I'm facing this same situation, I'm going to dig and search some more on how to fix this but I HATE the way they changed that in CC.
1000x this. My designs are 100% vector shapes, so if Adobe have changed this core behavior intentionally, they’ve just made my life a lot more difficult.
We should be able to use the Direct Selection Tool to select a shape layer (similar to how the Move Tool has done) by clicking on any visible pixel. But then we should be able to freely drag-select points on that shape (starting from any neutral area) without selecting other shape layers. This is how it’s worked since before I can remember.
Here’s why the two new selection modes don’t work:
Active Layers - I can no longer freely select any visible shape. Instead I’m forced to make a time-consuming roundabout to the layer palette, where I have to squint to find my shape layer, and activate it manually before continuing. (Hitting “V” to select a layer, then “A” to get back to the D.S. Tool is nearly as cumbersome. Plus, I leave off the Move Tool's auto-select mode.)
All Layers - Treats all my shapes as if they’re on one layer. Overlapping shapes are therefore impossible to work with -- mainly drag-selecting and deselecting points -- in situ.
We either need a “legacy” setting, or some way to constrain selection on drag, via a key modifier or something. This “all or nothing" thing doesn’t work for me... and apparently for others. Why would they change such a thing?
Or maybe there’s something I’m missing. Please let that be the case!
One workaround I’ve just implemented:
- put the Direct Selection Tool on All Layers, since that’s the closest thing to the old behavior
- give the Select > Isolate Layers item a keyboard shortcut
After clicking on any visible shape, use your new shortcut to isolate the currently active layer (though everything looks exactly the same, and isn’t screened out like in Illustrator, thankfully). You can then select and drag with abandon, without fear of selecting other layers. Then use your key command again to exit isolation mode.
This workaround still necessitates two needless steps, but if it preserves your sanity at all...