CS6 New Features (for photographers)

Adobe CS6 is really on a promotional push at the moment to make itself seen. For the last three weeks that’s all I really have been seeing on Facebook feed. Photoshop is seen by some as the Hogwarts of the photographic world and with each edition you can go up a class and wield your magic even more. This edition of Photoshop is more book binding and smooth wand design than new magic tricks.

CS6 has some new features and filters but on the most part the changes are to its efficiency, usability and speed. With minimum specs needed are an Intel 4 processor (or equivalent) 1gb of ram and 1gb of hard drive memory, it is not a power hugger. It is compatible with Mac IOS and Windows XP (SP3) and 7 (SP1) but does not say vista on the site.

One of the main features that this edition is really pushing is the new blur filter gallery.

These blur filters have been process able in Photoshop for some time but would mean work on the users side. These new filters have really helped stream line work flow into one click. In the blur gallery there is;

The tilt shift: Tilt shift is a very creative filter trying to mimic the tilt shift effect of large format cameras or even the effect made by the Lens Baby. The effect can produce so called Miniature Photographs, turning the real world into miniature models. This filter works by having two gradient blurs coming down from the top and bottom of your image.

The Iris blur creates an ellipse of focus. Field blur allows you to select areas and objects of your image to be in focus while blurring out other areas. All three of these filters can be combines in the gallery but they do not play well with each other. Each filter works independently from each other so you can end up with one blurry mess that does not look natural. This gallery is not a tool that you can get instant gratification from, some work and practice will be needed to take advantage of it.

The other filter Adobe is promoting is one that has been an update to update two other filters in the two previous versions of Photoshop. In CS4 we had Content-Aware Scaling and in CS5 we had Content-Aware Fill and now we have in CS6 Content-Aware Patch tool. The Content-Aware filter means that you can change areas of your image with Photoshop tools taking into consideration the image itself. The Scale tool meant in theory you could transform a landscape into a portrait without losing any of the content. With the Content-aware fill you can fill in large areas of an image. The patch tool now allows us to move or extend an object in an image and patches their original location seamlessly. This sounds like a great new feature but the results do depend on your image and the object to work perfectly, but when it does it is great.

This diagram does make it easy to see what is new in Photoshop CS6.

The one thing I do think is awesome from this diagram is the auto recovery. It has only happened a few times that I have lost an image because of a power cut or the fuse blowing but it was annoying when I hadn’t saved for a while.

Layer management I can see being quite useful especially when you have a lot of components in an image but for me I don’t think it is something which I will use a lot.

Preset sharing will be great and I will love it, always hated having to spend ages moving presets between editions. And now you can share them across devices.

The new crop tool is not that new, you could crop for perspective since CS4 it is just this crop tool has a grid which, will be quite useful. Also if you rotate the crop the image rotates as well so you no longer will have to crane your neck to see what your crop is

With Colour Select you can now select skin tones although it may need some manual adjustment

Over all there is not much extra according to this diagram in CS5 that you can live without. The upgrade is not as amazing as the change from Photoshop 7 to CS but maybe there is some treasures dug deep in the depths of the program.

If you are happy taking a slightly longer route and not using the new filters then I would not upgrade in a hurry from either CS4 or CS5, though if you buy a new camera that was released recently you will have to, because the cameras raw profile won’t be on previous editions of camera raw.

The price is one of those things which I think is incredible and maybe someone should look into it. The price Adobe offer on their site is $199 which at today’s exchange rate comes to £125 but it is being sold at £605 an extra £430. My question is why? The cost of the product in Europe is greatly inflated and looks like they are being taken for a ride. It would be more cost effective to take a holiday in New York for a week and at the same time buy Photoshop.

What do you think? Is the new edition worth it or is there another photo editing suite which you would recommend instead of Photoshop.

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4 thoughts on “CS6 New Features (for photographers)

  1. The price difference looks incredible. Is $199 for an upgrade? I did an upgrade from CS4 to CS6 and it cost HK$1866. That’s about US$240. There was also a hefty premium for the LR4 upgrade outside USA. But I do like both.

    • On their site its not for the upgrade but the whole thing. Microsoft had some legal problems because of their price differences in Europe but it has been sorted now i think. I also know in the games industry there is sometimes a slight difference but nothing like this.
      I did use Light room in its second edition but preferred Camera Raw and Photoshop combination, Maybe i should give it ago again.

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