Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 13

Adobe’s cut-down im­age ed­i­tor

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - £81 De­vel­oper Adobe, adobe.co.uk OS OS X 10.8 or newer Re­quires In­tel Core 2 Duo or bet­ter, 2GB RAM, 5GB of avail­able hard-disk space Pow­er­ful im­age ed­i­tor 64-bit and Retina support Be­gin­ner-friendly Not much new over ver­sion 12

Adobe’s cut-down im­age ed­i­tor has al­ways of­fered a heck of a lot of Pho­to­shop for a frac­tion of the price of the full ver­sion. 13 im­proves on 12 in just a few ways, the largest vis­i­ble change (apart from the newly-added Retina support) be­ing that upon open­ing the Ed­i­tor, an eLive op­tion has ap­peared along­side Quick, Guided and Ex­pert modes (and, in the Ef­fects menus, the head­ings have baf­flingly swapped po­si­tions). This sec­tion of­fers a col­lec­tion of news ar­ti­cles and guides.

Other ad­di­tions are re­fine­ments of ex­ist­ing tools, such as Group Shot, which takes the best ex­pres­sions from a se­ries of pho­tos to make the per­fect, all-smil­ing group. There’s a sim­i­lar tool to move ob­jects from one im­age to another, and a new abil­ity to cre­ate Face­book cover images (a mere three years after they were in­tro­duced).

El­e­ments comes in two parts: the Or­ga­nizer and the Ed­i­tor. The Or­ga­nizer is used for im­port­ing pho­tos and keep­ing them tidy on your Mac.

It im­proves on the soft­ware that comes bun­dled with many dig­i­tal cam­eras by not only al­low­ing you to split your im­ports into dis­crete Events – and Smart Events will try to do this au­to­mat­i­cally – but also to tag images with faces and by lo­ca­tion. The lat­ter sees you ei­ther plac­ing your pho­tos man­u­ally on a map, or us­ing em­bed­ded GPS data.

The Ed­i­tor is the heart of this pro­gram, though. The app comes with a slim­line ver­sion of Adobe’s Cam­era Raw plugin, al­low­ing you to open and ad­just raw files from DSLRs and high-end com­pacts. It’s happy with JPEGs too, deal­ing with Lev­els ad­just­ments, clever layer ef­fects and the re­moval of, say, un­wanted pho­to­bombers – the Se­lec­tion Brush has a new re­fine­ment op­tion to help with this task, and the Crop tool will now an­a­lyse your images to pro­vide com­po­si­tion sug­ges­tions.

El­e­ments is a stream­lined and pow­er­ful pro­gram, but it’s also the

You can split your im­ports into dis­crete Events, but also to tag images with faces and by (em­bed­ded GPS) lo­ca­tion data

ideal re­lease to start with, thanks to its be­gin­ner-friendly fea­tures. Own­ers of re­cent ver­sions will only find an up­grade worth­while if there’s an in­dis­pens­able new fea­ture, or if a shiny new DSLR isn’t sup­ported by an out­dated Cam­era Raw plugin. Take note: there’s only £35 dif­fer­ence be­tween the RRP of El­e­ments 13 and a year’s sub­scrip­tion to Cre­ative Cloud’s pho­tog­ra­phy plan, which nets you full copies of Pho­to­shop CC and Light­room 5, a vastly more pow­er­ful raw im­age pro­ces­sor.

El­e­ments’ fil­ters and ba­sic im­age tweaks are repli­cated in other apps, but it’s the way that Guided mode teaches you how to use its more ad­vanced fea­tures that make this es­sen­tial soft­ware for any enthusiast of pho­tog­ra­phy. Ian Even­den

Great for those look­ing to go beyond ba­sic photo edit­ing, but not much new for ex­ist­ing own­ers.

We’ve used the new Pho­tomerge Com­pose tool to move the open eyes from one bird over the closed eyes of the other.

Guided Mode is great for be­gin­ners. It shows you how to cre­ate fan­tas­tic photo ef­fects.

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