I like a lot of the new features for photographers in Photoshop CS5, but now that I have been using it for a while, I notice there are two that just continue to warm my heart.
The first one may seem minor, but if you have used old versions where this feature wasn’t present, then you are probably really appreciating it as well. It used to be that if you had a 16 bit file, and went to save a jpeg, the jpeg file option was not available. You would have to cancel the save dialog, convert the file to 8 bit, and then go back into the save dialog. Now, if the file is 16 bit, the jpeg save option is available, and Photoshop automatically converts the file to 8 bit. Brilliant!
The second feature that I become more and more impressed with is content-aware fill. When CS5 was introduced, I saw some very impressive results in videos, but it didn’t seem to work that well on examples I tried. I didn’t give up on it though — I just started trying it in more photographs, and quickly learned when it would excel. Here’s an example I tried recently — I actually like the power pole in the photo, but I was curious how content aware fill would do at taking it out. (Click on any image to see it bigger).
I used the regular lasso tool (L) to make a rough selection around the pole and wires:
Then I went to Edit>Fill and in the Use: dropdown selected Content-Aware and hit OK. Here is the result:
Wow! I would then break up the pattern in the clouds a bit with the clone stamp tool, which would take about 15 seconds. Content aware fill (and heal) is now one big reason I still use Photoshop in addition to Lightroom.