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Photoshop CC 2021 is here

With the new release of Photoshop (CC 2021), comes some interesting new features.
First is Sky Replacement. This does exactly as it says and replaces sky in a picture. It does it rather well and is far more intelligent than just slapping a new sky on your picture.
It can analyse your picture to tell where to place the sky, what to include and exclude. You can also alter the temperature of the surrounding picture making it warmer or cooler. You can flip the sky, scale and even use your own sky picture if you have one rather than using one of the preset pictures.

Goto Edit>Sky Replacement

Choose the sky you want, the Sky Replacement properties panel will appear. Now you use the sliders to get the sky just right. Once happy click OK.  The nice thing is that once you click OK, the sky is created as a new layer with a mask and blend mode automatically.

A. Sky Move Tool B. Sky Brush C. Hand Tool D. Zoom Tool E. Select a replacement sky F. Settings G. Recently used sky H. Create new group I. Create new sky J. Delete sky K. Preset Preview Zoom
Before and After with Sky Replacement

The next new feature is pretty special. Neural Filters. This is a new workspace with a collection of filters. It uses Adobe Sensei, which is Adobe’s AI engine. The filters are split into 3 categories. The first 2 filters are fully working, the next 6 filters are beta filters, which means you can still use them, but the results may be unexpected as there are still in the testing phase. The last 4 filters are not available yet, but will be (or at least in beta) soon.
On upgrading to CC 2021, most of these new filters will need to be downloaded. Just click the cloud icon with the arrow shown on the filter to download.

As we have an array of filters here, it would take a while to explain them all. So, here is just some of the more exciting ones.

Smart Potrait filter works with peoples heads. It allows for adjustments to their face. A bit of a Liquify filter 2.0. You can make them happy, sad, anger, surprised. All which alters their face, mouth, eyes etc. You can also make someone older or younger, and even turn their head. The interesting thing is that Adobe Sensei will create parts that are not even in the picture. For example it can open the persons mouth and show their teeth and tongue, even though the original picture their mouth was shut.
Turning their head it can recreate their ear and side of head, even if you can’t see the ear in the original photo.
Pretty amazing stuff, and remember it’s still in beta.

Colorize is another stand out filter in this collection. This filter will colour a black and white photograph. And it does it pretty well.  Sliders are available to adjust the result, and you can even select a colour and assign to the picture.

One thing to note is that these filters require Cloud access, as the filter processing is done in the cloud. This means you need to connected to the Internet to use them. I was put off with some of Adobe’s mobile apps when they did this, and it now seems the desktop version are going the same way.  I understand that this enhances the power of the Creative Cloud, but is this really the future. Is it going to end that programs are just an interface, with all the work being done externally in the cloud?