Adobe is officially releasing it's CS6 suite today. It's new features are exciting, but their Creative Cloud solution is making headlines. Soon users will be able to subscribe to Adobe for a monthly fee and get access to the entire CS6 package, all for just $50/month if you sign up for a year. The whole shebang will be available in the next 30 days.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended
Photoshop continues to please with several new features. The new Content-Aware Patch gives users more control over the already popular Content-Aware fill feature by allowing them to chose where the fill is coming from. There is also a Content-Aware Move function that allows you to make a selection, move it to another part of the image, and let Content-Aware fill in the missing area. Much like when Content-Aware was first launched, this function may not be perfect, but it will most likely be a great starting point and time saver.
The new Mercury Graphics Engine allows you to see your changes more quickly. When applying complex filters over your images like warps, this feature reportedly speeds up the processing and preview times. This is a global change allowing all kinds of other functions to work faster.
The Blur Gallery allows you to quickly and intuitively make parts of your image blurry. This allows for quick and easy tilt-shift effects, which basically entails making two sides of your image blurry with a gradient effect to less the blur as it gets closer to your subject. You'll also be able to more easily amplify shallow depth-of-field, but selecting what you what to remain in focus and what you don't.
The Crop Tool has also been redesigned. It is non-destructive and operates a little like the Lightroom cropping tool. When you select the tool, it automatically selects the whole image instead of forcing you to draw your own crop. There's also a handy drop-down menu at the top that allows for graphic overlays showing the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Spiral and more.
Another addition that I'm excited about is the automatic resampling function. When you resize image for the web, a variety of methods can be used to pick and choose the right pixels. This feature will choose the best method based on the circumstances, which will hopefully result in smoother images without funky gradients or fuzz.
The Creative Cloud
Adobe describes the Creative Cloud as a "digital hub that lets you download and install every Adobe Creative Suite® 6 application; access online services for file sharing, collaboration, and publishing; and benefit from new apps and features as soon as they're released."
The Creative Cloud is a subscription service. If you commit to a year, the monthly fee is $50. You can also go month-to-month, but the fee jumps to $75. There will also be a lower fee for Photoshop-only access, but the same cannot be said for all the other programs in the suite.
As Adobe's description suggests, you also get access to a cloud-based storage and sharing service. With a subscription, you get 20GB. If you decide to give a 30-day trial a whirl, you'll get 2GB to play with.
For those freelancers among us, there is also an preview web app. This could make collaboration a little quicker if downloading files is unnecessary.
Keep in mind the CS6 does not currently include an update of Lightroom. Lightroom 4 in not on the same release schedule.
Check It All Out Yourself
You can head over to Adobe's site to further explore all the new applications and features. I've only mentioned things here that pertain specifically to photography, so if you're a web or graphic designer or even into producing video, there's a lot more in store for you. They're even introducing a few tablet-based apps they're calling Touch Apps soon.