Adobe recently released their latest version of Photoshop CS6, which is currently available now for a free trial in Beta. With the latest update to the Photoshop platform, comes a handful of important upgrades, changes, and fixes. Adobe is always looking to improve their products in order to better serve their audiences and the latest version seems to tackle a lot of the downfalls from previous versions of Photoshop.
Right off the bat, there are a few very noticeable differences to the new version. First and foremost, the redesigned interface is very apparent. Photoshop CS6 takes a big leap in a new direction by darkening all of the surfaces to darker, deeper tones of grey. The redesigned icons are contrasted with light grey/white and the whole platform rests on a grey/black background. In fact, it looks more like Adobe AfterEffects. The interface is simplified and cleaned up to improve the user experience, a step in the right direction bringing focus to the project at hand.
When opening Photoshop CS6, Adobe’s new graphic processor Mercury also opens. This new graphics engine runs in conjunction with Photoshop to allow real-time action to occur with every click. Simply put, everything done in Photoshop will run much faster than ever before. A key example is applying a liquify filter to an image. The photo will instantly take the effect when in the past there was major tiling and lag time when users commanded the program to perform an intensive filter or transformation. With CS6, this has become a thing of the past.
After taking an even deeper look into Photoshop CS6, other noteworthy features such as the most dramatic improvement of the updated Content aware patch/move tool. When content-aware was first introduced, it seemed like a magic solution to fill a given area with the its immediate surroundings. Unfortunately, in my experience, previous versions of content aware only worked maybe 10% of the time and actually look halfway decent. With CS6, users can drive the Content Aware tool to draw from any region. Adobe has created the ability to manually direct the Content Aware Fill tool, as opposed to an automatic fill.
Another addition is the Content Aware Move tool. With this tool, you can select a subject in the frame and then move it to a new position, while deleting the original one. This tool will use the surrounding pixels to fill in the gaps in which the subject used to be. It’s truly a unique and useful tool that can really improve image editing. You can watch demo videos on YouTube and see how you can simply transform images in an instant with CS6.
There are a few other drastic improvements added to Photoshop CS6 which are a little less complex but definitely worth noting. The addition of typographic enhancements is especially exciting to me as a designer who is used to the friendly and intuitive features of Adobe illustrator. Setting type in Photoshop has finally become a lot easier. CS6 has graciously added paragraph and character styles very similar to Adobe InDesign.
Another addition that is going to make working in Photoshop a lot easier is new “Searchable Layers”. Personally, when I’m working in Photoshop, my files can get rather messy. Finding layers that are discreetly hidden within a group within another group can make my life hell. Now, having the ability to do a top-level search for any layer will save me a lot of hassle in the future.
Finally, Photoshop is adding a simple yet completely critical update to their CS6 platform: AUTO-SAVE. Any designer who has worked with Photoshop has more than likely experienced some form of file crash where countless hours of work suddenly disappear. With the addition of Auto-save, we can now rest assured that file crashes are a thing of the past. This update also brings “background save” which allows the user to save any document while working in another and not inhibit the performance speed.
Overall, I think Photoshop CS6 has taken leaps ahead of previous versions of Photoshop. It seems as though Adobe has truly listened to customer feedback and catered to the needs of their users. Even if all of these new additions may not apply to your specific work needs, there is bound to be something in CS6 that will improve the way in which you work in Photoshop. Check it out for yourself and download the Beta version at Adobe Labs.