Roben Kleene

Photoshop 2020

It’s been a big week for Photoshop, Photoshop for iPad is out now, and on the desktop, Photoshop 2020 has been released. The desktop app icon has been updated to use the new rounded-corner style also used by Lightroom, here’s the new icon:

Photoshop Icon

And here’s the Lightroom Classic icon that still uses the old style with sharp corners:

Lightroom Icon

So far it seems like the new icon style is being used to designate products that are cross-device? Dimension, Lightroom, Premiere Rush, and Photoshop are the ones that use it now, and of those only Dimension isn’t cross-device yet.

As to the new features, Julianne Kost from Adobe summarizes what’s new in Photoshop 2020. This caught my eye:

1) Consistent Free Transform – When in free transform, clicking the link icon (in the Options bar) will toggle the “constrain aspect ratio” option on/off . The state of the icon is sticky – once it’s set, it will stay that way until it’s clicked again. This means that, regardless of the contents of the layer (pixels, type, shape, etc.), transform will behave consistently. Holding the Shift key while transforming will temporarily toggle the opposite behavior.

Before switching back to app development in 2011, I worked for eight years as a user-interface designer, and I practically lived in Photoshop during that time. Then I became so frustrated with Adobe for not creating an app like Sketch1 that I swore off their products for years, doing all of my design in Sketch and using the wonderful Acorn for image editing. Recently, I decided to go back to Adobe’s products when I did my overview of creative apps on Apple’s platforms and realized that, while Adobe had missed the boat with Sketch, the companies product line is otherwise quite healthy (to say the least)2.

So I’ve been using Photoshop again, and for the most part the application feels similar to when I left it3. But one thing that’s been driving me crazy is the default behavior for “Free Transform” has been inverted, you used to hold shift to constrain proportions, but now it constrains proportions by default, and you hold shift to turn off constraining proportions. This change was apparently introduced in Photoshop CC 2019, and I’m not the only one it’s been driving crazy, Veerle Pieters shared how you could revert to the legacy behavior by editing a configuration text file. The new approach of providing a toggle setting in the toolbar, that remains sticky between launches, seems like a good compromise.

  1. I’d contend that Adobe leaving the user-interface design tool market open for a competitor like Sketch to emerge is the biggest blunder in creative apps I’ve seen in my 20 year career. ↩︎

  2. Complaints about subscription pricing not notwithstanding. ↩︎

  3. Except the file dialog boxes are also slow now… ↩︎