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Gear & Apps

News: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta Available For Download!

By Matthew Saville on March 22nd 2012

The folks at Adobe have certainly been hard at work over the last couple of years; first we got Lightroom 4, and now Photoshop CS6 is coming over the horizon!It always seems like new software comes out just in time to handle the photos from the new cameras that we’re buying…Eesh…

 

 

Check out Adobe’s CS6Beta Test Download HERE.

Click HERE to learn more about the new features in CS6

DPReview.com has an even more in-depth overview of the latest features, HERE.

 

The most notable changes are:

• New interface, very Lightroom/Bridge-esque and sleek looking.…Yay?

 

• New graphics enhancements for increased performance.…Basically, certain tools go faster.All I care about personally are the few actions I use.Everything else already seems to be pretty darn instantaneous in Photoshop CS5, on my computer at least…

 

• Content-Aware Patch.…Basically, just the next generation of cloning.Cloning is already pretty easy in CS5, but now instead of “erasing” a single object, …now you can just move it around?This is hard to explain, but I don’t think it is going to be useful very often.Cloning is already quite easy in Photoshop CS5. When I can clone things just by looking at them, THEN I’ll get excited…;-)

 

• ACR 7 – essentially the same RAW processing tools as Lightroom 4.(Available by opening RAW / JPG files in Bridge CS6 Beta, or by opening a RAW file in Photoshop CS6 Beta) This is certainly a whole different subject for discussion another time, but basically I am a huge fan of Adobe Bridge as an alternative to Lightroom.For any photographer who shoots a low volume of images, and simply is not ready or interested in undertaking the huge learning curve of a catalog system such as Lightroom, Bridge gives you all the same editing power but without requiring any importing / cataloging.Just browse your folders the same as you would in Explorer / Finder, and edit.

 

Yeah, yeah , …okay, none of these features are probably worth the $600 that Adobe will likely charge.are you ready for something AWESOME?Here it comes: 

• AUTO-SAVE Functionality.Um, hello Adobe.Party like it’s 2003?What a LONG-OVERDUE feature!!!!This feature has been available in other programs since before digital cameras had surpassed even ~3 megapixels, and now we’re up to 20-30 megapixels.Thank you for this much-needed feature, Adobe..

 

Last but not least, a couple benchmark tests and notes on general speed:

• At fresh-open idle, Photoshop CS5 consumes 99 MB of RAM (less than the average Google Chrome window) and ~200 MB with a 12-megapixel RAW NEF image open.Photoshop CS6 Beta consumes 101 MB of RAM at idle, and ~290 MB with a 12-megapixel RAW NEF image open.(So both consume almost nothing compared to the 1-3 GB of RAM that Lightroom 3-4 gobbles up!)I can’t quantify it because it’s already so quick, but it seems as if Photoshop CS6 is able to open / save images faster.Often I’m going from Lightroom to Photoshop just so that I can play a single action, and then quickly back into Lightroom.So now with Photoshop CS6 and button mode enabled for actions, sometimes I don’t leave Lightroom for more than NINE seconds!(For you nerds out there, that would be CTRL-E, Enter, Click action, CTRL-S, CTRL-W, Alt-Tab.Done.)

 

The question is, …is it going to be worth it, when the final version is released for sale?Usually Adobe Photoshop can cost $600 for a full version, without any student discount etc.An upgrade can cost $180 usually, which is still quite a lot especially considering that Adobe Lightroom 4 is “only” $150 for the full version and $80 for the upgrade.So quite honestly, my initial recommendationis going to be the same as always-If you already have CS4 or CS5, and if you don’t use Bridge very much, then you can skip this version.

And you know what?Often times, even official Adobe spokespeople acknowledge that most buyers will “skip a version” and only buy every-other upgrade.Well, this sounds like it’s leaning in that direction.

Bridge CS6 doesn’t seem to have a full-screen version like Lightroom and Photoshop have, at least not until you enter the ACR window.Also, Bridge CS6 still seems to freeze from time to time, just like Bridge CS5 does, and seems slightly less responsive than Lightroom 3 or 4.

Lastly, Bridge / ACR does not seem to have gained the “hover-to-adjust” capability that Lightroom’s develop module has, where you can adjust settings simply by hovering your mouse over them and then hitting the up/down arrows on your keyboard.(Which I have found to be a MINIMUM REQUIREMENT for editing at the speed that our studio needs…)

 

So, while I’m sure many will be excited to try out this new version of Photoshop, and some will find the new specialized tools very useful or even essential; this is once again something that the average hobbyist or pro will not ABSOLUTELY need to have.

If you have $180 laying around, let alone $600, and you want to improve your photo editing experience; my preliminary recommendation is to just buy Lightroom 4.0 especially if you already have Photoshop CS5
or even CS4, and then if you’re STILL itching for something to do, maybe buy an SSD, or a new graphics card, or something.That’ll give you a LOT more mileage for your $$.;-)

 

Of course we’ll have a more in-depth review to publish once the final version is released, but until then, enjoy toying around!I can at least promise you that if you have a decently fast machine, Photoshop CS6 Beta won’t bog down and crash all the time, like the un-usable betas of yesteryear.(Anybody remember the Lightroom 1.0 Beta? Ouch!)

 

Take care,
=Matt=

 

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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

Follow his personal wilderness adventures: Astro-Landscapes.com

See some of his latest wedding photography featured on: LinandJirsa.com

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