Probably the most well-known new feature of Photoshop CS5 is the Content-Aware Fill. This tool allows photographers and photomanipulators unprecedented control over photo images. Like the Spot Healing brush tool, Content-Aware Fill does its magic automatically, and undoubtedly some human control will be necessary, but the cost and time savings that Content-Aware Fill introduces are ground-breaking. If there’s an object you need to get rid of in an image, it’s now as easy as selecting the object in question and pressing Delete. In previous versions, this was a laborious, if not impossible, process. See for yourself how easy Content-Aware Fill is below:
Of course, noise implies authenticity, so those with photos a little too smooth (or renders too clean) can now apply all sorts of processing to their work to give it a rough, deep feel. Post-crop vignette controls also add a touch of realism previously requiring laborious boilerplate steps. Camera Raw works with any file, from JPEG to RAW, so there are unlimited possibilities in creative use of the new processing features.
Leave it to Adobe to make a simple typographical concept into something much more complex-sounding. Threaded text allows users to have their text content span across various containers. Each container can also have its own column mode, organizing its chunk of the text into 2- or 3-column pieces.
Adobe continues the proud Macromedia tradition of reinventing the FLA format with each release of Flash. FLA is now XML, instead of binary. Additionally, users can save Flash files in an uncompressed format, allowing for version control systems to index Flash projects and for outside users to (presumably) change and update assets used within the Flash file.
The CS5 incarnation of Illustrator includes the fantastic Perspective Grid tool which allows illustrators to automatically draw in perspective. The grid can be adjusted, items can be moved from one side of the grid to another, and best of all, imported items can be made to fit on the grid with ease.
Illustrator CS5 also includes the Width tool which allows users to create points on a path that specify the width of the stroke at those particular points. This is a fantastic addition that makes variations on characters, fonts, logos, and many other things as simple as adjusting a few number values. Another fantastic development is the “Draw Inside” mode which lets artists draw inside a particular shape, automatically masking their work to fit into the selected shape. The mode works for editable text as well, which makes previously complex effects extremely easy. Finally, the Shape Builder tool makes combining several shapes into one continunous path straightforward and simple.
InDesign can now span text across multiple frames, which is as cool as it sounds. This makes layouts simpler while retaining structure, which is always welcome. The new Gap tool adjusts frame sizes while keeping the gaps between them intact. Also included is the ability to specify multiple page sizes for documents (a boon for guys like Joel Bauer).
The big deal in AE CS5 is the Roto Brush. This deceptively simple tool allows artists to isolate elements with extreme ease. It’s best understood as allowing artists to quickly highlight and fine-tune areas in the video where the frame should be isolated, not unlike the new selection tools in Photoshop CS5.