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Software Review: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 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 9 has been released for both Windows and the Mac 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 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 CS5, purchasing it new that can mean $699 for the standard version, and $999.00 USD for the extended version. For Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 it is $99.00 USD, or bundled with Adobe Premier Elements 9, it is $149.00. You can check out what you need to run Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 from their website?

So what is new with this version of Adobe Photoshop Elements?

• Guided Edits – will take the work out of your photo editing, so you can get professional results with less effort. This will give you simple ways to get to some of the powerful editing capabilities of Photoshop Elements 9 so you can incorporate stunning photo effects. New Guided Edits help you create pop art masterpieces, reflection effects,
Lomo camera effects, perfect portraits, and more.

• Layered masks – make it easy to control the transparency of specific areas of a photo to help you create richly layered looks. A layer mask controls the visibility of the layer to which it is added. You can edit a layer mask to control what is seen in the image.

• Photomerger Style Match – analyzes the stylistic qualities of any photo you choose and then automatically applies those qualities, like dramatic high contrast or beautiful color tone, to another photo.

• Photomerge Panorama – will let you create your best-looking panoramas yet. With its enhanced blending capabilities, Photomerge Panorama fills in jagged edges as it automatically stitches together multiple horizontal or vertical photos, expanding your panoramic scenes.

• Share photos – and videos with your friends and family on Facebook. Now directly through the organizer, Photoshop Elements 9 will automatically optimize your media and let you upload it directly to your Facebook page.

• Basic and advanced – design modes make photo creations the way that works best for you. These let you choose your level of control. Basic mode is an easy way to create—just choose your photos and a layout and the pages are automatically laid out for you and look great.

• Creation layouts – offers flexible layouts for custom greeting cards, wall calendars, photo books, and more. You can easily make amazing printed photo creations that you can customize to get exactly the look you envision. Then, enjoy ultimate flexibility by tweaking the layout the way you want.

• Print photo creations at home – It’s easy to print through third parties such as Kodak and Shutterfly directly from Photoshop Elements, or simply print with your home printer.

• Enhanced spot healing brush – lets you instantly de-clutter or repair photos by making unwanted elements, like telephone wire, tourists, or passing cars, vanish with one stroke, and it blends even the most complex backgrounds. You can also instantly fix old or torn photos so you can make new prints.

New for the Mac
• Media Management – now gives you even more power by letting you bring together all of your photos and video into one area and it is supported by both Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8 and is fully integrated. Now all media is tagged, searched, protected, and can be accessed from either product in the same way. Tagging enables you to quickly find what you need, and with the Auto-Analyzer and People Recognition you no longer have to take so much time to tag your photos.

• People recognition – automatically identifies the people in your photos saving you time from tagging each one. The People Recognition analysis runs during the Auto-Analyzer process. People Recognition automatically tags photos if it is able to recognize who the person is. If People Recognition is not 100% sure that a particular photo is Uncle Sal, it will prompt you to confirm that it is indeed Uncle Sal. The more times a person is tagged, the better People Recognition will get at recognizing a specific person.

• Share experiences – from within the Organizer by quickly showcasing your photos and videos in one-of-a kind Online Albums with your choice of animated templates. By using Adobe Flash technology viewers can also interact with your photos and videos.

• Auto-Analyzer – uses a patent-pending intelligent content analysis process to power this automation, so you can easily find your most interesting, highest quality photos. This new technology automatically analyzes your media on import and applies quality and interest tags that are called Smart Tags saving you time when you are trying to find your best images.

• Auto-Syncing – lets you share a common media catalog across multiple computers by letting you backup your media and synchronize it on multiple computers that are running the Elements Organizer. This is especially helpful when you have both a laptop and desktop running elements and you want to keep them in sync.

There is also a $20 rebate that brings the price down to $79, but unfortunately there is not a real upgrade path.

There are a lot of great new features in this release of Adobe Photoshop Elements especially for the Mac. The Auto-Analyzer with its ability to locate images based on the quality of image, number of people, contrast, etc will help you sort through and find the best pictures and the People Recognition, once tagged, makes it easy locate images based on faces.

Of the other features, to me, my favorite ones are the Guided Edits, Layer Masks, Photomerge Style Match, Photomerge Panorama, and the ability to easily share photos and videos on Facebook. These alone make this worth the price of getting Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. These will save you hours of editing time and then getting them to the place where others can see them When you add in all of the other features, this makes for a solid release and I can highly recommend Elements 9.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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