Photoshop celebrates its 30th birthday with new features for iPad

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Photoshop-Object-Selection-iPad
The new Object Selection tool works like magic.
Photo: Adobe

Photoshop turns 30 today, and to celebrate this massive milestone, Adobe is rolling out some handy new tools for the iPad version of its app.

The latest update brings an Object Selection tool and Type settings. They help bring Photoshop for iPad a little bit closer to the desktop version, and they’re part of Adobe’s mission to deliver a “continuous stream” of new features.

There are some nice additions for Photoshop on desktop, too.

When Adobe first unveiled Photoshop for iPad, it made some huge promises. It told us we could expect real Photoshop — complete with all the features we use on desktop — in a mobile form. As we know, that’s not quite what we got.

Photoshop for iPad was drastically watered-down for its debut last November, forcing Adobe chief Scott Belsky to defend it after a spate of poor App Store reviews. Adobe has been working hard to fix it, however.

We’ve already seen a couple of significant updates, and today we’re getting another one.

Photoshop for iPad picks up new features

The first is a new Object Selection tool, and it’s significant because it comes to iPad just three months after making its debut on the desktop. It offers exactly the same functionality to make selection quicker and easier than ever before.

The tool uses Adobe’s Sensei AI technology to automatically pick out objects in your images. It significantly reduces the number of steps it takes to select something, and it promises to be more accurate than rival selection features.

You also get greater control over your selections. For instance, you can use it to select a part of an object, rather than the entire thing — and to isolate more than one object in a complex image. It’s really rather magical.

All you have to do is draw a rectangle or even a crude lasso around the area you want to select, and Photoshop automatically identifies the primary objects inside it. You can then scroll through different views of the selection before picking the right one for you.

And there’s more

This update also brings Type settings to iPad. You get many (but not all) of the typography controls you’re used to using on desktop, including type layer, character, and options properties.

This includes tracking, leading, scaling, and formatting for things like all/small caps, super/subscript, and more. You can’t adjust kerning yet, but Adobe said this will be added in a future iPad update.

Photoshop-Type-settings-iPad
You can finally adjust Type settings on iPad.
Photo: Adobe

“This is a major release for Photoshop on the iPad,” Adobe said. “With the addition of the Object Selection tool, selections on the iPad takes a huge leap forward beyond anything available in any other apps on the device before today.”

You can download the latest version of Photoshop for iPad from the App Store now. It’s included in all Creative Cloud plans that include the desktop version of Photoshop, so if you’re already subscribed, you can use it at no extra cost.

And for the desktop?

Adobe didn’t forget about Photoshop for the desktop, of course. There are several changes to enjoy there, too — including Content Aware Fill improvements, Lens Blur improvements, and some performance tweaks that should make Photoshop a little snappier.