A Photoshop CS6 Beta was reportedly roaming loose across the internets, trace evidence included alleged footprints, blurred photos, and Top 5 lists. I donned my pith helmet, with the intention of tracking down this mysterious beast, and using it’s pelt as a living room carpet. For scientific purposes, of course.
The CS6 is believed to be descended from a specimen such as this.
Skeptics, however, doubt this, pointing to it’s obvious lack
of Lens Flare filters, and color.
The beta was found lurking among the Adobe Labs. Upon first observation, the beta is a fast creature. Others have written about what new DNA lurks under the skin, about GPUs and such. Most people, however, don’t think about DNA code when they see, for example, a tiger. They wonder how the tiger got into their living room, and hope they can make it to the door. Thankfully, Photoshop doesn’t eat people, but now the Liquefy filter is swift and offers real time previews.
In the past, when cornered or under stress, older versions would keel over, and take your files with it. The greatest improvement in this version, a feature rarely even mentioned in most Top 5 lists, is the auto save feature.
With the new auto save preferences, images are saved to a temp file
that is automatically recovered, after a crash.
This feature alone makes this upgrade worthwhile. Having said this, I was unable to get the beta to crash. My usual methods did not work: Throwing multiple filters at a file. Rasterizing multiple type layers. Opening Microsoft Word. Having a deadline.
The Camera Raw tools have been updated, offering more tonal control. New Shadow and Highlight sliders make it easier to maintain detail, in images that have less than perfect exposure.
I could spend hours, going back to old out-takes,
to rescue images that were too dark, or washed out.
Camouflage seems to be the strength of this new creature. The Content Aware Move tool analyzes the area surrounding a selection, and attempts to fill in background gaps, when the selection is repositioned. It will save hours of cloning and masking, plus make removing your ex from your vacation photos much easier.
Content Aware Move, Before and after.
Imperfect result, but this took about 2 minutes,
as opposed to a frustrating amount of cloning and masking.
The Color Range tool offers skin tone and facial recognition as well, although my tests had mixed results. Eyes, hair, and even parts of backgrounds were selected as well, which negated any benefit the tool claimed to offer.
The Adaptive Wide Angle Correction is impressive, allowing the chance to straighten the curved lines that occur when using a wide angle lens.
Trace a few lines, and the filter
does all the heavy lifting of correcting lens distortion.
With so many improvements, the filters in Photoshop seem in need of an upgrade as well. The filter architecture, and the previews, have remained the same since about version 3. So many of them have names and features that leave most users scratching their head, as if they are looking at the hip bone of a whale, and wondering what purpose it serves.
Another annoyance was the registration process. It involves having an Adobe ID, but I can never remember my ID and password. As software companies work to combat piracy, I am sure the registration process will, in the future, involve fingerprints, retina scans, and a urine sample.
In the end, I released the beta back into the wild, tagged with a few suggestions for Adobe. It was worth the download, and I plan on staring longingly at the box, when the final version releases.
Apr 20 2012