Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 review

Photoshop Elements 12 keeps to the two-pronged workflow – importing, sort and view image files in the Organizer, with the Photo Editor for manipulating and enhancing images, including RAW formats.

Adobe has added to the Guided Edits step-by-step helpers, enhancing them with a mixed bag of the impressive Zoom Burst effect, the effective (if rather limited) Puzzle jigsaw, and Restore Old Photos, which is more of a tutorial than instant fix. They've been joined by a variety of one-touch frames, effects, and textures, which quickly apply some very nice colour looks and finishes.

There's an interesting variation on red-eye removal in the form of Pet Eye. It works the same way: select the red-eye tool, check the Pet Eye box, and click on the creature's eye. The automatic setting tends to leave animals looking a bit cartoonish, but you can adjust intensity of the correction using the Pupil Radius slider and Darken slider.

In a new addition to the Enhance workflow, Auto Smart Tone 'learns' how you fine-tune corrections, then bases subsequent enhancements upon those same personal tweaks. Full Photoshop's content-aware workflow makes an appearance in Elements, allowing you to easily move objects or straighten photos and let the tool fill them the source areas or 'blank' spaces with pixels resembling their neighbours. It's good for quick fixes, but won't work wonders.

See also: Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 review

Also new to this edition are Mobile Albums – a way to make selected photos or albums accessible on smartphones and tablets. Mobile Albums are located under Local Albums on the Organizer sidebar. You need to sign in with an Adobe ID and also install Adobe Revel (formerly Carousel) on your mobile device. You may also need to pay a $60 per year subscription.

Thereafter, albums can be dragged from the Local listing to make a copy in the Mobile listing and subsequently appear online. Any editing changes made to photos in the Mobile Album will appear both in the Organizer and on your smartphone and tablet.

There's also the ability to share photos from the Editor directly to Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, SmugMug Gallery or Private Web Albums.

See also: Mac software reviews

OUR VERDICT

It's more social media-aware and more connected, but this isn't as revolutionary an update as earlier editions. While it borrows from Photoshop in Content-aware tools, Elements doesn't always deliver as impressive results. The one-shot adjustments and guided edits on the other hand are effective, high-quality time-savers. As for the Mobile Album workflow, it takes a little while for Revel to update the album on a iPad, but it's a fairly stress-free and useful solution.

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