Crop Tool

OK, it's not a brand new feature or even a particularly sexy one, but the crop tool is undoubtedly one of the items you use most often (be honest). In CS6 it's gotten some important updates. The first thing you'll notice is that upon selecting the crop tool (C), a crop is automatically drawn around the entire image; a huge time-saver for those who often perform relatively subtle crops from an image's edges. In behavior that is distinctly Lightroom-esque, dragging with the mouse now moves the image around the crop boundary, rather than moving the crop boundary around the image. You can choose a Classic mode option to revert to the old behavior.

Options for controlling the crop tool's
behavior are now primarily located in two
pulldown menus. In the menu on the left
you can choose from a number of preset
crop ratios or create your own.
Two options that have previously been
available in but are now easier to find are
the straighten and delete/hide pixels
options (highlighted in red).

Though few users realize it, you've long had the ability to set the crop tool to hide, rather than delete pixels. Yet this option was not available on image files consisting only of a Background layer. In CS6, choosing the hide option (by unchecking the Delete Cropped Pixels box) will automatically convert the Background layer to an unlocked layer.

Properties panel

A new Properties panel now houses both adjustment layer (shown below) and mask properties. This new panel can be resized by dragging its bottom right edge.

Clicking on a New Adjustment Layer icon in the Adjustments panel (left) automatically populates the Properties panel (right) with the relevant adjustment layer.

Video support

In CS6, the image adjustment tools used for still images are all available for use with video files.

With CS6, Photoshop's support for video files has been considerably expanded. You can add and mute audio tracks, create transitions and fades, use the Text tool and perform all of the standard Photoshop edits on a video file. File format support for both importing and exporting video is handled by Adobe Media Encoder, the same engine behind Adobe Premiere, the company's flagship video editing program. And unlike in CS5, where video support is limited to Photoshop Extended, all of this capability will be available in both versions of Photoshop CS6.

Oil Paint filter

A new Oil Paint filter allows you to quickly apply a painterly effect to a photographic image. The filter opens in a separate full size window. Brush and Lighting parameters can be adjusted with a real-time preview of their effects. You can access the tool by going to Filter>Oil Paint filter.

Here you can see before and after results using the new Oil Paint filter at
relatively conservative settings.

Please click here to continue reading our Photoshop CS6 New Features article...