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Adobe CS6: what you need to know (UPDATED)

Adobe is busy working on the release of Creative Suite 6 (CS6) and updates to its core components that will see the launch of new applications including Photoshop CS6, InDesign CS6, Illustrator CS6 and After Effects CS6.

Don't forget to check out our Photoshop CS6 review

After the enhancements to/bug fixes for CS5 that appeared in CS5.5, Adobe has said that CS6 will mark "a major new release of our creative desktop tools, with huge improvements for every type of creative professional."

It's a big claim. So what do we know about version 6.0 of Adobe's powerhouse software cluster? And what is this Adobe Creative Cloud that everyone is talking about?

Adobe CS6 release date

Adobe CS6 will be launched during the first half of 2012. Adobe has said as much itself. A discounted upgrade offer (opens in new tab) will be available for owners of CS3 and above. "This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012," says Adobe.

Adobe's current release schedule saw CS5 debut in 2010, followed by CS5.5 in 2011. With CS6 due in 2012, we can realistically expect iterative improvements for CS6.5 in 2013 and another revamp for CS7 in 2014.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe plans to launch its Creative Cloud (opens in new tab) alongside CS6 and claims that it will be its "most comprehensive creative solution ever."

Members will get access to all of the Adobe CS6 desktop applications, plus extra services, tools, community features and 20GB of online storage.

The Adobe Creative Cloud will also include Adobe's touch apps for tablets - Photoshop Touch, Adobe Collage, Debut, Ideas, Kuler and Proto.

"Creative Cloud members will receive continuous upgrades and updates to all products and services as part of their membership," says Adobe.

Membership? Yes. You read that right. Subscription rates for Adobe Creative Cloud will start at $49 per month.

Photoshop CS6 (beta)

Adobe Photoshop CS6 will feature a noticeably darker UI with rich cursor support to provide you with raw data about the tools that you are using.

The magical image deblurring (opens in new tab) Photoshop sneak from Adobe MAX 2011 could also find its way into Photoshop CS6. It will be particularly useful for the majority of photos taken with a mobile phone camera.

Content-Aware editing

Adobe has also demonstrated a feature it calls 'Content-Aware Wide-Angle Lens Correction'. This enables automated lens correction to fix distortions based on a database of 600 camera lens profiles.

This Content-Aware technology can also be used to allow easier removal of unwanted objects/elements in a photo. See this video Sneak Peek with Senior Product Manager, Bryan O'Neil Hughes, to learn more.

Of course, the image deblur or lens correction features might miss Adobe CS6 and appear in Adobe CS7 instead. Adobe is careful never to say that its 'sneaks' are ready to be deployed.

"I'll tell you very candidly, we are very early in [the deblurring] technology," Bryan O'Neil Hughes told

"There are a lot of people working on it, but it's a tough nut to crack, especially with the expectations that people have. When you show people a magic trick, people expect you to come through."

Workflow improvements incoming

The improvements to Photoshop aren't all effects-led. There's some great work being done by Adobe engineers to enable you to export/migrate presets, preferences, workspaces and settings to new versions of the software.

Not only that, but you can also expect some workflow enhancements to layers/layer groups, plus the return of contact sheet and PDF presentation options.

According to CNET, Photoshop CS6 could also give a bigger push to the DNG (Digital Negative) format.

Improvements include a faster raw preview and tiled files that can be processed faster by multi-core CPUs. There will also be an option for lossy compression to significantly reduce file sizes.

*** The Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta was made available on March 22. Read more about it here.

InDesign CS6

ProDesignTools highlighted a clever InDesign feature called 'liquid layouts' that was shown at the 2011 Adobe MAX conference.

Liquid Layouts is designed to automatically adjust layouts to whatever device you're viewing it on. Watch the demo below:

Premiere Pro CS6

In an impressive sneak peek at Adobe MAX 2011, research scientist Sylvain Paris showed off some astounding video mesh technology that could eventually find its way into Premiere Pro CS6.

In the demo video below, meshes are applied to a video to allow the editor to step inside the scene and literally look around in 3D. The software also enables you to change the focus and depth of field. 'Ooh's and 'ahh's are certainly appropriate here. This is the sort of 'huge improvement' that we're hoping for in Adobe CS6.

Flash Pro CS6

There's also talk of a project called Monocle (opens in new tab), which is geared towards helping developers to optimise their Flash applications with access to extensive real-time data reporting. Expect this to be baked into a future version of Adobe Flash Pro.


Adobe CS6 review page

Photoshop CS6 review

After Effects CS6 review

Dreamweaver CS6 review

Flash Pro CS6 review

Illustrator CS6 review

InDesign CS6 review

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