CS5's Content-Aware Fill: Another useless feature

Hey! It's me!

CS5's Content-Aware Fill: Another useless feature

Posted on March 24th 2010

Yet again, Adobe has done the classical big software/big company dance: Add unfocused features. For those who don’t know what Content-Aware Fill is, watch this video.

Agreed, it seems like magic and does solve a problem for someone somewhere. But it’s just another feature I’m adding to the “useless” category from Adobe’s software suite. Along with the “vines” tool in Flash and 95% of Photoshop’s filters, these aren’t the features you want. They are the product of unfocused software development, non-opinionated and bad decision making. To the philosophy of creating more features to stay ahead of the competition and justify a new version of a software: I do not adhere. On the contrary, I much more adhere to the simplicity and no-non-sense philosophy of 37signals.

What if Apple or 37signals built Photoshop?

Those companies that built products we love to use would’ve done it differently:

  • 80% less features;
  • Truly useful features would work and would be improved at every release;
  • Solely from the feature, it would be clear for which market the product was aimed at;
  • That targeted market would also encompass anyone who wants to use well thought-out software.

80/20 Rule: Adobe doesn’t understand

Who needs “Vanishing Point” and “Content-Aware Fill”? I don’t even know. Probably people doing print graphic design. I’m sure this is a constantly declining market and I’m also sure the market for web designers is growing. They built their software with features for the less important part of their market.

True, they have products made especially for web designers. However, for some reason, my general feeling on the matter is that they aren’t used as much for web design as Photoshop. Why? Probably because we’re used to it or because it doesn’t behave the same and it’s that behaviour that makes sense to us. What doesn’t make sense is the feature creep.

Give me…

  • Unlimited number of levels groups of layers;
  • A better, less crowded, interface;
  • Only the tools that are of use 80% of the time, uncluttering the interface further;
  • 64-bit support on the mac;
  • No more beach balls that slows my whole system down;
  • No-non-sense.

I need to try other software now because that’s not the software I want.

Update: As a friend of mine made me realize, photographers do use Photoshop quite differently and they have a big portion of the market. While this is true, I still think this feature is completely overkill. The true genius of photography is made by the photographer when he’s actually taking the photo with quality gear in a good setting. Although Photoshop can help make bad photos (or inadvertedly ugly photos) look not half as bad, it can’t do miracles. I’m not sure the rate of usage for this widget is worth the bloatness of the app.