Photoshop CS6 Overview

01
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What's New in Photoshop CS6?

Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Photoshop CS6 offers exceptional speed and numerous features that allow you to accomplish advanced image adjustments, edit motion-based material, produce multiple or complex images, and design compositions. And, your work will go faster, due to the new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine, new preset migration and sharing, and new Background Save and Auto-recovery options. There's also new tools and adjustments, such as the new Crop tool, new Content-Aware tools, new blur tools, painting capabilities, the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter, type styles, layer search, and dashed line creation. This overview provides a closer look at these and some of the other new or improved features found in Photoshop CS6.

The first thing you'll notice is that Photoshop CS6 has a fresh new look. You can change the interface style in the Appearance section of the Preferences interface panel. There are four different brightness levels to choose from. You'll find that images stand out more when choosing the darker options.

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02
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New Crop Tool in Photoshop CS6

New Crop Tool in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

The new Crop Tool allows you to easily change the size and shape of your images, and revert them to the uncropped version if needed. You can even change to a different format after applying a crop and still retain all the pixels of the original photograph.

The new Crop tool allows you to quickly straighten a crooked horizon. Just click outside the crop area and drag to rotate the image until it is straight. Or, you can use the Straighten tool. The Straighten tool can be found in the Options bar when the Crop tool is selected. With it, you can simply click and drag across the horizon, then release to have your image automatically straighten.

The Crop Tool has several overlays to choose from that can help you to position key image elements for a pleasing composition, such as the Golden Ration, Golden Spiral, Diagonal, Triangle, Grid, and Rule of Thirds.

More: Two ways to straighten a skewed horizon in your photos

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03
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The Perspective Crop Tool in Photoshop CS6

Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

The updated Crop tool and the new Perspective Crop tool are grouped in the tool's submenu. The Perspective Crop tool can be used to straighten elements or scenes that were photographed at an angle by creating a flexible marquee that outlines the area before you make the crop.

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04
of 15

Content-Aware Features in Photoshop CS6

Content-Aware Features in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Photoshop CS6 now has two new Content-Aware features. One is the Content-Aware Move tool, and the other is the Content-Aware Patch mode. Edits made with Content-Aware features take into account not only the object but its surroundings.

With the new Content-Aware Move tool, you can easily move or extend elements in order to change your composition. All you need to do make a selection then use the Content-Aware Move tool to relocate it to another area within your image. Your image will blend automatically.

The Content-Aware Patch mode in the Patch tool allows you to choose a sample area before creating the patch. You can even indicate how the patch is applied by making specifications for the blending of the patch with the image, and the amount for the patch surroundings.

Video: Adobe Photoshop Patch Tool

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05
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Type Styles in Photoshop CS6

Type Styles in Photoshop CS6
Image © Sandra Trainor

Now you can quickly make changes across multiple documents for design uniformity. For individual letters, words, or phrases, change the character settings in the Character panel, define styles in the Character Stlye Options dialog box, and apply styles in the Character Styles panel.

The new Paragraph Styles applies characteristics of type to sentences, paragraphs, and entire pages. Change paragraph settings in the Paragraph panel, define styles in the Paragraph Style Options dialog box, and apply styles in the Paragraph Styles panel.

Even the look of the type has improved in Photoshop CS6, due to a new type-rendering engine that now displays text more clearly with better anti-aliasing.

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06
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New Scripted Patterns in Photoshop CS6

New Scripted Patterns in Photoshop CS6
Image © Sandra Trainor

Now you can quickly create a wide variety of geometric patterns with the new Scripted Patterns. Even complex pattern designs are possible, with a drop-down menu of scripted options that make it easy to generate varied patterns. You can also scale and rotate more than one image patch, including any transparency it has, with either a preset or your own custom pattern.

Related: Patterns in Illustrator CS6

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07
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Enhanced Video Creation in Photoshop CS6

Enhanced Video Creation in Photoshop CS6
Image © Sandra Trainor

Now, video functionality is included in Photoshop CS6. And, it's easy to use. With familiar Photoshop tools, you can enhance video clips and create entire videos

The new Adobe Media Encoder allows you to quickly export your video by choosing from a large number of presets for a variety of destinations, including popular formats such as AVCHD, MPEG4, and H.264. New Video Groups can be seen in the Layers panel that hold automatically imported clips, for easy management when editing the various parts of your video.

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08
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New Adaptive Wide Angle Filter in Photoshop CS6

New Adaptive Wide Angle Filter in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Objects in panoramas or photographs shot with a fisheye or wide-angle lens can appear curved. With the new Adaptive Wide Angle filter you can automatically straighten the curves. The filter can be calibrated with a few simple steps before straightening. You can also use the new on-canvas tools to vertically or horizontally straighten certain objects within your photograph.

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09
of 15

New Blur Effects in Photoshop CS6

New Blur Effects in Photoshop Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Using the new Blur Gallery filters, you can create custom blur styles, such as Tilt-Shift Blur, Iris Blur, and Field Blur. The Tilt Shift Blur is for when you want a special effect blur, the Iris Blur is used for establishing a shallow depth of field, and the Field Blur is for creating a gradual blur. And, it's all done right on the canvas, which means you can see the blur and edit it before you commit to it.

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10
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Rich Painting Toolset in Photoshop CS6

Rich Painting Toolset in Photoshop CS6
Image © Sandra Trainor

Now you can draw with erodible pencils and pastels that wear down with use, and with a variety of tips to choose from. The Softness control allows you to customize the rate of wear, and you can resharpen the tip whenever needed. The Live Tip Brush Preview shows the amount of wear.

Other add-ons to the painting and drawing tools are presets, Airbrush tips for spray-pattern effects, and the Mixer Brush for color blends. The Airbrush Tip offers spray-can effects with different styles to choose from, such as Granularity, Spatter, Hardness, and Distortion. The speed of the spray can be altered by changing the distance between the tip and the canvas.

The new Brush Protection option with a static tip allows you to paint a wide variety of strokes. Indicate the direction and angle of the stroke with the stylus tilt and rotation actions. This addition to the Artistic filters can even help you to produce images that resemble an oil painting.

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11
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New Vector Layers in Photoshop CS6

Vector Layers in Photoshop CS6
Image © Sandra Trainor

With the New Vector Layers you can create lines, shapes and objects, then style your objects with strokes and fills. Shapes can be filled with a preset or colors, patterns, and gradients that you define, and the edges can be outlined with strokes or dashed lines. Stroke, fill, and color attributes can be copied from one path or shape and pasted onto another. You can also select and group your vector images then subtract from it shapes and paths if you like. And, with the new Snap To Pixel and Align Edges options you have the option to align vector images to the pixel grid.

Buttons for creating shapes, masks, or selections from paths are located in the Pen tool options bar. A mini-flyout panel in the options bar of both the Path Selection and Shape tools allows you to easily edit both the stroke and fill, or apply colors used prior. And, the new filtering options, located in the Layers Panel, can help you to easily find layers in a complex document.

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12
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Improved Auto Corrections in Photoshop CS6

Auto Corrections in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

In a single click, you can enhance your images with the improved Auto options, found in the Curves, Levels, Brightness, and Contrast features. This Auto function uses new algorithm in association with image data, for a better starting point when making tonal adjustments.

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13
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Skin-Tone-Aware Options and Selections in Photoshop CS6

Skin-Tone-Aware Options and Selections in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Better selections and masks can be made when targeting skin tones, due to the new Face Detection and Skin Tone selecting technologies built into the Color Range feature. With the faces in your photo isolated, you can easily make skin-tone adjustments. You can also preserve skin tones while adjusting the color of everything else in the photo.

Also, selecting any content with the Quick Selection tool is better and faster than before, due to hardware-accelerated enhancements.

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14
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Adobe Camera Raw 7

Adobe Camera Raw 7
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

In order to make your photographs look their best, Adobe Camera Raw 7 allows you to easily alter tones and make adjustments. Use the Adjustment Brush and sliders to make improvements in your raw and JPEG files. You'll notice that there are some new tonal controls, such as the new Highlights and Shadows sliders that replace the Fill-Light and Recovery sliders, the Exposure slider that adjusts the overall brightness of your photograph, and the Whites and Blacks sliders that are used as clipping controls.

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15
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Better Workflow in Photoshop CS6

Better Workflow in Photoshop CS6
Photograph courtesy of Bruce King, for About Graphic Software use only. © Bruce King

Photoshop CS6 performs tasks that can make your workflow go smoothly and save you time. For example, your presets, workspaces, preferences, and settings from Photoshop CS3 to CS5.1 versions can be put into Photoshop CS6. You can also use the new Export/Import Presets options to have Photoshop work the same on all your computers or to share your custom setup with all the users in your workgroup. Then there's the new Mercury Graphics Engine that allows for real-time editing. Even with large images, you'll notice improved speed when working with tools such as Liquify, Puppet Warp, Crop and Transform. Also, Background Save saves your work behind the scenes, while you're working and without interruption to your workflow. And, Auto-recovery recovers your Background and Save edits incase of an unexpected shutdown. Background Save events are displayed in the information area of the document window.

Do I recommend Photoshop CS6? Yes! It's easy to see how this software can greatly benefit photographers, graphic designers, web or interactive designers, designers of motion graphics, video professionals, and other creative types. Anyone working creatively under tight deadlines will appreciate the new mini Bridge gallery for easy access to images and documents. Plus, Photoshop CS6 is compatible with Adobe Touch Apps and Photoshop companion apps, sold separately. All this to say, you're probably going to like Photoshop CS6 very much, with its ability to create top-notch work in fewer steps.

To learn more about Photoshop CS6, watch Introduction to Photoshop CS6 on Adobe TV.

If you want everything in Photoshop CS6 plus incredible 3-D capabilities, there is Photoshop CS6 Extended. Watch What's New in Photoshop CS6 Extended on Adobe TV for details.

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