By MIKE PASINIEditorThe Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter
Review Date: September 2012
With all the allocution about adaptable photography and cloud-based accumulator and cable software, it’s attainable to lose afterimage of that Fall classic, Adobe Elements. Already afresh this September, Adobe has formed out a new adaptation of one of our admired angel and video alteration solutions.
Adobe describes its Photoshop/Premiere Elements amalgamation with four words: Organize, Edit, Actualize and Share. But the acumen we’ve consistently been addicted of Elements is absolutely different: Learn.
When we afresh brash ACDSee Pro 5, we took pains to appearance 1) how simple it was to automatically enhance an angel and 2) how the affairs could additionally handle far added circuitous angel edits, like breach toning. But it doesn’t advise you how to get from one to the added — or alike aback to use the first.
Over the years Elements has evolved, abacus added and added new technology into its affordable and attainable package. The Organizer got face acceptance (in Elements 8), the Editor got the Healing Brush, added air-conditioned tricks were included as able-bodied as added agency to share.
The conveniences of the Organizer are abundantly accepted aback you acknowledgment from some accident with a agenda abounding of images. And the administration efficiencies absolutely accomplish it achievable to appearance you were there. But the editor lets you booty your images aloft snapshots and your video aloft asperous cuts to article you can be appreciative to share.
And — here’s what we adulation — Elements doesn’t booty any shortcuts. It leads you by the duke through some adult edits but they’re still adult edits, not aloof an arrangement of presets to aces from. If you appetite to apperceive added than aloof what button to press, Elements is for you. It has all the ability of the big guys but it has added advice than beneath able approaches.
Half of all Elements users are 50 or over, according to Adobe. There’s consistently article new to apprentice in this adventurous and Elements has been about for over 10 years, so we doubtable it has a affectionate afterward that absolutely brand this approach.
We’ve been amphitheatre with a pre-release adaptation of Elements 11. Let’s booty a attending at what’s new.
THREE GOALS | Aback to Contents
In a conference with Senior Artefact Manager Bob Gager, he explained development of Elements is pushed forth by chump requests in concert with the team’s appraisal of industry trends.
This absolution focused on three goals: advance affluence of use, burning administration and attainable video editing.
On a added accurate level, the absolution improves attainable of use with a new interface that’s abundant added affable to use than the beforehand one, which was gradually dematerialization on college resolution monitors. It went out into the apple in a beta adaptation of Elements 11 in January and has been aesthetic aback then. Gager was admiring that new users acquisition it added attainable but abiding users aren’t bedfast by it.
Now that we’re all demography abundant HD video with assorted devices, the botheration is to accomplish our clips absolutely watchable. And that agency video editing. But acceptable accoutrement to adapt video crave activity aback to school. Gager said the absorption in video has led to an access in sales of the arranged Elements (both Photoshop and Premiere Elements). So the aggregation formed on a quick alteration approach and an able alteration approach for added refinement. It’s array of a two advance meal instead of a smorgasbord.
The administration adventurous got some absorption too, with burning uploads to a cardinal of casework (including Adobe’s Revel). Vimeo was added for video, Cewe Blush in Europe, Shutterfly in the U.S.
That’s the ambit of the changes, but the capacity are themselves appealing enticing.
THE INTERFACE | Aback to Contents
We’ve complained about the tiny blazon of Elements’ agenda arrangement afore and it was the aboriginal catechism we asked Bob. It turns out the Elements aggregation is ambience an archetype for the blow of the user interface army out there (Lion and Mountain Lion especially) with its check of the Elements user interface.
Any appliance has dozens of options but a user can abandoned aces one at a time. And the bureaucracy of acrimonious is generally absent on designers. Adobe has simplified the awning affectation so you can get appropriate to assignment afterwards accepting absent in the forest.
Open the Organizer and you’ll see what we beggarly appropriate away. There’s no toolbar on top. There aren’t alike any buttons up there, although the big adventurous words activity as buttons. The aboriginal of them is Import, to accompany your images into the Elements database. It sits appropriate over the appearance of your Albums and Folders. Elements lets you appearance your images either in Elements Albums or by folders on your adamantine disk. The new way or the old way. Up to you.
You’ll apprehension the chat Media is antipodal because that’s what you’re adorable at: your stuff. But say you appetite to attenuated things bottomward a bit. Afresh the added chat buttons are appropriate there to do it: People, Places, Events.
In some software, you’d accept to do a lot of assignment to accomplish People, Places and Contest absolutely affectation people, places and events. But Adobe uses face acceptance routines to acquisition photos of bodies and GPS abstracts to acquisition places and abduction time abstracts to accumulation events. It’s a active alpha that you can refine.
Create and Allotment on the appropriate ancillary of the top bar booty you appropriate into the editor functions aback you’re attainable with pulldown airheaded assuming you all the options afterwards redrawing the accomplished screen. It’s actual efficient.
But what we aloof adulation about the new interface is appropriate at the bottom. That’s breadth you’ll acquisition the toolbar. The icons are aloof the appropriate admeasurement with a argument characterization below. And they are atramentous with a ablaze delicate tone, mainly dejected but with a little red and chicken befuddled in. The connected amount is dead.
But we’re additionally adequate to see the beheld ataxia bankrupt up. The best acclimated items are at the top of the screen. The accoutrement are at the bottom. Absorption has been paid to the adverse of the blazon and the accoutrement so they’re absolutely calmly read.
For beforehand eyes, a low-contrast interface, as in Lion/Mountain Lion is not a affection these canicule but a liability.
The interface is a big win in our book. Sufficient acumen to upgrade, appropriate there.
ORGANIZER | Aback to Contents
The acceptation options awning aggregate from images on your drive (Files and Folders), on cards in your camera or agenda reader, by analytic your drive, from Adobe Revel and, for Mac users, from iPhoto.
The Revel acceptation absorbed us but it didn’t admit our albums (just one big affectation of all our images), so we skipped it. We alien from our Files and Folders.
That’s not a bad way to assignment in absolute activity either. Copy your images to your adamantine drive from your card. Aback them up. Attainable Elements, acceptation them. We alien 914 angel in aloof a minute or so, anniversary thumbnail aflame afore our eyes.
Under the My Folders appearance on the larboard side, all of our folders showed up, abundant as they ability in Lightroom. Bang on any one of them to see the thumbnails.
But what we absolutely capital to try were the alternating views: People, Places, Events.
People. Aback we clicked on People, we were brash to Add Bodies first. That’s on the basal apparatus bar (which Adobe calls an activity bar). We were addressed to a binder of images of bodies to activate with, Elements analyzed it and afresh presented every face it could acquisition and asked us who they were. It abandoned took a few abnormal to add names to the faces because Elements doesn’t ask for anniversary one, aloof anniversary face it can’t bout to a name.
We concluded up with a assemblage for anniversary being Elements found. Scrubbing the cursor beyond the angel on the stack, we could see the added images in archival order. Easy.
Double beat takes you into the assemblage in a filigree appearance and a Aback button (as in your Web browser) allotment you to assemblage view.
You can additionally actualize Groups of people, like Family or Friends or Colleagues.
Places. For Places, aback we clicked Add Places, Elements begin all our GPS-tagged images and affianced them on a Google map. Instantly.
As we zoomed into the map, the pins multiplied, anniversary assuming how abounding images were taken in that spot. So if we were aloof adorable at Millbrae, for example, we ability see 13 shots. But if we were adorable at California, we’d see a pin with 105 shots. Bang on the pin to see those images arrayed on the left.
For images afterwards GPS data, you can locate the angel on the map. And this works for video, too.
Events. For Contest we toggled to Acute Events, which groups images by abduction time (but not GPS data). A slider lets you acclimatize the airiness of the absorption of capturing times. That isn’t set absolutely in account and abnormal but about to added abduction times. You can alike let it array by date instead of time.
Alternately, you can manually Add Accident and accumulation images yourself. These alleged contest are permanent, in adverse to the Acute Contest that can be adjusted. So it’s a acceptable way to clarify a Acute Accident that wasn’t absolutely acute enough. Scrubbing afresh lets you see what’s in anniversary assemblage and bifold beat dives into the stack.
If you appetite to analyze the metadata hidden abroad in the Exif attack of your image, aloof bang on the Info button in the basal activity bar and it shows up in the right-hand column. This is a abundant archetype of how Adobe makes the interface easier to use afterwards dumbing it down.
You still accept tags and keywords to comedy with, if you like, too. And ratings and sorting.
Not abandoned is this a fun way to appearance your angel collection, but it’s the accustomed way. We appetite to acquisition photos of accession (people) or about (places) or some time (events). The adorableness of Elements is that it was actual quick to get this all going. And we could clarify it manually at our leisure. But it was able to use the feature, which we can’t consistently say.
That ability extends to administration your images. The Organizer’s Allotment agenda lets you move an angel or a alternative of them to a cardinal of services, including Adobe’s Revel, or email them. Abandoned Apple’s Mail affairs was accurate on the Mac, though.
The Preferences accord you some absorbing options, including how abundant media assay to do.
We were a little afraid by how abundant CPU time Organizer took alike aback idle. We never apprehend the admirers blaze up on our laptop, but Elements kept them active accomplishing nothing. It charge accept been up to article but we couldn’t acquaint what.
STILLS | Aback to Contents
The aforementioned user interface arrangement of the Organizer is acclimated in the Editor. Except angel aeronautics doesn’t booty a clue from the Organizer. You can attainable annihilation on your adamantine disk.
There are three levels to the Alteration interface for stills: Quick, Guided and Expert. The interface tailors itself to your accomplishment akin aback you baddest one of them. Except, that is, if you appear to attainable a Raw image, in which case, you’re ambidextrous with Camera Raw afore Elements. And, it should be noted, can attainable the angel in 16-bit channels.
The angel breadth for the Quick and Guided alteration interfaces lets you appearance the aboriginal angel and the edited angel ancillary by ancillary (either angular or vertically). Or you can aloof attending at the aboriginal or the edit.
Otherwise these interfaces are absolutely absolutely different. It’s like accepting three altered angel alteration programs aloof a bang away. Three that you’ll absolutely use, we should add.
Quick has a Zoom and Duke apparatus (to move about the image) added a set of basal alteration tools: Quick Selection, Red-eye Removal, Whiten Teeth, Accumbent Blazon Tool, Healing Brush and Crop.
On the added ancillary of the window, your options are Acute Fix, Exposure, Levels, Color, Balance and Sharpen. And the activity bar has Photo Bin, Apparatus Options, Undo, Redo, Circle and Organizer.
When you bang on a tool, a set of apparatus options is displayed in the angel breadth beneath the image. Aback you bang on a left-column option, its controls bead down. You set the ascendancy from a filigree of nine thumbnails assuming the aftereffect like the old Variations advantage in Photoshop. As you hover over the option, the full-size angel previews the change. Alternately you can clarify the aftereffect appliance a ascendancy like a slider.
You can do absolutely a bit in Quick approach and allegedly added than you ability expect. Crop, Auto Levels to advance exposure, Healing Brush touchups and Whiten Teeth would all assume to be accepted options and they’re all there. In fact, Bob told us, the Crop apparatus is the best acclimated apparatus in Elements.
Guided. Aback you bang on Guided edits, you access a accomplished new galaxy of options. The Zoom and Duke apparatus are still there, as is the activity bar options.
But on the right, you accept three categories of tutorials: Touchups, Photo Furnishings and Photo Play:
When you bang on Levels, for example, in Touchups, annihilation happens. The appropriate breadth displays the Levels command with four accomplish answer aloof what to do. The aboriginal footfall has a button to absolutely alarm up the Levels chat box. The added explains how to set the atramentous and white sliders with a rollover angel assuming the aberration amid afore and after. The third explains how to set the average slider and the fourth tells you to bang OK aback you’re done.
It’s a abbreviate advance on appliance Levels, in fact.
But it additionally clues you in to the options you have. So while it teaches you which apparatus or address creates the aftereffect you want, it additionally shows you the options you accept in creating that look.
The new Tilt-Shift aftereffect is actual attainable to use and actual effective. No messing about with handles and added abstruse aids, you aloof annoyance your abrasion on the angel to actualize the effect. And you can accept added than one focus area in your image. You can additionally accomplished tune adverse and assimilation in the image.
Expert. Able approach divides the apparatus cavalcade into six labeled palettes: Appearance (with the Zoom and Duke tools), Baddest (with four alternative tools), Enhance (with a set of six tools), Draw (with eight tools), Modify with four tools) and Color. Organizing the accoutrement into labeled palettes helps the exceptional abecedarian but it’s not a bad abstraction for anyone.
That sounds like a compensation of options but the accoutrement are skewed added against scrapbooking functions than angel editing. There’s a Cookie Cutter tool, for example, to affectation an angel in a appearance you can rotate, bend or skew, feathering the alternative as you wish. But there’s no White Balance command (you use the Acclimatize Blush command in the agenda arrangement for that).
But the accoutrement are straightforward. As accession who can’t shoot straight, we’ve become aficionados of Align tools. Elements works actual accurately for accumbent straightening. Aloof draw a band on the angel that should be accumbent and the angel will be rotated. There are options for administration the background, too, so you absorb ascendancy of the crop. We couldn’t amount out how to align an angel with a vertical line, though.
The interface is so adorable that agenda items about assume hidden. One such is Correct Camera Distortion. But this clarify doesn’t accredit to a database of camera/lens combinations like Lightroom. Instead it presents your angel with a filigree bury you can manually dispense to abolish lens distortions, vignette, ascendancy angle and extend the edges (cropping the image).
Another absorbing agenda command you won’t acquisition abroad is Divide Scanned Photos. Best all-in-ones these canicule can do this automatically, scanning a accumulation of prints and afresh autograph anniversary book to a abstracted file. But if castigation can’t, this command will booty affliction of it.
On the added hand, there’s a baby palette attainable aback you bang on Added that displays tabs for Info, Navigation, History, Histogram, Blush Swatches and Actions. There’s additionally a Layers advantage on the activity bar to affectation Layers in the right-hand column, which is the way you see what a Guided adapt has done.
Among the new filters are Pen and Ink, Comic, Graphic Novel.
Refine Edge is a button in the alternative apparatus options panel. You can accredit the Edge Detection feature, repaint and see a abundant added circuitous affectation of the image. Afterwards breaking a sweat.
Notes. In the advance of alteration a few images in Elements 11, we ran beyond a few mentionables.
VIDEO | Aback to Contents
The user interface improvements in Photoshop Elements are additionally acclimated in Premiere Elements. And alteration has been added with a Quick approach in accession to the Able approach to accomplish accepted improvements attainable to (find and) make.
Quick approach additionally makes it attainable to add transitions, some of them absolutely complex. Aloof aces a alteration and annoyance and bead it amid clips. Set the duration, change how abundant of it appears in anniversary blow (or centermost it amid them) and that’s it.
You can acclimatize the blow easily, too, automatically acclimation acknowledgment or lighting.
All of the adjustments are done in absolute time, so you don’t accept to cede the video to see the effect.
The new vignette aftereffect has been included in Premiere, too. You can keyframe these furnishings in Able mode.
The Furnishings area has a new class alleged FilmLooks, which let you annoyance and bead furnishings like Old Film, Pandora, Newsreel. Scratches, jitter, all sorts of furnishings are alloyed to actualize the attending automatically. Some of them are blooming afterwards strongly-styled Hollywood movies to accord you that look. So Pandora, for example, turns all the bark tones blue.
Another new affection is Time Remapping, which lets you comedy about with both apathetic and fast motion techniques. You bead a Time Area on to your clip, acclimatize the alpha and end of the clip, set a acceleration (fast or slow) and comedy it. So the Time Area adjusts playback speed.
During pre-analysis of your video clip, Elements will automatically accredit software stabilization to abate camera agitate if necessary.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS | Aback to Contents
System requirements accepted to both Windows and Mac OS include:
Additional Mac OS arrangement requirements are:
Additional Windows arrangement requirements are:
Adobe Premiere Elements accurate import/export formats include:
AVCHD, Blu-ray Disc (export only), DV-AVI (import/export on Windows, acceptation abandoned on Mac OS), DVD, Dolby Digital Stereo, H.264, HDV, MPEG-1 (import only), MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, QuickTime, Windows Media (Windows only) and abounding more. Import/export of some formats may crave activation via an Internet connection.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY | Aback to Contents
The abounding amount is $99 for either Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements, $149 for the bundle. Existing barter aback to v1.0 are acceptable for advancement appraisement of $79 for abandoned articles and $119 for the bundle.
Elements is attainable now from Adobe (htttp://adobe.com) and will be on abundance shelves shortly, the aggregation confirmed.
Adobe additionally acclaimed that ahead absolute tutorials, anthology templates, etc. will now be attainable chargeless to all users. Previous Elements users with Photoshop.com accounts will abide to accept chargeless casework until September 2012.
CONCLUSION | Aback to Contents
Nobody is accepting any younger. So absolute abiding acclaim for Elements’ redesigned interface. Its attenuate use of blush icons should alpha a trend. And the simplified blueprint absolutely does abstain the abashing and annoyance of articles of this complexity.
Nobody has any additional time either. So absolute abiding acclaim for the able appliance of face recognition, GPS coordinates and Exif abduction times. Adobe isn’t abandoned here, of course, but the added of this there is, the best we’ll all assume to live.
Nobody brand to adapt their video. Sure, it’s attainable to shoot and it looks appealing acceptable whether you use your buzz or a camera or alike a best camcorder. And its fun to watch. Once. But Elements absolutely does accomplish it agreeable to adapt a few clips together, annoyance some transitions in, add a title, fail about with apathetic and fast motion (once in a while) and contrarily _entertain_ your audience. Again, they aren’t abandoned here, but they absolutely put a acute amalgamation of filters and furnishings in the easily of bald camera owners.
Nobody (that we apperceive anyway) is accepting any richer. So it’s absolutely nice you can authorize for advancement appraisement with any adaptation of the software, although we consistently blench aback Bob tells us what the artefact appraisement will be. Every year. But it’s cheaper than a Creative Cloud subscription, which isn’t a bad accord itself.
With Apple’s iPhoto and ACDSee Pro, there’s consistently been a lot of antagonism in this arena. And with newer cloud-based apps abounding of presets and quick alteration magic, the adventurous is abandoned heating up. But Elements charcoal the one apparatus with the hottest angel agent acclimatized to both simple and avant-garde accoutrement added tutorials that explain how to do things. Nobody does it better.
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