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What's New in Photoshop CS6 Public Beta

There are dozens of new features in Photoshop CS6 By Jeremiah Hall

When your software goes from being a proper name to a verb, as in "I Photoshopped that building out of the picture", new versions are a big deal.  The public beta of Photoshop CS6 Extended is available for download now.  What's changed?

Figure 1


First off is the interface color.  Instead of the light grey that PS users are used to (see Fig. 2), Adobe has changed it to a dark grey boxes and a black background (see Fig. 3), which helps with more accurate color reproduction while editing.  If you prefer the older lighter grey, it can be changed back in the preferences menu under interface.

Figure 2

The Standard edition now includes video.  You can now import videclips intPhotoshop and edit them on a timeline (see Fig. 4).  The clips get listed in the timeline as layers.  Moving the video layers in the layers panel switches their position on the timeline.  Conversely, switching the clip positions on the timeline changes their listing in the Layer panel.  You have two tracks of audio to work with in the timeline.  Also, there are basic transitions available between clips.  They are Fade, Cross Fade, Fade with Black, Fade with White, and Fade with Color.  Certain parameters can be controlled with keyframes on the timeline.  All Photoshop tools can be used with video on the timeline.


Photoshop CS6 also now has real vector layers.  The new Vector Layer is replacing the old Shape Layer.  Speaking of layers, you can now also search layers by name and by type.

There are several new blurs available:  Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift Blur.  There are also new plugins, including Liquify and Oilpaint (see Fig. 5)

Figure 3

There are also over 64 changes PS6 users have asked Adobe for, called the "JDI"s by the Photoshop team.  "JDI" stands for "Just Do It," small changes and improvements asked for by the end-users.  Here's a sample from the list Adobe provided DMN:


  • HUD brush resize and hardness can now change opacity
  • Increase brush size t5000px
  • Change color dynamics to per stroke instead of per tip (user option for old behavior)
  • Brightness/contrast slider for textures when painting
  • Brush projection for static tips
  • Brush cursor reflects brush dynamics for round and captured tips


  • Show the sample size popup for the various eyedropper tools (black point, white point, etc.)
  • Add ignore adjustment layers options bar item for the eyedropper
  • New mode for eyedropper to select layers current and below

File formats

  • Read common stereo image pair formats (JPS, PNS) Allow for more bit depths in TIFF files
  • Read BIGTIFF format
  • Give the user choices regarding how they want transparency treated in OpenEXR on file open


  • Add a contextual menu item that deletes a layer effect not just disables it
  • Add dither options to Layer Styles for Gradient Overlay and Gradient Stroke
  • Allow 00 or Shift 00 twork when setting layer/fill opacity (previously no way to get 0%)
  • Add bicubic sharper & bicubic smoother options when free transforming layers
  • Allow changing of blend modes for multiple layers at once
  • Allow locking of multiple layers
  • CMD+J to duplicate layers and layer group
  • Allow changing color labels to multiple layers at once
  • Layer tooltips to include layer name (if defined)
  • Opt+click on toggle arrows (groups and effects) in layer panel should close all targets
  • Show blend if/Blending Effects badge on layer
  • Show correct opacity and blend mode values for hidden layers
  • Tab goes to next layer on inline layer rename, SHIFT + TAB goes to previous
  • New command to raster layer effect into layer, merging the selected layers into themselves
  • Reorder effects in the layers palette to match the Z-order style/blend mode (bottom most effects in terms of blending order, drop shadow is below the other effects



  • Add new document presets for common devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, etc.)
  • Add new Gradient Map presets for toning and split-toning
  • Sticky reorganization of tool presets (changes persist after re-launch) Add Contact Sheet II as an Automation option

These are only a few of the changes.  One of the more interesting JDIs?  Grammer.  Adobe has "policed" the grammar in the application, correcting grammatical mistakes.

The big change on the Extended side is 3D.  You can now import and work with 3D objects from other software within Photoshop 6 Extended, such as .3DS, .FL3, and .OBJ.  You can also save your changes tthe files and send them back to their native programs.  Artists can add objects to photos and videos and animate them in 3D space.  You can also use Photoshop CS6E to create simple 3D objects and 3D extrusions, such as text.

Figure 4

Photoshop CS6 Project Manager Zorana Gee said, "With PhotoshopCS6E, usability and performance are our watchwords."  She says the 3D elements of the program were developed with both the 3D professionals and 3D beginners in mind.

Figure 5

Another addition to 3D?  You can make Stereo images to view on 3D monitors.

Photoshop CS6E is available to download at as a public beta.  Mac users need a multicore Intel processor machine running either OS x 10.6 or 10.7 64-bit.  Windows users need at least a 2GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athalon 64, running at least Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7.  Adobe cautions Windows XP users to make sure their graphics card is supported.

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Jeremiah Hall has been a writer, videographer, editor, journalist and filmmaker for over 14 years.

He has worked across the midwest and southeast for several news organizations.

Currently, he resides in Cincinnati, OH with his family, and is developing a feature film to direct.

Related Keywords:Photoshop, CS6, Graphic Arts, Designers, Artists, Image Manipulation, Digital Photography, Photo Editing

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