Photoshop CS6 Beta: Hands On

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta was released few days back. We spent time downloading, installing and tinkering with Adobe’s latest offering and the undisputed king of Image Manipulation software for PC in this era. The Beta is currently free for unspecified period of time.

Here we quickly go through some key features of Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta. Photoshop CS6 comes almost after two years of CS5 release.

Installation and Initial Impressions

The installation took barely 5 minutes, but required awful Adobe sign in. Each time you start the beta, you will be greeted with the annoying Adobe Trial Prompt. Just like CS5, CS6 comes with both 32 and 64 bit. The startup was a bit faster than CS5 as well. We were impressed with the over all hard disk space usage too:  on our test machine Photoshop used only about 1.2 GB of disk space.

Photoshop CS5 and CS6 beta can coexist peacefully in your PC

User Interface: Complete Overhaul

Now this is something every bob has been talking about. CS6’s new interface is very well designed. The whole UI has a modern dark touch, which makes you pay more attention on the image rather than the interface. The coherence of the UI really stands out.

photoshop cs6 beta ui

You can easily set the interface to the older look as well under Preferences > Interface

interface options cs6 photoshop

Sinking inside Photoshop CS6 : Key new features

Redesigned Crop Tool

This is my favorite. The crop tool has been completely revamped and boy, it works brilliantly. You can adjust the crop to the perfect pixel in a delightfully easy manner. Kudos for the dev team for implementing this one. The cursors are redesigned as well.

crop redesigned photoshop cs6 beta

Content Aware Move

I was initially skeptical about this, but sweet Lord, it works brilliantly. Easily one of the killer features of CS6, for those scouting. Also in my view one of the most complex content based move tools ever created in the history of a digital image editing program.


Content Aware basically moves the area under the given selection replicating the surrounding pixels in the area where the content is taken from

Adaptive Wide Angle:

This is a brand new features introduced in CS6. Especially useful when you take scenery snaps. You can Scale to your taste, adjust focal length and a lot more in this new filter. I particularly liked the ability to re-size the focal length to your choice. The filter is very dynamic and the changes you make are well reflected.


Improved Lighting Effects:

Along with the enhancements to Photoshop’s 3D technologies, Lighting Effects too have been ramped up with a new set of controls and under the hood enhancements. Also under the hood is new lighting presets.

lighting effects photoshop cs6

Background Save and Auto Recovery

Photoshop is the latest (shame) to support auto save and auto recover. Finally it is there. No more hair pulling when you accidentally close Photoshop. Better late than never anyways.autosave photoshop

Searchable Layers (Finally)

layer search photoshop cs6

It can be very well argued that the heart of Photoshop lies in Layers. If you were one among those who worked with large number of layers, then CS6 is a boon for you. One can not simply imagine the amount of time it will end up saving. But again, this is one of those features which should have been implemented atleast in CS5.


May be due to the Adobe’s touted “Mercury Graphics Engine”, applying various effects and filters felt quite fast. The reason behind is that, most of the effects and filters are now GPU accelerated so you will not experience any slow down while the number crunching operations are performed. In fact the Beta does not actually feel like Beta at all. There are occasional slow downs, but never once did I experience a crash. Well done Adobe!

On A Concluding Note

Photoshop is one of those software which many consider perfect and with each iteration it is expected only to get better and better. Pleasingly, Adobe has done a spectacular job with this beta release with lots of new features and solid performance which should hardly disappoint anyone, including the most hard-core Photoshop user. But I do really think that there is not much for CS6 users in this release though in terms of features at least. Nevertheless if you are looking forward to the latest, greatest and Free Image Editing software, we would recommend nothing else than Photoshop CS6 Beta.

Download: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta [1.7 GB]