The comprehensive image processing software - with built-in guidance for the beginner.
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 14(*) (MAC/PC)
(*) Now superceded by Elements 15
- Very competent software (MAC or PC) and outstanding for the price.
- A good start for any beginner or amateur photographer looking for effective processing at a low cost.
- Good photo organisation tools, high resolution on your computer screen.
- RAW processing is limited compared with the full version of Photoshop.
Available through the Adobe web site.
What will it do?
The short answer is that it will probably do everything that you are likely to want to do.
For example it performs all of the basic processing techniques such as:
- improving the exposure
- enhancing the colours
- create black and white versions of your image
- apply some sharpening
- improve the contrast within the image
- allow you to change the size of the image
There are three editing modes:
- Quick (see the screen shot immediately below)
They do exactly what they say.
- In the Quick mode you begin by clicking on any of the options shown in order to convert your image quickly and simply.
- As an example I chose the Black and White option (there is a choice between Basics, Color, Black & White, Fun Edits, Special Edits and Photomerge). The result was this (as viewed on the Before and After split screen):
- In Photoshop Elements 14 (and now 15) the needs of the photographer are met at every level.
- The essential tools for the beginner are kept separated from those that you would use as your experience grows and you want to make more advanced changes.
- So, the basic essentials are kept in the Quick Panel, and the more advanced tools are confined to the Expert Panel.
(In my view the Guided Panel is for those who are nervous to start and want help through their first forays into image processing.)
- The Adobe Elements 14 (15) software is the only package (of those reviewed here) that is structured in this helpful way.
- Any newcomer to image processing will find the QUICK EDIT very useful.
- Within QUICK EDIT you can adjust the exposure, the colour balance, and the brightness, as well as carry out some sharpening. These are all accessed through drop-down boxes.
- A few Presets are provided to help you along.
As you can see from this screen shot you can make your changes whilst keeping in front of you the original image.
At the top of the left-hand side of the screen you have access
to some additional tools. These include:
- Zoom tool
- Quick selection tool (if you want to choose a part of the
image to change rather than changing the whole image)
- Red Eye Removal
- Whiten Teeth
- Horizontal type Tool
- Spot Heling Brush
- Crop Tool
- Move Tool
- As you gather experience using this software you will find that there are other things that you can do, such as add a frame to your picture.
- One very useful feature that has got nothing to do with processing the image is that Adobe Photoshop Elements includes a module within which you can create Albums. You start by importing photographs stored in your computer, thus making them instantly available for further processing.
- Albums also help you to keep your photographs organised by topic, person, geographical locations, subject, or whatever you choose.
- You can select photos to appear on your screen as a slide show.
Adobe Elements does all of this in a straightforward way, and well.
If your images are in a RAW format, there is a RAW editing tool included. (RAW is the preferred format amongst photographers looking for ultimate control over image processing).
- Something that many of you may like is the opportunity to CREATE AND SHARE. This allows you to prepare your images for output as prints, a photo book, as greeting cards, a calendar, or as a collage.
- You are also able to use the soware to create an instant movie, a video story, and the ability to burn these to a DVD using the SHARE option.
- You can also SHARE directly to social media sites.
NOTE: if you want to create a video you may need to download Premiere Elements (use a trial version in the first instance) unless you already have it because you purchased the package deal that includes both Photoshop and Premiere.
Is it difficult to learn?
- If you do struggle you can fall back on the Guided mode. This gives you access to 34 step-by-step guides to achieving particular results. These include: some basic image processing steps, altering colour, creating a black and white version of your image, and the merging of two images.
- You get some idea of what each edit will do by looking at the examples provided (Presets) before you start. By clicking on one of the thumbnail Preset images you get a step-by-step guide on carrying out that process.
- You may like the possibility of reducing a small amount of camera shake - there is an option to do that.
- There is also an option that reduces the amount of haze that can occur in some distant landscape scenes.
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