Variable fonts are a relative newcomer to the graphic design scene. The open type font system allows users to adjust parts of the font individually, without affecting the others. Think of it as a way to create Photoshop custom fonts without actually creating a new font. Variable fonts allow users to change the weight, width, and slant — allowing designers to create their own italic look, choose the thickness of a bold font or create a new look combining all three adjustments.
Inside of the next version of Photoshop CC, compatible variable fonts will open up new options inside of the properties panel. Separate sliders allow designers to adjust the weight, width, and slant. The feature is only available with variable fonts, the font type that allows for those changes, but finding a variable font is as easy as typing “variable” into the type menu to access a list of the options, Adobe demonstrates.
The feature comes after Adobe added colored font compatibility in Photoshop CC 2017 in 2016. Colored fonts, unlike actually choosing a color for a normal font, allows for custom colored options with variations between letters and even different colors within the same letter, like the emoji font or fonts designed to look metallic.
The same colored font feature is also soon headed to Adobe Illustrator, according to a sneak peek released this summer. Another teaser shows Illustrator gaining the ability to use up to 1,000 artboards in one document.
The new font feature is the second detail Adobe has shared about the upcoming version of Photoshop, after a new curved pen tool designed to make selecting curvy objects simpler. The Curvature Pen tool creates curves with one click and automatically adjusts when the next point is placed. Adobe has not clarified which version of Photoshop or an exact date, but only that the features are coming before the end of the year.
Photoshop is a popular tool both for photographers and graphic designers, with the new text tool catering more to the designer. The upcoming pen tool can be used both in graphic design and for targeted photo editing for adjusting only a portion of the image.