The new version of Photoshop features extensive enhancements both in the user interface, with new dark background colors and a number of refinements, in photo post-processing functions and in the general workflow and performance, thanks to adoption of the Mercury Graphics Engine.
In our first quick test, we were particularly impressed by the new Camera Raw capabilities, where the new Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks controls allow to easily find the optimal level balance, in particular for overexposed and underexposed photos.
The automatic and background file saving is a welcome and much awaited addition, and the layer filters allows to easily search and manage complex files with multiple layers.
Among the small but useful new features is a refined dynamic brush control. When dynamically resizing a brush cursor, a small dialog shows the actual size, hardness and opacity values. Additionally, from the preferences users can decide to adjust the opacity instead of the hardness, which is really useful when painting.
The new Tool Recording function allows to store tool actions such as brush strokes directly into actions and to play them later.
Below we report a list of new brush features as well as a selection from the other new features.
- Increase brush size to 5000px
- Change color dynamics to per stroke instead of per tip (user option for old behavior)
- Brightness/contrast slider for textures when painting
- Brush projection for static tips
- Brush cursor reflects brush dynamics for round and captured tips
General new features
- New redesigned UI with dark background options – with ver 1,800 new icons and 250 cursors
- Automatic and background file saving
- Layer filtering functions
- Preset Migration and Sharing
Other new features
- Type Styles
- Custom strokes and dashed lines for shapes
- New Camera Raw functions for controlling image levels: Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks
- New content-aware functions (patch and move tools)
- Integrated video and audio editing capabilities with timeline
- Improved Crop tool with realtime preview
- New Adaptive Wide Angle filter
- New blur effects: Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt-Shift
- New, high-quality Oil Paint Filter
Photoshop CS6 is expected to ship by mid-2012, and the free public Beta can be downloaded from Adobe Labs’ website.
Interface and performance
Russell Brown’s 6 Favorite Photoshop CS6 beta Features