Photoshop CS6 beta; are you plugged in or out?

On March 22, 2012 by DaniLew

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In the olden days of Adobe Photoshop upgrades, all we had to worry about was if our actions and brushes still worked.

Now though, we fret more about our precious plug-ins whenever Adobe decides to upgrade either Lightroom or Photoshop. 

I currently own three plug-in bundles and I’m about to purchase the fourth and final package during Photoshop World – DC 2012 this coming weekend.  I use Nik Software’s Complete Collection Ultimate Edition, extensively.  I purchased Topaz Labs plug-in bundle because it was cheap and it did a couple of bells-and-whistles that Nik did not.  I won Alien Skin Software’s photo bundle at the Nature Vision’s photography expo and I’ve only recently really looked at it .  I want OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 6 because it has a few things the others don’t.  Then I should be satisfied that my photographic life will be much more efficient.

Anyway, every two years or so, Adobe releases a new upgrade version of their software and only in recent years did actually throw a beta version out into the world for feedback.  I betaed CS5 but was oblivious to any real world impact while testing/playing because I wasn’t so dependent on plug-ins.  I shrugged when Nik Software promised to quickly jump on the changes that fouled up their perfect integration and isntead I used my old version of Photshop Elements until they fixed the issues.  From what I remember, it was relatively quick and painless.

That was then; this is now.

Earlier this year, Lightroom 4 was released to the hounds for public beta-testing and even with the feedback Adobe still released a product that was considered pretty buggy to some.  I have not downloaded or purchased LR4 because they removed the Fill light and Recovery sliders in the Develop module that subsequently kills some of my favorite presets.  And that nasty bit about the “Edit in Photshop” command going missing and some users having to go into their Windows registry or Mac hidden library files just to be able to get to any plug-ins, put me right off that upgrade until a real fix is implemented.

So… because it looked relatively harmless, this very morning, I downloaded the Photoshop CS6 beta to my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit laptop and reinstalled/installed the latest versions of my plug-ins.

Nik Software was ahead of the game!  All of their software worked with no problems.

I chose a simple image of apples and pears.

Apples and Pears SOOC - taken with a Nikon D300 camera and Tamron 17-50 lens

Apples and Pears SOOC

And used every Nik product (Dfine 2, Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4, HDR Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro 2, and Sharpener Pro 3) on it.

Apples and Pears Photoshop CS6 beta screenshot

Apples and Pears Photoshop CS6 beta screenshot showing all Nik Software in layers

For no other reason than to prove that they all work just fine.

Apples and Pears all Nik'd out - taken with a Nikon D300 camera and Tamron 17-50 lens

Apples and Pears all Nik'd out

YAY Nik Software!

Unfortunately, none of the Topaz Lab products recognized CS6 (in Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit) and the same goes for Alien Skin Software with the exception of the just released Exposure 4.  Also, I did not have time to test the OnOne Suite before this post.  I suppose that software companies must keep their secrets close to the vest prior to any major release cycle, so Adobe couldn’t let the plug-in companies know what was going on until probably today right along with the rest of us, but those are the accepted risks of a plug-in company.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, you can try to copy and paste (drag and drop) the contents of your CS5 plug-in folder to your CS6 plug-in folder OR under Preferences/Additonal Plug-ins Folder, you can point to the CS5 plug-ins folder.  However, these are not practices that I recommend nor does Adobe support them because more likely than not, you’re going to run into problems in CS6 and/or CS5 because of it.  Consider yourself warned!

Oh well, I survived CS5 where there were major changes from CS4 and really… since Nik Software plug-ins are ready for it, so am I.  I can work and play in CS6 and decide if it’s worth an upgrade.  Or not.



12 Responses to “Photoshop CS6 beta; are you plugged in or out?”

  • Nik doesn’t work on my Mac! Can you help? Thanks.

  • Thank Danielle for the very interesting post. I had hoped to upgrade to LR4, but it doesn’t work on Windows XP. Well enough, I can’t afford to upgrade anyway.

  • Great facts! I’ve been hunting for this info, especially about copy and paste. Bless you!

  • Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  • thought I would try installing the Nik Software plug ins I have for CS6- I’m not sure that the beta has the same plug -in engine or workings- but the final did not work as far as the plug-ins were concerned. The installation did not see it as compatible- as well as CS6 shows errors due to loading the plug-ins from the CS5 folder – you spoke too soon, I’m afraid

    • CS6Finale, it all depends on your OS. CS6 beta with Nik Software plug-ins worked fine on my Windows 7 Ulitmate 64-bit laptop; the proof is in the 2nd screenshot. What OS you do you have? I’m sure the Adobe Photoshop forums are filled with questions regarding your OS and plug-ins.

      There is also a DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this post, that says Adobe does not recommend loading/copying/pointing to plugins from the CS5 folder and neither do I.

      Nik (and other plug-in companies) will release updates only when Photoshop is in production mode.

      Thanks for reading.


  • This was a really great and useful piece of info, especially the copy/paste part. Thx

    • Thanks ERaser. Everyone seems to know the easy way to copy/paste the plug-in folder but they completely forget about when they run into problems.

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