Photoshop CS6 Beta Test Preview Review of New Features

I downloaded and installed the new Photoshop CS6 free Beta version preview from Adobe yesterday and gave it a bit of a go.

It has some really cool features, and some foibles…

How does one test drive the new Photoshop CS6?

A PS6 Beta is available directly from Adobe for a temporary free preview.

In order to download and install the free preview, you require a free Adobe account, which is easy to create on the Adobe site.

I downloaded and installed PS6 on my laptop and desktop PCs and gave Photoshop CS6 beta a bit of a go on both.

What’s new and cool?

  • Content Awareness Tools
  • History tools, of Last Liquefy, Crop, Self Save
  • Mini Bridge Levels Adjustments


Well, the content aware move is amazing…

Remember content aware heal on Photoshop CS5?  Don’t worry, it’s still a feature.   Content aware move is similar to content aware heal only different and better.

There are also several additional new variants to content awareness tools, including a content aware patch tool.

Content aware heal was a way to click a spot and have PS fix that spot using surrounding patterns to fill in the area we desired to heal.

Content Aware Move allows you to select a region of a photo, perhaps a person in a scene, and to move that person to another section of the scene…  Content Aware Move then fills in the section where the person was… AND Content Aware Move blends the selection into the new area !!

There are some tricks to making the blends more or less seamless.

How cool is that?

There are like 2 hours of free vid tutorials on Lynda with previews into this and other features of CS6…

Example Vid from Lynda of Content Aware Move on PS CS6:

Missing from the Lynda vids are many of the CS6 limitations ( Click here for a 7-day free trial to ).


Liquefy is a cool tool.  Every liquefy something and need to make a change after you applied your liquefaction?  If you didn’t save a Liquefy mask, you had to start again from scratch.

Now, PS CS6 automatically stores the last state of your Liquefy, so you can make small adjustments from there…

And, that’s not all.

Cropping in CS5 was a bear and destructive.

CS6 has a non destructive Cropping and so a history of your Crop.  You can make the crop a bit bigger, or smaller, without having to start from scratch.  Just edit your crop a little.

While talking cropping, you can also view a crop rotations effect on-screen before the crop…  Whenever in CS5 you cropped, and rotated, you had to rotate your head to get a feel for the next crop.  CS6 rotates the image, so you have a what you see is what you get display.  Nice.

Every do a bunch of work and didn’t save your work, and have a crash?

Now, CS6 does an automatic save every few minutes… in the background.  So you only lose minutes of work, not hours…   AND, when you hit save, you don’t have to wait while the image saves (often a long operation for large file sizes), saving is done in the background.  Yay!


This is a feature of the new Lightroom CS4 and Photoshop CS6 Mini Bridge.

Lightroom CS3 and Photoshop CS5 had adjustments for Black, Fill, Recovery, and Brightness.

Lightroom CS4 (about $149 new, $79 upgrade at Amazon or Adorama New, Adorama Upgrade with free shipping) has a Blacks, Shadows, Hightlights and Whites.

Cool video demonstrating Lightroom CS4 Lighting Adjustments

The new settings are much more precise in the area of the image histogram they impact.

For instance, Fill Light would brighten huge areas of an image.  Shadows is much more selective in that it only adds light to darker areas of your image.

I was kinda hooked on brightness… We’ll see.


Photoshop CS6 leans more heavily on Graphics Processing.  The Oil Painting Plug In, part of Pixel Bender Plug In of Photoshop CS5, is now included with Photoshop CS6.

Pixel Bender is not supported… but many of these filters are part of CS6…

However, my laptop gets one kind of Graphics Processor Missing Error, cannot run Oil Painting on CS6…  My Desktop gets an unsupported Graphics Processor Error, cannot run Oil Painting on CS6…

So, there are features of CS6, my computers WILL NOT RUN.

What kind of computer does one need to run CS6 fully?  Who knows…??


Maybe the full release will remedy some of these, maybe not.





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