Photoshop 2018 now supports 360-degree photos, adds new design tools

Adobe is bringing Photoshop up to speed on a number of the latest imaging trends with Photoshop 2018. Announced on October 18 during Adobe Max, Photoshop 2018 includes 360 compatibility, support for the new HEIF format implemented by Apple in iOS 11 and others, and a handful of tools for graphic design, including brush smoothing and variable type.

While 360 photos were supported in earlier versions, the ability to scroll around the entire view was lost, rendering the file into a rectangle. Now, 360 files can be imported using the spherical panorama options from the 3D menu options and exported through the same menu to maintain that scrolling format when sharing. The compatibility brings Photoshop tools, such as cloning and healing brushes for removing objects, into 360 photography.

Photoshop also gains the ability to edit depth map data from dual-camera iPhones, like the iPhone 8 Plus. With that information, Photoshop grants users more customization of the portrait effect than can be achieved inside the iPhone camera app alone. The feature requires an iPhone running iOS 11 as well as iOS 11 on the computer that is running Photoshop.

Photoshop also brings integration with the new Lightroom CC, with the synced photos now accessible on the home screen for easy access. Typing a keyword into Photoshop’s search tool will also bring up Lightroom CC images thanks to the new Sensei search tool integrated into Lightroom CC.

Exporting images is also simplified, with new quick share options in iOS to export to social media or any other installed share extensions, including AirDrop and iMessage. For social media options, the tool allows users to type in accompanying text before sharing.

For Microsoft Surface Studio users, Photoshop now has Dial compatibility, allowing users to adjust brush size and hardness, move through the document history, and zoom using the on-screen dial.

An update to the Properties panel brings another workflow improvement, as it will now display relevant data to whatever elements are selected. For example, if text is selected, the panel will display font options. The idea, Adobe says, is to give users access to relevant information in order to maintain functionality while having fewer panels open. Selecting multiple type layers also allows designers to make changes to all of the type at once.

Photoshop 2018 also brings variable fonts, a feature demoed earlier that allows users to create more custom fonts by adjusting the weight, width, and slant of the font separately. The previously teased curved pen tool is also part of the launch. All paths created from the various pen tools also have new visibility options for changing the color and stroke, making paths easier to spot in busy designs.

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For graphic designers, a new brush stroke smoothing slider removes the jagged edges on drawings. Brushes can now also be organized into folders and subfolders to easily find the right brush — a helpful tool now that Adobe has acquired one of the most popular Photoshop brush creators, kylebrush.com. With the acquisition, Photoshop will ship with a number of new brush presets, with additional options available as free downloads from Adobe Stock.

Users will also be treated to two technology previews within Photoshop 2018, features Adobe is bringing to the software but that have not yet been perfected. First, A new painting symmetry tool allows designers to create patterns by mirroring the design on the other side of an axis. The feature first needs to be enabled under the technology previews options inside Photoshop’s preferences, then users have access to the new tool by clicking on the butterfly icon and choosing the type of axis.

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Second, Preserve Details 2.0 uses Sensei A.I. technology to minimize quality loss when enlarging an image. Adobe says the tool is better in most cases, but not in every situation, which is why the feature is launching as a technology preview and not a fully integrated tool.

New users also get a helpful new feature with Photoshop 2018, the learn tool. It walks users through the steps for basic edits, highlighting the proper tools to make them easy to find, and includes a sample image to work on.

Photoshop 2018 is part of the Adobe Creative cloud photography plan subscription for $10 a month. Photoshop paired with the new Lightroom CC with 1 TB of storage is $20 a month, with a $5 discount for current subscribers.