First Impressions of the Photoshop CS6 Beta

by Tom Kenny (@tkenny)

Adobe have released the beta of Photoshop 6. Bjango has great overview of improvements. Here are my highlights which will make a big difference to how I use Photoshop. I’ll keep adding things as I come across them over the next week or so.


More Cohesive

Photoshop now feels more like a Mac app than ever before. The fresh interface design looks great and you’ll notice it immediately. I especially like the default dark UI which contrasts nicely with your content as well as the move to a one window layout. Hooray!

Layer Searching and Filtering


This seems like something that should have existed a long time ago but then again, this is Adobe. You can also filter the type of layers to be shown (pixel, adjustment, type, shape and smart objects) as show in the screenshot below:

Layer Styles on Groups

… you can now have two or more drop shadows by nesting layers inside groups and applying layer styles to the groups.


Rotating 90° fixed

Rotating vector and bitmap layers by 90°, 180° and 270° is now perfect. Another hack can be removed from my bat utility belt.


Dotted Lines

Another feature that should have existed a long time ago but here it is. You’ll notice it when you use the shape tool.



As good as this update is (and it really is very good), there are some annoying things that have been changed or even removed.

Lack of Interactivity through the Title in Mac OSX

I don’t know what this feature is called, or even if it has a name, but in OSX you can click and drag on the little icon next to the name of the file title in the window which is basically the same as dragging the file from the Finder. You can do this on CS5 and lower but it it has been removed in the default window view of CS6. Go back to the old layout by going to Window > Application Frame but then you lose the benefits of the new, more cohesive look and feel.

You can right click the file tab and click Reveal in Finder to get to the file which I suppose will have to do. I liked being able to drag the file icon directly into Safari to view the .psd in the browser to get a better feel of how it will look in it’s native environment but I guess another step in the process isn’t too bad. There is still time for Adobe to change this for the full version but I doubt it to be honest.

No Changes to the Layer Styles

The ability to do things like add rounded corners or dotted lines through the use of layer styles would be very welcome but it doesn’t seem like there are any changes to them  whatsoever. In fact, I just spotted a change: the layer styles have been re-ordered. Wow.

Save for Web

The slow save for web bug still exists. I’ve barely used the feature in CS6 and have come across it the infamous beach ball once already. I don’t know why this is still the case as it’s been the number one bug that us web designers have been complaining about for years.


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by Tom Kenny

I’m a freelance web designer and front-end developer with over 7 years of experience designing for the web. Follow me on Twitter here.