Adobe CS6 has arrived, bringing with it a new version of imaging heavyweight Photoshop. CS6 has a lot to get excited about, it features a significantly redesigned UI which makes the program appear much more like iPhoto.
The new look, however, does not mean sacrifices have been made in the program's formidability. From what we have seen, you can still work all sorts of imaging magic using Photoshop.
Photoshop is no longer a grey and tired-looking app: Photoshop CS6 is now a much tidier experience, which means on the most basic level, viewing image is made easier. Some may likely find the initial colour change a bit baffling, but expect all the same keyboard macro to bring up the same menus. You can also still customise your entire workspace in the same way, adding things like a history window or actions widget.
Adobe was keen to emphasise how the new Photoshop is a much more keyboard shortcut orientated experience. Doing away with cluttered icons - which most open up using shortcuts anyway - was a good move. Customisation is also much more in depth, so you can strip back the whole of the program to suit your imaging needs. Say you just use masks and layers, for example, then that can be retained while other panels are removed.
On the subject of layers, these are fundamental to the way Photoshop works and have been rethought quite comprehensively. You can now search through all of them by type, as well as group layers and apply effects to them. This is a good thing for those who use Photoshop to draw or design, as many end up with hundreds of layers towards the end of a project. It means you can easily access something and tweak its size, opacity or colour.
What of the new one-stop shop magic fixes that CS5 brought in, how have these been improved? Content-aware fill, one of the most significant features of CS5, has now been rethought in a big way for CS6. Auto is now incorporated into it, so you can easily tweak sections of a shot intelligently and easily. Think of it a bit like a magic brush that will fix a shot in a single click.
Content-aware move is also improved, so you can grab an entire object in an image and plonk it down elsewhere, with all the retouching legwork done for you. It worked rather brilliantly on the demo we were shown, but then Adobe will be using perfect conditions for the software so a play later on ourselves might put things in perspective.
Finally there is now Photoshop video incorporated into the non-extended version of the software. It behaves a lot like iMovie and lets you put all sorts of filters, blurs and other Photoshop effects on to each frame. You can also view them being added because the video plays in real time - very clever indeed.
The next piece of software we had a decent play with was Premiere Pro. Again there was a de-cluttered and totally rebuilt UI. Fundamentals such as the default size of the video player have been changed, so that the media itself has a bigger presence in the program. Gone are the greys of the old Premiere Pro, replaced with the same coloured interface of Photoshop.
Both Photoshop and Premiere Pro had worked some clever GPU wizardy that sped up the way images and video could be previewed with different effects applied. They also now pass tasks like auto saving on to the GPU, which means general program operations aren't slowed down.
The last app we looked at was Dreamweaver - an immensely powerful piece of kit when put in the right hands. Again, streamlining is the talk of the town with Dreamweaver CS6, which now focuses on nailing the fundamentals of website design from the start, saving you from nasty bugs in code later on.
We now view websites in all different formats, from desktop to mobile and tablet. The problem this poses to web designers is having clearly adaptable web pages. So what CS6 does is allow you to create three versions of the same page from the start, one for each platform.
The app has also incorporated something called Phone Gap for BlackBerry, iOS, Android, Web OS and Symbian. It means you can compile and play back a version of your app without having to install any software other than Dreamweaver. No software development kits are needed.
In theory, you could build a single version of an app for iOS and then auto re-size it for each operating system using Phone Gap, making a multi-platform release very quick.
Adobe has also beefed up what it is calling the creative cloud with CS6. Behaving a bit like iCloud for iOS, it is a means to share content between different Adobe apps, without needing to store them locally on your computer. Membership of the service, which costs £38 per month, brings with it 20GB of storage and the ability to work between CS6 and all of Adobe's Touch applications. Here is the clever bit though - you don't need to purchase CS6 outright, instead the monthly fee is like membership. It also allows you to put the software on both Windows and Mac machines. If you want to buy CS6 outright its going to set you back £2223, or £397 as an upgrade.
As you can probably tell, there is a tonne of new stuff in CS6, most of which looks great. Pocket-lint will have plenty more to say on the new software bundle once we have it installed and up and running on our own computers. Until then, why not take a peek at our hands-on with the new Lightroom, which we haven't mentioned above.
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