MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 59 of 115

FIRST LOOK PHOTOSHOP CS6 WORDS BY RIC GETTER Photoshop. It no longer relies on NVidia's proprietary CUDA technology and can take full advantage of the MacOS's OpenCL underpinnings. Effects like Liquefy, which lagged through sector-by-sector redraws, now can be smeared around in real time. Feature Intensive There were some very cool new features, but the past version and a half of Photoshop (CS5 – 5.5) were most notable for the work that Adobe's developers did under the hood: substantial performance gains and 64-bit power on the Mac (which is now a requirement in CS6). As soon as you pop open Photoshop CS6 (and yes, it does "pop") you'll see that the program has undergone some profound changes. The clean, dark, Lightroom-like look is easy on the eyes and panels zip out to present the controls you would expect to see and in the way you'd most want to see them. Some of the changes are quite subtle. The program's thousand-plus icons have all been reworked to give them a much cleaner look, making things far easier to find. Normally, changes on this scale can cause confusion. If anything, the redesign seems to have eliminated a good deal of that as well as most of the clutter that had been accumulating in recent years. To help prove the point that change is a goodthing, Adobe took the unusual step of releasing Photoshop CS6 as a free beta—one that is surprising fast and stable. It makes use of the new Camera Raw 7 image-processing engine just released in Lightroom 4 and, unusual for a beta, shows off some of the performance improvements we can expect in the release version. The truth is that, even though Adobe worked hard on responsiveness in CS5/5.5, the improvement is arguably even more noticeable in CS6. First appearing in Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe's Mercury technology has made the move to It's too easy to fall into the old cliché of calling an update "feature rich." In the case of Photoshop CS6, a term like "feature intensive" still seems to be an understatement. First off, CS6 added 65 of what it likes to call "just do it" features. Mostly requested by users but often reflecting bright ideas from the program's developers, these are little changes that go a long way toward increasing users' productivity. These are as varied as policing the wording in dialog windows and bringing back the Contact Sheet 2 automation tool that had been exiled to Bridge. The super-smart content-aware family of features has expanded in CS6. There's now a content-aware move feature that lets you alter background or foreground elements in a few simple steps. Select the element you want to move, stretch or patch and content-aware intelligence will (literally) do all the background work for you. Though it would seemingly be to Adobe's financial advantage to keep each of their applications highly specialized, features now seem to be blending. In a number of ways, Photoshop CS6 makes it even more tempting to break away from Illustrator. It's inherited many of Illustrator's latest generation of typesetting and paragraph formatting tools. You can also now designate a layer to hold exclusively vector art. Taking a cue from Fireworks, vector objects can be set to snap to the nearest pixel so there are no unexpected changes when moving to lower resolution, bitmap output. Video and 3D The Photoshop team has recognized the reality that many DSLRs shoot better HD video than do most camcorders. So, not only does CS6 greatly expand Photoshop's video editing capabilities, you no longer need to ante up for the pricier Extended version to gain access to them. You have access to nearly all of Photoshop's image enhancement and correction tools and a far more sophisticated, multi-layer video timeline. With video segments, the Layers panel lets you rearrange the stacking of your video clips and you can drag and drop in transitions. CS6 supports audio tracks and, as you would expect, bringing in stills is a cinch. On the back end, all the power and convenience of Adobe's Media Encoder technology provides one of the best export engines available. If you do opt for CS6 Extended, you'll find that Photoshop's 3D tools have been significantly enhanced as well as greatly simplified. A rather brilliantly redesigned interface has surprisingly intuitive controls for features that normally have a steep learning curve in pro 3D applications. Contextual pop-up windows and cursor hints display relevant options and information while keeping the screen from getting too cluttered as you're designing. More than Worthwhile All updates have a price tag (though as we go to press, Adobe has yet to announce Photoshop's). However, this beta will convince users that it is going to be one of the program's most worthwhile. Though it has gained an almost unimaginable degree of power and capability, it's actually gotten faster and easier to use. Not only will CS6 be the most substantial upgrade in Photoshop's history, we're going to bet that it's going to be the most successful. 58 MacDirectory

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