Despite being a passionate digital shutterbug, I've never actually used any previous versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements. I 'seemed' to be happy enough with the various packages from Ulead and Corel as they 'seemed' to give me what I needed. But recently I decided to purchase a new DSLR camera and at the same time I decided to finally give Elements a go. All I can say is wow! How much I've been missing out on. Adobe Photoshop Elements doesn't only give you what you need, but also gives you what you want, everything you could possibly ever want, to such a degree that I spent day's going through all my old digital images, retouching them in places, and experimenting with them with the mammoth amounts of tools and options at my fingertips.
I immersed myself in the mono conversion options and found that will little work, I could produced vibrant images with good contrast for stunning photos. I've took a lot of portraits in the past and converting them to black and white, as well as changing the back ground has seriously shown me what this package is capable of in terms of photo enhancement. I've found that the Shadow/Highlight tool is very useful for bringing out images, especially with landscapes (I don't know if that is the intended use for the tool, but it seems to work brilliantly.) I'm glad that the software can process RAW files, as my new camera gives me that option and personally I would prefer to use it to give me greater flexibility. I also found elements to be very user friendly, in no time I seemed to know what I was doing.
There was a slight problem activating the program over the internet, as I kept getting various error messages, but I did manage to activate it over the phone with Adobe who were very helpful. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have to wait on hold for an eternity, unlike my internet service provider (AOL since you asked.) In the past I've heard people say that Elements was just a severely cut-down version of Adobe Photoshop. But after using Elements for just over a month, I have to say that I am extremely happy with the program and am now a dedicated fan. I would strongly recommend it to you.
on 18 November 2007
I had the full version of Photoshop loaded on my last PC and it was thoroughly wasted on me. The majority of the features were unnecessary for photo adjustments and it took ages to open and close the program. I also did not like having a separate program running as a file browser. This made it slower and more cumbersome still.
In contrast, this fairly basic program is easy to use and apart from the shortage of ready-made picture frames, it enables you to transform photographs in all the ways I could think of. I have used the `guided' adjustments to very good effect. I invariably need to the alter the brightness of my photos and it's possible to apply this to the darker parts of the image only without ruining overall clarity. In the past, I've selected a darkish area of the picture manually and the transformation results have been fairly mediocre in comparison.
The worst aspect of the program is the fact that it does not recognise the old folders you've probably placed your files in. Instead, it puts all photos into one massive folder and then you need to apply tags to individual photos or make up whole new sets of folders. Rather than mess around with this, I've tended to sort all my pictures into date order and leave them in the folders I started with.
Thoroughly recommended. Its only rival for the money is Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, which is similarly good value for money; more labour-intensive, but easier to browse around.
on 21 February 2008
While good to get you going, the photo and video packages often bundled with PCs etc really don't give you anything advanced and easy to use (I mean the budget editions that usually cost about £25 to buy separately).
So after deciding that I no way need the mega-functionality of professional packages (even if I could afford splashing out several hundred pounds!) I looked into reviews from a number of different sources on a couple of mid-range packages but the only way to really know is to try one out first before buying.
Adobe have a try-before-buy scheme for stuff like this on their website (the Pro versions and the Elements versions of PhotoShop and Premier are available) although the file downloads are naturally very big. It was after trying these that made me buy the Premier Elements 4.0 and Photoshop 6.0 bundle.
I spent pretty much a whole weekend with the trial version (which is fully featured with a 30day timeout) editing holiday photos and video clips trying out various features - they're really quite intuitive to use and (so far) I haven't had any of the crashes that others have experienced so for me it gets a thumbs up.
Surprisingly, ordering from Amazon was a couple of pounds cheaper than buying the unlock codes direct from Adobe and also gets you the installation DVD and manuals. Note though that you have to uninstall the downloaded time-limited version and then reinstall from the disk as the licence codes with the disk won't unlock the downloaded time-limited version.
If you're serious about digital photography and want to do more than just the basic photo-editing provided with your camera then this is the program for you. Its big brother, Adobe Photoshop, sets the standard for image manipulation, but I am sure that the vast majority of users will be more than satisfied with Photoshop Elements, providing as it does additional functions and a more friendly interface for the digital photographer. The program is so easy to use that most users will be lulled into just using the standard fixes rather than exploring the huge number of additional tools for serious image manipulation. However, it is good to know that they are there should you have the time and inclination to explore them, and its well worth while getting hold of one of the many illustrated Elements books to help you with these.
Although it is a hugely capable program, Elements 6 also makes life easy for the beginner with its many quick fix functions and its guided edit process (new in this version). In addition, it really does have one of the best photo-organising album functions, enabling you to manage and organise thousands of photographs by a system of tags and albums, plus some very advanced photo search options - the new "find faces" feature is quite incredible and allows you for example to search through a set of holiday photographs and find all those which feature the faces of your family and friends.
The program picks up photos from any digital camera without fuss and red eye removal can be set to work automatically before you even see your photo. Adobes best shot smart fix edit is only a click away from the main screen and will greatly improve any photograph.
In addition to those features I've mentioned above, this version also has added much improved selection tools, improved processing of RAW files (typically for those with SLR cameras), a useful clone overlay which lets you clone (copy) individual items in a photograph, better black and white conversion and many others. It also has a VISTA style look and feel, while still working fine with Windows XP.
As to whether its worth upgrading from earlier versions, well, the price is quite high for the number of new features, but it comes down to whether you want the latest version "because its there" or because you need it. I suspect the "need" factor is fairly low, but the programme certainly looks a lot better and is definitely a significant update. It all depends of how much you value having the latest version of your software against having the familiarity of the version you're used to.
Presently on PcPro's `A-List', this is a cut down version of Adobe's £500+ Photoshop/Photoshop Extended CS3, and costs considerably less while still having a lot of useful photo editing capabilities. Photoshop CS3 has a steep learning curve, but not so Photoshop elements. Elements is far more home-user friendly and a lot of the program is geared towards image storage and management of the photos on your hard drive. It also helps you with emailing, web output and scrapbooks of your images. The program auto-downloads your images from the camera to folders, set up using the date, and can process the images, automatically removing red-eye, while it does it. Using stacks you can set up image databases [smart albums] using keywords like names, places, events, etc.., and you can even search using visual tags within the image. That said, I shun the image database options offered by Photoshop Elements and Extended, prefering the simplicity of logical folder names instead.
PhotoShop Elements 6 now looks good with it's graphite-colour interface. For editing you have a set of quickfix tools or you can load the full image editor for greater manual control: such as adjust sharpness, correct camera distortion, levels, hue and skin colour. Naturally you have standard tools like crop and adjust image size (pixels) as well. With Elements v6.0 you can now do things like brush away wrinkles with the spot healing/healing brush, use clone overlays, make improved B&W images, add image vibrance and clarity, make composite pictures, copy and even blend parts from different images (to say swap faces from a series of photo's so that all your kids are smiling at the camera in one image). You also get a layers palette for composites, shapes, text effects and frames. Plus there are step-through guides [guided edit] to help you get there. Some Adobe Elements on-line help is as obtuse as ever, but Elements simplicity makes this far less of a problem than with the full Photoshop [also see help.adobe.com, photoshopelementsuser.com & adobe.com].
The software will also integrate with scanners twain interfaces if you are into scanning film, and the Fill Light [shadow/highlight] tool is pretty essential for bringing out detail in shadows from any slide/negative scan. Plus Elements can handle RAW camera images, although I use TIFF (Elements can save in any common image format). If you want something a bit more like old Photoshop 7 have a look at Serif PhotoPlus 11.0 as it's great value with cheap upgrades, and runs on anything from Windows 98SE to XP - plus it takes Photoshop plug-ins. There's also limited but freebie Google Picasso and Corel's excellent Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to consider. Otherwise Elements is a great bit of image editing/database software from the main player in the market (Adobe). It's well worth upgrading from older versions of Elements that may be bundled in with cameras & scanners. See Adobe.com for upgrade details, it's often £10 cheaper to upgrade rather than buy the full licence, unless Amazon is offering it discounted on the day. The only downside with Elements 6 is that it's XP/Vista only. If you have an older PC OS or a tight budget try ebay/Amazon rellers for older versions of Elements that will be going cheap - v5 is XP/Vista, v4 or v3 is XP/2000 and v2 is NT, 98, ME, XP, 2000. As with any editing software, a lot of memory (2Gb) and a fast processor really speeds things up with large photos but a modest processor (1.3GHz + 256 RAM) will work OK with v6.0 if you are a rather patient sort - and have XP. Don't go below this minimum system requirement for v6.0 though - Adobe installers often reject any PC that falls below their minimum specification.
So, overall Photoshop Elements 6 a great bit of software, although perhaps it's not a crucial upgrade from Elements 5. However, those also into video and PC video editing should seriously consider the sister program Adobe Premiere Elements that does the same for Video - and more importantly you can buy these two as a twin pack at reduced cost (checkout adobe.com and Amazon). If you think your school age kids (primary school-kid to university student) would benefit from this Photoshop Elements 6.0 & Premiere Elements 4.0 twin pack you can get them a home-use only licenced Student copy for under £80 (see Adobe.com). Similar Educational discounts apply to all Adobe products (e.g. Photoshop Extended and Creative Suites).
on 13 November 2007
I gave a very positive review of Photoshop Elements 5 on Amazon, and when saw that a new version was out I excitedly bought it straight away, even though I was perfectly happy using version 5. I really wish that I hadn't bothered.
First of all, version 6 makes few major functional leaps from version 5. There are new features to improve composite group photos that allow you to cut and paste a person from one picture into another. This was possible with 5, but it may be a tad easier to do it with this. There are new art / filter effects too, and the blemish remover has apparently been improved. I see these more as 'add ons' or updates rather than major programme revisions. The new feature of merging faces has only novelty value, and is not particularly good. However, there is one new feature well worth having, and that's the ability to stick landscape photos together into one big panorama. This works remarkably well, although you might have trouble getting the resulting pictures printed unless you are prepared to spend mucho casho at the developers!
The organizer window is more or less the same as in version 5, except that the background colour is darker and there are more on-screen options for editing without leaving the organizer window. This is a small improvement and not that significant to users accustomed to version 5. The quick fix and full edit screens are largely unchanged.
The improvements are nowhere near as outstanding as the problems in version 6. I was dismayed to find that version 6 did not recognise all of the tags that I had painstakingly created to organise my pictures in version 5. Some tags were imported into version 6, but not all of them, and the ones that WERE imported were not necessarily connected to all the pictures they were originally attached to! What is the point of coming up with an excellect file organizing system like this if you're not going to use the feature with backward compatibility and consistency with your own software, eh Adobe?
Another minor gripe is that the mouse wheel no longer works as a zoom control tool when you're in 'hand' mode. You have to move the mouse pointer to a different part of the screen and use a dedicated zoom slider control, which is more fiddly than the original.
Worst of all, version 6 is bugged. There is an option to get Photoshop to whizz through all your pictures and find people's faces, which you then tag with the person's name. This is a fantastically useful tool for finding pictures of people, and was present in version 5, except that it WORKED in that version. The 'improvement' incorporated into version 6 is to have the programme crash when you attempt to tag the pictures before the programme has finished searching. It does seem to work if you wait for it to finish, but if that's the case why does the programme allow you to try to tag them while it's still searching? Answer - it's obviously a bug. A more serious bug involves the photo-grabbing software, which failed to work at all after installing version 6. Not only that, the computer would not recognise my card-reader or even my iPod until I'd completely uninstalled both version 6 AND version 5, did a registry scan and repair, and restarted the computer. Very, very poor show - unforgivable, even.
There is one improvement I've found. In version 5 I could never get the 'find similar pictures' feature to work. Now it does. Out with the old bugs, in with the new!
So there it is. I will update this review if I find any more problems or solutions.
The lowdown is, if you don't have a photo editor, this is still good. The features that do work, work very well. Read my review for version 5 for details of what this programme does - it's essentially the same as version 5. Which is why, if you are already a Photoshop 5 user, I'd advise you to keep your money in your pocket, and safe yourself a LOT of hassle.
on 27 August 2008
If you want to acheive fantastic results with your pictures, Photoshop Elements 6 is for you. At a fairly low price it has fantastic features for making banners, buttons, posters, collages and many more projects. It installed in no time and was easy to register. The only problem that I have is when going from my picture catalogue to the editor, it can take a little longer than expected, but it is still quite quick.
In two words - simply fantastic!
on 2 June 2008
After using Elements 6 for 5 months now, I can honestly say that I've given it an extended road test.
On the whole, I'm pleased with it but there is one major problem that makes the Organizer part of the software all but useless to me. Basically, importing RAW images (in my case from a Canon DSLR) when installed on a multi-core processor (e.g. Core Duo) will result in broken image icons being displayed for many images. Much searching of user forums has revealed that this is a known bug for which there is still no fix.
If you do not intend to use the Organizer or if you are using an older machine, then I can recommend the ease of use of the Editor component, including for RAW images. But, if you are looking for an integrated, simple-but-powerful photo management program, I suggest looking elsewhere for now.
on 12 February 2008
I had my doubts about up grading from Elements 5 to Elements 6 , I have now done so and I have no regrets. Ifind the new software easier to ue and the new clone overlay tool is an easy way to clone acurately. I have also signed for the Photoshop newsletter, which so far has been an invaluable learning resource.
on 9 January 2008
I have used photoshop for the past 5 years at work - although only for lightweight photo manipulation. Everything that I used to do, I can still to on this version.
I'm no graphic designer, and so I really wanted to make sure this version had the following, which is all I really did anyway:
1) Still has the select tool, and the ability to use layers
2) Still has the adjust - which has more user-friendly settings
3) Can still change image size, and "quality" of jpeg
Also, you can download a 30 day trial at the adobe site - which is useful too! On the whole, a relief to be able to do what I wanted to do, at around 10% of the price!