open-source GIMP software, though doing so can be a painful, counterintuitive experience if you're used to the convenience and polish of Photoshop.
To install the application, you first install the resident Creative Cloud helper program, which handles updates and syncing your files online. This is also where you can find Adobe news, stock images, and the Behance creative social community (more about this later). In the newest update of Photoshop, you also can browse and easily install plug-ins from the Creative Cloud utility.
You should only consider installing Photoshop on a fairly powerful PC or Mac. I tested on a 3.4GHz Core i7 PC running 64-bit Windows 10 with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 1650 graphics card. It requires 64-bit Windows 10 version 1909 or later, 8MB RAM, and 4GB available hard-disk space. It runs on Windows on ARM with the same requirements. Mac users must be running macOS 10.15 or later with 8GB RAM and a GPU with Metal support. Apple Silicon Macs can also run Photoshop as long as they're running macOS 11.2.2 or later; PCMag's Tom Brant ran some tests on that hardware and found it offered some performance advantages on that platform.
Adobe continues to make Photoshop's interface more customizable and helpful. You can choose from among several targeted workspace layouts, including Graphic and Web, Motion, Painting, and Photography, or you can create your own custom layout of panels and windows. You can even rearrange the program's toolbar button rail to taste.
The redesigned start screen offers New File, Open, Home, Learn, as well as your file locations, including photos you've uploaded through Lightroom and cloud documents shared with you. The Home icon takes you to suggested tutorials and thumbnails of your recent document. Choosing New File presents a tabbed dialog offering templates such as Textured Geometric Masks, Instant Film Mockups, and Photo Collage Layouts. Category filters across the top let you restrict the proposed templates to Photo, Print, Art & Illustration, Web, Mobile, and Film & Video. If you've copied an image onto the clipboard, the software gives you an option to open a new image with its exact dimensions.
You can pick from thumbnails of your recent files, and access presets and libraries from the start page. The page shows personalized tutorial content at the bottom. Those who'd rather stick with the legacy starting experience can switch back to it, but I find that the start page makes it much easier to get to things I'm interested in, such as recent projects.
The ever-present search magnifying glass icon at the top right lets you search for program functions, your own images, tutorials, or Adobe Stock images. If you already have a file open, the resulting dialog becomes a detached Discover window that presents command shortcuts and help. The panel's Home icon shows tutorial suggestions, What’s New items, the user guide, and more resources. An always-available search function in a complex desktop application is a great idea, and some big-league software developers agree. It's in Ableton Live and Microsoft Office, for example.
The interface also adapts to the purpose at hand. A case in point is the Select and Mask workspace, which is an available option whenever you have a selection tool active. This shows only the tools useful during selection, such as Refine Edge, Lasso, Brush, Hand, and Zoom, along with the relevant Properties panel. The interface's color themes offer a pleasing, context-sensitive consistency, too. If you set the window borders to be light gray, all dialogs will likewise be gray.
When it comes to touch input, Photoshop is keeping up with the times with excellent touch support for devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro. The company also now has a nearly fully functional iPad version of Photoshop. Not only can does it let you use touch to pan and zoom images, but it also recognizes gestures, such as a two-finger swipe to undo and a three-finger swipe to scroll through images. Larger tabs help touch-screen users, as do soft Shift, Ctrl, and Alt buttons. You can't yet use touch for finger painting, however. For that, you might try Adobe's Fresco app, available for iOS and Windows tablets.
Selecting objects and people in photos is one of the top functions of the application, and one of the top pain points. Photoshop still includes the venerable Lasso, Magic Wand, Marquee, as well as the newer Object and Quick selection tools (with their cool Subject Select checkbox). Of note is the new Select on Hover feature as well as the Select and Mask workspace along with its Refine Edge option.
Select on Hover offers a nifty way to create masks. It uses Adobe’s Sensei AI technology to detect all objects in the image, and as you hover over each, it's highlighted for selection. Select on Hover works with the Object Selection tool, which is in the same tool button as Magic Wand and Quick Selection. Press and hold it to use it. Check the Object Finder checkbox in the option bar and Auto Show Overlay selected in the gear icon's settings. Move the cursor around the image and you'll see objects shaded as you go. You can tap the Show all Objects button (the square containing different-size rectangles) to show all the automatically selected objects, and a related menu option, Layer > Mask All Objects, creates separate masks for all the objects detected in a layer.
Select Subject uses AI to automatically determine and select the main object in an image. When either of these is active, a Select Subject button appears in the options bar across the top of the program windows. In testing, pressing this did a remarkable job of selecting people when the background was relatively uniform. More complex backgrounds left some incorrectly selected areas.
In my testing, the tool worked impressively, but we haven’t yet reached the holy grail of one-and-done hair selection. There was still plenty or hair that remained unselected in my test shot, and they were hairs on a plain background, clear to the human eye. I took screenshots of the tool’s handiwork, showing the original, the dotted-line selection, and the black-and-white mask view, which shows just the selected matter as white. I had a similar not-quite-perfect result with a low-resolution and high-resolution shot:
Here’s a detail from the high-resolution shot, showing the unselected fine hairs at the top and top right:
And here’s a use of the selection with a gradient background layer:
You can see white background areas that were missed in the selection, and some hair strands look smudged. Still, while it’s not yet perfect, it is getting better with every iteration, and the current one makes for a good first pass. It's the most automatic portrait selection tool, but Capture One's Refine Mask tool does an excellent job as well (below), even getting some hair strands missed by Photoshop. It originally selected some of the background, which I fixed with the eraser.
Among Photoshop's most exciting recent features are neural filters, which let you automatically change a portrait subject’s mood, age, and gaze. Neural here is short for neural network, a subset of AI machine learning. The tools take advantage of Generative adversarial networks (GANs), which in essence, use a technique of trying to trick the AI algorithm with incorrect (or adversarial) data. Most of the new Adobe effects require a download, and they're not small. The Landscape Mixer was over 380MB. Others, like Smart Portrait, do their processing in Adobe's cloud, and the program is good about telling you where processing happens while using the filters.
The most interesting of such filters are in the Beta section: Smart Portrait, Harmonization, Landscape Mixer, Depth Blur, Color Transfer, and Makeup Transfer. Of the 11 tools at the time of writing only Skin Smoothing, Super Zoom, JPEG Artifacts Removal, Colorize, and Style Transfer are not considered betas.
A Wait List tab shows tools not yet available: Portrait Generator, Water Long Exposure, Shadow Regenerator, Latent Visions, and Noise Reduction. That last has me excited that Adobe will finally offer automatic noise reduction like that found in DxO PhotoLab. Seemingly no longer under consideration are the intriguing Photo Restoration, Dust and Scratches, and Face-to-Caricature options, since they don't appear anywhere in the Neural Filters panel anymore.
With Harmonization, masked objects can be rendered in the colors and tones of other layers. It's best for similar objects. I tried it with a portrait and a nature background, so it gave the portrait the colors of a deer and grass, which is probably not what you want.
Another new filter, Color Transfer (not to be confused with Style Transfer), lets you apply the colors and tones of one image to another. This
The new beta Landscape Mixer filters let you change a scene’s season, from, say, summer to fall, or to make a midday scene look like it was shot at sunset. In testing, the Landscape Mixer did indeed give the foliage fall colors, but it removed an egret that was in the original photo, so you're best using it on pure landscapes.
The Super Zoom effect didn’t do much aside from applying a blurry noise reduction, but I suppose it could improve large printouts.
The face tools in Smart Portrait are more fun than practical, though they may be useful to portrait photographers if used judiciously. When I ramped up the Happiness slider on most pictures, the result was more like a forced smile than a natural one, though it can be effective if you don’t turn it all the way up. There are also sliders for Anger, and Surprise, which were surprisingly effective. The algorithm also failed to de-age the neck on some subjects. An interesting option is Retain Unique Details; if you uncheck this, your subject approaches a Barbie-doll appearance. One slider, Placement, can nudge the face selection box right or left, though it didn't do much in my test shots. The Light Direction slider, when used judiciously, can work to good effect. The Gaze slider moves the eyes subtly, but the head direction tool wasn’t convincing in my test photos.
The Colorize tool, though impressive, failed to bring alive the hands as well as the head in an old photograph. Still, it’s clearly labeled as beta, so you can’t take points off for that. I had better luck with Photoshop Elements’ Colorize tool. On a few test photos of streets and beaches, it did nothing, but it convincingly colorized a snowy reindeer scene. The neural tools do have a Before-and-After button, but I wish it had a side-by-side view.
The final neural filter I’ll discuss is something that’s been in other photo software for a few years, notably in Cyberlink PhotoDirector. It’s the Style Transfer effect, which makes your photo look like the work of an artist such as Picasso or van Gogh. It’s a 176MB download at the time of testing. There’s a good selection of looks, with over 30 to choose from already. You can not only choose the strength of the effect, but also preserve color, focus on the subject, change brush size, and blur the background. It’s a good implementation of the effect type.
Though it's now packed with drawing and font tools, Photoshop got its start as a photo editing and printing application, and it remains the most powerful photo editing software. Along with its completely photography-focused sibling, Lightroom, Photoshop offers the most support for raw camera files, and the most in correction and effects. From removing or adding objects with content-aware tools to lens-profile-based geometry correction to histogram adjustments to stained-glass effect filters, Photoshop has it all. It's impossible to cover every feature here, but I'll take a closer look at a couple of the standout tools.
Sky Replacement. For a while, Photoshop had been trailing software such as Skylum Luminar in handling skies in photos. Replacing a drab sky with a beautiful one used to be a many-step process involving manual masking and layers. Photoshop's Sky Replacement tool is instant and awesome. You get many choices, ranging from pleasant to dazzling, and you can adjust the position, edge, brightness, and temperature of your chosen sky replacement.
Unlike some tools, which simply try to detect a horizon, Photoshop can handle images with foreground objects that block the sky, like the obelisk in the image above. You can move the sky around to get the best placement and even adjust the lighting and color of the foreground to better match the new sky. In the example, you can see how the pavement reflection changes to match the sky color.
Lens Blur. The AI-enhanced Lens Blur tool creates a more color-aware effect than its non-AI predecessor. The old lens blur is in the left image above, and the newer one is at the right. The newer tool also gives you control over bokeh shapes, which would be created by the blades of a camera iris in real lens blur. Photoshop's simulated effects include a choice of polygons from triangles to octagons, and you can also adjust the blade curvature and rotation.
Content-Aware Crop. A few years ago, an app called Anticrop (since renamed to Recrop) gained momentary celebrity in the tech world. Why? As its name suggests, it lets change you change the aspect ratio of an image by adding to the sides instead of simply cutting them off. The Photoshop tool works similarly. Just check the Content-Aware box while using the crop tool, and the app fills in anything in the crop selection that falls outside your image's boundaries. Content-Aware Crop resembles the Content-Aware Fill tool. Like that tool, Content-Aware crop only works well with patterned image content, such as a forest, pavement, sea, or sky. It's particularly convincing with skies. Note in the image below all the extra clouds generated in the sky on the right to create a more spacious square composition.
Content-Aware Fill has also been updated, with an interface that shows you what source content it's using to replace the object you want to remove. You can edit the source area, but the program does a remarkable job with no help. It has improved over last year's version, now identifying objects that shouldn't be part of the fill pattern.
Face-Aware Liquefy. Face detection has reached an increasingly high level of accuracy in recent years, to the point of recognizing individual facial features, as well as whole faces. Face-Aware Liquify resembles a feature we first saw demonstrated by Adobe at Apple's iPad Pro launch event in the app called Adobe Fix. Face-Aware Liquefy tool lets you convincingly transform facial expressions, turning, for example, an RBF into a smile.
This brilliant tool finds facial features like eyes and mouths and gives you the ability to manipulate them with sliders for resizing the eyes, nose, face width, and jawline. You can even edit the eyes independently with Face-Aware Liquefy. A chain icon lets you either lock together editing of both a subject’s eyes or edit them separately.
You can apply some very flattering changes, or some ridiculously unflattering ones, as you can see in my test images. For me, the coolest part of this feature is that the resulting image still looks human. It's not like simply smearing a portrait with the old-fashioned, face-unaware Liquify tool. Note the smile I've added.
Camera-Shake Reduction. One of the hottest features of Photoshop is camera-shake reduction. The tool analyzes the photo to find the path of shake motion, and then aligns the shifted pixels. It sounds simple, but it's harder to get right than it may seem. This is because the path won't be the same everywhere in the photo unless you shook it exactly along a single plane, which is highly unlikely. You can use the tool's best guess or select a region (or regions) in which you want the blur trace to be estimated.
You can also adjust Blur Trace Bounds, Smoothing, and Artifact Suppression—the last two let me create a less sharpened-looking result. I'd love to see a simple effect-strength adjustment like you get with Smart Sharpen (which, by the way, has a Reduce Noise slider). Shake Reduction is not a panacea, but it's a finer effect than what you get from even the Smart Sharpen tool. If the subject is simply out of focus, it won't help you; a simply blurry subject won't be fixed.
The Adobe Camera Raw module appears when you open raw camera files like Canon's CR2 and Nikon's NEF. It seems to become more of a full photo editing tool on its own with every Photoshop update. It's become sort of a Lightroom without the slick workflow features. For example, it lets you make local hue adjustments, rather than having to change the hue values for the whole image. It even includes the Subject Select and masking tools of the main program. The tool lets you have more than one adjustment panel open, and you can switch between vertical and horizontal filmstrip thumbnail views. You can also create presets based on images' ISO settings and do panorama merges from a right-click.
Photoshop offers several advanced capabilities in its Camera Raw module, including a geometry correction tool called Upright. This lets you fix parallel vertical and horizontal lines. Its Auto setting attempts to fix perspective errors, but you can choose to align only verticals or only horizontals, or mess with the perspective to taste with transforming sliders for pincushion and barrel distortion, vertical, horizontal, and aspect ratio.
As mentioned, you can use Camera Raw as a filter, applying all its manifold photo adjustments—color temperature, exposure, geometry, all of it—to any image layer, not just to raw camera files. You can apply Camera Raw adjustments to videos, too, and use a non-circular healing brush. As in Lightroom, you also get a radial filter that lets you apply the adjustments to an oval shape, such as a person's head.
Camera Raw Profiles give you options for how Photoshop converts raw files into viewable images. The default is Adobe Color, which produces a more vivid image than the old Adobe Standard profile. You also get Landscape, Portrait, Monochrome, and Vivid Profiles, along with a selection of retro and artistic Profiles that are essentially Instagram-style effect filters. The same Profiles feature appears in Lightroom. Read my review of that application for a more in-depth look at Profiles.
The module also now includes over 70 presets developed by pro photographers, in categories including portrait, travel, cinematic, future, and vintage. Unfortunately, a lot of the presets use nondescriptive names like FT1, FT2, FT3, and so on. They're also a bit drab overall, with few—even in the Creative category—resulting in particularly striking effects. The Travel presets seemed the most interesting.
Dehaze is a Camera Raw feature also offered by Lightroom. Open any photo, even if it's not in raw file format (I tried it on a mobile-phone JPG image), and this slider in the FX toolset does an impressive job of removing or adding haze. Above, you can see the before and after (left to right) on a sample.
The March 2021 release added an intriguing feature called Super Resolution. It uses machine-learning AI to effectively double the resolution of your image, which is a great help if you need to print photos that you've cropped significantly. The update also added support for Apple's ProRaw format and gives you more control over the interface, letting you re-order edit panels and sort the filmstrip based on date, rating, and more.
The Super Resolution feature is related to the Enhance Details that landed in Photoshop and Lightroom a few years ago. You only see the Super Resolution as a checkbox option inside the Enhance dialog, which you won't see unless you right-click on the image (Ctrl-click on macOS). In my test shot above, I saw some smoothing, with the result that the enhanced image seemed to lose detail, though for printing, smoothing pixelated edges as in the Hoopoe's bill below, is a win. Note that it's not an instant effect. Creating the resulting DNG file tool about 7 seconds on my test PC.
It worked even better on the geometric patterns of an architectural shot. See below. The enhanced version is on the right.
Photoshop has made great strides in mobile design. Not only can you use views and tools intended to facilitate mobile and web design, such as Artboards and Design Space, but you can also install the Adobe Preview mobile app and see how your project looks on it. When I installed the app on my iPhone, I initially got a connection error. I was trying to connect by USB rather than Wi-Fi, though the Adobe documentation says both methods should work.
Artboards let you create Photoshop documents with multiple views for different device screens. An Artboard can also be thought of as a level above layers, and they're accessible from the Layers panel. It sounds a little dry, but after playing with Artboards for a while, I find it to be a useful capability.
Design Space uses Artboards by default. It also includes templates for current iPhones, iPads, Surface Pros, and other mobile-device screens. While I appreciate the thought behind these tools, I still expect it's going to be a hard sell for designers who are used to the full Photoshop interface. It does offer a streamlined way to work with multilevel layer content, though. It also lets you manipulate multiple objects at once, or easily swap their locations.
For a few years, Adobe has offered a way to sync content across multiple installations of the Creative Cloud apps, but the current Libraries feature takes this a step farther. Libraries sync not only documents, but also brushes, font styles, and color themes. They can be created and accessed not only on the full Photoshop application, but also in mobile apps such as Capture, Hue, Photoshop Fix, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, and Comp. The Adobe mobile apps support Libraries for acquiring, creating, or editing content. They're all free downloads, but most require a Creative Cloud account for full functionality.
Related to Libraries are Cloud Documents. Saving your project as a Cloud Document enables you to work on it in the iPad version of Photoshop as well as on other desktops. Cloud Documents are saved instantly and allow collaboration among multiple creators, with an Invite to Edit option. You can also create a link to a web-hosted version of the photo where collaborators can comment. Access previous versions of cloud documents in a Version History panel and even name versions if you need to. Cloud documents support offline editing, too.
Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t have a spotless record when it comes to storing your media in the cloud. Some Lightroom users were taken aback to find that their unsynced photos had been lost during an app update, and the long-defunct Adobe Revel service bears further testament to this. Use Adobe’s cloud for convenience, but it’s still a good idea to back your work up.
Photoshop Libraries support Adobe Stock templates (see below) and can share read-only access to a public Library. You can share a Library with anyone who has a Creative account and set permissions for collaborators, limiting them to read-only rights or granting them full edit privileges.
Adobe Stock, which emerged from Adobe's 2015 acquisition of Fotolia, is a repository of over 40 million images, vectors, illustrations, and video clips. Non-Creative Cloud members can still buy assets from Stock. Creators can also sell their assets and get a 33% cut of all sales. That's not bad, considering that the industry standard is 25 percent.
You can work within any Adobe desktop apps with Adobe Library support, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and After Effects. The Search Adobe Stock menu choice opens the website, on which you can search for content and either download or sync it to your Creative Cloud Library. But you can also search Stock right in the Library panel and insert it into your image, where it will be watermarked until you license it. After you license it, it retains any edits you make.
Photoshop keeps getting better at fonts. Your document's fonts are automatically downloaded, activated, and synced to your Library. You can also filter searches for fonts with attributes like serif, script, and blackletter, and you can even tell the program to show you fonts similar to the one you've selected.
The Type > Match Font tool can identify fonts in images and find the closest match on your system or in Adobe's massive font collection. Its intelligent imaging analysis is improved with more fonts, vertical text, and multiple-line detection. I had better results in my testing this time around.
You can also designate fonts as favorites, which is particularly handy. Another nifty touch is the ability to hover over a font choice to see it previewed in your document. As you hover the mouse cursor over typefaces in the search panel, your selected text instantly switches to that typeface. The font size dropdown menu offers a 16-point option, a size commonly used for web content. Web designers will also rejoice now that Photoshop supports SVG OpenType fonts for those wildly popular responsive designs, as well as emoji fonts. You can search fonts.adobe.com for typefaces, and everything is licensed thanks to your Creative Cloud subscription.
Font fanciers who want to go even deeper than just standard typeface sets will love the Glyphs panel. This lets you substitute alternate characters, and even shows you those alternates when you select a character in a Type layer. The tool didn't always work reliably for me, though, sometimes proposing a previous letter when I selected a new one.
Photoshop also supports Variable Fonts. This is an OpenType font format that lets you play with custom attributes like weight, width, slant, and optical size using slider controls. It now also uses the Unified Text Engine to legacy text engines and allows more flexibility with non-Latin characters.
With higher-resolution displays becoming more common, your old images sometimes may not be good enough anymore. Photoshop's upsampling algorithm could be a lifesaver. The upscaler shows up when you resize an image, in the form of the Preserve Details resample setting. This also offers a Reduce Noise option, since the process may introduce noise. It's much clearer than the old bicubic algorithm.
Smart Objects make for nondestructive, reusable raster and vector images that update throughout your project. You can save formatting of type as styles that can be easily applied to other text later. You can also view type in a way that previews the antialiasing used in web browsers. For web designers, Photoshop can generate CSS code that produces the exact look designed in the software. Going in the other direction, the software can also import color from a website's HTML or CSS code.
Gradients themselves get new options in the latest major update, with the new Perceptual and Linear interpolation modes, which look smoother and more natural in some cases.
Converting Smart Objects back to their components for editing is now a simple matter of using the Convert to Layers menu option. The default swatches, gradients, patterns, shapes, and styles have all been updated with more appealing options. Below you can see the gradient panel on the right, for example.
Photoshop offers a vast array of brushes and pencils, more than 1,200 of them. These offer stroke smoothing options, and you can organize brush presets in folders. A recent capability is the Symmetry option. This works with Paint Brush, Mixer Brush, Pencil, or Eraser tools. To use it, you click the butterfly icon in the Options bar, and then choose the kind of symmetry you want: Vertical, Horizontal, Dual Axis, Diagonal, Wavy, Circle, Spiral, Parallel Lines, Radial, or Mandala.
A Pattern Preview feature simply repeats whatever’s in your image as a grid—outside the actual image boundary. You can then save the result as a reusable pattern. (As you can see, I’m no artist.) It seems like a great tool for designing gift wrap and greeting cards.
Alternatively, you could use the Shape and Line tools from the left-hand toolbar. Adobe lets you draw raster lines as pixels, and designers now can import Illustrator files complete with vector shapes, paths, and masks. Before, you could only draw vector lines, which makes more sense unless you're going for a pixel-art effect.
Behance is a social network for creative professionals, offering online portfolios and connections. It's built into all the Creative Cloud applications, letting users post projects for feedback from colleagues and clients. Users can post their files directly from Photoshop via a one-click share button. From Behance they can share and discuss the work and even connect with potential and existing clients and freelancers.
Behance is a great resource for burnishing your Photoshop skills, too. It offers a Daily Challenge (often hosted by the wonderful Adobe principal worldwide evangelist Paul Trani) in which you can see an expert working the program's magic and interact with the presenter via a chat panel.
Behance's ProSites are customizable online portfolios, which Creative Cloud subscribers can use with their own URLs. Behance's presentation is elegant and clean, and incorporates all the essential social features du jour. I especially like that it offers statistics of your page activity. You can also export photos in Zoomify format, a powerful viewer that lets viewers zoom deep into large images. I'd like to see more sharing options, however, such as built-in email and Flickr sharing. Of course, you can do all this from Photoshop's ancillary Bridge image organizer app.
You can apply all of Photoshop's still-image adjustments to video clips, including exposure, cropping, and filters. Photoshop is even capable of multitrack and keyframing, using the same fast rendering engine that powers Adobe's Premiere Pro video editor. Only a few transition options are available, however, all of them variants of fades. Each video track you add becomes a Photoshop layer that can be individually adjusted.
You also get all the standard digital video editing tools, letting you join, split, and trim clips. Audio tools are minimal, but you can set an audio track's volume percent, fade it in, fade it out, or mute it. Movie files are saved as PSDs, but by choosing File/Export/Render Video you can create a video file with H.264, QuickTime, or DPX encoding. You also get a decent choice of resolutions targeting both big screens and mobile devices, including 720p, 1080p, and 4K options.
Photoshop's Export options are richer than ever, and the performance is improved in the latest update, too. It supports the operating system's share feature. This comes in the form of an up-arrow icon at the top right, which opens macOS and Windows' built-in share targets. On the Mac, you can use AirDrop and on Windows you can use Nearby sharing as well as any other installed Store apps that accept photos.
There's also now a bigger Share button that lets you invite co-editors on Adobe Cloud–saved documents. You either specify the user's Adobe ID email address or you can copy a sharing link; you can include a comment when you share this way to collaborators. Note that this new button joins, rather than replaces the system sharing buttons mentioned above.
The Export option replaces the tried-and-true Save for Web option, though you can still use that if you prefer. It's faster and it delivers smaller files, especially when it comes to JPGs. You can also export and import SVG (scalable vector graphics) files, which are commonly used on websites. As mentioned above, you can now export images in Google's web-friendly WebP format.
You can also export at multiple sizes simultaneously, convert to the sRGB color space, and export a single layer or Artboard. By setting up a Quick Export option from the File menu, you can use the format of your choice. Finally, you can add metadata, such as copyright information, at export.
One feature worth mentioning, though it's in beta, is Content Credentials in Photoshop. This ties in with the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) proposal. The new tool records tamper-evident proof of any edits made to an image and verifies the identity of its creator. It also makes this information available on the public Verify website, where you can check an image's provenance. Adobe's Behance social sharing site also supports Content Credentials for validation of images' authenticity.
Photoshop makes it easier and easier to do amazing things with digital images. Each time I investigate its features to review a new version, I discover new capabilities, even ones that have long existed, so great is the program's depth. Integrated stock photography, advanced font tools, and organizational and syncing features, such as Cloud Documents and Libraries, are unique to the application.
You won't find photo editing software with better, more complete, or more precise tools for drawing and typography, all of which continue to improve. Adobe also understands the move toward mobile and web-focused design. Photoshop's position as the preeminent image editing tool remains secure. It earns a rare five-star rating and is the PCMag Editors' Choice winner for image editing software.