New Features in Photoshop CS6

Dino Angelov writes about all things design and is the owner of a Free PSDs search engine.

Thanks to early information from AppleInsider, a series of demos with prototype features and a series of Sneak Peeks from Adobe - here's what CS6 is supposed to bring.

Rumors of Adobe Photoshop CS 6 started late last year, when in October AppleInsider released pre-release screenshots of the upcoming Photoshop version. The first thing anyone would notice is the revamped user interface. If you are familiar with Adobe Lightroom the similarities are immediately obvious. O’Neil Hughes, Adobe's Senior Product Manager, in a YouTube video of a Sneak Peek in Photoshop says: “We have a darker interface that allows for a more immersive experience, we’re able to focus on the image and not on the interface itself.” According to the same video, you will be able to change the interface color and make it lighter if you prefer.

The main thing shown in the first sneak peek posted on YouTube is the new RAW Camera Editing module. That interface now uses the same engine used by the Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta (which if you haven't downloaded and given it a try, now is a good time as it brings great new additions) making it quite powerful.

Camera Raw screen with all the controls

The new engine brings more controls to fix problematic areas in a photo as well as more fine grained control to existing adjustments. The new additions include the highlights control and the shadows control which allows you to fine-tune your image and recover details from your photo that might not have been visible or noticeable otherwise. You can also use a brush and paint over any areas for more controlled editing, sharping or highlighting only specific areas.

AppleInsider also notes the addition of a large amount of 3D-focused features, of which I particularly find Perspective Crop intriguing. The ability to quickly and easily crop and fix perspective issues in photos taken from an angle will definitely come in handy.

Another Sneak Peek video shows the addition of two new features. One of them is background saving, which allows you to save big images without blocking the rest of the interface, meaning you can continue doing work in other files while the first one is being saved. The progress bar is shown in the title and status bar so you can easily keep track of the progress.

Background saving in action

The second improvement shown in the video is a drasticly faster liquify tool. The loading of the screen and the liquify tool itself perform in realtime, allowing you precise and immediate control over your actions.

Working with the liquify tool. Check the YouTube video to really see the difference in speed

The last Sneak Peek video #3 posted shows the addition of a "top requested feature" according to Product Manager Zorana Gee - dotted and dashed lines. Selecting any shape would give you the ability to add a stroke, which you can then set to Solid, Dashed or Dotted Line. Each of these options also gives you the ability to modify the fill of the outline, be it a solid color, gradient or a pattern.

Dashed and dotted lines shown in the video

One major thing missing from all these Sneak Peek videos is the Photoshop Deblur functionality. Previewed in mid-October of last year, the technology has caused a lot of excitement among professionals and amateurs alike. The ability to deblur a photo after the shot was taken is incredible. The picture below shows the possibilities of the technology.

Photoshop deblurring shown. Original is on the left. Click on the image for the full-sized version on Adobe's website.

The technology is not perfect, as the user-submitted test photos have shown, but it looks very promising. Sadly, it's not known whether this will make it in time for the Photoshop CS6 release.

On that note, an official release that for this version has not been confirmed, altough with some guesswork and some documents published by Adobe, it is widely expect to ship during May of this year.

We'll keep you posted with any updates.

UPDATE: The Photoshop team just posted another Sneak Peek video, this time relating to enhanced Content-Aware Fill functionality.

In the first example given, trying to remove an unwanted portion of the image resulted in the tool filling in the wrong data. The added ability to select the source of the content-aware fill allowed it to be filled properly with the content wanted.

The second example deals with moving an object in a photo. Because of the size of the object, there's insufficient data for the content-aware tool to work with. A new tool called Content-Aware Move allowed the object to be easily moved and centered in the phot. The 3rd example also deals with moving objects (people) around the scene, but also shows the newly added ability to extend objects.

Moving people around a photo with the new content-aware move tool.