Why don't Photoshops tools work

First test: Adobe Photoshop 2021 with new AI tools

Markus Schelhorn

Version 22 of Photoshop CC brings new tools with artificial intelligence. We show the most important innovations.

EnlargeAdobe Photoshop 2021

At Adobe Max, which took place free of charge for everyone for the first time this year, Adobe presents the innovations of its Creative Cloud products every year (see all subscription options). In addition to many other apps, Photoshop has also been given new functions. The most important innovations are intelligent tools that recognize the image content and can process it independently. Photoshop offered such tools before, for example with content-based filling or the automatic selection of motifs. The engine behind these tools is Adobe Sensei. Adobe uses this neural network in a variety of ways, for example to automatically recognize image content and to tag images for Adobe Stock. Sensei's artificial intelligence is also used for the free “Photoshop Camera” smartphone app (iOS and Android), where impressive effects are applied to the image as soon as it is taken.

Swap sky

It seems as if Adobe copied this function from its competitor Skylum. For some time now, their Luminar program has been offering the option of automatically replacing a sky with the “Sky Replacement” tool. Photoshop now also offers this function. To do this, select the menu item "Edit> Swap Sky". As with Luminar, some sky images are already integrated for selection and you can also use your own sky image. The advantage of Photoshop: The new sky can be created as a layer with a mask. This can be corrected much finer and more specifically than is possible with Luminar. The previous disadvantage: A new sky is not shown in the reflecting water at Phoptoshop. This is not possible with Luminar 4.3 either. But with the upcoming update to Luminar AI (see our news), these reflective surfaces should also be taken into account.

EnlargeUnder "Edit> Swap Sky" there is a new Photoshop function that uses AI to recognize the sky and swap it for another sky image. You can also use your own images of the sky.
EnlargePhotoshop creates the exchanged sky as a layer with a layer mask. This makes it very easy to correct the selection later

Neural Filters

Under “Filters> Neural Filters” Photoshop now offers a collection of intelligent tools that can conjure up image effects on the photo. In addition, portraits can be spiced up in a targeted manner. Many of the tools are still in beta or not yet available. We looked at three tools:

EnlargeAt the push of a button you can colorize a black and white image with the new neural filter "Dye". The result is not yet convincing, but the tool is still in beta
EnlargeTime-consuming retouching by frequency separation could soon be superfluous: the neural filter "skin smoothing" automatically detects the skin, which can be smoothed using two sliders.
EnlargeFurther tools for portrait editing are still in the beta phase. The make-up transfer tool is not yet convincing.

Improve edges improved
In addition to the previous intelligent functions such as topic and object selection, Adobe has now added several algorithms to Photoshops that better select complicated hair structures and complex backgrounds:

Refine hair : In the upper options bar of the “Select and Mask” window there is a new button “Refine Hair”. This function searches for people in a selection and automatically refines the selection of hair. This is especially useful when users have used the Object Selection tool or the Quick Selection tool to select a specific person and want to refine their hair with a single click.

Object based : In the right column of the "Select and Mask" window, under "Refinement Mode", you will find the Object-based option. This algorithm was trained to understand objects in the scene and thus to work better with similarly colored or similarly textured backgrounds.

EnlargeHair can now be masked more finely in the Select and Mask window. The result is quite convincing, even with more complicated motifs.

Photoshop on the iPad

The iPad version of Photoshop has also received some new features.

Edit image size: This new feature is similar to what users can already do with Photoshop on the desktop. Adobe has added a document properties area in the upper left with a gear icon that shows document dimensions, color mode and resolution, and settings for changing the resolution in Photoshop on the desktop.

Live streaming: Gallery and live streaming options are new in Photoshop for iPad. You can start a live stream from the app or watch previous recordings. The recordings are published in the gallery on Behance and in the Photoshop app on the iPad.

Adobe Cloud with versioning

Another very practical new function flies a little under the radar: If photos are stored in the Adobe Cloud, you can revert to older versions. Photoshop also shows the date and time of the selected version in the version history.

Conclusion Adobe Photoshop 2021

It is praiseworthy that Adobe is now increasingly using its strengths in intelligent image processing in Photoshop. The in-house AI Sensei is already doing its job in many areas of the Creative Cloud and in Adobe Stock. Many new functions are still in the beta stage or not yet available, but these tools will certainly be delivered as the final version in a timely manner. We also like the Replace sky function, even if it seems to have been copied from Skylum Luminar.