Photoshop CS 6
Sorry for being so quiet but it almost has to be expected when a new version of a tool becomes available. For this post we are talking about Photoshop CS6. A version I had planned on skipping (upgrade pricing usually applies to the next two versions so I should not need to upgrade until CS7 however read on …)
There are a lot of videos out right now about the ‘new’ features of CS6. They all cover the same things and are based on Adobe’s own video introduction. Pretty much these new ‘features’ are just automation of things a user could already do. But there are a few system level changes that make this a very worthy buy and have changed my plans.
Most notable is the interface. The default now looks like Lightroom 3 (all dark and muted). Not being a big fan of Lightroom, I expected to change the interface (you have four choices) but quickly discovered the dark interface is a better visual way to go. The images stand out more and it feels like detail is more obvious.
The next item is the expanded use of HUD (Heads Up Display). Having the tool options on the image while you are tweaking is simply awesome. CS5 has this for the color picker but in CS6 it is used in several tools (blur is my favorite). You are evaluating changes the tool makes without the distraction of moving your eyes to a panel, finding the control, moving it, and then re-examining the image. HUD tools are game-changers in a visual environment.
However, easily the biggest feature, and a reason that truly justifies the cost of this software, is the GPU is finally fully leveraged. CS5 claimed to use the GPU but in reality, it was only invoked in a few areas. Now, when you use filter gallery, liquefy, or other computational intensive tools, they FLY through the rendering. The time savings is human noticeable. Again, like the HUD, this cuts down on the distractions and helps to maintain the artist’s train of thought.
Right now CS6 is only in a beta. That means you can use it for free (no end date has yet been set), you cannot buy it at this time. I have it co-existing peacefully on a Windows computer with CS5. The only issue of note is my custom actions are not showing up even after navigating to the correct location (maybe because old actions use old tools?).
Here are a few CS6 images done using new tools/features. Be sure to click on the images to see them in their full size glory.