CS6 Review Session – Episode 3

Over the past 2 episodes of the Adobe Creative Suite CS6 review sessions, we looked at what’s new in the overall CS6 package as well as a couple of new features and enhancements in Photoshop CS6. In today’s episode, we will go one step further and checkout some of the not so obvious upgrades and enhancements that Photoshop CS6 has to offer. Today I am going to focus on a couple of tools that most of us use on a daily basis.

Crop Tool:

Everyone is pretty familiar with the CS5 crop tool. However the new CS6 crop tool is different. In CS6 when you click on the crop tool icon, what you notice is that the crop tool creates anchors around the image and at the corners. Now you can easily use these anchors and drag to select the area you want to crop in your image. What many don’t notice is that this new crop tool automatically centers the crop section as you drag while creating your selection. Another feature is that while you are making your selection, it also gives you the exact dimension of the crop selection. Another neat feature is the crop presets that are available. Using them you can easily crop images while maintaining the original aspect ratio or even choose to crop it to a whole new set of dimensions based on a preset. Apart from that, you can create your own presets too. For those who find the whole new crop tool too complicated, you can easily jump back to the old CS5 crop tool but just changing the settings for it.

I score the crop tool a 5/5 for:

  • Auto centering the cropped area.
  • Adding presets.
  • Incorporating straightening an image in the crop tool
  • Additional setting like crop shield and delete pixels options

Dealing with Layers:

I did cover the topic of layers in episode 2, but I wanted to get inside it just a bit more. Managing layers is never an easy task. Once you hit a large number of layers, organizing and renaming them is a real headache. However with the new CS6 layer options and features it’s made much easier. CS6 allows you search your layers or rather filter them based on a particular field. You will notice the new icons on the top of the layer panel that allows you to filter the layers in order to search the layers based on pixel layer, adjustment layer, text layer and shape layer. So incase you are looking out for that particular shape in the layer stack, all you have to do is filter them out based on text layers and your search is made much easier. Similarly you can also locate your pixel and shape layers. Another awesome feature is where it allows you to search the layer by name, mode, attribute or color. So incase you are one of those guys who rename every single layer, you can easily search your layer using this feature. Similarly color coding your layers is helpful as CS6 also allows you to search the layers based on color.

I score the new layer features a 6/5 for:

  • Firstly making layer management a piece of cake.
  • Precise and helpful filters for layers.
  • Preset search and layer name search options.
  • Multiple layer operations.

 

Preset Transfers:

This is again something I spoke of earlier but never got into much detail. Migrating from one version to another is always a matter of concern if you work with a fixed layout and preset library. However CS6 allows you to migrate your Presets from the earlier versions of Photoshop. In order to do so, all you have to do is jump over to Edit > Presets > Migrate Presets. Once you locate the preset you want, simply save it in any folder you wish and then simply add this same preset via that folder. Then all that’s left is to simply hit the import preset button and you are done. Migrating presets is that simple with the new Photoshop CS6.

Now here’s a random thought for Adobe: “Could there be an auto migration feature that automatically imports your presets from the previous version during the set up and installation of CS6?”

 

Content Aware tools:

Photoshop CS6 has a couple of new content aware tools like the new content aware move and the content aware patch tool. Let us begin with the enhanced content aware patch tool. The patch tool is an old feature but integrating it with content aware is new. So now you can easily make a selection using the patch tool and replace it content aware! Once you have made your selection, all you have to do is simply drag the selection and let go once you feel the area is closely substituted with another patch from the surrounding image.

To understand the difference between the content aware patch tool and the content aware move tool. The content aware patch tool will simply replace the selected area with another desired section of the same image. As for the original pixels in the selection, they get deleted and replaced by the new ones. As for content aware move, what happens is the selection you make can easily be dragged and dropped elsewhere on the image. Photoshop blends the selection against the new background. Whereas the area that the selection is cut out from will automatically develop a new set of pixels that blend in based on the content aware feature.

I score the content aware tools a 5/5 for:

  • Making deletion of unwanted elements in an image so easy.
  • Allowing the user to add subtract elements in the image without having to bother about blending them in.

Brush Features:

Photoshop CS6 has a whole new set of brush features to offer. This is something that not many have noticed. In CS6 you can now easily change the angle of the brush. Always wanted to do that right? Well CS6 allows you to change the angle of the brush while using it. Simply head over to the brush setting and change the brush dynamics. Similarly you can also preview how the brush is actually being held while using it. Apart from that, it also allows you to space out the brush elements so that in just one click you can draw many objects without having spaced too closed and touching each other. The brush features aren’t too simple to understand at first glance, but play around with them for a while and its pretty simple after that.

I score the content aware tools a 6/5.

 

Paragraphs and Characters:

For those who work with a lot of text and layout in Photoshop itself, this is a pretty neat feature. Imagine you have separate text layers and want to change the text size for each of those layers. In the old version you have to individually change each layer. However in CS6  you can easily change all those layers in just one click. Working with paragraph and style options makes work much more easier. You can also save your styles and use them in future.

That’s all for today’s episode of Photoshop CS6. Incase you missed the previous 2 episodes I have the links down there for you. The next episode of this session will be somewhat more interesting and interactive. I plan to do an online quiz which you can take and test you knowledge while at the same time learn about the new features in Photoshop CS6. Do make sure you check this blog out for future episodes!

Previous Episodes :

  • Episode 1 : What’s new in CS6
  • Episode 2 : What’s new in Photoshop & Illustrator CS6 Part 1
  • Episode 3 : What’s new in Photoshop CS6 Part 2
  • Episode 4 : How well do you know Photoshop CS6 ? (Quiz) – Upcoming Oct/Nov
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