Pho­to­shop Ele­ments 15

Easy edit­ing What can Adobe’s af­ford­able im­age ed­i­tor of­fer the so­cial me­dia savvy?

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Pho­to­shop Ele­ments has evolved from be­ing a stripped-down ver­sion of Pho­to­shop to fo­cus on easy photo-edit­ing and shar­ing with so­cial me­dia. Its in­ter­face and de­grees of func­tion­al­ity make it clear that the pro­gram’s aimed at be­gin­ners and hob­by­ists who fre­quent Face­book, Flickr or Twit­ter.

Ele­ments Photo Ed­i­tor has three main workspaces: Quick, Guided and Ex­pert. The Quick workspace makes it pos­si­ble to make sim­ple photo ed­its and cor­rec­tions such as ad­just­ing ex­po­sure, light­ing, or re­mov­ing red eye. Ex­pert gives you free reign, with ac­cess to all tools and func­tions, which re­main mostly un­changed from pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Ele­ments, with some mi­nor ex­cep­tions such as im­proved ac­cess to Fil­ters.

The Or­gan­iser, Ele­ments’ built-in photo man­ager, of­fers some new nifty tricks to speed up your work flow

Via the Guided workspace, Ele­ments can ap­ply a range of com­mon ef­fects to your im­ages, giv­ing you a lim­ited amount of con­trol over the fi­nal re­sult. These range from ba­sic colour boost­ing to nov­elty ef­fects. New ad­di­tions in­clude cre­at­ing photo text from your im­ages, adding a speed pan ef­fect and cre­at­ing an ef­fects col­lage by ap­ply­ing mul­ti­ple ef­fects on dif­fer­ent parts of an im­age.

Many of these will ap­peal to hob­by­ists and the qual­ity of re­sults varies. How­ever, pho­to­graphic ef­fects work well and make some com­mon photo ed­its much quicker. Switch­ing eas­ily be­tween the workspaces means you can be cre­at­ing a scene in Ex­pert mode, then with a few clicks ap­ply a Tilt Shift ef­fect in the Guided workspace, be­fore switch­ing back to Ex­pert to con­tinue edit­ing.

An­other notable ad­di­tion to Ele­ments’ ar­se­nal is fa­cial fea­ture ad­just­ment. A rel­a­tively new de­vel­op­ment by Adobe, it’s great to see this al­ready ap­pear­ing in Ele­ments and it com­ple­ments the other main func­tions of the pro­gram well.

The Or­gan­iser, Ele­ments’ built-in photo man­ager, of­fers some new nifty tricks to speed up your work flow. It now au­to­mat­i­cally analy­ses the con­tents of your im­ages and ap­plies smart tags. This is a great time-saver if you have a large li­brary of stock im­ages, and is ideal for quickly find­ing photo re­sources for your art­work, such as pa­per tex­tures or clouds.

Ele­ments is all about sim­pli­fy­ing the photo-edit­ing process and fa­cil­i­tat­ing shar­ing via so­cial me­dia. For the rel­a­tively low cost, Ele­ments has a lot to of­fer. De­pend­ing on your re­quire­ments, it could be a good, cheaper al­ter­na­tive to ex­pen­sive photo-edit­ing soft­ware.

But should you up­grade from Ele­ments 14? The re­vamped Or­gan­iser is cer­tainly a big draw; how­ever, the Ed­i­tor it­self may not pro­vide enough in­cen­tive. Un­less the new fa­cial fea­ture ad­just­ment and ex­tra guided ef­fects are some­thing you would ben­e­fit from, in which case, con­sider a pur­chase.

Ele­ments 15’s true strength lies in the speed and ease of ap­ply­ing photo ed­its, which are avail­able across the three workspaces.

New lay­ers gen­er­ated by a guided Tilt Shift ef­fect ap­pear after switch­ing back to Ex­pert mode.

For dig­i­tal draw­ing, the Brush Tool has some lim­ited cus­tomi­sa­tion. Or­gan­iser’s Smart Tags yielded good re­sults when search­ing the hard drive for “pa­per” and “tex­ture”.

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