It’s been more than a month since I started using Photoshop CS6. So far I have nothing to complain about, in fact my experience working with it has been great. Migrating from CS5.5 to CS6 was a little challenge. New workspace, new tools and a whole new set of visual elements to get used to. This episode I aim at covering at couple of new features in Photoshop and Illustrator CS6. In the following episode (3) we will look at some of the more hidden and advanced features these softwares have to offer. To begin this session, we will look at the more basic and primary changes Adobe has incorporated in the new CS6 softwares. What’s new with Photoshop CS6 – Part 1. Firstly what everyone has probably noticed is the new look they gave Photoshop. Apart from the new icon and splash screen design, I am talking about the new tools and new variable backgrounds. The new features start right with the installation of CS6.
- Importing from CS5 to CS6
- The new interface in CS6
- Manage your layers more efficiently
- Background Save + Auto Recovery
- Content Aware
1. Import your presets from CS5 to CS6
Firstly the most important aspect the Adobe incorporated is importing your CS5 workspace and presets to CS6. Photoshop CS6 allows you to import your presets and workspace settings easily without any hassle. It’s so much better than having to go back and import each of those presets and actions. So 5 points to Photoshop CS6 for making migration so simple and effective. If anyone wondering how to get around this, simply go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager
2. The new interface in CS6: Background UI
The new interface in Photoshop CS6 allows you change the workspace background color. It allows the user to select from 4 options ranging from Dark grey to medium dark, medium light and light grey. Based on your preference, with a single click you can change your workspace to give it a more open and wide or more compact and sophisticated look. My question here – “Adobe what the hell took you guys so long! This is bloody brilliant!” Personally I work with the darkest grey option and simply love it. Especially because it helps me design a little more comfortably. My white canvas now stands out more distinctly than it used to in CS5. To check this new feature simply head over to Edit > Preferences > General > Interface … You can easily customize your workspace settings there. Since you are there, I would suggest drop by at the other setting options too. For example head over to performance and adjust your RAM settings to your preference. Similarly jump to File handling and enable background save option etc. Couple of tweaks and adjustments and you can have Photoshop run like butter on a hot pan. I’m serious. I manage to run CS6 on my 2.5 GB workstation smoothly after I adjusted the RAM settings and scratch disk options. Try it, experiment and you’ll enjoy the experience!
Tools & general UI: As for the general interface and tools I heard Adobe has pulled off a major makeover here! Apparently it includes 1,800 new icons and 250 new cursors. This was done in order to establish a common identity with the same tools in the other softwares. Smart move I say. I never really counted any of those icons but I bet they have. You can easily guess that the interface has undergone some major changes and upgrades. They have pimped so many tool icons, I don’t even know where to start from. But at the end of the day, the new UI and icons together offer a complete new feel and experience while working with Photoshop. So again here I give Adobe a 4/5 for UI changes. Minus 1 because a lot of amateur users claim they find the new look too scary and complicated. Personally I prefer calling them blind. But honestly the new interface kind of throws you off a bit while you start. It takes a while to settle in and adjust. However I believe professionals use this and I’m happy this software is changing in this direction. So sorry amateur users, if you can’t manage the new interface, you have to learn. Just a heads up – Head over and change the background UI color to the last option. It may resemble home for you. Adobe I’m throwing in a few brownie points here just to cover up the minus 1. Because I personally love this new feature.
3. Manage your layers more efficiently
Managing layers was not much of an issue. But hey I don’t mind if they made it simpler! And that’s exactly what Adobe has done! They have improved managing and organizing layers in CS6. That one thing we all dreaded was searching through the unnamed stack of 30 plus layers. Imagine then trying to organize and name them. Well Adobe here is where I give you the standing ovation! Filtering your layers by just one click! Whoa ! What were your engineers smoking? This is simply brilliant. Now if you look at the layers panel you have an option at the top that allows you to filter and view similar layers based on kind, name, effect, mode, attribute, color! You can easily turn on and off the option with a sweet minimalistic switch over there! You can even segregate the layers based on pixels, adjustment, type, shape and type! It makes managing your layers so easy and comfortable. I mean what more could you ask for? Adobe you get a 6/5 here for thinking out of the box. Kudos.
4. Background Save + Auto Recovery
Finally Adobe heard my prayers. I have cried several times, and I’m serious here. Worked for hours together before Photoshop crashed due to some reason and I never saved my work. I have lost my work a couple of times like this earlier! Now why would Photoshop not have an auto save seriously? I once asked my friend why on earth does Photoshop not have an auto save? He replied because real men hit CTRL+S every few seconds. True that. I made it a habit eventually! But with the new CS6 you don’t need to do that. It provides and auto recovery and background save option. Simply head over to Edit > Preferences > File Handling and you will find both these options there. For those lucky folks who have never lost any of their work in this manner and don’t really get the point of auto save and recovery. Here is an example. Imagine you were working in Photoshop on a project and haven’t yet saved it. Now say for instance your annoying niece decides to press a few button while you take that pee break. When you return, your niece has successfully managed to open up 5 or 6 applications and chocked you PC. As in most cases, its hung and you need to restart. But what the hell! I haven’t saved my Ps work file. Chill bro, just hit the restart button like a man. Photoshop background save and auto recovery will work its magic on the next startup. You will find your file saved for you and can resume work. Adobe I give you another 6/5 here. No more tears. Thank you.
5. Content Aware
Whenever I wanted to show off my skills using Photoshop, the first thing I would do is use the content aware fill to magically replace a tree in the background or remove a part of a image and blend the empty space with the surrounding. So for those of you who already know how the content aware fill works, here is content aware move! Dude this new feature is just insane. Imagine with this feature you can easily select a part of the image and place it somewhere else without creating additional layers! It’s really hard to explain this tool improvement. Just watch these videos to understand more on this awesome tool! Adobe you get a 5/5 for this!
For more new features and tools of Photoshop CS6, do tune in for Episode 3 where I dig deeper into what’s new with Photoshop CS6 Part -2 !
What’s new with Illustrator CS6 – Part 1
Now when it comes to illustrator again there are a couple of things that overlap with Photoshop. New interface and new tool icons along with the variable background. Besides those we have a lot of new changes and features in Illustrator CS6 as well.
- Mercury Performance Engine
- Pattern Creation feature
- Image Trace options
- Improvements in type options
1. Mercury Performance Engine
This is not something that you see as soon as you start Illustrator up. But this is a rather more technical enhancement from Adobe. To put it in the simplest terms, with the new Mercury performance engine you can utilize all of your RAM to help open, work and save large files in Illustrator. This new feature on CS6 allows the user to manage complex effects and designs with large files in Illustrator CS6. It works for 64 bit systems and is a brilliant feature that provides stability and capability to handle complex and large files in Illustrator CS6.
2. Pattern Creation feature
This is an interesting new feature in Illustrator. The new pattern creation feature allows you to create a vector pattern and repeat it without any hassle in Illustrator. Creating a tiled pattern and editing it is very easy. Just head over to Object>Pattern>Make. The object now repeats on the art board. So simple. Just imagine the stuff you could do with vector patterns ! You can control the pattern in the pattern options. Also it updates the pattern as you work on the object. Pretty neat and handy I say ! Great job Adobe !
3. Image Trace Options
Bye bye Live trace and hello Image trace. This is a new feature that replaces the old live trace option in CS6. I tried the new image trace and I think it works much better than the live trace. Along with that there a couple of new trace options that will come in handy. Few among the new ones are Shades of Grey and Silhouettes (Which is kind of just a rename but enhanced trace option) Try them out and for sure you will find a difference !
4. Improvements in type options
The new improved tool options let’s you play around a little more. Users can now use the arrow keys to change fonts in context for selected text. Similarly Glyphs for caps, superscripts and much more can be adjusted and modified from the Character panel in Illustrator CS6. Obviously these features become more relevant as you start using CS6. You can adjust your characters and text more easily in CS6. Just hit the Character option and the options should display. There you can adjust the base-line shift, kerning and rotation of the characters. All in one place for simplicity !
So that’s about it for this episode of the Creative Suite Review CS6. Hope you enjoyed it and tune in for the next episode where we dig in deeper into Photoshop and Illustrator Part 2. If you feel there are a couple of basic and new features that should be highlighted, just drop a comment and I will see to it !
Episode 3: 25 September 2012
- 1. Whats new in Adobe Photoshop CS6 Part -2
- 2. Whats new in Adobe Illustrator CS6 Part-2