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What You Need to Know About Photoshop Project Recess

Creative Market March 31, 2021 · 3 min read

Photoshop Project Recess is a brand-new user environment built specifically for web designers. The goal is to give professional designers the tools they need to work more efficiently and get better results within Photoshop. Adobe has done this by creating a whole new interface that operates inside Photoshop. It only exists in secret Adobe labs at the moment, but they recently gave the world a sneak peek into how it works. Let’s take a look!

A Playground Environment

To give web designers a brand-new way to use Photoshop, Adobe has streamlined the user interface with Project Recess, with attention to the specialized needs of designers and their most common activities within the program. This "core UI" concept uses HTML/CSS to create a unique experience, with new interactions, new features and the ability to push feedback to drive continual advancement in Project Recess design.
Look at Project Recess, and you see "clean UI"–smaller, more consolidated menus, a simpler toolbar, and not much else cluttering up the screen. Project Recess makes it easier to keep your attention on your images and layers, but you can also toggle between Project Recess and the main Photoshop interface to get additional tools if necessary.

Crafting Controls

One element of Project Recess is the ability to create customized controls and objects on the screen. For instance, designers can use streamlined menus to adjust size, shape, color and other properties for command buttons or other items on a page. With drop-downs, math operators and more, there are multiple ways for designers to perform the tasks that they do most often in Photoshop, and valuable shortcuts they can use to make their design process more convenient.
Whether it’s scaling an image or control using a percentage of screen size, customizing page elements with a color title instead of the hex number, or taking advantage of consolidated controls instead of wrangling with three different menus, Project Recess represents the next version of core UI design that boosts the power of the designer. This new interface could cut potentially hours out of complex design projects.

Working Through Layers

Other types of functionality in Project Recess are aimed at helping designers sift through the various elements of a project. For instance, a combination of double-click and Escape shortcuts can help users navigate through various layers quickly and conveniently for an intuitive mouse/keyboard process that can expedite design or make it more ergonomic for someone who does it every day.
Other commands help to scale vectors or handle images to fine-tune an entire project.

Experimental Design

Project Recess is experimental; it’s a work in progress. Future innovations will be influenced by the feedback that comes from the design community. However, for many professionals, it’s a big step in the right direction toward easy and convenient project tools that support successful designers in the field.

What Do You Think?

Do you think Adobe is headed in the right direction in their attempt to make Photoshop more web-design-friendly? Will features like Project Recess make you think twice about turning to a popular Photoshop alternative like Sketch? Or is this all too little too late? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Firewoks+facelift+some tweaks = 10xPhotoshop Project Recess It's that easy. But somehow Adobe refuses this fact! 8 years ago
  • A software should stay specialized to what they were made for. Photoshop was created for creating photo edits, illustrator for vector perfect elements, InDesign for print, and Fireworks for web mockup. Now Photoshop can do pretty much everything, but nothing perfectly. Not to mention it's becoming too bulky. @MagicBytes Exactly. 8 years ago
  • So Adobe made a button to make Photoshop to work like Sketch... 8 years ago
  • People still build sites in Photoshop and hand off to developers? Seems like an outdated process with tools like webflow and macaw that et you visually design sites using html and CSS. Why do the same job twice? Plus a complete lack of responsiveness which both alternatives above allow. 8 years ago
  • @Dave Finkelstein — as allways there is avant-garde and ariergarde. For sure SASS & HTML5 is quicker, more flexible and native. Cool we know that ;) The rest will follow eventually. 8 years ago
  • Never really used Photoshop for web design, only for photography. For basic web interface sketch I prefer illustrator by 10x - better typography control, lines, pictograms etc. Than html + css and than back to illistrator to export graphics that cant be done in pure html (or is not worth it) - png's, jpgs at x1, x2 .. or just svg's. 8 years ago
  • At first look, it reminds of Macaw. I'm under the impression Adobe is out of ideas but because they want to keep dominating this market they are baking one software after another to attract webdesigners and webdevelopers. I rarely use Photoshop for anything webdesign-related anymore. 8 years ago
  • I really like Muse for web design. I used to use Dreamweaver, but as a designer it is a good fit. It still has a couple of major drawbacks and that is the responsive feature and the FTP feature. I'd like to see Adobe fix that before changing Photoshop. Photoshop is awesome for photos and graphics, but I also use Illustrator since it has superior typography for most design work. No doubt Adobe is the best in it's field and I appreciate all the updates and new products. 8 years ago
  • While Photoshop is unmatched at pixel-based photo editing, nothing comes close to the power of Fireworks for screen graphics design. Pixel-perfect precision, author in vector and publish in raster, etc. etc. 8 years ago
  • I am wondering how many software overlap in the functionality between Photoshop and other cc tools? Photoshop can do everything and Adobe even give it 3d mode, video mode, and now 'Fireworks mode' call 'Recess'. If they want to make Ps as a Super-Overlay tool, why they create Edge tools? I think Fireworks tells people use a right tool for the right thing(that's why Sketch looks like Fw but not Ps), and Photoshop tells you: it can kill all the right tools. Adobe want to make ONE complex tool for ALL, i can say that's "so young ,so simple ,so naive." 8 years ago
  • I must admit, I'm nonplussed by what Adobe appears to be doing with the various Creative Cloud applications. On the one hand, you've got Dreamweaver (which, to my mind, is starting to show its age) and Fireworks (no longer being developed, but still available for now). On the other hand, you've got Muse and the various Edge tools, which each tackle various aspects of web design, but still feel like works-in-progress. And in the middle, you've got the old warhorses Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, which have had various web-design-related features bolted onto them over the last few releases. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Adobe creating a better, more modern user interface for Photoshop - frankly, long overdue, and Illustrator could do with it even moreso - but I have to think that Project Recess is more about justifying web designers continuing to need Photoshop in their arsenal, rather than actually helping web designers with their day-to-day needs. 8 years ago