Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta announced, previewed


posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:01 AM EDT

Adobe's Photoshop CS6 beta logo. Click here to read our Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta preview!Almost exactly two years ago, Adobe first started teasing a major update to its flagship digital imaging application Photoshop, with a variety of interesting new features including an eyecatching content-aware fill tool.

Fast forward to today, and the company has relegated mere teasers to the trashcan: today it launches its first ever public beta of Photoshop, and we've just posted our Adobe Photoshop CS6 preview. Adobe has made something of a tradition out of its public beta program for its popular, photographer-oriented Photoshop Lightroom app, and we're sure many will be thrilled to see that tradition expanded to encompass the full-fledged Photoshop release.

The Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta brings a number of important changes over its predecessor. Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is a new, Lightroom-like dark user interface, although the original color scheme remains available for traditionalists, and those who find dark backgrounds tiring on the eyes. There's also a new requirement that an Adobe ID login be provided within one week of installation, something the company says will simplify the process of reinstallation or switching to a new machine since deactivation will no longer be needed before uninstalling the program. (For those with computers that lack internet connectivity, an offline activation process will be available, allowing you to complete the activation via another internet-connected device, and in that specific case, a deactivation process will still be required to free up the software license for use on a different machine.)

The Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta defaults to a dark color scheme, reminiscent of that in Lightroom. Screenshot copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

The Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta defaults to a dark color scheme, reminiscent of that in Lightroom.
Screenshot copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

The most exciting new feature for our money is the addition of GPU acceleration for many features, something that should make the application significantly more responsive, with near-realtime preview of a variety of effects and tools. Although this shares the same Mercury branding as in Adobe's Premiere Pro non-linear video editor, the list of graphics cards is rather wider, and hence there's a greater chance your specific configuration will be supported.

The feature that's going to grab the most attention is one that was previewed recently, however. Adobe's Content-Aware technology has been expanded, and is now available with user-control over the area borrowed for the fill, for both Content-Aware Patch and Content-Aware Move tools that let you rearrange your subjects with a minimum of fuss.

The new Blur tools make it easy to recreate a tilt-shift lens effect or add pleasing bokeh. Screenshot copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

The new Blur tools make it easy to recreate a tilt-shift lens effect or add pleasing bokeh.
Screenshot copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta also includes Adobe Camera Raw 7, incorporating the improved imaging engine seen recently in Lightroom 4, and there are many other changes besides. A few that will prove key with photographers include updated Auto Levels and Auto Curves tools, and three new blur filters. Videographers will be pleased to see timeline-based video creation, and there's also more robust 3D editing capability that will make its way into the final release of Photoshop CS6 Extended. And to make sure there's something for everybody, Adobe has also completed another 65 of its Just Do It (JDI) items, smaller tweaks that can have a big impact on day-to-day usage as suggested by the user community.

The Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta is available immediately, as is our Adobe Photoshop CS6 preview. We suggest you start there to get a better idea of the new features, and then visit Adobe's site to give the beta a try for yourself. The final release is expected during the first half of 2012.

Press Release

Photoshop CS6 Beta Now Available on Adobe Labs

First Major Release Since April 2010 Packed with New Features and Huge Performance Enhancements

SAN JOSE, Calif., — March 22, 2012 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Photoshop® CS6 beta, a preview of what’s to come in the next release of the industry standard in digital imaging, is available as a free download from Adobe Labs. Customers can download the beta, try out the experience and provide feedback to the product team. Packed with groundbreaking new innovations, features and incredible performance enhancements, Photoshop CS6 beta is available for the Mac OS and Microsoft® Windows® platforms. The final release is expected in the first half of 2012.

“Photoshop CS6 will be a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “We couldn’t wait to share this beta of Photoshop CS6 with our customers and are looking forward to hearing from them and seeing the ways they are incorporating the beta into their daily creative workflows.”

New Features in Photoshop CS6 Beta
Photoshop CS6 beta demonstrates Adobe’s focus on huge performance enhancements, imaging magic and creativity tools that offer customers a new experience in digital imaging. Key features include new additions to the Content-Aware tools: Content-Aware Patch allows greater control by letting users select and duplicate an area of an image to fill in or “patch” another. Content-Aware Move lets users select and magically move an object to a new place in the image.

In addition, the Photoshop CS6 beta offers all the features of Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended, such as new 3D editing features and quantitative imaging analysis capabilities. These features will be included in the shipping version of Photoshop CS6 Extended when it becomes available.

Pricing and Availability
The Photoshop CS6 beta is available immediately as a free download in English and Japanese. At installation, users will be required to provide an Adobe ID to complete a one-time login and online product activation. For information on how to install Photoshop CS6 beta visit Adobe Labs. Customers can submit feedback via the Photoshop CS6 beta forum: Users can also connect with the Photoshop team via the community-powered site; on Facebook; YouTube; blog; or via Twitter.

Adobe Photoshop Family
Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Extended are at the heart of the Photoshop family, joined by solutions for users at every level who want to bring out the best in their digital images either at home, in the office or on the go. Coupled with Adobe Photoshop, the recently released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 addresses the workflow needs of amateur and professional photographers, helping them create, manage and showcase images in impactful ways. Adobe Photoshop Elements provides consumers with powerful yet easy-to-use tools that organize, edit, create and share photos memories. For mobile devices, the Adobe Photoshop Touch app transforms images with core Photoshop features custom-built for tablets; and Photoshop Express is a free app for simple photo fixes and enhancements, and sharing to social networks.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit


*3D features and some GPU-enabled features are not supported on Windows XP.
© 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe, the Adobe logo, Photoshop, and Lightroom are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Mac OS is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Windows is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.