We reported this week that Adobe was “wrapping up CS6 development and that a public beta was launching soon”. The review embargo has just lifted and the beta is out.

Here are some reviews from around the Web:

Download Photoshop CS6 from Adobe Labs (just under 1 GB). The press release and features follow…

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.

Customers will experience incredible performance, powered by the new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine*, enabling near-instant results from popular editing tools including Liquify, Puppet Warp, Transform and Lighting Effects; and a refined, modern interface featuring dark UI options to make images pop. New and re-engineered design tools make creating designs faster and more efficient. Vector layers allow users to apply dashed lines and gradient strokes, searchable layers help quickly zero in on any layer you need, and new type styles let designers quickly apply type treatments to their designs.

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 . Customers can submit feedback via the Photoshop CS6 beta forum: http://www.adobe.com/go/pscs6_forum. Users can also connect with the Photoshop team via the community-powered site: http://feedback.photoshop.com; on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Photoshop; YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/photoshop; Photoshop.com blog: http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/; or via Twitter: http://twitter.com/photoshop.

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.

New Features

Brushes
- HUD brush resize and hardness can now change opacity
- Increase brush size to 5000px
- Change color dynamics to per stroke instead of per tip (user option for old behavior)
- Brightness/contrast slider for textures when painting
- Brush projection for static tips
- Brush cursor reflects brush dynamics for round and captured tips

Eyedropper
- Show the sample size popup for the various eyedropper tools (black point, white point,
etc.)
- Add ignore adjustment layers options bar item for the eyedropper
- New mode for eyedropper to select layers current and below

File formats
- Read common stereo image pair formats (JPS, PNS) Allow for more bit depths in TIFF files
- Read BIGTIFF format
- Give the user choices regarding how they want transparency treated in OpenEXR on file open

Grammar
- Policed throughout app
- Use consistent grammar style in the title of dialog windows (no commands such as “Choose a color:”)

Layers
- Add a contextual menu item that deletes a layer effect not just disables it
- Add dither options to Layer Styles for Gradient Overlay and Gradient Stroke
- Allow 00 or Shift 00 to work when setting layer/fill opacity (previously no way to get 0%)
- Add bicubic sharper & bicubic smoother options when free transforming layers
- Allow changing of blend modes for multiple layers at once
- Allow locking of multiple layers
- CMD+J to duplicate layers and layer group
- Allow changing color labels to multiple layers at once
- Layer tooltips to include layer name (if defined)
- Opt+click on toggle arrows (groups and effects) in layer panel should close all targets
- Show blend if/Blending Effects badge on layer
- Show correct opacity and blend mode values for hidden layers
- Tab goes to next layer on inline layer rename, SHIFT + TAB goes to previous
- New command to raster layer effect into layer, merging the selected layers into themselves
- Reorder effects in the layers palette to match the Z-­­order style/blend mode (bottom most effects in termsof blending order, drop shadow is below the other effects

Liquify
- Resize Liquify brush with shortcuts
- Increase maximum Liquify brush size Add option to load last mesh

Presets
- Add new document presets for common devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, etc.)
- Add new Gradient Map presets for toning and split-­­toning
- Sticky reorganization of tool presets (changes persist after re-launch) Add Contact Sheet II as an Automation option

SDK
- Add the ability to return an array of guides in a document from the scripting SDK
- Add ability to access tool name associated with the tool preset name via scripting
Selections
- Make the marquee, lasso, and mask panel feather values support decimal places like the feather dialog
- Remember feather radius when showing dialog for selection from a path

Transform
- Improve dragging of vector curves
- Don’t hide smart object icon when transforming a layer
- Rotate 90 with even x odd pixel dimension to be smooth (bjango.com)
- Undo or disable auto -­­rotate on open

UI
- Remove the app bar and reduce the drag/app bar over 30%
- [Windows] New/open document to context click on a document tab (has always been on Mac, now Windows too)
- Add “Don’t show again” checkbox to Purge warnings

Miscellaneous
- Enable Split Channels for documents with layers
- Select Hex field by default and allow clipboard pastes with # in contents (i.e. #fffffff)
- Increased GPU stability by prequalifying GPUs on the fly before use
- Auto-­­select the best resample method based on the type of resize
- Enable Invert and Threshold adjustments for masks in 32 -­­bit
- Hold SHIFT during startup to disable 3rd party plugins
- Add warning message that 16 -­­bit images cannot display their file size in the Save as JPEG dialog
- Add command to insert “lorem ipsum” for typeRelated articles

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