Since Photoshop was released into the world 29 years ago, it’s become the go-to tool for many an artist and designer, and with that comes a level of expectation. The latest update, Photoshop CC 2019 (version 20), introduces a number of new, albeit small, features, which seem primarily aimed at increasing the usability of the programme and improving workflow efficiency. However, not all the new features are a welcome change. But we’ll get to that later.
Photoshop can do pretty well anything, but you have to bring your own ideas and inspiration, and you’ll need to know your way around Photoshop’s powerful and extensive tool set to bring them to life.
You can subscribe to Photoshop on its own via an Adobe single app subscription, but that’s the expensive way of doing it. Adobe offers three Photography Plans which are much more cost effective.
Lightroom CC plan This includes Lightroom CC and 1TB of cloud storage for £9.98/$9.99 per month when bought as an annual subscription. This does not include Photoshop, so don’t get this one.
Photography plan This includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC and 20GB of cloud storage for £9.98/$9.99 per month and really is very good value for money.
Photography plan with 1TB of cloud storage This is the same as the Photography Plan above, but adds 1TB of cloud storage, primarily for Lightroom CC. This costs £19.97/$19.99 per month, but only makes sense if you want to go with Adobe’s cloud-based Lightroom CC rather than the desktop Classic version (a whole different discussion).
Other key features in Photoshop CC 2019
Colour wheel improvements
Home screen improvements
Improved in-app learning
Better Export As experience
Access to Lightroom photos
Distribute the spacing between objects
Type simple maths operations into fields that require numeric values
See the end of long layer names
Find Japanese fonts with Match Font and Font Similarity
UI size preference
Don’t get Photoshop just because it’s ‘the best’. The best at what? It’s the most powerful photo editor in the world at in-depth image manipulation, but for all the other things you might want to do – photo organising, raw processing, effects and presets – it hands you off to other programs and plug-ins.
Photoshop is practically a must-have tool for professional photographers and artists, if only as a kind of career qualification, but while its abilities are very deep indeed, they’re also pretty narrow.
Photoshop CC is only available with a Creative Cloud subscription, which will put some people off straight away, but Adobe’s Photography Plans start at £9.98/$9.99 per month, and that includes Lightroom. For novices and enthusiasts there are smarter (non-subscription) alternatives to Photoshop, but for photography pros, Photoshop is practically a required skill. It’s slick, it’s efficient and it’s still the premier photo editor for experts.