Is Photoshop CS6 Worth the Upgrade?

photoshop cs6

Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop CS5 was introduced not that long ago. Now we have the newly updated Photoshop CS6.

Should You Change to Photoshop CS6?

Rather than get all crazy by adding exotic or bizarre new features, Adobe has worked hard to simply improve upon the basics.

While many of the improvements are best suited to hard-core designers, overall I think advanced users can find a speedier workflow and improved finished photo edit quality.

That said, no amount of new or improved features will help you that much if you are still just getting to know Photoshop.

If you’re relatively new or just getting started with Photoshop, I’d recommend you spend your money instead on educational resources that will build your skills, rather than chasing after the latest and greatest software versions, which might only increase your frustration.

Here are some of the recent CS6 updates and how they might affect you:

  • The Crop tool functions are new and improved. It is just opposite now to how it worked before. It’s tough to explain, but you’ll quickly come to like it. This function is now non-destructive too, and comes with an integrated straightening tool which can increase your speed.
  • Pixel snapping behavior has been greatly improved by Align Edges and Snap Vector tools and the command “Transforms to Pixel Grid”. These new tools improve image quality.
  • Layer styles can now be applied to groups.
  • Lens Blur now comes with three effect options.
  • Adaptive Wide Angle Correction helps to minimize distortion in your photos too.
  • New skin and face detection technology saves time when making portrait corrections.
  • Content Aware Patch and Move features greatly reduce errors now.
  • Group Clipping Masks are now available. Layers can now be clipped to groups, which makes for some cool masking opportunities.
  • You can search for layers now by layer type, name, effect (layer style), blending mode, color or by a large range of attributes.
  • Shapes are now created using their tool names. “Rectangle”, “Rounded Rectangle” and “Ellipse” are used as names now instead of more generic, “Shape”.
  • Auto Image correction is greatly improved, cutting down on the need for Levels and Curves adjustments.
  • The reaction time for Liquify, Puppet Warp, Crop, and Transform is greatly improved. It’s more like real-time now.
  • Pressing 0 twice quickly now sets the layer opacity to 0%.
  • Shift-00 sets the fill opacity to 0%.
  • Rename layers quickly now using the new TAB feature to move up or down.
  • Shadows and Highlights adjustment has been improved to reduce halo effects.
  • There’s a new RAW 7 import that works really well.
  • You can now change blend modes on multiple layers at once.
  • Pasting from Illustrator has been fixed.
  • Vector shapes pasted from Illustrator now always align to the pixel boundary.
  • Vector and bitmap layers now rotate exactly 90°, 180° and 270°.
  • Attribute changes are made simple. Right clicking on a vector layer in the layers panel presents these two new functions: Copy Shape Attributes and Paste Shape Attributes.
  • Command-J will duplicate anything now, including selections and groups.
  • Paragraph Styles and Character Styles let you store a text style and apply it quickly to text throughout your document.
  • A Stroke Layer Style option is available on paths now.
  • Feathering is now more accurate. Radius can be a floating point, instead of an number value.
  • Photoshop CS6 autosaves as your work every 10 minutes now by default. But there are settings to control the interval, if you wish.
  • A dialog box is available now to create shapes. When you know the exact size you’d like your shape to be, just select the corresponding shape tool, click anywhere on the canvas, and type in the dimensions you need.
  • The color picker now accepts HEX colors that include a # and 3-digit HEX values.
  • Dimensions value box now, with Moving and Transforming features, will show a small box on the canvas with related values that change as you do the adjustment.
  • Locking multiple layers is now possible, and self explanatory.
  • Photoshop CS6 now comes with four different interface brightness options.
  • Dithered Gradient Layer Styles now let you create high quality gradients. In addition, the Gradient layer scale now goes to 1000%, up from 150%with CS5. However, the Gradient layer style range still maxes at 150%.
  • Finally, video editing is now an option. You might find it more simple though, in other programs like Windows Movie Maker.

There you have it. You can see the folks at Adobe have worked really hard to make some changes that matter. So if you’re ready for change and have the bucks to fund it, go ahead and upgrade.

However, if your basic Photoshop skills could use some help or you’re not even sure how to begin creating beautiful photo edits, you’ll be far better off investing in educational materials that offer a basic step-by-step method or “recipe” for creating cool Photoshop scenes.

About the Author:
Robert Schwarztrauber ( is an award winning photographer, Photoshop pro, and the author of “The Original Photoshop Recipe Cards” book, which provides simple, step-by-step tips, tricks and secret “recipes” for creating great photo edits fast.

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