Firstly, let me say that I’ve been using Photoshop since Photoshop 3 and I mainly use Photoshop for Web Design so I’ll be looking at the features the will directly effect myself and other Web Designers.
Having used Photoshop CS6 for just over 5 days now the first thing that strikes me is the performance! It feels a lot faster than CS5 and more sturdy. Cmd + N (New document) and the new document panel opens up almost instantaneously - pixels don’t need 4-5 seconds to render properly and even better, applying filters is now faster than ever! I don’t have a particularly fast machine but even I can notice the difference.
Without going into photo effects too deeply I feel I must mention the new blur filters you can apply. The new Tilt-Shift & Bokeh (A design trend which makes me gag) filters are an absolute dream to use, they’re so easy to use you won’t have to invest much time in learning how to use them. The Tilt-shift filter in particular is so powerful you can create the miniature feel to any photo within a minute. Although it was possible to replicate these effects in Photoshop without the aid of these new tools, having the facility to do so really lets you explore the possibilities and puts you in full control of the results.
The visual indicators on CS6 are a massive jump in the right direction. Instead of inserting markers where an object should be, visual indicators tell you the items margins and how far you’ve moved it and if you change the dimensions of an item, they tell you how much you’ve increased it by. When using a brush, the indicators let you know its diameter, hardness and opacity – small stuff I think you’ll agree, but useful none the less.
Layer Search – Yes my friends, the time has finally come. So you’ve designed a websites home page, you’ve racked up nearly 200 layers / 30 groups and you haven’t got the time to trawl though the groups to find THAT layer, this is where layer search comes in. For Web Designers this is something that we’ve been hoping for, for a while now. It works amazingly well too, you can search by name, mode, effect attribute and colour.
Type styles are a great addition to CS6. For front end developers like myself this feature brings the world of CSS closer to Photoshop than ever before. This tool enables us to apply styles to text elements within a single text box which are re-usable throughout the PSD. So you can create classes called Heading1, Heading 2, paragraph, and link etc and Photoshop will use your defined classes through out the PSD. Brilliant!
The new GUI (Graphical User Interface) is interchangeable and great to use. There are four light/dark options which can really make the canvas be the point of interest. My personal preference is the dark option but I’ve only been using it a week so that may change! I think I may change the UI dependant on the design I’m working on at the time.
There are many other new features for photographers and other users alike such as the new set of content aware tools and the video editing suite so there’s plenty to get your teeth stuck into.
Overall, I think there has only been a handful of really impressive Photoshop upgrades, Photoshop 7 & CS2 spring to mind – but I really feel with the features added to CS6 this is a giant leap for Photoshop and really improves its overall usability. The fact that a lot of the new features are aimed at Web professionals helps enormously. Adobe seemed to have realise the we use this application every single day so improving the small things leads to a more pleasurable way of working.
Well it’s fair to say I’m smitten but as I’ve said, I’ve only used it for a week. I’m sure I’ll find a glitch or two!
Whats missing – I believe there is still a gap in photoshop for a tool which makes it easy to add Depth of Field to photographs, sure there are tutorials on how to do this but a specific tool would save time and would be a welcome addition. Maybe a level of theme creation linked to WordPress would also be a good feature, but hey! Thats just me being selfish!
Here’s some useful video’s which illiterate some of the new features of Photoshop CS6
Download the Beta for yourself: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/photoshopcs6.html
About Photoshop CS6 Beta: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs6/Google+