The Summer of CS6: Adobe Photoshop

Editor’s Note: The videos in this review can be viewed full size by clicking the full-screen button, and screen-shots can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Adobe Photoshop CS6

Adobe beckons us to dive into Photoshop CS6 Extended with a cool, sea- blue splash screen. And we’re pleased to report the experience is as refreshing as a midsummer’s swim in the Pacific.

Clearly the success of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has influenced Creative Suite 6. Photoshop’s interface now closely resembles Lightroom, i.e., it’s sleek black with the lights dimmed down to focus the user’s attention on the canvas. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you can adjust the color scheme.

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Mini Bridge is now located more conveniently below the canvas area in film-scroll mode for quick access to files.

If you click on the Crop tool you’ll think you’re in Lightroom. Note the handles and grid overlay in the screen-shot below.

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At the top of the screen you’ll see that the Delete Cropped Pixels checkbox is selected. That means once you’ve made your crop it’s a done deal. We suggest unchecking which gives you the option of tweaking the crop or returning to the original image size in the future. In addition to performing unconstrained or constrained adjustments, you can choose from a series of crop presets or create your own.

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And of course you can crop outside the margins of an image to create a border. The new tool is very flexible.



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The often overlooked Patch tool has been empowered with Content-Aware capabilities making it one of the stars of CS6. Watch the little patch video below.

See, it’s as easy as Sesame Street!


You Gotta Move!


And that’s not all relating to Content-Aware… one of the new “wow” features is the Content-Aware Move tool. This enables you to make a selection and move it to a new position while the background area is automatically filled-in. Look ma, no cloning! Here’s a quick video clip showing the tool in action.


Here’s another moving example, but just stills:

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Oh, and by the way, the demo videos in this review were edited in Photoshop CS6. Yup, read on.

Photoshop CS6 has incorporated significant video-editing features.

Although this nifty toolset won’t replace dedicated programs like Premiere Pro or After Effects, it’s a godsend for those who want to do occasional video work. It’s certainly welcome news for people who are familiar with the Photoshop environment, yet new to video. Instead of entering strange, new territory, you’ll feel right at home in Shop.

Here’s a sample video we put together called Summer of CS6:



Here’s a look at the Timeline for our video.


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Open any video file directly in Photoshop and you’ll see its timeline. You can manually scrub through the clip by dragging the time marker and  set In and Out points.


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In the above screen-shot I’ve adjusted the clip’s speed for a slow-motion effect.

In the layers panel you’ll see that each clip has its own layer. Additional clips can be added to a single track or separate tracks.

You can import still images and position them above a video track, then animate them via key frames or with preset pan and zoom effects.

You can shorten the duration of clips by dragging the clip’s edge (beginning or end) and if there are multiple clips on the track, Photoshop automatically shifts them so there’s no gap left in between.

Transitions are also a simple drag and drop affair…

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Of course you can add audio, simply Import music files to the audio track.


Got Filters?

You betcha! You’re in Photoshop, remember? You can filter or make color adjustments to your clips the same way you do with still images. Just convert the clip’s layer to a Smart Object and go at it.

NOTE: The video toolset is the same in both the Extended version of Photoshop and  the general release.


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Speed Freak

The fluidity of the video tool set is stunning. Even when we used an older laptop whose video card is not supported by CS6, there was no sense of performance drag. Everything zips merrily along.

And this is true across the board in Photoshop—performance is breathtakingly fast with operations that once seemed sluggish suddenly on steroids.

Adobe’s under the hood improvements alone make upgrading worth it.

Text Formatting

If you work with a lot of text in Photoshop, you’ll love CS6 as you can now create Character and Paragraph Styles in the manner of Adobe InDesign. This is a feature we’ve been longing for.

Artists will love the new and improved painting tools, like the ability to create spray-can effects with the Airbrush Tip, or apply paint to illustrations with a 3D conical

We painted the little seaside scene below and added touches of fog using a variety of brushes.


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Alas, we don’t have the space to cover all the features Photoshop CS6 Extended such as the new 3D controls, the powerful of Adobe Camera Raw 7, the Adaptive Wide Angle filter, new blur effects, vector layers, and many others. In fact, there’s just enough room for our “Street Smart” Editors’ Choice award which Adobe truly has earned.


Street Smart Editors' Choice Award

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