Photoshop CS6 – upcoming features

Adobe engineers have been busy adding features to the next version of Photoshop. While officially there’s no commitment (with good reason, since Photoshop CS6 is still in development and the features may change), it’s a pretty good bet that we’ll see all of these in action sooner rather than later; based on past releases, Photoshop Cs6 is expected to hit the shelves in October 2012.

So, what’s new?

Dark Interface option

Not an earth-shattering feature, but it’s nice and puts Photoshop more in line with other products such as Premiere, After Effects and Lightroom. When working on a photo or design, a dark, gray unobtrusive interface eliminates distractions and helps you focus on the document.

New Camera RAW

Camera RAW uses the same code and has the same features as Lightroom, so it will benefit from the latest advancements. Having played with Lightroom 4 beta myself, the improvements are remarkable. There’s a reworked Clarity feature that produces halo-free local contrast enhancements that, especially when coupled with some Whites/Blacks adjustments, can create HDR-like looks without going overboard.

Video support

Given the now most photo cameras are able to record video as well, it makes sense for Photoshop to be able to edit video. While this is not intended to replace dedicated tools such as Premiere, Photoshop will be able to cut video, apply fades, corrections and filters. Still, there are simpler and faster solutions for online video editing.

Remix Tool – Content-aware move/extend

This is one of those “magic” features. Basically an improvement upon content-aware fill that allows you to move parts of the image around and fill in the gaps.

Interactive camera blur

You can create very complex DOF effects in Photoshop already, using the Lens Blur. If you take the time to build a separate alpha channel, you can make a pretty accurate depth map.

Photoshop CS6 makes the process easier by adding Field, Iris and Tilt-Shift blurs via a very simple interface.

Reworked 3D

The 3D features introduced in CS5 were very powerful but many new users felt overwhelmed. CS6 simplifies 3D manipulation (you can drag the shadows!) and thanks to the newer GPUs, you can see the effects in real-time.

Background save

Neat little feature, useful when working with large documents: you can now keep working with Photoshop while an image is saving.

GPU-accelerated Liquify

Liquify is massively improved in terms of speed.

Tool info overlay

Tools now show their info (such as coordinates) in an overlaid tooltip. This is an overdue feature, for example when you need to make a selection with a precise width/height.

Dashed and dotted lines

Another small feature, but cool nevertheless – the ability to stroke an outline with a dashed or dotted pattern.

Crop enhancements

The Crop Tool now allows for non-destructive cropping,  which affects the canvas size but not the layers. Also, the Perspective Crop tool now shows helpful guidelines.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I will update the article with more information as it becomes available.

Armand Niculescu

Armand Niculescu

Senior Full-stack developer and graphic designer with over 25 years of experience, Armand took on many challenges, from coding to project management and marketing.