Customer Review

363 of 369 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elements 11, A very good buy, even at full price., 11 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (PC/Mac) (DVD-ROM)
I recently had nearly two years where I was too busy selling a house and moving countries to do any photographic processing, although I still took photos. When I finally had the time, I found that raw photos from my two new cameras were not supported, by either my Photoshop CS2 or Elements 5; I therefore needed an upgrade. CS5 was out, because of price and the fact that it contains a lot I would never use. I also needed to sort and reduce over three years of photos (7,000 +). I originally bought Elements 5 when I was teaching Photoshop to a beginner's class, none of whom would shell out the 500 or so needed to buy the full version. I only used Elements 5 to check that what I was teaching would work, and I wasn't very familiar with its full potential.

As part of my research I downloaded the trial version of Elements 10. I also read as many "How to do it" books as I could lay my hands on and tracked the development of the program since edition 5. I was aware of the criticisms in this forum, and others, about a near fatal bug in the Lasso Tool of Elements 10 but decided to look at it anyway. In the end I rejected 10, waited and eventually bought Elements 11.

Here are my conclusions for what they are worth.

Pros

1. If you don't have any image enhancement software or you have a very basic program, such as Picassa or one of the bundled programs you may have found on a disc with your camera, then buying Elements 11 is a no-brainer. It is worth buying for the Organiser alone and in the Edit module, it lets you do most things that you might want to do, as you develop your photographic skills and interest.

2. If you want one-click general enhancements then it does these as well as, if not better than, other one-click programs.

3. If you want to do more and better, you can tweak the basic one-click settings and stop when satisfied. knowing that all moves are reversible
.
4. If you need more than that, then there are guided edits, which both achieve good results and teach you to handle some of the important Photoshop tools, in a non-threatening way. If you want to know more, there are tutorials on Adobe TV and countless ones on the Youtube. If you are just beginning I found some good stuff on [...] (Complete with written notes).

5. If you want a good range of Photoshop tools and capabilities then it offers 80% of those and 95% of those that matter (IMHO), and most of those left out are not critical. Much of what is left out is of more interest to pro photographers, designers, graphic artists and the like. If that is you, then you want its big brother CS6. Also there is a very comprehensive set of creation tools that allow you to make photo-books, calendars etc, if you are into that sort of thing.

6. If you already have an earlier version of Elements then, even up to Elements 7 it is worth considering the change, for the enhancements in the Editor, the Recompose tool and the Quick Selection Brush (better than the former "Magic Selection Brush" I think) tools alone. These will cut your workload in half and are fun to use. You do need plenty of memory to use the Recompose Tool, otherwise it is painfully slow, but it is quite simply fantastic. You can do the same job with layers, if you know what you are doing, but it is so much easier with this tool. If, like me, you have version 5 or before, then this has all the things that you hoped 5 would have, like layer masks, vibrance and actions. After that, at versions 8, 9 or 10, an upgrade is less certain to please. The best thing to do is to download the trial version, and see for yourself.

Cons

1. The organiser and a edit workspaces in 8, 9 and 10 were getting very cluttered and so it seems like a good idea to simplify them, as Adobe have done. However, they have also made it so different I don't know where everything is! I am constantly having to refer to the help pages and YouTube to find stuff, know it is there, but just can't find it. The edit space I am beginning to understand, but the organizer space is driving me nuts. If you are not used to the traditional Photoshop format, this may not be such a problem. Update 18/3/20013. I am now friends with the organizer and I am very happy with the new setup.

2. Then there is the issue of reliability and stability. Some people have reported Elements has crashed more frequently as it has gone from versions 8 to 10, but I could not get 10 to fall over, no matter what I did to it and the same seems to apply to 11. The reliability problem may be a symptom of Adobe's tendency to bolt on more and more new stuff to the basic Photoshop engine and not take away redundant features, but I have never had a crash with Elements-I have had it happen with other software though.

3. Some experienced Photoshop users complain about the greater and greater reliance on guided edits to access certain features and it has been suggested that it may be time for Elements to become two programs, one for low volume enthusiasts and semi pros and one for scrapbookers, facebookers and the like. This edition seems to answer that problem by making it look more like ordinary Photoshop but with guided edits and photobooks etc, hidden from view. Some will like this, personally I don't. Update. I am now at peace with the new spartan format.

4. Then there is the vexed question of Amazon random number pricing and price matching with other companies. If the price on Amazon was the same now as it was when I bought it (34.99), I would be saying, to anyone who has been put off buying it from Amazon by negative comments, that it is quite simply the photographic bargain of the year. However the price seems to vary randomly on a daily basis, currently it is 58.79. Over the last year, Elements 10 varied from 34.99 to 50, or even once, 80, with bizarre prices like 60.16p popping up. Other companies follow suite, leading to a dog's breakfast of pricing nationally. I was so incensed by this that I held off buying until the random number generator came up with 35 again! That was one day a few weeks ago, for Elements 11, and I bagged one.

Conclusion

There are still some gaps, like there is no access to Channels or Lab Mode and you cannot create your own actions but you can now load third party actions, if you want. But hell, 95% of the important parts of the full Photoshop is nothing short of brilliant, if you are paying 35; any more and you are being ripped off! If you want more features, then you will have to bite the bullet and shell out for CS6. Update: 'Elements+', is an add on program, which unlocks a lot of the hidden CS6 functionality, including channels, smart objects and scripts. There is no lab mode but there is 'sharpen luminosity' which is one of the main reasons you want a lab mode. A genuine bargain at 10.07 or $14.28.

Update
I have now had enough time to assess this product, and I have to say it is a fantastic piece of kit. There is so much in that saves time and angst that it is worth having it just for the hassle it takes out of processing. I take back my previous caveat about the cost. Even at full price it is well worth the money. If you shop around you should be able to get well below full price but whatever you do get it!
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Comments

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Apr 2013 06:39:17 BDT
cimic says:
An excellent review, thanks. I had been using PSE 11 for a few years mainly on a 'quick fix' basis, then I started using Guided Edits and quickly started to see an improvement in my images. What's more the guided edits created 'layers' which could themselves be manipulated in Full Edit mode and are non-destructive of the original image. More recently I became interested in more advanced image editing and bought Mark Galer's book 'PSE 7 - Maximum Performance'. I am working through some of the projects in the book, which is supported by resources - films, actions, pre-sets, images - and I can thoroughly recommend this route to aspiring amateur image editors. I am considering upgrading to PSE 11 and I will act on your advice when I see it advertised again at a bargain price. Thanks once again.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2013 10:29:23 BDT
jrapprentice says:
Thanks for your remarks cimic. Another good book is PSE 11 for Photographers by Kelby and Kloskowski. Good luck with your photography.

Best wishes

John

Posted on 9 Apr 2013 13:02:21 BDT
Ern says:
Good detailed review. Thanks......I am not into photography myself, being more of a videographer (ok camcorderpher!), but I am finding more and more that I need a photo editing tool to do my DVD covers and artwork on my DVD menus. Your review has helped loads. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2013 20:57:49 BDT
jrapprentice says:
Glad to help Ern.

John

Posted on 17 Apr 2013 18:25:21 BDT
eve says:
This is one of the most comprehensive reviews I have read, I have aperture with Mac, Gimp but no know how as there's no instruction, I do not have the patience to sit and watch loads of tutorials, albeit it I will need to do so if the photographs I want to delve into is anything to go by, if you wouldn't mind answering a question......I want to go into the 'surreal', fantasy shots using an ordinary photograph and then creating wings, mermaid fins, castles in the background, flying dogs etc, which package should I be looking at?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013 23:26:03 BDT
jrapprentice says:
Sorry to take so long in replying Eve. I have been very busy lately.

It sounds as if you want something like Corel Draw to do your art work, but whether that would marry up with Elements 11 I am not sure. My advice would be to download a trial copy and see what it can do for you.
Other than that you could try getting into photo montage to produce your final image but that would entail quite a lot of learning of new skills I am afraid. When you stop learning you are dead!

Best wishes
John.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 11:23:42 BDT
Bit of a newbie question here as i have only just got in to photo editing. I used a trial of CS 6 - it had loads on ith that i had no use for and just want the photo shop element - in particular i found teh clone stamp very useful - is this it ? Thank you

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 22:21:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 May 2013 22:22:20 BDT
jrapprentice says:
Hi,

If I understand your question, you want to know if the software I reviewed is Photoshop Elements and the answer is yes. It also has a clone stamp and many other useful tools. Ideal for you, if you are new to photo editing.

Best wishes
John

Posted on 21 Jun 2013 09:28:59 BDT
Russ says:
Do you have any links to the elements+ add on as I think I'd be interested in this too.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2013 14:15:50 BDT
jrapprentice says:
Hi Russ,

Just type elements+ into your browser and it will take you there. That is how I got there.

Best wishes,

john
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