For some photographers, Photoshop is an essential part of their workflow. But for many others, the program offers a lot of features that aren’t needed. Adobe takes care of those of us who fall into that group with Photoshop Elements. In version 11, the basic framework remains the same, with a separate organizer application. Building on the different editing modes introduced in the last version—Quick, Guided and Expert—the program walks you through how to simulate some cool new effects, including tilt-shift, high key and more.
Navigating the clean, simple interface is easier, with text and icons appearing bigger and bolder. You can save time by importing actions that automate repetitive editing tasks, and the program now integrates Google Maps, allowing you to tag photos based on location.
There are a lot of ways to output and share your pictures. From its Create and Share panels, Elements gives you options for creating dynamic slideshows, sending picture emails, printing via Shutterfly, burning discs or uploading to Web galleries. You can directly upload to your favorite photo-sharing websites, including Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug or Adobe’s own Revel service. Also new in Elements 11 is direct exporting to Vimeo. List Price: $99.
Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
• Images can be imported directly from a camera, card reader, scanner or files and folders.
• Arrange photos by people, location and event, with albums, keywords, tagging and metadata hidden by default. You can scroll through images in each stack by moving your mouse over them. You can group people and assign profile photos to a stack of photos of a particular person.
• While importing, you can allow Elements to automatically suggest photo stacks. Photos that are similar are then sorted into those stacks.
• There are four ways to sort photos.
Media: Files are grouped by type (photos, videos, PDFs and more)
Places: Photos are displayed on a map based on location
People: Using facial recognition, photos are grouped based on who’s featured in them
Events: Stacks are created of photos taken at a vacation, party, wedding or any other event
Quick: If you’re ready to begin editing your photos immediately, click this mode. It’s where all the basic editing tasks live for adjusting sharpness, exposure, color and more. Tools for fixing red eye, cropping and making quick selections are on the left side of the screen.
Guided: This is where you’ll find step-by-step instructions on creating effects such as tilt-shift, vignettes, and high- and low-key looks. For portraiture, there’s a “Create a Perfect Portrait” tab for applying blur, enhancing facial features and slimming down your subjects. From the right pane, simply select the edit you’re interested in and follow the instructions. Some come with an example of how a photo looks before and after applying the effect.
Expert: For those who are familiar with Photoshop, but don’t need all that it provides, this is where you’ll do most of your work. Along the left side of the screen are tools that include filters, layers, actions and histograms, as well as tons of artistic and graphic effects.
• The crop tool lets you specify standard aspect ratios and a target size in pixels.
• The Spot Healing brush helps remove blemishes and other imperfections in portraits or remove unwanted objects, such as signs, from backgrounds.
• Smart brushes allow you to paint effects and adjustments onto specific parts of your photo. Options for black-and-white, color, lighting and special effects are available. There are also four new filters for turning your image into an illustration: Pen & Ink, Comic, Graphic Novel and Lens Blur.
• The Refine Edge tool, taken from Photoshop, allows you to fine-tune edges on selections.
• A “Save for Web” option makes it easy to optimize images for online display.
• Edited files can be saved in the Photoshop PSD format, supporting layers.