At a Glance
- Powerful editing tools
- Facebook friend tagging
- Bloated, buggy organizer
- Some image-management tools aren’t easy to use
Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 handily downloads from cameras and uploads to Facebook…but the Organizer is too slow.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 adds a few interesting features, but
nothing of an oh-wow nature. But Elements 9 remains one of the
better consumer-level image handling applications you can choose.
(To read more details, please see PCWorld‘s full
In Photoshop Elements 9’s new Guided Editing mode, you’ll find a
new reflection effect, pop-art effects, and “Lomo” camera effects.
Likewise, the new “Perfect Portrait” feature merely steps you
through the use of various editing tools, such as the spot-healing
brush and the red-eye removal tool, to improve your portraits. If
you’re familiar with the tools, you may not need the assistance,
but if you aren’t, the instructions in the sidebar could be
A new Photomerge Style Match feature lets you specify a source
photo and applies its qualities to another photo of your
choice–for example, you can use a black-and-white photo as a
source to artsy-up a color photo. You can use a few sliders to
adjust the effect and two brushes to either remove the effects from
portions of the image or add it. I found it useful for converting
images to grayscale and then restoring portions of it to color, as
you might do by using the history brush in Photoshop
CS5 (Elements 9 lacks a history brush).
The spot-healing brush, already a powerful cloning tool for
correcting blemishes, now can remove large unwanted portions of
images. I also liked Elements’s improved panorama feature; now the
tool can fill in around the edges of the panorama instead of making
you crop to get rid of rough edges.
Unfortunately, the Elements organizer doesn’t leave me with a
happy feeling. The organizer remains a separate application (it
serves in Adobe Premiere
Elements, too), and the separateness makes working with
multiple photos clunky, even more so as Adobe adds features. When
you want to perform substantive edits on an image in the organizer,
you must select the image, click on a “Fix” tab, choose which
editing mode you want to use, and wait for the editor to load.
You’ll then have two Photoshop icons in your taskbar–one for the
organizer, one for the editor–and both applications’ interfaces
look very similar (with very tiny text and icons, by the way, even
on a 24-inch monitor). Want to add tags to a photo? Use the
organizer. Want to create a photo book from multiple images? Use
Elements 9 has new options to create things: For example, select
some images in the organizer, choose Photobook from a
menu, get sent off to the editor application, and Elements then
prearranges the photos in an attractive layout that can be printed
on your own printer or uploaded to Kodak Picture Gallery or
Shutterfly. In another new tweak, clicking a button in the editor
can switch it to “advanced” mode, which allows you to make edits
with any Elements tool. That is, if you can figure out on which
layer your image is located–the editor creates many different
layers, and it wasn’t always easy to work on them.
Adobe offers a “Plus” version of Photoshop Elements; it costs
$140 and includes 20GB of space on Photoshop.com (up from the free
2GB allotment), plus access to a larger library of how-tos,
artwork, and templates within the Inspiration Browser that comes
with Elements. All that is fine–but adding 20GB of space on
Photoshop.com costs only $20a year. So you pay $20 not to be
annoyed by some of the content being locked in the Inspiration
Despite some annoyances, Photoshop Elements 9 is a powerful,
complete package that has many excellent tools–if you can figure
out where they reside.
This link takes you to the vendor’s site, where you
must register to download the software.