Photoshop CS6 Top Six

When the Public Beta of Photoshop CS6 was released, there were a number of places to see “top ten” lists of the cool new stuff in CS6. Of course many of these were based on some quick testing or first impressions. I decided to wait a bit until I had really spent some time working with CS6 before posting too much.

So here’s my “Now that I’ve been using it for a while Top Six list of my favorite things in Photoshop CS6″ list. (Top Six, because it’s CS6 – get it?)

1. Crop Tool
I absolutely LOVE the new Crop Tool. It’s so much easier and faster that now I cannot imagine going back to the “old way”. I almost wish Adobe didn’t include the option to go to “Classic Mode” – I fear that some people will give up to soon on the new way and revert back to the old way. Every time I press C for Crop and the crop handles are already there I give an imaginary high five to Adobe.

2. Background Save
It’s easy to forget about this one since it is in the background, but the ability to save a large document and continue to work has been a real time saver. Every. Single. Day.

3. Content Aware Patch
Although Content Aware Fill is great, I have an ongoing love affair with the Content Aware option of the Patch tool. The ability to choose the area to use, and put the results on a new layer? Awesome!!

4. Color Lookup Adjustment Layer
I’ve found myself using this new adjustment layer more than I thought I would – mostly I think because it quickly lets me try looks that would have taken longer n the past. And some of the choices would have previously required a third-party Action to achieve – no it’s an editable effect.

5. Tool Recording in Actions
I”ve already found a number of situations where having the option to record tools as part of an Action have been a huge help. Check out this video for one example.

6. Group Layer Styles
I guess I never realized how often I used to copy and paste layer style from one layer to another until I no longer have to do that. The option to apply layer styles to a Group is very very cool. (and the ability to use a Clipping Mask with a Group is pretty darn cool too).

Other contenders for the top six:
The Lighting Effects filter: haven’t used it much but it’s very interesting
The Blur Filters: again, haven’t had too many reasons to use them, but I do like the look of Field Blur over Gaussian Blur
Layer Search: I can see how this will be a great help the next time I’m working on a document with lots of layers

Not a Fan:
Mini Bridge: I am (was?) a huge fan of Mini Bridge and relied on it each and every day. I do not like the fact that in CS6 I’m pretty much forced to use it as a filmstrip on the bottom. What a waste of space! I am so used to have MB as a pop-up panel that I can put away, but MB definitely does not operate well anymore unless it’s a filmstrip.

What are your favorite features/changes so far? Your least favorites? Comment away….




  1. Jim Crabtree

    May 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I totally agree with your choices but I would have to have a top seven.
    I find myself loving Adaptive Wide-Angle Filter in addition to your pics.

    Actually when you dissect this version, there are WAY too many things to love about CS6.

    Jim Crabtree
    Oakland, MD

  2. Patrick

    May 11, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I agree about mini-bridge, but you can make it work the way it used to. Choose file > browse in mini-bridge to open it as a filmstrip along the bottom of the screen. Once you have it there drag the tab to the tool icons on the right, when a blue line appears let go and MB is attached to the tool list and operates exactly as it used to.

  3. admin

    May 11, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Although you are correct (that was the first thing I tried), unfortunately you can no longer control the size of the thumbnails in MB, so when you dock it to the side, you can only see 2 or 3 thumbnails. You used to be able to scale down the thumbnail size to where you could see 2 “columns” of thumbnails. Not any more. That’s why I feel “forced” to use it as the filmstrip.

  4. Patrick

    May 11, 2012 at 8:38 am

    If you dock the icon then undock it just slightly MB retains its compact shape when opened and gives you a resize option at the bottom of the panel. I agree not ideal, but better than the filmstrip along the bottom. I can’t understand why the resize option is not available when it is docked.

  5. Edward Bantin

    May 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I have been using CS4 up to now. Didn’t think the upgrade to CS5 was worth it. Now the new pricing is in place, I think the upgrade to CS6 is on the cards for me. Just started to use the trial and am very impressed so far. Lots of nice new toys to play with. Some good time saving tools. The content aware tools are just fantastic.

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