The top ten features to look out for in Photoshop CS6 - Part I

Last Wednesday evening Adobe released a public Beta version of Photoshop CS6, available for immediate download. This is only the second time in its 22 year history that Adobe has taken this step for what is arguably its flagship product. My source at Adobe has informed me that the public beta will be available to use without restriction until shortly after the official release of Creative Suite 6, later this summer. You will most likely require an Adobe I.D. to install it, which is free and can be setup in minutes.

 It has been nearly 2 years since Adobe released a full version of Photoshop (CS5), whilst the updated CS5.5 has been around for almost a year; however this featured little in the way of any new features, other than the ability to connect to the iPad.


CS6 on the other hand could prove to be one of the most significant updates in many years, with a plethora of well-considered new features, and some truly staggering leaps forward in productivity enhancements. I have been working with CS6 for several weeks now, as part of the Adobe Partner Programme, and although some nifty new features will steal the headlines, such as Content Aware Move, I have personally been very impressed with the usability enhancements, interface modernisation, and not least of all the leaps forward they have made with the Layers panel.


Download Adobe Photoshop CS6 here


Over the coming weeks I will be sharing with you overviews of the new features, and some hidden secrets about the application via a series of video blogs.  For now, let me share with you some of the key changes to Photoshop CS6……


My top ten features to look out for in Photoshop CS6 - Part 1


Feature 1 - Background Save, Auto Save, and restore crashed documents

Now you can save gargantuan files in one image window, and then jump to another Photoshop file and continue editing, whilst the other file saves. No longer will you have to twiddle your thumbs waiting for documents to save. In the preferences dialogue, you can now instruct Photoshop to Autosave your documents in 5, 10, 15, 30 or 60 minute cycles without having to do so manually. Photoshop from experience is a fairly stable app, however there are occasions when we all suffer a sudden crash, and lose unsaved work. Well not any more, as Photoshop CS6 will allow you to restore your lost edits the next time you load a session of Photoshop. Much the way that InDesign has done for some time.


Feature 2 - Paragraph and Character Styles

You won't get any argument from me that Photoshop is not the best application for large amounts of typographic work; InDesign is of course more than capable. However there are many people who create one page documents such as A5 flyers, and anyone who has done extensive type work in Photoshop will tell you what a pain it is to achieve consistent appearance attributes. Well following on from InDesign, and Illustrator, we now have Paragraph and Character Styles in Photoshop so that you can repurpose typographic appearances at the click of a button. Simply define the type characteristics you require, and create a new style from that paragraph or highlighted text. If the style needs changing, you simply edit the type style and your edits update any type content it is applied to in your document.


Feature 3 - The all new crop tool

Now you can apply non-destructive crops to your artwork by default. Not only that but you can re-edit your crops, position your subject according to rule of thirds, straighten artwork, and live rotate, which rotates the image within the crop area, saving you from having to manipulate corner handles.


Feature 4 - Blur Gallery

Use the new Blur Gallery to add phenomenal control to post capture blur effects. The blur types come in three flavours, Tilt-Shift, Iris and Field. Tilt-shift acts like a gradient blur, but it is the user friendly Heads up Display functionality that is so impressive about how you interact with these features. You spend less time playing eye tennis across the interface from dialogue box to artwork. Many of your edits are done on-image, with widgets, and provide a greater sense of feedback. Field blur allows you to add pins over your artwork to specify which areas remain sharp, and which have blur applied, and to what degree.  And add light bokeh where appropriate.  Iris works closer to in capture blur, and creates the effect of objects blurring nearer or further from the camera lens in an elliptical fashion.


Feature 5 - Camera Raw tonal adjustment overhaul

The basic panel of Camera Raw has been re-designed and makes for a much efficient experience, with tremendous control over fine detail in shadow areas through to highlight regions.


To be continued next week..........


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