Things you didn’t know you could do with Photoshop.

Live blend mode preview

Switching blend modes is a quick way to dramatically alter an image, but it can be an inexact science, drawing a little on experience and a requiring a lot of experimentation. Previous iterations of Photoshop have required the user to cycle through different blend modes in order to view the effect on the image, either clicking through the scroll-down list or using the Shift +/- keys.

Match Font

Once the magical world of typefaces has sucked you in and taken hold, you’ll find yourself noticing them wherever you go; shop signs, train stations, restaurant menus, ancient manuscripts. The Match Font function is to fonts what Shazam is to music, analysing the text in an image and deducing what font is being used. 

Use the marquee tool to select the text in an image, activate Type > Match Font and let technology take care of the rest. Match font will provide you with a list of fonts similar to the one selected, separating them into those already installed on your system and others available for download from Typekit (Adobe’s font library). This will also be a good tool to use if a client ever asks you to alter a pre-made design or recreate one from scratch.

Content Aware Fill

Another great addition to CC is the updated Content Aware Fill. To be perfectly frank, earlier versions of this function were a hit-and-miss affair, producing several unwanted effects, such as spawning extra limbs and warping horizons beyond recognition. 

The latest version of CC puts the user back into the driving seat, giving them at least some control over the process. After selecting the unwanted content and clicking on Content Aware Fill, you are presented with a green box, which highlights the parts of the image to be sampled from when creating the fill. You can then use a brush to add or subtract from the box, refining the parts to be sampled to improve the eventual output.

Symmetry mode

One tool certain to reflect the current trends in design is Paint Symmetry. First introduced in Photoshop CC 2018, the Paint Symmetry tool allows you to create mirrored, symmetrical patterns with the brush, pencil and eraser tool. The already generous list of symmetry modes has recently been improved with the addition of the Radial and Mandala options. 

Access Paint Symmetry by clicking on the butterfly icon at the top of the screen, selecting your tool and creating a symmetry plane. As well as being used to draw directly onto the canvas, they can also be implemented when painting to reveal or hide a mask.

Maths in number fields

With most of your fingers already tied up in shortcuts, you won’t have many left to count with. This is where Photoshop’s new maths function steps in, making it possible to do basic calculations without having to resort to a calculator or using the Dashboard. It’s a function that has long been available in other applications, but sadly missing from Photoshop. It really is as simple as writing your sums out in any number field, using standard mathematical symbols, and pressing enter. This will be a major time-saver when making proportional changes, such as working out canvas or image sizes. A great addition to the application.