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Software Review: Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is the latest release from the Adobe Photoshop family and it is the little brother of the industry standard digital imaging software product Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is available for both Windows and the Mac platforms and has incorporated many new features.

Photoshop is considered by many to be the best image editor on the planet, but unless you are a professional, it may not be the best choice for the general consumer. This is for a couple of reasons. First, with a high end product, there is usually a high end learning curve that can take months; even years to become accomplished with such an all-encompassing product. Second, a high end product usually comes with a high end price. In the case of Photoshop CS6, purchasing it new that can mean $699 USD for the standard version, and $999.00 USD for the extended version. For Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 it is $99.99 USD, or bundled with Adobe Premier Elements 11, it is $149.99 USD. You can check out what you need to run Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 from their tech specs page.


So what is new with Adobe Photoshop Elements 11?

• Manage your photos – and videos more easily in the media Organizer. This completely redesigned Organizer presents information in a much easier and more approachable way. Now you can simply move photos and video clips from your memory card or any other device to your computer using preset preferences. Photoshop Elements automatically straightens and saves each photo separately and organizes them by date. With full-screen preview, you can get the full effect of your photos and video clips and make quick edits while viewing them.

• Map your memories and relive your journeys. Through the use of the map view, you can zoom in to a particular area of the world and see what photos and videos you took there. In addition to helping you retrace your steps, the mapping feature also assists with remembering exactly where photos and videos were taken after visiting multiple destinations. The Places view in Photoshop Elements integrates with Google maps, enabling you to organize and search photos and videos by location.

• Recall special events – through the new ability to organize around events. Since many photographic occasions center around life events such as the birth of a child or family holiday, you can go into the events view, and using the calendar, you can filter based on dates so that when you need to, you can quickly find that photo that you need.

• Create pro-quality photographic effects – using guided edits. These take a step-by-step approach to guiding you to adding amazing effects to your photos. New Guided
Edits help you create tilt-shift effects that make photos look like miniature scenes; vignettes that draw attention to the center of your photos; and high key and low key effects that add energy or drama with high levels of white or black. In addition to adding new Guided Edits, the improvements to the user interface and workflows help to enhance the look, feel, and ease-of-use of existing edits, so you can try more options until you find just the right look.

• Turn photos into illustrations – through the use of creative filters. Now there are three new original filters in the latest release of Photoshop Elements let you get the wow without the work. By simply clicking to apply new Comic, Graphic Novel, and Pen & Ink filters, you can get effects that will make people wonder whether they’re looking at a photo or an original piece of art.


• New templates – now come with Photoshop Elements 11. Just go to the Organizer or Photo Bin, and select the Greeting Card album. Once you’ve finalized your photos or photo creations, you want to share them with friends and family so they can enjoy them too.

• Find specific people – it is easy with the People view. The People view filters your library down to photos and videos that have a particular person in them. People can be organized into groups – family, friends, colleagues, or any other category that fits your life.

• Three editing modes – now with Photoshop Elements 11. Quick mode lets you start enhancing your photos right away, with automated options that enable you to choose from various lighting, color, balance, and sharpening options, and get your photos looking great fast. Guided Edits with step-by-step help, and Expert Mode for full control.

• Combine elements – from different photos more easily than ever before. You can extract something from one photo and put it in another more cleanly than ever. Industry-leading Adobe Photoshop technology makes it easy to select and refine the edges of hair and other tricky photo content, so you can add relatives to the family portrait, put a friend on stage with her favorite singer, and more.

• Enhanced actions – makes it easier for you to save time by importing actions that automate repetitive editing tasks. The Actions player is brought to life as a main part of the User Interface, so you can apply the same edits to multiple photos or complete a complicated editing process in just a few clicks.

• Flexible layouts – makes it easy for you to showcase the photos you’ve worked so hard on in your own unique creations. In Photoshop Elements 11, you can make calendars, scrapbook pages, cards, and more in minutes using professionally designed templates, or customize every aspect of your creations.

• Share with people – one-of-a-kind, interactive Online Albums in Photoshop Elements 11 are a great way to show off your photos and videos. Choose from multiple animated templates to add flair to your Online Albums and then share them via Photoshop Showcase or your own website

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 has a few interesting things going for it with the ability to map your shots, organize into special events, the enhanced actions, and the guided edits. Probably the most useful is the ability to combine elements with the Refine Edge technology. This version of Elements appears to be extremely stable and it is becoming a more mature product.

If you are an owner of Elements 10, there may not be enough to want to upgrade – outside of the refine edge tool and the extra filters, but if you are someone who has been holding off from an earlier version, or are looking to get into photo editing then I very highly recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements 11!

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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