For those of you that missed the memo, Photoshop CC 2018 recently came out.
That's exciting for photographers of all experience levels because it means there's some new goodies (and a few new Photoshop tricks too!) that we all need to learn about.
Fortunately, Nathaniel Dodson from Tutvid is here to help.
Nathaniel has hand-picked five new features in Photoshop that are important for us all to know. He outlines each one in the video above.
To help make each point a little more sticky, I've got a play-by-play of each one detailed below.
So, have a look at the video, then refer to the article for quick reminders of how to use each of these tricks.
Select & Mask
In previous versions of Photoshop, the Select & Mask tool isn't that great.
Fortunately, in the 2018 version, this tool gets an upgrade.
If you have an object in a photo that needs to be cut out, like the model in the screenshot below, the Select & Mask tool is ideal.
As you can see, by going to Select > Select & Mask and enabling the Overlay view allows you to use the Quick Select tool to select the woman in the photo.
In the past, the algorithm Photoshop used wasn't all that powerful, and meant that these types of selections couldn't account for complex edges, like hair.
But now, using the Fine Edge Brush tool, you can make much more complex selections, even if the areas in question are of a similar color to the background from which they're being cut.
It's hard to see in a screenshot, but when you view the video above, you can see that the Fine Edge Brush tool does a fantastic job of selecting the stray strands of hair that would have been incredibly difficult to select in previous versions of Photoshop.
Color and Luminosity Masks in RAW
When you open a RAW file in Camera RAW, you'll find new and improved color and luminosity masks waiting for you.
These masks allow you to target specific areas of an image - like a few of the tomatoes in the screenshot above - to work on their color and luminosity.
These masks work with several tools, including the adjustment brush, the graduated filter, and the radial filter.
Using the radial filter, you can drag out from the center (as seen below), and apply a range mask, which you'll find in the bottom right-hand corner of the editing window.
The range mask gives you two options, color or luminosity.
When you select color, you can use an eye-dropper to select a color within the area of the range mask.
When you do that, Camera RAW converts everything within the range mask to that specific color, as seen below.
From there, you can use the slider tool to increase or decrease the saturation of the color.
And if you hold down the Alt/Option key as you manipulate the slider, you get a black and white view of the image that shows you how the highlighted and shadowed areas of the image are being impacted.
Switching gears to the luminance mask option, you can create a luminosity mask based on the brightness of the photo.
By holding down the Alt/Option key as you drag the slider, you can see how you can determine what areas of the image are impacted by the mask, which is shown in the screenshot above.
In other words, you can decide to desaturate the brighter tones in the image, and darker tones won't be affected. The inverse is true as well.
Adding text to images isn't new...
But a fun trick you can now use is the Variable Fonts action, which you can find in the Properties Panel.
When you go into the Properties Panel, you'll find a host of variable, or open fonts, as seen below. Open fonts have the O icon with the word "Var" next to it.
Once you change your text to a variable font, you can manipulate several properties, including its weight, width, and slant.
That gives you much more power to create customized-looking text than was possible in prior iterations of Photoshop.
Curvature Pen Tool
A brand new tool in Photoshop CC 2018 is the Curvature Pen Tool.
Located under the Pen Tool in the toolbox, the Curvature Pen Tool allows you to create various shapes without clicking and dragging the pen.
In other words, as you can see in the screenshot above, you can click a few times (in this case, three) and the Curvature Pen will create a corresponding shape.
Then, using the Convert Point Tool and the Direct Selection Tool, you can manipulate the shape into whatever you want, in this case, a teardrop.
You can also use the tool to outline existing objects, like the wine glass in the screenshot above.
There's another awesome tool to check out in Photoshop CC 2018 - the Brush Smoothing feature.
As you might imagine, you can use it to smooth out brushes, which is an especially neat feature if you've only got a mouse or a trackpad to write handwritten text on an image.
When you paint your lines with this tool, it looks like there's a string attached to the cursor that drags the line around accordingly.
Once you get used to it, it's a great way to add smooth (and more readable) handwritten text.
And there you have it - five awesome new features in Photoshop CC 2018!