The Blur Gallery enables you to add really nice creative blur effects, without the need for plug-ins or complicated workarounds
The Blur Gallery enables you to add really nice creative blur effects, without the need for plug-ins or complicated workarounds

So has Adobe done enough to justify the release of a whole new version, and is there enough here that's new to tempt existing users into upgrading?

The new Blur Gallery is terrific, and it's not just for gimmicky tilt-shift effects, either. You can use it to subtly draw attention to your subject and tone down distracting background clutter. Previously, you'd have had figure out how to do this kind of thing manually or buy a dedicated plug-in.

We liked

The video tools are great, too. Photoshop 6 isn't designed to replace a full-blown video editor, but it still does plenty, and many photographers who need to branch out into video may find that it's all they need.

The content-aware Move and Patch tools can offer dramatically faster and more effective alternative to the Clone Stamp tool. In ideal conditions, you can select and drag an object to a different part of the picture and have the gap filled in automatically. In practice, this depends on the image, the uniformity and size of the background and its proximity to other objects that might interfere with the outcome. It's more alchemy than science, but when it works, it's brilliant.

Video editing
The inclusion of video editing tools is great news for photographers who now need to shoot video as well as stills

And Adobe Camera Raw 7 is a clear improvement over the previous version. The highlight and shadow recovery from RAW files is much more effective because it has less impact on the image's overall brightness and contrast.

We disliked

Apart from the video tools, Photoshop CS6 is more about making existing things easier rather than making new things possible. If you need video editing tools, that's a good enough reason to upgrade on its own. If not, it's a tough call.

It's also rather annoying that you have to keep upgrading Photoshop to get the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, in order to be able to open the RAW files from the latest cameras.

Verdict

If you're a professional designer, artist or photographer, Photoshop will have become an essential tool of the trade. Whether you upgrade or not will depend on how important the new features are for the work you. The 3D editing tools in the Extended version have been simplified and improved, for example, and the video tools could be just what you've been waiting for. Otherwise you might prefer to save some cash and skip a version. May pros are still happily using CS4 or earlier.

For more on Photoshop CS6, head over to CreativeBloq's Adobe Photoshop CS6 review.