152 of 156 people found the following review helpful
Pre-PSE 7 or new users 5 stars. PSE 8 upgraders 3 stars,
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (PC/Mac) (CD-ROM)
How good you will think Elements 9 is depends much on what you have at the moment. For new users, it's as good as any entry level photo processing software out there in my view. Not the cheapest necessarily, but it's extensive, robust and, while there is the constant issue that software companies no longer produce manuals - which given the depth and complexity of something like Elements is nigh on unbelievable, although it presumably keeps the cost down - there will soon doubtless be books on the subject and there are a number of monthly magazines that do reasonably priced guides and content examples.
For upgraders - if you have anything up to Elements 7, there have been substantial changes since 7 and again, it's worth the cost. 8 included a lot of improvements and, while 9 adds only slightly to those, it's still worth going for the latest version. Again, buy it.
(Although in both cases, if you find a cheap source of Elements 8 as retailers try to de-stock, then by all means go for that - you won't be disappointed)
More difficulty comes if you have 8. Is it worth it? I'm not so sure. In hindsight, I wish I'd stuck to my usual software update rule of getting every other version - and since Adobe tend to upgrade annually, the wait wouldn't have been too long. (Note this is a PC based analysis - it may add more for mac users)
What it adds to 8 are basically (and this is a user's view rather than the complete corporate schpeel):
1. The biggy is layer masks. That makes a big difference and is what led me to splash out here. It's good to have, and makes a lot of tasks easier.
2. Context spot healer - nice idea, but far from problem free. Yes, it saves a little time in terms of healing and cloning, but not much. It works best on small areas - as you'd expect - and so the time saving is not great. It's nice to have rather than must have. [edit: of more use is the fact that you can now preview the clone stamp for more accurate alterations]
3. A few cosmetics, a few easier guided edits (the Lomo effect is nice and the portrait one, while adding nothing that you couldn't easily do before it is a nice, logical and simple walkthrough.
4. Faster links to Facebook. It didn't take much to upload to FB before, so again, that's a fairly minimal step forward. Again falls under the nice to have label.
I'm sure there are other tweaks that I've yet to uncover, but for me, if you are on Elements 8, the big issue is `do I want to pay the upgrade price for layer masks and a few other minor benefits?' (I suspect others will view the context spot healer more favourably than I have - it IS nice, but isn't the same as in the full CS suite. Check out product description for more upgrade features.
I'm sure others will give a more technically detailed review of this huge software kit - for me though, I upgraded for the layer masks - in truth I wish I'd waited until next year's update. Although in terms of time savings, it will probably pay it's way.
One other thought - the requirements are basically the same as for 8 but it does run noticeably slower on my computer. Certainly not unworkable, but be prepared. The more processing power you have to throw at this, the better.