The beta version of Photoshop CS6 is out and there are numerous new features waiting for you to try. Explore the new filters and tools, video editing capabilities, performance boosts, and more! Read this extensive guide and see why CS6 is the best upgrade in Photoshop’s history.

Quick Overview

Watch this video to get a quick overview of all the new features in Adobe Photoshop CS6.

1. Changing Photoshop’s interface color

There’s an entirely new dark color theme for Photoshop and it matches other Adobe products such as Lightroom, After Effects, etc. If you want to change the color theme you can press Shift+F1 to darken or Shift+F2 to lighten.

Photoshop Color Themes
The four new color themes in Photoshop CS6

Changing Color Themes in the Preferences
You can also set the color theme in the preferences by going to Edit > Preferences > Interface (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Interface (Mac).

2. How Background Save and Auto Save Works

Have you ever had Photoshop crash on you? You’ll be happy to hear about Photoshop’s new auto save feature which saves a backup copy every 5-60 minutes.

Photoshop CS6 Crash
Photoshop crashed? Run it again and you’ll find your recovered documents.

Changing Auto Save settings in the Preferences
You can set the auto save setting by going to Edit > Preferences > File Handling (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > File Handling (Mac)

Also new is background save. Saving large Photoshop files can take several minutes and now Photoshop can do it in the background so that you can continue working.

Background saving progress bar
A new save progress bar appears when saving large files.

3. Searching for layers in your 100-layers PSD

A lot of time can be wasted trying to find the right layer to edit. In Photoshop CS6, the Layers palette has been revamped with a new filter menu. Now you can sort and find your layers using different layer properties. To turn filtering off, just press the near the top-right of the palette.

Filtering options in the Layers palette
Working on a PSD with 100 layers is less of a headache now thanks to Photoshop CS6’s new layer filtering tool

4. Editing multiple layers at a time

Photoshop CS6 fixes some bugs and adds some enhancements with editing multiple layers. First of all, the Ctrl/Cmd+J hotkey to duplicate layers now work with multiple layers. You can also change blending modes, locking modes, opacity, and apply color labels to multiple layers at a time.

Applying color labels
Applying color labels to multiple layers at a time

5. Fix for the Magic Wand Tool

Before, many Photoshop users could not figure out why their Magic Wand tool wasn’t working properly. There was a bug where if you changed the sample size setting in your Eyedropper tool, it would change it for the Magic Wand tool too – and you can’t change it back with the Magic Wand tool. This has been fixed in CS6 by introducing the sample size menu into the Magic Wand options bar.

Sample size drop down menu

6. Making Selections Better in Photoshop CS6

Want to retouch skin? The improved Color Range selection tool (Select > Color Range) lets you do this easier with skin tone and face detection! Just set the mode to Skin Tones and enable Detect Faces and Photoshop will create a pretty good selection of the skin.

Selecting skin tones with the color range tool

7. Using the new Crop tools

The Crop tool in CS6 can be a little confusing when you first use it. Adobe took the Crop tool from Lightroom and put it in Photoshop. First of all, it’ll automatically create a crop selection of the entire image when you select the Crop tool. To move the crop area, pan the image instead of the crop selection (as if you were moving a piece of paper).

Cropping in CS6
The new crop tool shows you a preview of your background if you extend the crop area beyond your image boundaries.

There are several views that you can use instead of the Rule of Thirds. To cycle through them quickly, just press O on your keyboard.

New crop views
The new crop views

Also note that Photoshop by default will crop your images non-destructively so that you can expand your crop at a later time. If you want to disable this feature, checkmark the “Delete Cropped Pixels” in the option bar.

Delete Cropped Pixels

Switch to the Perspective Crop tool to fix the perspective of photos. Think of it as the old Crop tool with the Perspective option checked but better. This tool only works when you have no text/shape layers.

Photoshop CS6 Crop tools
The Perspective Crop tool

8. Eyedropper tool enhancements

The new sample modes for the Eyedropper tool lets you ignore adjustment layers and sample from the current layer and below. Also changed is the sample size option – it doesn’t affect the Magic Wand tool anymore.

Photoshop CS6 vs CS5 Sampling Modes
The new sampling modes

9. Using the Patch Tool on Content-Aware mode

The Patch tool isn’t new but what is is a new Content-Aware mode for the Patch tool. Content-Aware fill worked great for removing objects and selecting areas to copy the background from. With the Patch tool on Content-Aware mode, you can specify where Photoshop should sample the background from so that you get better object removals.

Content-Aware Patch tool
You can change the patch mode in the options bar

Changing Content-Aware adaptation
Not getting the results you like? Try changing the adaptation setting.

Content-Aware Fill vs Content-Aware Patch
The Content-Aware Patch tool can get results closer to perfect

10. Using the new Content-Aware Move tool to move and extend objects

The Content-Aware Move tool lets you move objects easily using content-aware technology. It works wonderfully when moving objects with a simple background but not perfectly for more complicated scenes like the one below.

Content-Aware Move tool
The Content-Aware Move tool

Using the Content-Aware Move tool

Results of the Content-Aware move
Photoshop did most of the work but more clone/heal work needs to be done for this image.

Changing adaptation settings
Not getting good results? Try adjusting the Adaptation level.

Change the mode from Move to Extend and now you can extend objects. To use, simply create a selection then drag to extend the object.

Switching to Extend mode

Extending trees using the Content-Aware Move tool on Extend mode

5 thoughts on “Switching To Photoshop CS6? 27 New Features and Changes You Need to Know”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Free Photoshop Actions

Sign up to our weekly newsletter and get 10 free Photoshop Actions.

Special FX Photoshop Actions