Adobe Photoshop Elements 15
• User-friendly interface
• Powerful photo editing tools
• Support for RAW camera files
• Extensive selection of help and tutorials
• Advanced organizer
• Some of the tutorials require paid membership
• Relatively expensive
Professional photo editing tools, image organizing and sharing continue to keep this product ahead of most its competitors. Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is in a class of its own with a price tag to match.
Pretty much everyone has heard of Photoshop, but what many people don't realize is that it also comes in a slightly stripped down version called as Photoshop Elements. This top-selling photo editing package is simple to use but has enough depth to create detailed edits and professional-looking photo projects.
If you are using Photoshop Elements for the first time, there is an excellent welcome section that shows you the program's basics, such as how to apply edits and share finished projects.
Photoshop Elements 15 was released simultaneously on Mac and Windows platforms. There is little difference between them. However, the Mac version comes with Bridge CS4, the document manager that ships with the Creative Suite. Windows users get Organizer.
The minute you start to import image files, the auto analyzer tool cleverly evaluates the content of your pictures and starts applying smart tags to indicate high, medium and low quality as well as factors such as contrast, motion, focus and the number of objects.
Elements can handle large RAW camera images.
The Photomerge Exposure tool is a new feature in Photoshop Elements and we think it's great. It allows you to adjust photos with exposure issues by seamlessly blending two or more photos, thereby eliminating under, or over exposed portions. You can blend group shots so everyone is looking perfect and facing the camera. The Scene Cleaner removes unwanted elements from the perfect shot, like someone walking in front of your subject. If you have taken a photograph with two people standing too far apart from each other you can use the recompose feature, which automatically brings them together.
The list of photo editing features in Elements goes on and on. You can resize photos without distortion, add color and textured effects, turn photos black and white, improve the exposure, change shadows, edit the colors, restore old photos, and even add professional effects like 3D elements. Each new effect you add is added to a layer, which you can then turn on or off to create the end result you want.
A useful feature is the automatic online backup and free storage. Every licensed user of Photoshop Elements 15 comes with 2GB of online storage space. You can also upgrade to 20GB.
Elements provides a host of page design templates and album creation features to make your photos stand out. The album creation tools are good because there is both a basic mode, where the software creates a book for you, and advanced mode where you can take advantage of all the editing features directly when creating your book. You can print your creations yourself or have them printed and bound professionally through Photoshop's partner firms.
The icons that you use to tag your photos are a really neat feature, making your categories easy to see and letting you find related images quickly. But the really clever bit is you don't need to do the tagging yourself. Photoshop Elements analyzes your photos as you load them into the organizer and automatically adds smart tags for you, like Motion, Blurred, or No Objects. It can even recognize faces. The more images that get tagged, the more intelligent it becomes.
You can export your photos directly to Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug etc using the Organizer, show your photos in interactive online galleries or email your photos in an album to friends and relatives.
The software automatically optimizes your photos to match the requirements of the site you are uploading to and makes it easy to send files in an email.
Ease of use
Fixing common problems like less-than-blue sky and red eyes is easy with the automated brush feature. There are a number of guided edit options that take you through the process of creating different effects. When you want to go more in-depth, the software is easy to manage and most effects and corrections are performed using a single brush stroke.
The single brush stroke feature is great because it allows you to remove, color or edit aspects of your photo without having to manually trace the precise outline of the object.
Help & support
There are plenty of support options available with the Elements software, including Adobe TV which has a number of video how-tos. Telephone support is available during weekdays but it is restricted to set up and installation issues. You can also find help and support in the user manual, online tutorials and moderated community forums.
In a market where there is plenty of competition Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 really holds its own. The complete package of editing, sharing and storage - Photoshop Elements offers all you need.
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