Adobe has announced that a new version of Photoshop is now available, allowing the popular photo editing software to run natively on Macs with Apple’s M1 chip. This news comes nearly five months after Adobe announced that native versions were coming soon and after months of internal and public beta testing.
The new version of Photoshop for Apple Silicon includes nearly all features of Photoshop, more on that in a bit. It promises faster selections and filters among overall performance boosts. Adobe writes, ‘Our internal tests show that Photoshop delivers significant performance gains across the application for customers using [Macs with the M1 chip].’ Adobe’s internal tests show that a wide range of features are about 1.5x faster in the new version on M1 Macs than ‘similarly configured previous generation systems.’ Testing included a wide range of activities, including opening and saving files, running filters, using compute-heavy tools like Content-Aware Fill and Select Subject.
Early Adobe benchmarking shows that some operations are even faster. A significant reason that the first public release promises such impressive performance is due to Adobe’s beta testing program. Adobe states that further development is ongoing as the company continues to work with Apple to optimize performance further.
Not every feature has made it into the first release, however, so not every user may want to update to the Apple silicon version of Photoshop immediately. A few features, including the recent Invite to Edit Cloud Documents and Preset Syncing, are not included in today’s release. If you require these features for your workflow, you should continue to use the Rosetta 2 build of Photoshop until these features are added to future native builds. Nonetheless, today’s news should excite users with M1 Macs. You can download the new build of Photoshop now and try it out for yourself.
Adobe has also introduced an update for Photoshop on iPad. Two big features are now available in the tablet version of Photoshop: Cloud Documents Version History and the ability to work on Cloud Documents while offline.
Each Cloud Document, which is auto-saved as it is worked on, includes a version history. The history includes revisions for up to 60 days. Users on iPad can now bookmark, rename and save revisions permanently.
|Photoshop on iPad now includes the ability to download Cloud Documents for offline use and editing. Image credit: Adobe|
Adobe has also added the ability for Photoshop users on iPad to select Cloud Documents for local storage, allowing access while working offline. This feature should appeal to users who regularly work in Photoshop on the go with their iPad.
Last but certainly not least, Adobe has updated Adobe Camera Raw to version 13.2. In the new version of ACR, a new Super Resolution feature has been added to the Enhance dialog. Using Super Resolution, users can double the width and height of their images, effectively quadrupling the resolution. For example, if you use Super Resolution on a 16MP image, the resulting image has 64MP resolution.
|Super Resolution allows users to quadruple the total pixel count of their images. This feature may prove useful when working with heavily cropped wildlife photos. Image credit: Adobe|
Super Resolution, which will be added to Lightroom and Lightroom Classic later, uses an advanced machine learning model for enlarging photos. Adobe writes, ‘Backed by this vast training set, Super Resolution intelligently enlarges photos while maintaining clean edges and preserving important details.’ The training set comprises millions of photos.
|In this example, there are two crops beneath the full image. The crop on the left was upsized using standard bicubic upsizing in Photoshop. The crop to the right was upsized using Super Resolution. Image credit: Adobe|
Adobe trained Super Resolution using millions of pairs of low-resolution and high-resolution image patches. Over a long period, the computer model figured out how to upsize low-resolution images in a natural and realistic way. Compared to standard bicubic upsizing, Super Resolution promises better preservation of small details and colors. As you can see in the example below, Super Resolution appears to deliver on this promise. You may recognize the image as our very own test scene.
|This example from the DPReview studio test scene shows standard bicubic upscaling (left) versus Super Resolution (right). Image credit: Adobe|
While photographers with 50MP cameras may not need a feature like Super Resolution, it should prove very useful when heavily cropping high-resolution images and when printing images shot with lower-megapixel cameras. For example, many of us have images shot with 8-10MP cameras, and Super Resolution should make these files much higher quality.
|In these crops, bicubic upscaling is again on the left and Super Resolution is on the right. The difference is quite noticeable. Image credit: Adobe|
To use Super Resolution, you right-click on the image and then click on ‘Enhance.’ This opens the Enhance Preview dialog box. Users then check the Super Resolution box and press Enhance. At this point, ‘Your computer will put on its thinking cap, crunch a lot of numbers, then produce a new raw file in the Digital Negative (DNG) format that contains the enhanced photo. Any adjustments you made to the source photo will automatically be carried over to the enhanced DNG. You can edit the enhanced DNG just like any other photo, applying your favorite adjustments or presets.’ As of now, Super Resolution is limited to images smaller than 500MP, which shouldn’t be an issue except in the case of huge panoramas.
Super Resolution can also work on other file formats beyond RAW files, including JPEG, PNG and TIFF files. Adobe recommends using the cleanest source file possible, so a RAW file is ideal. Super Resolution uses your computer’s GPU, so the faster your GPU, the better. You can also apply Super Resolution to several images at a time by selecting the images in ACR’s filmstrip.
For more information on Super Resolution, how it was built and to see additional examples, visit the Adobe Blog.