Download 70,000 High-Quality Images from the New Adobe Stock Free Collection

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.

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!

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.

Install now: Get all new Creative Cloud 2021 direct download links and free trials.

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

Get the New Creative Cloud 2021 Direct Download Links

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

Keep up with the latest on Adobe software — follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to our RSS feed… You can also enter your email and have new articles sent directly to your Inbox. We are reader-supported; when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Sign up for our popular newsletter and we’ll send you 30 great ebooks to learn all major Adobe tools at no cost!

Thank you for subscribing! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and your free Adobe books... Click here to see the books now, and start downloading and reading!

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

Share This

Download 70,000 Royalty-Free Images with the New Adobe Stock Free Collection

176 thoughts on “Compare Versions: Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended”

  1. Hi
    I have CS5. I was thinking about not upgrading to CS6 and rather just upgrading to CS7 when it comes out. But from what I have read this will not be possible and I will have to buy the full version of CS7 if I don’t have CS6.

    But I do not understand why, because when I go to the Adobe site to upgrade, it is clear that it is possible to upgrade to CS6 from CS4 or even CS3. How come those versions are allowed to “skip” upgrades, but not from CS5 – CS7?

  2. I was playing around with my friends Photoshop CS6 and it had a a option that you could use 3D and Motion. I downloaded a trial version of CS6 and it didn’t have those options. Are those options available on the trial version?

  3. I have an AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile RM-70 2GHz and I have 3GB of RAM on my Toshiba Satellite L305D computer. Also when I download the set up it doesn’t say CS6 Extended, it only says CS6.

    • Well as mentioned, all Photoshop trials are the full Extended version so you have the potential to try everything out… Did you check your laptop against the system requirements linked in our previous response? What version of Windows is it?

      See also Adobe’s Photoshop CS6 GPU FAQ to work through any issues with graphics cards, which are critically important for enabling the 3D functionality.

    • Great Carla, glad to hear you like CS6, most everybody does… And if you’re going to have to upgrade then it’s probably best to do it now and get the most use out of the software that you can.

  4. I am getting really confused about what version I want.

    I am wanting the version that allows you to create animated GIFs using the timeline feature, is that in the Standard or Extended version?

  5. I am looking to purchase CS6 Extended, however I want to confim that I will get everything that you received in CS6. I will be purchasing for my high school senior and want to confirm that I am purchasing the correct product.

    • Yes Jenny, as referenced in the article, Photoshop Extended contains everything the standard Photoshop does, and more. So, you can never go wrong by getting the Extended edition, because you cannot upgrade from one to the other later if you change your mind or realize that you need the top-of-the-line version instead.

      Here is Adobe’s easy comparison chart showing all features and the differences.

  6. We purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere for our son, but it is not powerful enough for him to do his school work. Does Adobe CS6 Extended have video editing capabilities as well as photo editing, or do I need a separate product for video editing? thank you

  7. je souhaite acheter une version de photoshop mais j’ai peu de moyens, je suis actuellement demandeur d’emploi, je viens de terminer mes études en qualité de monteur vidéo, que me conseillez vous ?

    merci pour votre réponse

    Franck Mailhet

  8. puis je acheter n’importe quelle version de photoshop ou dois je commencer par une en premier, si je veux CS6 puis je l’acheter directement ?

  9. I am in need of some assistance! I have tried several times to use the movie editing software in my new CS6, but to no avail! I can’t drag clips, I can’t move clips through “tools”, I can’t get it to do anything!!!!!! What should I do?

    The message it gave me this time is “Load Layers needs at least two files selected,” I have three files selected! Has anyone else had this issue? Yes I have CS6, not the Extended version and I am working from a MacBook. Help please, anyone!!!!!!!

  10. The only version for Photoshop I have is an old version, Photoshop 5, that I got really good at and enjoy using. That was on my old system, now I have a newer computer that is a 64-bit system and looking to buy a new copy of Adobe Photoshop… Does any copy of Adobe work on a 64-bit system or does it have to state on the box somewhere that it is for a 64-bit system?

    Also at what point did this happen? Would Photoshop CS4 or CS5 etc… work on a 64bit system???

  11. I’m needing help choosing the Extended or the Standard. How it is that the standard is showing $1299, and the extended $999?

  12. Hello, I’m new to Photoshop and I’m trying to decide on which version to purchase. I’m a little confused on the difference between Adobe Photoshop Extended and Photoshop Design Standard. I’ve googled them, but I was hoping you could explain in simple terms the main difference. I currently would use it for photo editing, and eventually maybe some minor video. Please help???

    • Greetings Gary, this article pretty much explains the main difference between Photoshop Standard vs. Extended… If you check the list near the top of the page with 4 bullet items in bold, those are the feature groups that are part of Extended but not part of the regular Photoshop CS6.

      For you, if you don’t expect to be into creating and editing 3D images/graphics and scenes, then it sounds like you should be good with the standard edition. Just keep in mind that you can no longer upgrade between the two – you’d have to wait until the next release comes out to move up to the Extended edition, if you wanted to do that.

  13. Also, I read that homeschool students and teachers can be eligible for the Adobe student/teacher edition. What are the qualifications for that?

  14. Thank you for your response. Do I just contact the homeschool company to obtain a dated letter for proof? We didn’t receive any type of letter when we started homeschooling.

  15. When I purchased my upgrade of CS4 to CS6, I didn’t realize I upgraded to the standard CS6. Is there any way to upgrade to CS6 Extended, now that I have CS6?

  16. I wonder if I have missed a step. I own Production Premium CS5, which I am currently updating. I don’t see anywhere that says the update would mean that it is taking my current version to CS5.5.

    I would like to purchase the upgrade to CS6. But the only option to upgrade from Production Premium is from version CS5.5.

    So. Would I have had to pay to get 5.5 and then once more to get the CS6 upgrade? Or is there a direct route.

    Thanks! Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this question…

    • Hey Charles, if you check Adobe’s Creative Suite Upgrade Chart, you’ll see that there is a direct upgrade path to CS6 from either CS5 or CS5.5…

      So, you do not have to buy or own CS5.5 in order to get an upgrade to CS6.

      Keep in mind though that with the Creative Cloud now, paying extra for upgrades becomes a thing of the past – since you can always download and run the latest versions of all tools as an included part of your membership.

  17. Does anyone know the difference between PS CS6 and PS CS6 Extended Student & Teacher version? I have an opportunity to buy the latter.

  18. Why is the Adobe CS6 Standard student edition more expensive than the Extended student edition when there are more tools in the extended version??

    • Welcome Ally, that’s because the “Extended” student edition is just Photoshop Extended by itself, whereas the CS6 [Design] Standard is a larger suite of products containing Photoshop Standard, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Pro.

      But you can’t actually buy Photoshop Standard standalone in a student edition. See here for all the different CS6 options and configurations.

      Of course, the Creative Cloud for Students contains all of the above, and a whole lot more.

      Hope that answers your question.

  19. Is CS6 Extended a package that is an attachment to CS6? I have the old CS3 Design Standard and use only Bridge and Photoshop. I want to use only Bridge and Photoshop with the newer CS6 version. So do I first purchase CS6, then Extended if I want to video/3D stuff?

    • Hello Cara, thanks for your question. It’s not an attachment or extension – they are two different versions. The choice is between Photoshop CS6 or Photoshop CS6 Extended. You would choose one or the other to purchase (and choose carefully because you cannot upgrade from one to the other later).

      In other words, there are two versions of Photoshop CS6, and each comes with Bridge. You can also get one as part of a CS6 Suite – but note that the Extended version only comes with the Premium suites, otherwise it’s the Standard version of Photoshop.

      The other option is to get the new Photoshop CC (this year’s release) – either individually or included in the Creative Cloud

      Photoshop CC has new features that CS6 doesn’t, and also includes all of the Extended/3D capabilities from CS6.

      For either release, you can download and run the CC free trial and/or the CS6 free trial for Photoshop.

      Hope that answers what you wanted to know, if not then just post back!

  20. @ProDesignTools

    Yes it does. I was researching it and found the huge difference in prices and was really confused. They didn’t include that information with the advertisement for the product. Thanks.

  21. I have Photoshop 7 and all I use it for is artwork. However I would like to upgrade to CS6. I really don’t think I need the Extended version, because it seems too advanced, and I don’t want to frustrate myself. Although the 3D sounds fun…any suggestions?

    Thank you! Anita

    • Well, the majority of what’s different in the Extended version is the 3D (plus some other smaller features) – but they don’t really make it more complex, they just provide more functionality on the menus if you want to use them.

      Our best suggestion would be to download and run the free CS6 trial (or the free CC trial which includes everything plus newer features) and see how you like using the 3D, then make your choice. If you buy the standard version of CS6, then the Extended features will just turn themselves off, but everything else will remain the same, installed on your computer.

  22. Hi… thank you for your article. You said that it’s not possible to purchase the regular, non-Extended version of PS for students. However, in the Apple online education store, I see what looks like the regular version for sale, for students. It costs $100 less than the Extended version. Am I missing something??


    • Yes Maya, the reason it’s less expensive in the Apple EDU store is because that price requires a Mac purchase! (look closely) You can’t just get that by itself without buying a whole new computer with it.

      Also, regarding Extended vs. Standard for students – what you’re talking about is the CS6 Design Standard suite, not Photoshop standalone. In the Design Standard suite, you do get the Photoshop Standard version, along with Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Pro.

      But for buying Photoshop standalone (outside of a suite) with the academic pricing, Photoshop Extended is the only option.

      And now with the new Adobe CC release, there is no longer any distinction – Photoshop CC (which costs $10-20 a month instead of $999) now includes all previously-Extended features… there are no longer two different versions of PS.

  23. Hi,

    I need to know what is the best for a Web Designer, Photoshop CS6 Extended or Photoshop CS6?

    I tried Extended and I like it very much, but I don’t know if I will need the Extended Features as a Web Designer or not, please Advise me.


    • Welcome Mahmoud, for you the answer would largely depend on whether you’ll be expecting to do 3D designs, images, and graphics in your web design work…

      If the answer is yes, then Photoshop Extended (or Photoshop CC) includes that capability, whereas the Standard edition does not.

      So it’s primarily the 3D that would potentially be significant in your case. Outside of that, the other Extended features listed in the article probably wouldn’t apply for you.

Leave a Comment or Question

Receive over 30 Adobe Books plus Our Newsletter, Free!

Sign up for our popular newsletter and we’ll send you 30 great ebooks to learn all major Adobe tools free!

Thanks for subscribing! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and your free Adobe books... Click here to see the books now, and start downloading and reading!

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

And don't miss: The New CC 2021 Direct Download Links
Boost your content creation with 70K free images from Adobe Stock

Don't miss: Download 75,000 FREE Adobe Stock assets!

Start downloading instantly from the Adobe Stock Free Collection:

Download now

This message will close in:
Share via


Download Dozens of Free Adobe Books Sign up for our popular newsletter and we’ll send you 30 great ebooks to learn all major Adobe tools at no cost!

Thank you for subscribing! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and your free Adobe books... Click here to see the books now, and start downloading and reading!

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

Thanks for sharing!
Subscribe to ProDesignTools for Adobe updates:

Sign up for our popular newsletter and we’ll send you 30 great ebooks to learn all major Adobe tools free!

Thanks for subscribing! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and your free Adobe books... Click here to see the books now, and start downloading and reading!

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

Send this to a friend