Monday, 26 March 2012

First Look (Photoshop CS6) Part I

With the release of Photoshop CS6, we get chance to explore to new things.
Since its debut in 1990, Photoshop has received major revisions over a dozen times, but David Howe, Adobe director of engineering for Photoshop, insists the update process hasn't become a rote activity.

"While there are aspects of each release that are the same, such as hitting key milestones, every version brings with it something new," he observed in a blog post. "The technology, industry, and our customers' needs are always changing, and so we try to approach things with a fresh perspective."

There are dozens of new features in Photoshop CS6. Here are some of them:


  • UI redesign
  • Layer Searching and Filtering
  • Auto and background saves
  • Layer Styles on Groups
  • Content-aware Patch and Move tools
  • Dotted Lines
  • Blur Gallery
  • Preset Manager
  • Color Range: skin tone and face detection
  • ACR 7
  • Crop tool
  • Properties panel
  • Video support
  • Oil Paint filter
  • Auto correction settings
  • Adaptive Wide Angle filter
  • Type Styles
  • Printing UI
  • JDIs
  • System requirements 

UI redesign

As you'd expect, CS6 offers a number of new tools and functionality. Yet, the most immediate change for any previous Photoshop user is undoubtedly going to be the UI (user interface) redesign. For the first time in 22 years, the team at Adobe has given Photoshop a complete makeover. Along with the more obvious changes you'll see below, roughly 1800 icons and 250 cursors have been redesigned.

Photoshop CS6 launches with the Application frame enabled and an interface design that features light text on a dark background.
By default, CS6 offers a much darker background palette to surround your image than previous versions. A number of icons have been redesigned and Panel names are now displayed in sentence case rather than all caps. In the screenshot above, look carefully along the bottom left (highlighted in red) and you'll notice two tabs; one for Mini Bridge and the video Timeline. Clicking on either will extend the tab up into a filmstrip-style panel that runs horizontally beneath the image area.
You do have a number of options for changing the UI color scheme by going to Preferences>Interface. The most crucial of these, in my opinion, is the ability to set the Background fill and Application frame colors independently. In each of the examples below I have set the Background fill to medium gray while changing the interface color among four available presets. Note that you can also choose a custom color for each.

Black interface with medium gray Background fill. Dark interface with medium gray Background fill.
Medium gray interface with medium gray Background fill. Light gray interface with medium gray Background fill.
With CS6 you can also display 'rich cursors' that show contextual information such as dimensions, angle of rotation or other adjustment parameters right alongside the cursor, as shown in the example below.

The rich cursor information is context sensitive. When using one of the marquee tools you can view the dimensions of the marquee you're drawing as well as the XY coordinates of its location. You can also specify where this information is displayed in relation to the cursor. In the example shown here, I've set it to display along the bottom right edge.

Layer Searching and Filtering


This seems like something that should have existed a long time ago but then again, this is Adobe. You can also filter the type of layers to be shown (pixel, adjustment, type, shape and smart objects) as show in the screenshot below:




Auto and background saves

Arguably one of the most important additions in CS6 is Photoshop's ability to automatically save your open document(s) at user specified intervals. In addition, you can have Photoshop perform all of its Save operations in the background. When editing large files this allows you to continue working after hitting 'save' instead of waiting for a progress bar to complete.




You control the behavior of the Auto save in Preferences>File Handling. A pop-up menu (shown above) allows you to determine the interval at which Photoshop saves your work to a recovery file. In the checkbox above this one you can also have Photoshop perform all of its Save operations in the background.
As you work, Photoshop creates a temporary recovery file on your hard drive that updates periodically to reflect the current state of your document. Should Photoshop crash with your document in an unsaved state it will, upon relaunch, open a document with '-Recovered' appended to its name that contains the most recent auto-saved version. It's important to note that the recovery file is a separate document from your working file - it doesn't over-write the last point you intentionally saved. The recovery file is deleted whenever you invoke a Save or Revert command or close a document without saving.


Dotted Lines

Another feature that should have existed a long time ago but here it is. You’ll notice it when you use the shape tool.

 

Content-Aware Patch and Move tools

The content-aware technology that was introduced to Photoshop CS5's Fill tool is now available in the Patch tool. Alongside this in the tool panel, there's also a Content-Aware Move tool.



The Patch tool now has a Content-Aware option. You can select among five different region-preservation options.


A new Content-Aware Move tool (highlighted in red) allows you to move a selected object and have its previous location filled in to blend with the immediate surroundings.
The algorithms behind the content-aware selection and blending have been updated so that they work more seamlessly along higher contrast edges.

In the original image you can remove the geese along the left side of the frame by... ...making a selection around them (shown in red)...
...and with the Patch tool set to Content-Aware, dragging the selection to an an open expanse of water. You can then move one of the  remaining geese by making a selection around it (shown in red)...
and with the Content-Aware Move tool selected, dragging it to a new location. Most images, like the example show here, will require at least some cleanup work around the selection edges

Blur Gallery

CS6 brings three new blur tools designed to make adding photographic blurs to images quick and easy. The tools - Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift are grouped together at the top of the Filter>Blur sub menu. In a move that will make Lightroom users feel right at home, you make adjustments to control points tools directly on the image, rather than in a separate filter window.
Iris Blur simulates selective focus, and allows you to mask out one or more areas in the image which should remain sharp, while blurring the remaining portions of the scene.



In the original image the areas of soft focus begin just past the model's right shoulder.



Using the Iris blur filter you can edit a shape which contains a built-in mask to isolate the parts of the image you want to remain in focus. You can control the amount of blur, the brightness and color of bokeh highlights and freely move the entire control unit around the image. You can even add multiple control units.



The final result is an image in which only the model's face and neck are in focus.
Field Blur offers a fast, intuitive way to either blur an entire image or perform multiple depth-of-field adjustments. And a Tilt-Shift blur option lets you mimic the behavior of lenses that allow for manipulation of the plane of focus.

To be continued in Part II








Enjoy.
Artzz Luv



                    

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