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Introduction

Typically, with each release of Photoshop, Adobe introduces a few major features that will drive sales like crazy. Features like Content-Aware and Puppet Warp. And while Photoshop CS6 certainly has a few big features, the improvements to the current features, as well as the JDIs that are being introduced are what make this release worth the upgrade.
User Interface

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

One of the first things that you’ll notice when you launch Photoshop CS6, are the changes to the user interface, especially in the color scheme. Adobe has included four new colors schemes for their users to choose from. These new interface options can be previewed and activated in Photoshop’s preferences.

Mac: Photoshop > Preferences > Interface
PC: Edit > Preferences > Interface

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

Of course, like in earlier versions of Photoshop, you’re free to separately change the color of the canvas by right-clicking anywhere outside your document, and choosing your color of choice.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Properties Panel

An interesting addition to the UI of Photoshop CS6, is the Properties Panel. This is essentially a dynamic panel that displays changes based on the type of layer you have selected. It’s able to display Mask information, Adjustments, and 3D properties.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Layer Filtering

One smaller that made it’s way into Photoshop CS6, is layer filtering. For users who work with very large documents, having the ability to filter your layers may save you a lot of time and hassle.

You are able to filter you layers by Kind, Name, Effect, Mode, Attribute, and Color.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the new interface and performance updates, check out this video!
Patch Tool with Content-Aware

In Photoshop CS4, Adobe introduced Content-Aware Scale, a new technology that mysteriously allowed you to scale your image without distorting the main subjects. In Photoshop CS5, Adobe kicked it up a notch with Content-Aware Fill. This new feature gave users the ability to remove objects from their images, allowing Photoshop to fill in the selected area with what should have been there instead.

While these features worked quite well in many circumstances, they weren’t perfect. When working with selections that were in close proximity to other objects, Content-Aware Fill tended to grab bits and pieces of the surrounding objects, as seen below.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

Now, in Photoshop CS6, the Patch Tool now has a Content-Aware option on the Options Bar.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

This allows you to tell Photoshop which area of the image to sample. Just like the Patch Tool in previous versions, dragging your selection on top of a ‘clean’ area will tell Photoshop to replace your selection with that area. In this case, the clear sky to the left of the castle. This will avoid any unnecessary sampling.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the improved Patch Tool, check out this video!
Content-Aware Move Tool

Ever since Adobe introduced Content-Aware Scale in Photoshop CS4, more and more tools have been benefitting from this incredible technology. In addition to the Patch Tool now including a Content-Aware option, Photoshop CS6 also includes a brand new tool. The Content-Aware Move Tool.

The Content-Aware Move Tool contains two options. Move and Extend.
Move:

I’m sure you can guess what this might do. This option allows you to move an object from A to B. The first step is to make a selection around the object that you want to move, making sure to leave a little bit of room around the edges.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

When the selection is made, drag the subject to it’s new location. Photoshop will not only move/blend the subject to it’s new location, but it will also remove it from the old location.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Extend:

The second option within Content-Aware, is Extend. This will allow you to extend the length of objects, such as buildings or animals. After creating a selection around a portion of the object you want to extend, dragging it slightly in the direction you want to extend will initiate the extension.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the Content-Aware Move Tool, check out this video!
Oil Paint Filter

For years, I have dreamt of a semi-decent Photoshop filter that would allow me to turn my photos into a painting. I’ve scoured countless number of tutorials, and while I was able to achieve decent results, they just never felt ‘right’. Well, my friends, Photoshop CS6 not only brings a new filter to the table, but many of our requests have finally been answered. After trying out the new Oil Paint filter, I can honestly say, this is my new favorite filter. It is so simplistic, yet the results are brilliant.
Before

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
After

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the Oil Paint Filter, check out this video!
Video Editing

Video editing in Photoshop CS6 has gotten a complete overhaul. But what’s even better, is that full-on video editing is no longer limited to the Extended version of Photoshop. Anybody who owns Photoshop CS6 has the ability to edit their videos, and boy, is it awesome!

The timeline, which can be located at the bottom of your workspace, has been drastically improved! It’s now clean, and super simple to use!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

Video editing within Photoshop CS6 allows you to trim/speed clips, add transitions/audio, and even add adjustments/filters to your videos! If you are someone who may need to occasionally edit video, you can probably do it completely within Photoshop CS6. No need for an additional application. And remember, it’s available to all Photoshop CS6 owners!
To learn more about video editing in Photoshop CS6, check out this video!
Blur Gallery

Photoshop has always had a slew of blur filters available, but they weren’t too attractive to photographers. In Photoshop CS6, Adobe has introduced three new filters that photographers have been dying to get their hands on. Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt-Shift.

Field Blur

The most basic of the three new blur filters, is Field Blur. This will allow you to create a simple overall blur, or a blur from A to B. Of course, you can add a C, D, E, and so on, but you might find that the other two blurs are more suited for that.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Iris Blur

For those looking to focus on a single object in an image, the Iris Blur may be your best bet. Like the name implies, this blur creates an ellipse around the area of focus, which can be adjusted to include more or less of your photo.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Tilt-Shift

Tilt-Shifting is a process that can give your photos a miniature feel to them. However, not all photos will benefit from this effect. Typically, you should choose an overhead photo where the main subjects are at a distance from the camera.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the blurs available in Photoshop CS6, check out this video!
Adaptive Wide Angle

If you’re a photographer, you’ve certainly been in a situation when you had to use an ultra-wide angle lens in order to capture the full scene. Or perhaps you just didn’t realize that the lens would leave you with so much distortion. In the past, these images could have been corrected with Warp, or Puppet Warp, but it was a tedious task. Now, in Photoshop CS6, a new filter has been added which is designed specifically for these situations. The Adaptive Wide Angle Filter.

This filter works by identifying the curves edges in your photo, and using those to straighten the rest of the photo out. Check out the before and after below!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the Adaptive Wide Angle filter, check out this video!
Shape Strokes

In previous versions of Photoshop, adding outlines, or Strokes, to your shapes was a pretty limited process. They were typically added by means of a Layer Style, and other than changing the Fill Type and Size, there wasn’t much else available to you. If you wanted a dotted or dashed outline, it was a tedious process, as demonstrated in this tutorial.

In Photoshop CS6, there’s now a convenient Stroke option on your Options Bar when you have a Shape active. These drop downs allow you to choose the Fill Type, colors, width, and whether your stroke is solid, dashed, or dotted.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the new Shape Stroke options, check out this video!
Crop Changes

Cropping in Photoshop CS6 has gotten some interesting changes, which seem to be a hit or miss amongst users. The fundamentals of cropping remain the same, but the way the Crop Tool functions has been tweaked.

- For one, when adjusting the crop handles, your document remains centered on your workspace.
- When rotating within the crop tool, the image rotates, rather than the crop area. This gives you a live preview of the final result.
- By default, cropped pixels are saved in case you want to revert your crop. Finally!

Of course, if you prefer to go back to the way things were in CS5, you can do so on the Options Bar.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the new Crop Tool, check out this video!
Perspective Crop Tool

Finally, the Perspective Crop Tool is getting some love. What was once a hidden tool in Photoshop CS5, is now it’s own tool! On top of that, it’s been reinvented to be easier to use than ever before!

The Perspective Crop Tool works by creating a ‘bounding box’ around the object that you want corrected. Once the box is set, accepting the crop will correct the perspective of that object.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the new Perspective Crop Tool, check out this video!
3D Improvements

If you used the 3D feature in Photoshop CS5, you know it wasn’t the most user friendly experience. In Photoshop CS6, 3D has been completely overhauled! From the way you convert your layers into the 3rd dimension, to the way you interact with them, the changes to 3D in Photoshop CS6 are magnificent! The addition of the Properties Panel really shines when selecting and editing 3D objects. No more dealing with that clunky Repousse window that was in Photoshop CS5!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
To learn more about the changes to 3D, check out this video!
Layer Styles on Groups

In previous versions of Photoshop, if you wanted to apply the same Layer Style to multiple layers, you would have had to apply the Styles to one layer, then copy/paste them only the additional layers. Then, if you wanted to update them, it was the same painful process. Now, in Photoshop CS6, you have the ability to add Layer Styles to your Groups! This is extremely helpful if you are looking to add the same Styles to many layers, and update them with ease. In the image below, I have applied a Drop Shadow and a Gradient Overlay to the Group. This means, that the Bubble and Heart shape are benefitting from those Styles!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Background Save/Auto Recover

How many times have you been working on a massive document, hit the Command/Ctrl + S shortcut, and had to sit there for 15 minutes while the document saved? Not anymore! Photoshop CS6 now contains Background Save which allows Photoshop to save that document in the background, allowing you to move on to another document!

Photoshop CS6 also included Auto Recover. This is huge! I’m sure you’ve all been in a situation where you forgot to save a project that you’ve been working on for the last hour! Well now, Photoshop saves a copy of your project, just incase it crashes! In your preferences, you can define how often Photoshop saves this information. Note: This does NOT save overtop of your current document. It saves it in a separate location, specifically for recovery purposes.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Erodible Tip Brushes

If you’ve ever handled charcoal or even a pencil, you know that they don’t always stay perfectly sharp. As you use them, they tend to wear down. This is exactly what the new Erodible Tip brushes in Photoshop CS6 are designed to do. As you use the brush, the tip slowly, or quickly wears down.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!
Camera Raw

For photographers who deal with RAW images, you’ll be pleased to know that Camera Raw has been updated to version 7!
Improved Adjustments

Your sliders now start at their midpoints! This means you have access to more data than ever before! You also have access to the new Highlights, Shadows, and Whites adjustments, to help you pull back data which you didn’t even know existed!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

The Clarity adjustment has also been improved to not only add more detail to your image, but it now avoids the nasty halo effect you may have seen in previous versions!

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

The Adjustment Brush has also been updated to include some of the new adjustments, as well as a noise reduction option! This is great if you have a specific area of your image that’s suffering from unwanted noise.

Photoshop CS6 Beta is Available!

These are only a few of the new features that you’ll find within the Photoshop CS6 Public Beta. Of course, being a beta, features are subject to change/removal. For a more detailed overview of some of the new features, check out the New in CS6 section! Stay tuned for more Photoshop CS6 Beta coverage!
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