What can we expect from Adobe Photoshop CS6?

Still running in Beta, so Adobe can receive user feedback, there are tons of new features available and it has a new look! A darker more streamlined user interface. Similar in look to Photoshop Elements, this is the first time in Photoshops 22 years that the UI has had a major overhaul.

A large number of the icons and cursors have also been redesigned. You can change the new look UI by going to “Preferences>Interface”. Here you can change the background and application frame colours independently to suit you. The layers palette has also received a much needed makeover.

There have been many modifications with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CS6, it would be impossible to touch on them all, but these are some of my favourites.

Crop Tool

The crop tool is one of the most used tools for image editing. This version sees a handful of new features added to the crop tool to help significantly enhance the user experience. Once you select the crop tool you will see a crop box appear surrounding the image with handles that you can ‘pull’ on to resize your crop area. There is still the ability to drag a manual crop box if preferred. As you are dragging your crop handles Adobe Photoshop CS6 displays the crop dimensions which can be very useful.

You can now also set your crop to remain at the original ratio, you can use a number of preset ratios or you can select unconstrained, giving you free use to crop your image as desired.

My favourite update to the crop tool is the option to ‘remember’ cropped pixels. This means that if you crop your image, carry on working then realise further down the line that you need some of your image back you can simply drag the edge of your crop back out to where needed.  

Blur Filter Gallery

There has been a new gallery of blur filters added to Adobe Photoshop CS6 which will help create unique effects. These include ‘Field Blur’, ‘Iris Blur’ and ‘Tilt-Shift’.

Field Blur adds a global blur to the image that resembles a standard photographers blur.

Iris Blur allows you to focus in on one (or more) areas of your image by blurring the content surrounding it and drawing the eye in without looking too abrupt. You can also dial up or down the blur easily to achieve your desired effect.

Tilt-Shift Blur imitates a photographers expensive tilt-shift lens by placing columns of focus that can run from either top to bottom or diagonally. Until now, the only way to recreate this effect was by purchasing an Adobe plug-in. The Tilt Shift effect gives your images a miniaturized look, particularly if the shot is looking down on the subject.

Content Aware Move Tool

We have had the ability to select and move objects in images via Photoshop for years, but never quite like this. ‘Content Aware Move’ allows Photoshop users to grab an object in an image and either duplicate it or move it. In older versions of Photoshop when you move an image you are left with a big hole in your canvas, however Adobe Photoshop CS6 uses smart technology that fills in the space with content similar to the rest of the background. It also feathers the edges around the moved object allowing it to blend in seamlessly. There is also a ‘Content Aware Patch’ tool in which you can completely remove an object from your image and have the background filled in a similar way.

Background and Autosave

Adobe Photoshop CS6 contains an autosave feature which is probably one of the most important additions to this latest version.

Background saving allows you to carry on working while Photoshop saves your image. This can come in very handy when working on particularly large image files with hundreds of layers that usually take minutes to save.

To set your autosave preferences simply go to “Preferences>File Handling”.

Here you can ask Photoshop to automatically save recovery information and tell it how often to do so from 5 mins to 1 hour. This is set to 10 mins by default. An Asterix present on your image title tag means there are currently unsaved changes.

What are your favourite features of Adobe Photoshop CS6?