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Photoshop celebrates its 30th birthday with new iPad and desktop features

Adobe Photoshop
(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe Photoshop has celebrated its 30th birthday in the only way it knows how – by releasing some major new features for its iPad app and desktop software.

That's right, bar crawls and axe-throwing aren't exactly Adobe's style, but new tools and content-aware improvements? Now you're on Photoshop's wavelength.

To be fair, the new releases are more than just contrived filler to mark the software's milestone, which arrived back in February 1990 as Photoshop 1.0 for Macs (for a grand old price of $895, or around $1,800 in today's money).

Perhaps the biggest news, certainly for anyone who's been waiting for Photoshop for iPad to evolve into an app worthy of the name, is the arrival of Object Selection tool. This features uses Sensei AI and machine learning to help you select a particular object in a scene, particularly one that's full of many other objects.  

As the video below shows, it should simply allow you to draw a rectangle or a rough lasso around the object you want to select, and then Photoshop for iPad will do the rest. Adobe says Object Selection has same functions, options and settings as on the desktop version, which only received the feature a few months ago. 

Desktop party

Not to be left out of the party, the desktop version of Photoshop has also received some welcome updates. The most notable of these are some improvements to Lens Blur, which mimics the shallow depth of field produced by lenses and lets you create special effects like 'tilt shift'.

By processing this effect through your computer's GPU (the dedicated Graphics Processing Unit) rather than the CPU, Adobe says the realism has been significantly improved, which should allow you to realistically blur all parts of your image, whether that's the foreground, background or middle section.

Adobe Photoshop

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe has also made improvements to the Content-Aware Fill, which is a tool that can help you easily remove unwanted objects from photos and images.

Rather than needing to leave the workspace each time you want to remove something from different parts of the image – for example, removing an object from behind lots of tree branches – you can now break the region into smaller sub-parts. This lets you stay in the workspace and should give you a bit more control over your your CAF (Content-Aware Fill). 

The final cocktail umbrella in the Photoshop's Piña colada are some under-the-hood performance improvements, which Adobe claims will create a more seamless mousing experience. 

Not a raucous round of updates for Photoshop, then, but a nice toast for those who've stuck by it in the face of increasingly tempting competition from Phase One and Affinity Photo.