Adobe Photoshop is 20 years old and Illustrator has been around over 24 years. It is amazing to see the progressively improving and adding more features of Photoshop version 5 and Illustrator version 8. Now with vector features and 3D tools, Photoshop is no longer just an image editing tool. The same goes with Illustrator, Bristle Brushes were added to simulate bitmap drawing. Some features of Photoshop CS5 is given below:
Content Aware Fill
The most discussed new feature is Content Aware Fill. It is indeed a new magical tool. It allows you to quickly remove objects in the image. Back then, you would have to do a lot of cloning and brushing. Now with Photoshop CS5, just create a selection of the object that you want to remove, go to Edit > Fill, select Content-Aware, and it will do the magic for you.
However, the result may vary depending on your source image and how you apply the Content Aware Fill. Because it automatically fill the selection base the content around the selection, it works on certain circumstances but not all. Sometimes you may have to do some manual touchups.
Puppet Warp works very much like the Warp transform (Edit > Transform > Warp) but even better because it allows you to set points and then warp them. This tool is great for tweaking or straightening objects.
Mixer Brush & Bristle Presets
CS5 introduced a new brush tool called Mixer Brush. Combining the Mixer Brush Tool with the bristle brushes allows you to simulate the effects of real life painting. This tool works even better if you have a drawing tablet.
Refine Edge in CS5 is a big jump from CS4. It has made selecting hair so much easier. You just need to make a selection of the subject and use Refine Edge (go to menu Select > Refine Hair) to handle the tricky selection such as hair. There is an option called Decontaminate Colors which allows you to soften the edge. This has been tested on several photos and it works great. Usually it takes only 10-15 minutes to create a perfect hair mask, but with this Refine Edge tool it only takes about a minute.
CS5 comes with an enhanced 3D palette where you can edit the render setting such as object and camera rotation without a 3D software. I don’t have any background with 3D editing, but it was fun to mess around with the 3D palette. Open the 3DS file in Photoshop, turn on the 3D palette (Windows > 3D) and have fun with the settings.
For those of you who love the high dynamic range effect, Photoshop CS5 has a filter for you. Go to Image > Adjustment > HDR Toning, play around with the parameters and you’ve got yourself a HDR looking image. This is a fun tool for amateur photographers.
Drag & Drop Files
Most people focus on the new core features but miss out the minor time-saver features such as drag & drop capability. Now you can drag and drop image files directly onto the Photoshop document and it will automatically import them as an individual Smart Object. This saves a lot of time in my workflow because I no longer need to open the files and copy & paste.
Apply Opacity on Multiple Layers
Another workflow improvement is being able to apply opacity on multiple layers. Just select the layers that you want to change the opacity, press on the number keys to adjust the opacity of the selected layers.
Save Default Layer Style Settings
The last little feature that I would like to mention is the option to set default Layer Style. Now you can assign default setting in the Layer Style palette. This is great time saver for me. I don’t even remember how much time I wasted to change the default drop shadow settings.
CS5 allows you to use the zoom tool to zoom in or out by dragging left and right. So now you can no longer zoom to specific area by dragging a selection like you used to in the older versions. Luckily you can turn off: select the Zoom tool and uncheck the Scrubby Zoom in the option bar.
Illustrator first introduced Multiple Artboards feature in CS4 and the options were very limited. Now you can finally name the artboards in CS5. It also comes with a Artboards palette where you can manage and rearrange the artboards. Being able to name the artboards is a big deal . This can be used to design the stock icons. Icons can be exported to different file format without having to rename them.
It looks like a cool tool for drawing perspective art such as architect models. It allows you to turn any 2D art into a 3D perspective view and anything that you have inside the grid remains in perspective.
Stroke Width Tool
A new tool is the Width Tool. Sometimes the result may not turn out as desire and I have to draw the strokes manually with the Pen tool. With the Width tool, you have full control of how the stroke width should appear.
Illustrator CS5 added two new drawing modes: Draw Inside and Draw Behind. Press Shift+D or click on the Drawing Mode icon on the tool bar to toggle between modes. Draw Inside allows you to draw new objects inside the selected object (like a mask) and Draw Behind will draw objects behind. You would need to create a Clipping Mask and draw things in the isolation mode.
Live Text Mask
Now you can create live text mask. This means you can mask objects with text and the text remains editable. You can either achieve this by either creating a Clipping Mask or using the Draw Inside mode.
There is a new Shape Builder tool. Basically it is like the Pathfinders tool where you can merge, divide, or trim shapes with the mouse.
Opacity Mesh Point
CS5 now allows you to set opacity for the Mesh points. This is no doubt extremely useful to anyone who uses the Mesh Tool to create realistic vector art.
Select Object Behind
You can select the object behind by holding the Cmd key while clicking on the object. This is quite useful if you are dealing with a massive shape artwork.
If you like to do vector painting, you will love the new Bristle Brushes in CS5. The Bristle Brushes allow you to create watercolor-like paint strokes. Experience it yourself: in the Brush palette, create a New Brush, then select the brush shape and play around with the settings.