Just 5 days after we wrote about the fact that Adobe was putting the finishing touches on Creative Suite 6, which promised to be their biggest update to the software package yet, Adobe has released the public beta of Photoshop CS6, the first of the new programs to hit consumers. The beta, which can be downloaded for free from Adobe’s website (you’ll have to have an Adobe ID, though, to download and register the demo), clocks in at just under 1 GB and runs on all multi-core Intel-based Macs with 1 GB or more of RAM installed (click on the image below to be linked).
Winston Hendrickson, the vice president of products at Adobe Creative Media Solutions called Photoshop CS6, ”a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance” and judging by the beta, there are plenty of new and improved features worth shouting about.
Let’s take a look at a few in a bit more detail.
An All-New Interface
One of the most striking features about Photoshop CS6 is the all-new, pro-looking black interface which has been completely redesigned for a ”more immersive experience”. If you still long after the old light grey interface from previous Photoshop releases, you can alter this in the Interface section of the Preferences panel). The tool icons have also been touted up slightly, giving them a more professional air.
The new, dark-look interface in Photoshop CS6
Photoshop CS6 still keeps the same tabbed design like in previous releases such as CS5, which is useful if you want a quick overview of all the images you are currently working on but can be a hassle if you are trying to look at two or more images at the same time.
A New Rendering Engine: Adobe Mercury Graphics
Adobe has beefed up its rendering engine for this new version of Photoshop, allowing for near-instant results from editing tools such as Liquify, Transform and Lighting Effects. Gone are the days where you were staring at that grey and white checkerboard waiting for your images to pop up on the screen – with the new engine your images will render noticeably faster (if not instantly in some cases).
The all-new Content-Aware technology in Photoshop CS6 means that you can get your images exactly the way you want them to without too much additional hassle and fuss. The Content-Aware Move feature (which is a new feature in CS6) allows you to move an item from one part of the image to other without any trace of it being there in the first place – no empty gaps or white spaces. And if you’ve got any empty spaces in your image, the Content-Aware Patch tool will know exactly how to fill up that gap cleanly and professionally. This is a real advantage to any amateur photographers who haven’t mastered Photoshop as it means you can edit your images like the pros without giving too much away!
The new Content-Aware Technology under demonstration in Photoshop CS6
Mini Bridge & Built-In Video Editor
Adobe have also included a version of their file explorer, Mini Bridge, in this release making it a lot easier to find media on your hard disk drive. Another little feature of Photoshop CS6 is the inclusion of a mini video editor, allowing you to process short bits of video. It’s no Final Cut or Premier, but if you just want to touch up and edit a bit of video, it’s pretty good for that (and means you don’t have to drop a few hundred extra dollars on separate video editing software).
The Mini Bridge file explorer running in Photoshop CS6
I Want More!
As someone who uses Photoshop quite a lot, I am really excited about this update and although there’s no official comment from Adobe, we can expect the final version of CS6 to hit our shelves sometime this summer. Even if you aren’t a big Photoshop user (or haven’t even tried it yet), it is worth grabbing the beta for yourself and having a play around with it. This news piece really just is the tip of the iceberg and you’ll soon discover that there are plenty of other surprises in Photoshop CS6. Be aware, though, that beta software is never fully tested and some bugs may prevail, so don’t go uninstalling CS5 in high hopes just yet.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this new release. Was it everything you were expecting? Or was just another mundane update? Share your opinion in the comments section below!