Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 14

Shake off the haze in your pho­tos

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

Adobe’s cut-price photo ed­i­tor doesn’t of­fer the full fea­ture set of its big­ger brother, but there’s plenty of depth to this be­gin­ner-friendly app.

El­e­ments comes in two parts, the Or­ga­nizer and the Ed­i­tor. The Ed­i­tor also in­cludes a pared-down version of Adobe Cam­era Raw for pro­cess­ing raw im­ages.

The Or­ga­nizer is for sort­ing your im­age li­brary, with in­tel­li­gent modes that help to di­vide your pho­tos into cat­e­gories based on Peo­ple, Places and Events. All three have been im­proved since the pre­vi­ous version, with fa­cial recog­ni­tion’s suc­cess rate about a third bet­ter than in El­e­ments 13. What’s more, as you add new pho­tos El­e­ments will au­to­mat­i­cally add them to a per­son’s stack.

El­e­ments’ photo ed­i­tor is split into three edit­ing modes – Quick, Guided and Ex­pert – ca­ter­ing for dif­fer­ent lev­els of ex­per­tise. Along­side them is eLive, which gives ac­cess to a cu­rated se­lec­tion of on­line tu­to­ri­als. In Quick mode, set­tings and menus are kept to a min­i­mum, with ac­cess to sim­ple tonal ad­just­ments and one-click ef­fects. New in this version are ‘Smart Looks’, which pull out five ef­fects from a data­base of over 2,500, based on anal­y­sis of your im­age. It’s an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach to the cur­rent craze for retro-look­ing fil­ters, but the ef­fects it of­fers can of­ten seem rather ran­dom.

For those who want to take their skills fur­ther, Guided mode of­fers 40 step-by-step guides for com­mon tasks. In­ter­ac­tive slid­ers show be­fore and af­ter im­ages for each ef­fect.

One of the clever things about the three edit­ing modes is that you can switch be­tween them. If you use a Guided edit to add an ef­fect, then switch to Ex­pert mode, you can peek un­der the hood to see how the ef­fect takes shape. It’s a use­ful de­vice that will help be­gin­ners to get to grips with Pho­to­shop fun­da­men­tals like lay­ers and masks. When you’re ready, Ex­pert mode gives you full ac­cess to all the won­der­ful tools, fil­ters, layer styles, blend modes and other fea­tures.

Also new in El­e­ments 14 is Haze Re­moval. Re­cently in­tro­duced into Light­room, this cuts through at­mo­spheric haze in your pho­tos for deeper shadow de­tail and ex­tra clar­ity. Bor­rowed from Pho­to­shop CC is Shake Re­duc­tion, which sharp­ens up pic­tures af­fected by cam­era move­ment. It can’t per­form mir­a­cles, but it can turn a shaky mess into some­thing us­able.

Adobe knows that ev­ery­body is a pho­tog­ra­pher now, so it has made a photo ed­i­tor for ev­ery­body while still offering depth for the ad­vanced user. Thanks to the three edit­ing modes, the jour­ney from be­gin­ner to sea­soned Pho­to­shop­per is smoother than ever. James Pater­son

Adobe knows that ev­ery­body is a pho­tog­ra­pher now, so it has made a photo ed­i­tor for ev­ery­body

The best Pho­to­shop El­e­ments yet, but the im­prove­ments are in­cre­men­tal rather than truly im­pres­sive.

Quick mode lets the app do most of the work, but there’s more sat­is­fac­tion to be found in Ex­pert mode.

Cam­era Raw doesn’t get much love in this up­date. It’s still lim­ited com­pared to Light­room.

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