Here at emc, we are all full Creative Cloud subscribers which means we get constant access to the latest updates from Adobe. Some of these updates pass us by and often are just little bug fixes. However, the most recent update to Photoshop (CC 2015) is pretty immense – we wonder how long they’ve had this up their sleeve as it now parallel with the very useful pasteup boards in InDesign. Perhaps they were waiting for their 25th year of Photoshop but either way we’re glad they’ve released this new update. Kristina who’s one of our designers and a very fab illustrator, has had the chance to play around with this for little while now and gives us her thoughts…
“I don’t know if its the same for all illustrators, but I’m pretty indecisive when I’m coming up with new ideas for a drawing, particularly if it’s a commission piece, I have compositional roughs and colour studies coming out of my ears! The main problem I’ve always had with working in photoshop is being able to compare several options at once without having to turn on and off layers, saving each image out, or open them all individually, tiling all my windows until my computer screen looks like an ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle. Luckily, thanks to the new artboard feature, I can have all these options laid out neatly before me in one window! When it has come to directly comparing my options and ultimately deciding which would be best to take forward, it’s been a life saver. If you were wanting to send these to a client at this point, there’s also a handy ‘quick export as png’ option that allows you to save out a whole artboard (or just your selected layers), in just a few clicks. Very handy!
Everything feels very neat and tidy working in this way. Your artboards work a lot like a layer group with a clipping mask applied, so adding something to a particular board is as simple as dragging it into the group, with the added bonus of it clipping to the canvas without worrying about things spilling out onto the paste-up board.
On that note, naturally, since starting at emc I’ve been working a lot more with InDesign and one thing I have got used to, and have been missing in Photoshop, is the ability to keep layers and objects visible in the document but just move them off the canvas and into what we’d call the paste-up margin. Previously in Photoshop it had been a case of grouping these together and just turning off the visibility. Not great when you’re looking for a particular layer in a hurry or wanting to compare a few things. Thankfully, with artboards, it’s a simple drag and drop to pull a layer out from your artboard and into the margins. For me, it’s more a place to keep references or my colour pallet within easy reach but I can see how this would be particularly brilliant if you’re a UI designer and are wanting to keep all your icons and buttons somewhere you can access easily to apply across your design.
With that in mind, here is where this feature does fall a little short for me. Artboards really are all geared up for digital designers and not for those working in print. All the pre-sets are for web and app dimensions rather than paper sizes, which is not a major problem since you can simply set them manually, but it does feel like they weren’t factoring in the full breadth of Photoshop users when they designed this. It also seems a little glitchy when you convert any document with artboards to CMYK. There are a few work-arounds online but they don’t work for everyone. Fingers crossed this is just a bug and they’ll fix this with the next update. For now, I’ll definitely continue to use artboards for the early stages of my illustration work but once I’m ready for finals, I’ll be in a standard CMYK document!”
If you’d like to explore in more depth the newest artboard features watch this video from Adobe: