Photoshop Elements 3.0
With digital cameras becoming household items, the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Elements should come in as a handy tool for hobbyist image-editors. The application is a scaled down and simplified version of its big brother Photoshop CS, and focuses wholly on image editing. The Mac version of Elements will cost £64.99, which is £23 cheaper than version 2.0. It’s also a fiver less than the Windows version, since Adobe has chosen to not include the Image Catalogue feature, making a fair assumption that Mac people would just use iPhoto instead.
It’s obvious that Adobe has home digital photographers in mind for Elements 3.0, as several new features seem to be designed to make the family album look better. These include the one-click red-eye fix, or the Cookie Cutter, which cuts photographs in lovable pre-determined shapes, ranging from a heart to a recycling sign. Other useful new features include the Photo Filters (which simulate screw-on camera lens filters), support for editing 16-bit photos, and the ability to separate and organize pictures that have been scanned together. The Histogram palette also keeps track of changes to individual and composite channels as you edit, making colour and level adjustments easier.
If you knew nothing about photo editing before, then Elements is an easy program to get started with. You simply open a photograph in the Quick Fix workspace, click a few “Auto” buttons, and the colour balance, lighting and sharpening have all been adjusted, making the photograph look instantly better. All of Photoshop’s darkroom tools are included – even the Healing Brush, which was left out in version 2.0.
Elements 3.0’s workspace has been significantly revamped. The Photo Bin is a handy way of organizing open files, and the Palette Bin smartly solves the problem of having too many palettes open and in the way. The greatest makeover has been given to the File Browser, which now features better organization options and a search function. You can rotate pictures in the Browser, and divide them into sub-categories of keywords. It’s also easier to create PDF slideshows or to publish a group of pictures in a Web Photo Gallery.