As you may have heard, Adobe have given Photoshop its first ever public beta, with Photoshop CS6 going live first thing this morning. While anyone who’s been watching the sneak peeks over on the Photoshop YouTube channel will have had a glimpse of some of the main features already, there’s still plenty to get excited about.
Photoshop CS6: The best bits
From a video point of view, the fact that you now get a proper timeline and editing tools is a real timesaver – you no longer have to hop into After Effects or Premiere to put together a slideshow or animate stills. There’s also the welcome addition of layers to video projects.
The new suite of 3D tools will only be available in Photoshop CS6 Extended when the final versions are released, and includes the ability to manipulate 3D objects (including text) and to extend backgrounds into 3D space. Early reports suggest background rendering isn’t an option, though, and Windows XP users may struggle to get the more advanced features working.
However, this is first and foremost a photography app, and it seems that what’s driving the photo-folk wild is the new, Lightroom-like appearance of Photoshop CS6, which has also incorporated Lightroom’s Camera Raw 7 engine. New lens blur effects mean that you can now add multiple blurs to a single image – something Adobe have been keen to point out is photographically impossible – and vastly improved Content Aware Move and Patch tools are poised to save professionals everywhere a huge chunk of time. (Gizmodo reckons these tools are so good that they might actually be magic; who are we to argue?)
All of this is powered by the Mercury Graphics Engine, the Photoshop equivalent of Premiere’s Mercury Playback Engine. It offloads a fair bit of work from your CPU to your GPU, meaning that effects that used to take time to render or tile when applied – we’re thinking of you, liquify – now work in realtime. And the good news is that your don’t even need a CUDA-enabled GPU to make it work.
What everyone else is saying…
While the Jigsaw24 design squad are taken with the extensive new JDI list, others have honed in on more specific enhancements:
For those who fancy a nose around the new interface before downloading, ZDNet have a selection of Photoshop CS6 screeencaps.
Gizmodo are big fans, calling Photoshop CS6 “the best version in recent memory.”
Harry McCracken of Time Techland has some interesting examples of work he’s put together using new, automated matching and filling features, and notes that ” one of Photoshop’s most mundane enhancements may be the single most important fix: It finally has an auto-save feature.”
Extreme Tech’s David Cardinal is a big fan of the new GUI, saying that ” the sleek, sparse, dark default skin helps focus attention where it belongs – on the images and videos being edited. Logically named workspace presets including “Photography,” “3D,” and “Essentials” help new users organize the nearly endless variety of tools and palettes to get started.”
Over at MacWorld, Michael Burns points out that the Mercury Graphics Engine ” will be such a timesaver that by itself it will probably justify the upgrade price.”
PopPhoto’s Dan Horaczek likes the new video tools and improved liquify performance (another Mercury Graphics Engine contribution).
Interface designer Marc Edwards also has a nice roundup of new features over on Bjango.
Got a favourite new feature? Let us know in the comments below. To find out more about what this could mean for your workflow (and to find yourself some hardware that can handle Mercury) call our team on 03332 409 306 or email 3D@Jigsaw24.com.