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Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta Released

Photoshop CS6 adds 65 new user-requested features and includes new video tools, enhancements to the paint engine, and improved performance.

Adobe has released a public beta of Photoshop CS6, along with details about the forthcoming major update to the company's flagship image editing tool.

The latest release includes, according to Adobe, 62 percent more new features than the previous major release, including 65 enhancements requested by users. The enhancements in CS6 span creative tools, workflow, and UI.

New Creative Tools
Among the new features is the much-publicized Content-Aware Patch tool, which allows users to extract portions of an image, move them to another location within the image, and have the background automatically filled in.


Photoshop CS6 also gains several enhancements to paint and 3D. The paint engine now includes "erodable" brush tips, or tips that degrade with use. (Those tips can also be re-sharpened to return them to their pristine state.)

On the 3D side, Photoshop CS6 Extended offers both simplified and enhanced capabilities, including the ability to manipulate shadows, lights, and effects on the fly with "on-canvas" and "in-context" editing.

Photoshop CS6  3d and paint effects

The new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine also provides for better performance when rendering.

Photoshop's video editing capabilities have also been drastically enhanced in CS6, with a new, simplified timeline that will be familiar to users of popular NLEs and motion graphics tools, along with drag-and-drop visual transitions and audio support.

Photoshop CS6 video tools

Other new creative features include:

  • A Blur Gallery with real-time, Mercury Graphics Engine-driven effects;
  • Support for multiple focal points in blur effects;
  • Adaptive adjustments for images short with wide-angle or fisheye lenses;
  • Improvements to automatic corrections in Curves, Levels, and Brightness and Contrast;
  • Vector layers, with support for gradient strokes and dashed lines;

Workflow, UI Enhancements
The most immediately obvious new feature in Photoshop CS6 is its overhauled UI, seen in the screen shots above. The new version incorporates a darker (though still customizable) background color and theme and adds new icons and reorganized palette layouts.

In addition to the new UI, Photoshop CS6 gains several workflow enhancements, including:

  • Searchable layers;
  • Automatic save and recovery;
  • Various enhancements to layers, including support for working with multiple layers simultaneously, such as duplicating and changing blend modes;
  • New type style support;
  • Non-destructive cropping, with overlays designed to aid with composition; and
  • New controls in Camera Raw 7.

Photoshop CS6 Extended
In addition to the new features in Photoshop CS6, Photoshop CS6 Extended will include:

  • The Mercury Graphics Engine for 3D;
  • Simplified 3D controls;
  • Enhanced reflections and shadows;
  • New alignment and distribution features for 3D; and
  • An improved Adobe Ray Tracer.

These Extended features are available in the current public beta.

The public beta is available now via the Adobe Labs site as a free download, with support for English and Japanese. On the Mac, Photoshop CS6 requires a 64-bit multicore Intel chip and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher. On WIndows, it requires WIndows XP SP3 or Windows 7 and a 32- or 64-bit Intel Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 processor. Pricing and availability of the final release have not been publicly revealed.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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