The beta of Photoshop CS6 is being hailed as a major step forward, bringing features that designers have been hankering after for some time.
Top of the list of new features are improvements in vector pixel snapping, layer searching and the ability to apply layer styles to groups. The interface has also been greatly improved. This video on the Photoshop YouTube channel demonstrates some of the best bits.
The reaction from designers has been very positive. Within an hour of downloading it, Tim Van Damme gave his first impressions on the interface: "The new dark(set) mode looks amazing, I feel like I'm diving into a design. All the buttons and icons look a lot more crisp, and the app overall feels a lot more stable."
Elliot Jay Stocks echoed his sentiments on the darker interface, and is delighted with the new features: "I'm really impressed. The beta of Photoshop CS6 has got some amazing new features — such as the content-aware move — but it's the smaller enhancements that will appeal to many, especially those of us using the application more for design than for photo-retouching. Being able to apply layer styles to grouped layers is so handy; the addition of InDesign-esque type styles means no more changing each block of text by hand; pixel-snapping works the way it always should have; and guides are finally fixed! This feels like a pretty significant progression for Photoshop."
Cameron Moll told us he thinks this is "Photoshop's most significant improvement to date for UI designers" and that he's "thrilled" to try it out.
Everyone's happy, but some people think the changes are long overdue. Front End Designer Johannes Holmberg said "You can really tell that Adobe is feeling the pressure (and has been inspired) from competitors like Pixelmator. That is a good thing."
Designer and developer Olivier Lacan told us "I think these features are the first sign Adobe has its head back in the right place in years. Features like layer searching, group layer styles & clipping masks, paragraph & character styles and auto-save feel like Adobe's plea to survive obsolescence in the UI design world. It's something interface designers have spent years clamoring for and eventually stopped hoping for.
There is a detailed break down of the new features here.