Adobe MAX 2021: Check out new features in Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom and other apps

Adobe at the MAX 2021 conference added new features to Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom on iPad and desktop while enhancing other Creative Cloud features.

Adobe's marketing image showing smart object selection in Lightroom on iPad
Image credit: Adobe


  • Adobe’s annual MAX conference is underway, bringing us new features
  • Major updates to Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom on iPad and desktop
  • The new features are now available to Creative Cloud subscribers

Adobe’s new Photoshop features

On desktop, Photoshop is leveraging AI to enhance the object selection tool with 1-click selections (hover over an object to select it) as well as more accurate ones that preserve detail around the edges. A new feature called Mask All Objects will do just that, creating a mask of every item in a layer. Other updates include new AI-powered neutral filters and other tidbits.

iPad-specific updates for Photoshop include the same Smart Object selection for layers as in the desktop version while bringing new Dodge and Burn tools to the Apple tablet. Furthermore, mobile Photoshop now supports RAW images, whether taken with DSLR cameras or your iPhone 12 or iPhone 13. Read: How to crop images on your Mac

Oh, and the Photoshop public beta now has a web version that runs in Chrome.

New Adobe Illustrator features on desktop and mobile

Changes for Illustrator, Adobe’s vector drawing software, include a new Discover panel for community content along with the ability to import Adobe Substance materials into Illustrator. Similar to Photoshop, Illustrator is now also available in a web browser for those times when you might need to edit illustrations without having to install anything.

Illustrator will also boost collaboration by letting others comment on your documents. This feature is supported on both desktop and mobile editions of Illustrator. And in Illustrator for iPad, you can now track changes to a file and vectorize images. Both Photoshop and Illustrator support object animation via body movement and gestures.

New Lightroom features on iPadOS, macOS and Windows

Changes are coming to the redesigned Lightroom app and Lightroom Classic (the old version) as well. Artificial intelligence will suggest edits that will boost your photos with a click. Users can now create complex selections with the new Select Subject and Select Sky features without having to painstakingly create new selections manually.

Tidbits: After Effects, Premiere Pro, Fresco and more

Adobe also brought various tweaks to other apps in the Creative Cloud suite.

In After Effects, you get improvements to multi-frame rendering. In Premiere Pro, as another example, H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) video formats now support color management. Adobe XD now supports Lottie. Fresco was updated with support for animations and the ability to draw with new perspective guides and grids.

And in Character Animator, you can now use movements and gestures to animate puppets. Other Creative Cloud apps and services were updated with new capabilities, too, as detailed by a press release on the Adobe website.