Adobe Cloud and Device Selections in Photoshop: How do they compare?

With the release of Adobe Photoshop version 23.5.0, you have the ability to use Adobe Cloud computers to make selections using Select Subject. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use it and when to use it for the best selections possible.

How will your computer stand up to Adobe’s cloud functionality? Let’s find out!


Requirements to use Adobe Cloud playlists

There are two basic requirements for using the Adobe Cloud version of Select Subject in Photoshop.

First, you will need an active internet connection. Without it, the option will be there but you will not be able to access the Cloud functionality. It’s also worth noting that when you download from Adobe Cloud, it will take a few moments longer than normal selections on your device.

You will also need Photoshop version 23.5.0 or higher to access Adobe Cloud functionality.

How to access Adobe Cloud playlists

You can use the keyboard shortcut O to access one of three selection tools that will allow you to access the Adobe Cloud selection functionality. Make sure either the Object selection tool, Quick selection toolWhere Magic Wand Tool it is active.

At the top of the menu bar, you’ll see the usual Select subject and Select and hide Features. But now there is a drop-down arrow on Select Subject. By clicking on it, a Device option for faster results, and a Cloud option for detailed results.

Once you have chosen Device or Cloud, click Select Subject as you normally would and the selection will be made based on your choice.

Example 1: A single subject

Now let’s see what are the differences between the Device option (your computer) and Adobe’s Cloud option using a single topic as an example. Let’s try the device first.

Device selection:

You will notice that the selection, marked by the marching ants, selected the man perfectly, but nothing else. Now let’s see what the Cloud option can do.

Cloud selection:

Select Subject Cloud went a step further and selected most of the laptop (missing a bit in the lower right corner) and part of the folder on the desktop. It’s by no means a perfect selection, and in both versions tweaking may be needed as Adobe is understandably unsure what the subject may be besides humans.

We tell you everything you need to know about the Select Subject tool if you need to improve your Photoshop selection skills.

Example 2: A group portrait

Let’s compare how Device and Cloud features work head-to-head in a simple example of three close topics with a solid background.

Device selection:

As you can see, the selection of devices wasn’t that great. He selected the two women at the top of the image perfectly against the plain background, but missed parts of the kneeling woman in front as well as the pants of the woman on the right.

Cloud selection:

A much better result; the Cloud selection is almost perfect. He selected all three women and only missed a tiny part next to the first woman’s finger which includes part of the background, but that’s an easy fix.

Example 3: A slightly underexposed image with a single subject

In this example, not only is the image slightly underexposed, but Adobe may be having trouble determining exactly what the subject may be. Is it only the painter or should it also include the paint and other elements? Let’s compare.

Device selection:

The Device option did a good job of selecting the whole painter and the table next to it. But he only selected the upper part of the canvas.

Cloud selection:

The Cloud selection arguably didn’t do such a good job. He selected the whole painter, but the selection also only included part of the painting and missed the front part of the brush.

Example 4: An unusual topic

Can either selection option detect a person swinging sideways in an unusual shot? Let’s find out.

Device selection:

The device selection didn’t work well at all. The depth of field features, colors, and shape details were enough to confuse Device Select Subject and make a terrible selection.

Cloud selection:

The Cloud selection is the clear winner in this example. He almost picked out the whole man and nothing else; an easy solution using Lasso or the Select and hide option. We go into detail about masking a subject in Photoshop.

Example 5: A vague topic

In our last example, we are going to look at a very vague topic. Are we trying to select the sky, the foreground or the background? Let’s see how our selections will render.

Device selection:

Not good news for device selection. It didn’t even work! But if you wanted to select the sky, we show you how to replace any sky in Photoshop.


Cloud selection:

At least the Cloud picked something, and it did a relatively decent job of picking almost everything but the sky. This is another easy fix, whatever your topic.

When to use the device or cloud Select topic

Whichever option you decide to use will most likely result in an imperfect selection. The selection technology in Photoshop isn’t quite perfect yet. That being said, with the tools available, it only takes a few moments to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

What’s the verdict? Use both! If you’re trying to get the perfect selection at the click of a mouse, try both Device and Adobe Cloud and see what works best. But you’ll find that the Cloud option will be better for cleaner, more detailed selections in most cases.

Photoshop makes quick selections easy

Photoshop’s selection features only get better. Whichever you prefer, select the subject with the camera or Adobe Cloud, we hope you try both selection options on your images, as you’re likely to get varying results with different types of photos.

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