Adobe Photoshop CS6

If you are passionate about working with or teaching students about digital images, there is no alternative. Photoshop is used in every aspect of our daily communications. We are very excited about Adobe Photoshop CS6, and are currently working diligently to get the new Photoshop books ready for the fall semester.

Adobe has a strong record of adding new features, at least some with each version that gets users begging to upgrade. For CS6, there are dozens of new features, here are just a few:

Interface

The first thing you will notice about the new release is the new dark user interface. Some like it and some don't, it is a preference issue and it can be controlled to meet your requirements. You can choose how dark the interface appears from four UI color schemes - one is sure to suit your needs.

Content Aware Editing

With the release of CS5, Adobe introduced the content-aware fill tool, but in CS6 the excitement is with the content-aware move tool, which allows you to easily move around a photo with minimal disruption to the pixels around it, and replace the background with a clean and natural result.

The CS6 feature is very easy to use and requires only a rough selection around the object you want to move or modify. You can select an object in a single-layer image and move it somewhere else in the picture. Photoshop will fill in the gap by moving the object. While it is not 100% perfect all the time, you can achieve pretty good results.

In these two images, we moved the large hanging drape closer to the hammock on the right side of the image.

Content-Aware Scaling

Scaling is also now content-aware, and the function is found under the Edit menu (not on the Toolbar, where we feel it should have been). This quick grab of the chair left some artifacts that could easily be removed with the clone tool, but as you can see we resized the chair on the left.

Keep in mind that these tools do not provide perfect results, but the level of accuracy is good enough to save a huge amount of time. Whatever is not good enough should require minor retouching.

Non-Destructive Cropping

Adobe has improved the Crop tool in a big way. Cropping, while not as exciting as a new lighting filter or blur effect, is one of the most important things we do in Photoshop. It touches every aspect of our digital workflow.

Destructive cropping does just that - it destroys the pixels that used-to-be outside the cropped area.

The new cropping feature allows you to crop from any side or corner (you can rotate and crop at the same time now), but it also leaves the original (outside the crop) pixels intact. This is especially important to those of us that use "History" to re-do stages of a painting or retouch assignment or task. Using History is very effective, but in previous versions if you cropped an image and then did, let's say, thirty different things to the image, going back to the place-in-time you had cropped the original, would make you lose the stages that came afterwards. The program now saves a "Crop State" so you can return to that stage of the drawing before it was cropped without losing what you've done since. Such actions are often done by eye and hand, and cannot be repeated exactly as you did them the first time.

When you rotate an image in CS6, the image rotates underneath the Crop boundary box, so you can see what the final result looks like before finalizing the crop. You can, of course, use ratio presets or create your own custom conditions.

Change the format of your images with precision using the new, hardware- accelerated Crop tool. The tool can now display multiple overlays, including Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral, Diagonal, Triangle, Grid, and Rule of Thirds, to guide your crop and ensure that your image elements are positioned at the focal point of your layout.

Direct Vector Controls

The interaction between Photoshop and Illustrator is addressed in a very effective and useful way. You can now control the size/width of Paths and Strokes, control the kinds of ends they exhibit (including round, naturally) and you can also control the fill of vector objects.

In these two screen shots, you can see that we first grabbed a flower that had been created in Illustrator, then copied and pasted it onto a new layer in the other image. Once pasted, we have full Illustrator-like control over the fill, path and stroke behavior.


Pricing for Students

Adobe's product prices can get expensive, especially if you're on a student's budget. As great and powerful as this software is, it could be hard to afford these prices when you're in school.

Fortunately, Adobe offers big discounts of up to 80% off retail prices for Adobe Creative Suite 6 software and the New Adobe Cloud membership for student, faculty and staff.

For example, Photoshop CS Extended, (top-of-the-line) comes down in price from $999 to $249. The top-selling CS6 Design & Web Premium suite becomes $449 instead of $1,899.

Adobe Student and Teacher Editions offer the same features as commercial versions at a price that will not break your budget.

To download free trials, visit the Adobe site: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/?PID=2159997

The Rest of the Story

Photoshop CS offers the opportunity to apply new features and create superior designs using new tools and workflows.

The big new features are impressive, and even the small improvements will make the time you spend with Photoshop more productive.

For a more complete list of the new features and a brief description of each, visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/features.edu.html

The Against The Clock CS6 books will be shipping early this summer. For more information about our full library of Adobe software titles, visit: http://www.againsttheclock.com/books