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Adobe Photoshop CS6 Review

Everything You Need to Know About Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Photoshop CS6 Extended Box Cover

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Adobe Photoshop CS6 Standard and Extended

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Standard (top) and Extended (bottom) Covers

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Photoshop CS6 Screen Shot

Photoshop CS6 Screen Shot | View Larger

© Adobe, used with permission

Photoshop CS6 Summary

As the industry-standard, Photoshop skills are a necessity if you want to be employable in the graphic design field. Priced in the hundreds and with a learning curve to match, it's not for everyone, but the investment can pay off in increased productivity and the ultimate in flexibility. Since Creative Suite 3, Photoshop comes in a Standard version as well as an Extended version with specialized tools and features for the video, engineering, architecture, manufacturing, science, and medical fields.

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Pros

  • The industry standard for professional photo editing, graphic design, and digital imaging.
  • Offers ultimate flexibility and more non-destructive editing and time-saving tools with each update.
  • Photoshop CS6 includes a fresh new look, useful new features, and many user-inspired enhancements.
  • Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine improves speed and performance in many graphics-intensive tools.
  • New Background Save and Auto-Recovery features will prevent catastrophic data loss and wasted time.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Price may be prohibitive for some.
  • Buyers must choose between giving up features or paying more for the costly Extended version.
  • A fast graphics card is required to get performance benefits from Photoshop CS4 and higher.
  • Photoshop CS6 marks the end of support for 32-bit Macintosh systems.

Photoshop CS6 Description

  • The industry standard for professional photo editing, graphic design, and digital imaging.
  • Preview, organize, search, and manage image files with the Adobe Bridge File Browser.
     
  • Combines tools for painting, drawing, retouching, adding notes, and working with type.
     
  • Edit images non-destructively with layer styles, adjustment layers, masks, smart objects, smart filters, and history.
     
  • Automate tasks and speed up production with actions, batch processing, history tracking, and scripts.
     
  • Adobe Camera Raw offers non-destructive pre-processing of Raw files from most digital cameras, plus JPEG and TIFF files.
     
  • Includes powerful tools for graphic design, Web design, video production, and photography.
     
  • Extended version offers 3D editing and advanced tools for film & TV, medical, science, engineering, architecture, and manufacturing fields.
     
  • Photoshop CS6 adds innovative features and small improvements which will benefit many types of users. Much of the user interface has been cleaned up, sped up, and modernized.
     
  • Runs under Mac OS X 10.6.8 or 10.7, Windows XP SP3, or Windows 7 SP1. Requires at least 1GB RAM and OpenGL 2.0-capable graphics hardware. An internet connection and AdobeID is required for activation.

Guide Review - Adobe Photoshop CS6

For the ultimate in graphics power and flexibility, Photoshop can't be beat. Photoshop offers more non-destructive ways of working than any other photo editor, and Adobe is always adding enhancements to help get the job done faster and with less frustration.

Photoshop CS6 brings exciting and innovative new features which will appeal to all types of users, as well as a modern new look and impressive performance enhancements to benefit everyone. Don't let the "new look" remarks scare you away, though--Photoshop was in much need of an interface makeover, and you will still be able to get around and find the tools you need.

I think the biggest bang for your buck in this upgrade comes from the many speed improvements and time-saving innovations. Background save and auto-recovery, for example, are long-overdue features that aren't going to dazzle you with eye candy, but will certainly be appreciated the next time your computer crashes or you lose power. I also really enjoy the new interactive on-screen controls in the new blur filters which allow you to make adjustments directly in the workspace and see results in context instead of having to move sliders around and guess at numeric adjustment values.

Let's be honest--no one gets really excited about cropping images, but it's something most of us do a great deal of. Well, the crop tool has been remodeled with an easier way to straighten images, and a non-destructive option that will keep cropped pixels in case you change your mind later about how to crop the image.

And if you ever found Photoshop's auto-correction tools less than impressive, these have all been re-engineered so that corrections are applied specifically for each image based on image data analysis. In other words, they actually work well now! This includes the one-click auto-correct tools in the Image menu, as well as the "Auto" buttons in the layer adjustment tools like Levels, Curves, and Brightness/Contrast.

New and existing tools like content-aware patch, skin tone based selections, puppet warp, and selection refinements don't always function as "magically" as Adobe would want you to believe, but they will save you loads of time and demonstrate Photoshop's edge over competing products.

Video editing, which was formerly only a feature of Photoshop Extended version, has been moved into the Standard version so now Photoshop can be used to edit all those clips from your smartphone or point and shoot camera. You can create slide shows and movies with transitions from a combination of video clips, audio tracks, and still images. Video can be manipulated with many of the same tools that you use with still images, and video can be exported in common formats with presets for various situations and devices.

All in all, Photoshop CS6 is definitely a worthwhile upgrade from any previous version, but particularly those still running CS4 and lower. It's true that Photoshop is expensive, but the investment does pay off in increased productivity and maximum flexibility. Now that Photoshop has a wide variety of purchasing options (including boxed suites, stand-alone, subscription, creative cloud, and student/teacher pricing), it is going to be more accessible to more people.

To learn more about the most exciting new features in Photoshop CS6, including some not mentioned here, take a look at Sandra Trainor's Photoshop CS6 Illustrated Overview or read my quick summary from the Photoshop CS6 Preview announcement.

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