New Photoshop CS6 Design Tools

New Photoshop CS6 Design Tools
If you are a fan of the paragraph and character styles functions in AdobeR InDesignR, you will be very happy with the new additions to text formatting in PhotoshopR CS6. If you need control over vectors, you will like the new vector layers. If you need pixel-perfect alignment in your graphics, you will like the new Snap to Pixel and Aligned Rendering features. If your graphics have hundreds of layers, you will like the new layer search feature.

Text Formatting

With these new text formatting tools, you can set paragraph and character styles that are retained across multiple documents. As in InDesign, any changes made to the styles are also applied across all documents.

The first thing you will notice is the new Type menu in the Menubar and the new toggle button for the Character and Paragraph panels in the Type Options Bar. If you are doing some serious type formatting, you will want to switch to the new Typography Workspace.

New and Improved Panels

The Paragraph panel is about the same as before, but we have some new icons on the Character panel. These new icons are for applying OpenType ligatures, ordinals, fractions, swash and other options.

We also have new Paragraph and Character Styles panels. These panels work very much like their counterparts in InDesign. As in InDesign, we first apply paragraph styles or edit the Basic Paragraph style. These styles will apply to a large body of text. To control the styles for individual words or letters, you will use the Character Styles panel to apply character styles to these small areas that will override the paragraph styles.

You can save your custom styles in the Paragraph and Character Styles panels. Also, when you drag a type layer from one document to another, the styles applied to the text move with the layer. Finally, we have a new type-rendering engine that does a better job displaying the text in the document.

New Vector Layers

With the new vector layers, you can control the Fill, Stroke and other aspects. The new Shapes Options Bar has new Fill and Stroke menus for applying colors, gradients and patterns. The new Stroke Options pull-down panel gives you control over dashed, dotted and other stroke styles.

With the new Snap to Pixel and Aligned Rendering you can create crisp and sharp vector graphics. The Snap to Pixel feature snaps the vector paths on pixel grids and the Aligned Rendering option aligns the outer edges of strokes with the pixel grid and removes anti-aliasing.

New Layers Search

Digital artists who create amazing artwork in Photoshop can accumulate a large number of layers. With the new Layers panel search feature and new improvements to the layers management, the digital artist's life just got easier.

You will find the new Search controls at the top of the Layers panel. As you can see, you can search for Kind, Name, Effect, Mode, Attribute and Color. These filter types can be further refined. For example, each of the Effect, Mode, Attribute and Color filters have its own preset list. The Kind filter has a group of icons for Pixel, Adjustment, Type, Shape and Smart Objects. The Name filter gives you a text box. Once you set the search attributes, Photoshop will display only those layers that match the search criteria. You can toggle the filtered layers on and off with the square red button at the right of the search area.

Layer management has been improved in CS6. Have you ever wanted to apply a blend mode to several layers? Now you can. You can also control Layer Styles and Layer Effects for layer Groups. Finally, you can now see the Opacity and Blend Modes for hidden layers.

*Adobe provided a copy of this software to me for review purposes.

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