I have three words for you: Photoshop! CS6! Beta! (originally I’d used periods after each word, but frankly I was so excited I went back and changed them to exclamation points!)
That’s right. The beta version is available for free download from Adobe. You can download it from Adobe at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs6/ You’ll need to login with (or register for) a free Adobe account. Just FYI, no guarantees, but it appears to run just fine concurrently with CS5, so you should be able to have both installed on the same machine.
Here’s a video from the fabulous Russell Brown to get you started learning about some of the amazing new features and improvements:
In addition to the features that Russell highlights (Photoshop RAW, Adaptive Wide Angle filter, blur gallery, content-aware move, video features, and crop tool improvements), there are some fantastic (and long overdue, IMHO) improvements to text management in Photoshop. They’ve also improved auto-corrections to be more intelligent, and there’s now an auto brightness/contrast.
Personally, I’m not too excited about the additional video features since we have iMovie and Final Cut Pro here in the lab–both of which are much better options for video editing, but they’re sure to be a welcome addition for many users.
There are even more new features I haven’t mentioned. Check out Lynda.com’s Photoshop CS6 Beta preview by Lynda superstar and all-around great instructor Deke McClelland at http://www.lynda.com/Photoshop-tutorials/Photoshop-CS6-Beta-Preview/97406-2.html for more info. (Extra bonus: it looks like you don’t even need to be logged into Lynda.com to watch these videos!)
After a disappointing release for the 5.1 (and even 5.0, to be honest) update, this new version is completely blowing my mind. Certainly the best update to Photoshop I can remember. We’ll try to get the beta on a couple machines in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, so ask us if you’re interested in trying it out, and we currently expect to have the final release version on all of our machines by the start of the Fall semester.