Some exciting news in the few weeks was Adobe’s launch of the latest version of their entry-level image manipulation program Photoshop Elements.
Available simultaneously on the PC and Apple Macintosh platforms, Photoshop Elements 9 is the latest in a line of products that was brought out to fill the gap in the market for a less costly and less complex version of their industry-standard Photoshop application.
Over the years Elements has steadily got more and more capable until, with this release, it now has most of the capabilities that its big brother does, and goes even further in some directions.
The program, or suite, is made up of two separate programs including an organiser for importing, viewing, sharing and cataloguing images, and an editor for editing and adjusting pictures, adding special effects or creating a number different photo projects, including photo books, greetings cards, collages, and slideshows.
The editor is amazingly capable and offers a range of editing options ranging from a mode where you are guided through performing a number of common (and some uncommon) image manipulation tasks. In the full editing mode, you have access to many advanced features including layers and layer masks, exposure blending and panorama creation.
One of the great new features is a Spot Healing brush which is content-aware, just like Photoshop’s, and which lets you paint over and remove unwanted distractions from your pictures. Although it is designed to work with relatively small areas, it will often do a good job of removing larger areas such as telephone lines, rubbish in the street , or whatever.
I spent far too long fiddling with the various features in Elements and, in particular, using it’s Create feature to create collages and photo books. It comes with a wide variety of decorative backgrounds and image frames that can be used in your creations just by dragging them from a palette into the workspace.
The Guided edit mode is also quite pretty good and should help beginners in completing a whole selection of different tasks including fixing the exposure in a picture, or creating a pop art layout.
I am very impressed with the editor and feel that it would be way more than sufficient for most users including experienced ones. It would be an ideal tool for digital scrapbookers who would find its large selection of frames and backgrounds very useful.
The only place it would really fall short is with professional users is because it cannot work with CMYK images, which you need to do if they are going to be printed on anything except a digital printer. Other areas where it lacks and where really experienced users would prefer Photoshop is that Elements doesn’t offer you access to the colour channels within images and that its area selection tools aren’t as advanced as Photoshop’s.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
I am less thrilled with the organiser which seems to me to be a bit of a dog because it not only adds unnecessary complexity, in my view, but also seems pretty sluggish, especially when confronted with a big folder of images.
The system requires you to import your pictures into a catalogue and you can get into a situation with a folder of pictures, where not all are being shown to you. A similar system is used in Adobe’s Lightroom product and is ideal for keeping track of large numbers of images, but I think it adds too much complexity to a product aimed primarily at less experienced users.
I would have preferred that Elements came as a single entity with an image viewer that could be used to navigate through the computer’s file system and display all the images in any folder. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a catalogue feature but I don’t think that it should have been enabled as the default.
I have used the Elements 9 editor successfully on its own with Faststone image viewer to look through my images, dragging the ones I want to edit from there into the open Elements window. The same principle works many other viewers and if you’re using Adobe’s Lightroom and sending pictures to Elements for editing.
There are a few other tweaks that I would like to see implemented to make the editor’s interface a little easier, but these are relatively minor and, when it comes to features, Elements passes with flying colours. There is inevitably a lot to using a program with all these capabilities and, for many users, it will be something of a learning curve.
People with Photoshop experience shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed and, for the rest, I’d recommend either buying a book or a visit to the Adobe TV site where they have a series of very useful videos on using Elements. Links to the site and a interesting scrapbooking site were included the previous post.