Adobe Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 15 £79/$70

Good for novices, but it has its lim­its

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

Pho­to­shop El­e­ments is made up of El­e­ments Or­ga­nizer and El­e­ments Ed­i­tor. You im­port, tag, or­gan­ise and search your pho­tos with the Or­ga­nizer (and carry out some ba­sic im­age fixes too), but more ad­vanced photo ma­nip­u­la­tion tasks are done in the Ed­i­tor. When you save your pic­tures from the Ed­i­tor, they are au­to­mat­i­cally added back into your Or­ga­nizer cat­a­logue.

The Or­ga­nizer is touchen­abled and the search fea­ture in­cludes com­bi­na­tions of places, events and favourite sub­jects. Smart Tags can au­to­mat­i­cally tag com­mon sub­jects such as sun­sets, birthdays and cats.

The Ed­i­tor has three op­er­at­ing modes – Quick mode of­fers sim­ple ev­ery­day ad­just­ments, Guided mode of­fers in­ter­ac­tive walk­throughs for more com­plex ef­fects, and Ex­pert mode is like a mini-Pho­to­shop for those who like to take full con­trol, and it’s ac­tu­ally quite pow­er­ful.

El­e­ments 15 brings five new Guided Ed­its – Photo Text, Painterly, Ef­fects Col­lage, Speed Pan and Frame Cre­ator – tak­ing the num­ber of Guided Ed­its to 45. They are one of El­e­ments’ strong points, as you don’t just get an in­ter­est­ing im­age at the end, you learn a lot of new tools and prin­ci­ples along the way.

The El­e­ments Ed­i­tor is quite flex­i­ble, of­fer­ing many of the same tools as full Pho­to­shop – and of course once you learn how to use El­e­ments, you’ll quickly feel at home if you move on up to Pho­to­shop.

Per­for­mance

It’s easy to cre­ate lay­ers, ef­fects, se­lec­tions and mon­tages. It does lack cer­tain key Pho­to­shop tools, no­tably curves ad­just­ments, but it can still cre­ate some ad­vanced ef­fects. The big­ger prob­lem is the sim­pli­fied ver­sion of Adobe Cam­era Raw it ships with. This lacks lens corrections, tonal ad­just­ments, gra­di­ent and ra­dial fil­ters and more. El­e­ments can work with RAW files, but you may not get the best from them.

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