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Home > Tools June 13th, 2012

Compare Versions: Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Compared to Photoshop CS6 Extended — What Are the Differences?

[UPDATE (May 2013) – The new Photoshop CC release is always Extended – in other words, PS CC has new features that CS6 doesn’t, and also includes all of the Extended/3D capabilities from CS6… It’s available via the $10 Photography Plan or the complete CC membership.]

It’s a question that’s been around a while, yet we still see it asked a lot… What is the version comparison difference between Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended? The Extended release is Adobe’s top-of-the-line Photoshop product, and they have one page on their site comparing the editions and feature differences, but the link is hidden in a corner and not obvious to find.

The short answer is that Photoshop Extended contains everything the standard version does, plus powerful tools that let you easily create and edit three-dimensional imagery as well as composite 3D objects into photographs*, in addition to support for technical image analysis, measurement, and editing. The top additions are:

  • 3D images and extrusions – Enhance and manipulate 3D content as easily as you would 2D content and explore new creative directions: Quickly create 3D logos, type, and artwork using efficient and intuitive controls that have been vastly improved since CS5. Twist, rotate, extrude, bevel, and inflate your 3D designs, and then apply rich materials like chrome, glass, and cork.
  • Advanced 3D editing capabilities – Push your creative boundaries with powerful 3D editing tools — even paint directly on 3D objects and immediately see the results. Add 3D objects and layers to your designs and create amazing composites. Illuminate your scene with real lighting, shadows, and reflections, and animate your objects.
  • Mercury Graphics Engine for 3D – Dramatically increased power and speed via new graphics engine optimized for 3D imaging.
  • Image analysis – Use advanced measurement and counting tools to extract quantitative information from images. Record and export data for further analysis. Import DICOM files as frames or as a volume to directly analyze and edit your image data.

Video and motion-based content editing, which used to be an Extended-only feature in Photoshop CS5 and earlier, has now been moved and expanded into all versions of Photoshop for CS6.

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Photoshop CS6 Extended is used by professionals in many fields, including film and video, graphic and web design that includes 3D and motion, manufacturing and product design, healthcare and science, students and educators, and architecture and engineering.

Very easy 3D text extrusion and manipulation with Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended

Which Version do the Trials, Suites, and Student Editions Contain?

There is only one trial available for Adobe Photoshop – and it’s the Extended edition… You get to try out all of the features for 30 days, and then decide which version you want to keep at the time of purchase.

The Student & Teacher Edition is similarly also always Photoshop Extended (for the standalone product). Outside of a suite, it is not possible to purchase an education version of the standard Photoshop. On the flip side, you’re getting up to 70% off its normal price.

In the CS6 suites, three out of four of them (Master Collection, Design & Web Premium, and Production Premium) contain Photoshop CS6 Extended. Only Design Standard contains the regular Photoshop.

And in the Creative Cloud with the new CC release, the standard version of Photoshop exists no longer – you always get the Extended edition, including even with the $9.99/month Photoshop + Lightroom Plan.

Related: Which option is right for you? Compare Adobe CS6 vs. Creative Cloud

See the full system requirements for both versions of Photo­shop, including tested and recommended graphics cards*. For the 3D capabilities in Photoshop Extended you want to have a supported GPU with fully up-to-date hardware drivers.

Or explore more about 3D in Photoshop with the free first issue of the new magazine, Photoshop Dimensions – just download and follow along with the tutorials, as well as the reference information.

Fast-track creating compositions that place a 3D object inside a photo with Photoshop CS6 Extended

Overview of Photoshop CS6 Extended [Video]

See the complete table of differences between Photoshop CS6 Standard and Extended.

* Note that the 3D features in Photoshop Extended CS6 are not supported on Windows XP.

See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2014 Free Trials (Direct Links)

Do you have any questions about CS6?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. Chris Cornell

    Hi Folks,

    Apparently Photoshop is no longer available on DVD. My concern is that if I upgrade from CS5 to CS6 online, will I be able to download CS6 again if the original begins to have problems. I’m asking this because a few important tools in CS5 have become dysfunctional over time. Bridge is also suspect – several images have disappeared completely!

  2. Chris Cornell

    Hi again Folks,

    Thanks for the quick reply – and the good news. But do you have any clue as to why my Photoshop CS5 has degraded over time – that is, some tools have become dysfunctional. I’ve never experienced this before.

    Chris Cornell

  3. Chris Cornell

    And again, Adobe people,

    A few details should suffice – the clone stamp tool and the healing brush tool now act like a copy tool. That is, when you click the crosshairs on a spot/blemish and move the cursor, a duplicate image appears and just slides around with the cursor. And the spot remains! All the patch tool does now is copy and paste the unwanted stuff to a new location. As far as I know, the other tools are OK, but I haven’t really checked them out. Meanwhile, as I said, Bridge seems to have lost several of my images – I can’t find them anywhere!

    So I’m ready to give CS6 a try. From what I’ve learned, it’s a significant improvement on CS5. About how long does it take to download?

    Chris Cornell

    • That’s really bizarre Chris. One idea would be to try uninstalling the program(s), running the Adobe Cleaner Tool, rebooting, then reinstalling.

      But yes, both Photoshop CC and CS6 are much-improved over CS5… The size of Photoshop is about 1 GB to download, and the time it takes will be entirely dependent on the speed and strength of your Internet connection.

      Here are some estimated download times to help you gauge the completion depending on the speed of your service. Note however that rates generally have improved since that chart was posted.

      Your best bet would be just to download the free trials of Creative Suite 6 and/or Creative Cloud, install what you want, and then see how they work for you. You are unlikely to be disappointed.

  4. Chris Cornell

    Hi again folks,

    I’m sorry to say that I’m unable to download my CS6 upgrade. I’ve gotten as far as “creativecloud dmg” but nothing happens after that. I’ve tried the little sign in window but it asks for an “Adobe ID”. What the (bleep) is an Adobe ID and how do I get one?

    Also, I’ve seen two different prices for my upgrade – $200 and $250+ – which is it?

    Chris Cornell

  5. Chris Cornell

    I’m really sorry to say it’s me again…

    I tried your latest suggestion which at least gave me a page I haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, the end result was the same. The little “Sign In” window wants an “Adobe ID” which is supposed to be same as my usual user ID. When I punch that in along with my password all I get is a message telling me that my password/ID appears to be invalid–or words to that effect. Sure wish I could still buy a good old DVD!

    At this point I’m at a total loss as to what to do. Nor can I imagine what you well-meaning folks could tell me. ?????

    Chris Cornell

    • Hey Chris, your Adobe ID is actually usually just your email address… Try that with your password.

      If that doesn’t work, then get help with a forgotten password (see “Trouble signing in?” near the bottom of that screen to reset it), or create a new login for yourself (“Don’t have an Adobe ID?”).

      If all else fails, just contact Adobe customer service and they will help you, you are a customer.

  6. Chris Cornell

    Hi Folks,

    This is really incredible! I’m wondering how you guys ever sell any software.

    As I said, my usual ID doesn’t work (appears to be invalid…) As far as I can tell, the “Trouble Signing In” and “Don’t Have Adobe ID?” links don’t exist. I also haven’t found an “Adobe Customer Service” link thus far.

    I’ve been trying to download Photoshop CS6 for over two weeks now, so you can understand my incredulity. You sure you can’t just burn a DVD for me?

    Chris Cornell

    • Sorry Chris, we have no idea what’s wrong… In over four years of running this site, we’ve never encountered a reader with the kinds of problems you’re describing!

      In fact, we included an actual link to Adobe Customer Service in our previous reply… If that doesn’t work, then it’s possible your browser is blocking something or broken – so try a different one.

      But really we’d suggest getting in touch directly with Adobe if you’re having issues, as there’s nothing more we here can do for you here. Good luck!

  7. Patrick

    Is Adobe Photoshop CS6 a part of Photoshop CS6 Extended or a different software altogether?

    • Hi Patrick, they share the same Photoshop core but the Extended version does more…

      So they are different in that the Extended release does everything that the Standard version does, plus the additional features described in the article above (like 3D).

  8. Hello,

    I already have Photoshop CS6 (13.0.1), and was wondering if I can download an Extended upgrade?

    • Welcome Quentin, it used to be possible to upgrade from Photoshop Standard to Extended within the same release, but Adobe changed the policy with CS6, so you can’t do that anymore.

      However, good news – in the new CC release, all versions of Photoshop CC are Extended/3D… So moving to CC is the only way to get it, but if you just need Photoshop then you can upgrade to CC with Adobe’s new Photography Bundle (which includes Lightroom 5, Behance, 20 GB cloud storage, and more) for just $9.99 a month – and that offer is available worldwide.

      And here are the free new CC trials for download, if you want to check it out first… (All CC apps will run side-by-side with CS6 or any previous CS version you may have installed.)

      Hope this helps!

  9. Maggie

    I’ve just tried the link to the comparison chart for CS6 vs CS6 extended and can’t find the corner it’s lurking in! Can someone please tell me where it is?

  10. Anonymous

    Is extended an upgrade to cs6?

  11. Maggie


    Thank you so much for replying to my question, and for the link. As you suggested, the main differences are 3D stuff which I don’t need, but it was really helpful to see the differences listed. I’ve found a couple of websites online which sell CS6 and it’s much more affordable than the Extended version. I feel the CC option for photographers etc is still expensive at just shy of £9 per month in the UK. I’m concerned how much that will go up by after the first year, and why they’re only offering that rate until Christmas 2013.

    • Be extremely careful Maggie… Adobe discontinued boxes, and downloads from elsewhere are generally illegal, so many websites which are still selling CS6 are actually scams.

      Many people do not realize it, but Adobe still sells CS6 direct, in addition to the new (this year’s) ‘CC’ release.

      And for either CS6 or CC, buying direct from Adobe is definitely the safest way to go – but if you try to go elsewhere, make absolute sure you stick to trusted, reputable names that you already know and have heard of, with resellers that are on Adobe’s authorized list.

      As for the new Photoshop Photography Bundle program which includes both Photoshop CC (Extended) together with Lightroom 5 – you may be under a misimpression. That $10/month is not an introductory price, nor a rate that will change next year. That is the standard, longterm price – and Adobe has been clear about stating that. But the window to sign up for that offer expires at the end of 2013 is still open.

      Hope this helps clear things up!

  12. David Smith

    Hello ProDesign, I have the CS 6 Design Standard Suite (Mac, boxed/perpetual version) currently installed which includes the regular Photoshop CS6 app (not Extended). I am interested in installing Photoshop CS6 Extended.

    I notice the installer (for the Extended version) just says “Photoshop CS6″. Seeing that I already have Photoshop CS6 installed would there be an installation conflict if or when I try to install the Extended version seeing that the app name is the same “Photoshop CS6″ and not something else such as “Photoshop CS6 Extended” or other? Would I be unable to install as a result?

    I am aware (from what I have seen) that if it was the CC version of Photoshop CS6 it could be installed side by side the existing app no probs (probably the CC version has “CC” at the end of the app name I dunno), but what if it is not the CC version? If I can install the non-CC version how do I go about it?

    I’ve seen you’ve been able to give many useful and prompt responses and advice so would appreciate your input.


    • Hey David,

      You’re right, there is only a single installer available for Photoshop CS6, and it is the Extended version. It’s actually the same program as the Standard version; it just turns features on or off depending on which edition you purchased.

      So this means that you cannot have both the CS6 Standard and CS6 Extended versions installed at once on the same machine.

      You also cannot even upgrade from CS6 Standard to CS6 Extended – and here’s why.

      You can however install any version of CS6 together with any CC app on the same computer… And Photoshop CC is always Extended, with full (and improved) 3D capabilities.

      So then, you could keep your suite edition of Photoshop CS6 (or not, your choice) and also run the new Photoshop CC [Extended] at the same time.

      Here are all the free 30-day trials for the CC apps – you can download and install them easy as pie, and uninstall them later if you don’t want to buy.

      Finally as mentioned earlier, for some upgraders from PS CS3-CS6 can get both full Photoshop CC + Lightroom 5 + more for $9.99 a month (regular price).

      Hope that answers all your questions, if not then just post back!

  13. David Smith


    Thank you so much ProDesign. This clears it up a lot.
    Muchos thanks and keep up the good work.


  14. gyan

    does the adobe photoshop cs6 extended have adobe lightroom?

  15. I want to buy Photoshop with Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera RAW. which version do I need.

    I do not want Creative Cloud, I want to purchase the software.

    Thank you for your time, regards, Julie

  16. William Jones

    I have Photoshop CS6, is it possible to upgrade to the extended version?
    Thank you.

  17. Len

    Yes, that’s right Chris – Adobe has discontinued discs for their creative tools, as the great majority of customers have moved to digital downloads… But no problem – they will keep the original links for your downloaded purchase accessible in your online Adobe account for at least three years… plus you are always welcome to find and download your software release using our Creative Suite/Cloud Direct Download Links.
    Nevertheless, we always recommend making your own offline backup of your software by burning the installer files to your own disc media, or copying to a separate flash drive.

    This seems to say that we can make our own copy as if we had the boxed version. Am I interpreting this correctly (since Adobe doesn’t commit to perpetual maintenance of the records of purchase beyond 3 years)?

  18. San

    Does the Standard version have the File “Save for Web” feature? or is that only included in the Extended version?

  19. Barb

    Hi! I’m a grad student and fairly new to photoshop (a former lab of mine used it occasionally when we couldn’t do what we needed with ImageJ).

    I’m interested in purchasing photoshop but I’ve no idea which one to get! Very specifically, I need to measure the area of irregularly shaped objects and lengths of hand-drawn lines. I can’t find anywhere a description of which versions of photoshop have this capability.

    Does anybody out there know so I know which product to purchase? Thank you in advance!

  20. Jill

    I currently have Photshop Elements 12. If I purchase the Photoshop CC membership then do I get the full CS6 version as part of the membership, or do I need to purchase the software package and the membership provides upgrades as they become available?

    • Hey there Jill, when you get the $9.99 Photoshop + Lightroom Plan then you will actually receive access to several versions of Photoshop that you can use imme­diately…

      You’ll be able to install both the latest-and-greatest CC 2014 release of Photoshop, as well as the older CS6 release (if you would like it).

      The primary differences between the two releases are many new features added since 2012 when CS6 came out – plus CC can run on both/either Windows and Mac OS, whereas with CS6 you have to pick just one.

      And for as long as you remain in the program, then you will continue to receive ongoing full upgrades to future versions of both Adobe Photoshop (like CC 2015, etc) and Lightroom, as soon as they’re available.

      Finally, here’s the Photoshop CC 2014 free trial if you want to download and check it out first.

      Does that fully answer your question? If not then just post back.

  21. Luke Fu

    I just got Canon 7D Mark 2, can I use Photoshop CS6 standard?

  22. hutch

    Does the trial version of Photoshop CS6 Extended include the 3D composite or features?

    • Yes Hutch. There actually is no separate trial download for Photoshop CS6 “Standard” – the trial is always the Extended version (having all Photoshop features including 3D and motion-based content), and then you decide which version you’d like to keep at time of product purchase.

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