I’m in love with Photoshop CS6 after working with the beta for the past few weeks. For the first time in many years, this one is a must-have update.
It will save a lot of time for professionals on the day to day, thanks to new and updated killer features, a new graphic engine, and a new—beautiful—streamlined interface.
Best of all: you can get it yourself, right now. For free.
I’ve used every release of Photoshop since version 3, which was released in 1994 and included layers for the first time. Layers felt like magic to me. Each version after that brought to me some life-changing feature (I remember going—”OHYES!”—with adjustment layers in version 4 or multiple undo—”FUCKYEAH!”—and editable type—”ATBLOODYLAST!”—in version 5).
In recent years, however, new Photoshop versions felt flat and bloated. The new features were “oh, neat, I guess that’d nice—sometime” and “ah, cool, I see myself using this at least once a month.” The last version left me mostly cold, as that 10% of the program that most professionals use to do 90% of their work went unchanged. It just felt like Adobe was just piling features on, trying to appeal to everyone. It seemed as they didn’t worry to make the basics better.
This new version does exactly that: concentrate on the basics, the 10% that does the 90% of the work.
It has a great streamlined interface that will definitely save time and is pleasant to the eye. Tools as simple as the new crop tool have been greatly improved. They are easier to use, more powerful and smart. The new RAW import module is so incredibly good that I can see photographers reimporting all their RAW backups just to see the amazing results. The blur gallery—for artificial lensing—is great, as is the wide angle adjustments and the selection tools with skin detection features.
And I know this sounds like sacrilege, but for the first time the auto corrections are really, really,really good. So good that I found myself rarely touching levels or curves anymore.
The Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine is just awesome, allowing for real-time effects with any kind of image, small or large. Liquify, Puppet Warp, Crop, and Transform feel like liquid gold.
You can download it right now for free from Adobe and try it yourself. The beta is fully functional and will work until the final release comes out. It also works alongside any version of Photoshop you have installed—it will not delete it.
Stay tuned for the incoming review right here.