Mac User Re­views

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY JACKIE DOVE

If you are the des­ig­nated fam­ily mem­oirist, you can count on Adobe Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 2019 ( go.mac­ to give your run-of-the-mill pho­tos a bit of a kick. The lat­est ver­sion of 2019 vin­tage does a good job of aug­ment­ing au­to­mated as­pects of the pro­gram while giv­ing the open­ing se­quence a fresh coat of paint.

In­creas­ingly, Adobe’s cre­ative apps rely on Adobe Sen­sei ( go.mac­ snse), the com­pany’s ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence en­gine, and the first thing you’ll no­tice when launch­ing Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 2019 is the brand-new Home Screen. This light, airy win­dow into the El­e­ments world presents you with the new Auto Cre­ations fea­ture, a se­ries of photo and video col­lages and slideshows gen­er­ated from

the con­tent you added to the El­e­ments Or­ga­nizer.

While Or­ga­nizer, the as­set man­age­ment helper app for both Pho­to­shop El­e­ments and Pre­miere El­e­ments, got no iden­ti­fi­able new fea­tures per se, it hooks into the app’s auto cre­ation func­tion­al­ity.

With the 2019 ver­sion, El­e­ments now sup­ports the highly com­pressed HEIF (High Ef­fi­ciency Im­age File) and HEVC (High Ef­fi­ciency Video Cod­ing) im­age and video for­mats, used by iphone 7 and later. Adobe tops off the new fea­tures with four ad­di­tional guided ed­its, the app’s step-bystep guide to pho­to­graphic spe­cial ef­fects.

As you delve into the app, you’ll see two pro­gram icons in your dock—the Home Screen and the Ed­i­tor. Adobe says this lets users al­ways ac­cess the app’s Home Screen with­out hav­ing to nav­i­gate to it.


When you launch Pho­to­shop El­e­ments’ Home Screen, you see a list­ing of guided ed­its, and at the bot­tom left, a se­ries of auto-gen­er­ated photo and video slideshows and

col­lages. Each is a fin­ished prod­uct, but there’s plenty of room to use the re­vamped col­lage gen­er­a­tor to tweak in any way you want. Just click on the col­lage of your choice and then use the new tem­plates to change the pat­tern, or move and swap pho­tos around un­til you’re happy with the re­sult. Photo col­lages specif­i­cally de­signed for In­sta­gram and Face­book let you ex­pe­dite so­cial me­dia post­ing.


Guided ed­its are Adobe El­e­ments’ sig­na­ture fea­ture, and each year new recipes are added to the ros­ter. Four new guides show you how to load im­ages into text, trans­form a photo into a par­tial sketch, cre­ate a new meme, and place el­e­gant bor­ders and an­no­ta­tions around your photo. These in­tel­li­gent fea­tures are ex­cep­tion­ally easy to use with only a few steps nec­es­sary to give your pic­tures a whole new look.

Multi Photo Text. What is it about stuff­ing im­ages into let­ter­ing? What­ever it is, peo­ple love it. In this ver­sion, you can place a sep­a­rate pic­ture into each let­ter. You also get a choice of

trans­par­ent, fill color, or im­age back­ground and var­i­ous text styles.

Memes. Pho­to­shop El­e­ments knows and loves memes, and this year, the new ver­sion of­fers yet an­other meme you can cre­ate in just a cou­ple of clicks.

Text and Border Over­lay. This ex­tremely el­e­gant and easy-to-use edit places a pro­fes­sional look­ing border around your im­age, and lets you com­mem­o­rate it with a small bit of text. It makes any mem­o­rable day stand out, es­pe­cially when framed on your man­tle. Sev­eral border and text choices are avail­able, but more would be op­ti­mal.

The tool is a lit­tle re­stric­tive in that you must go strictly in se­quence and can­not back up once you have de­cided on text or a border. You also can­not change the size or po­si­tion­ing of the text be­yond the few of­fered choices.

Par­tial Sketch. Some­times you want to put a lit­tle va­ri­ety into your snap­shots. One way is to cre­ate a spe­cial ef­fect that’s part draw­ing and part photo. Pho­to­shop El­e­ments gives you four choices: pen­cil, col­ored pen­cil, old pa­per, and old photo. You can se­lect and place these ef­fects any­where in your

im­age, and ex­per­i­ment un­til you’re happy with the re­sult.

Sadly, you can’t mix two or more ef­fects to­gether in the same im­age though you can cy­cle through each ef­fect and do var­i­ous ad­just­ments to opac­ity and brush size.


There’s not much to com­plain about with Adobe Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 2019. It would be nice if the new Home Screen could be re­sized. More pat­terns for memes and the abil­ity to mix par­tial sketch styles would be nice, but most con­sumers will like the new guided ed­its just as they are. And with 2019, all users must have an Adobe ID and sign in with an Adobe ID and pass­word to use the app.


The up­dates for Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 2019 are rel­a­tively mod­est in terms of the num­ber of new fea­tures. But quan­tity doesn’t al­ways sig­nify qual­ity, es­pe­cially with the kind of ag­gres­sive an­nual up­date sched­ule Adobe al­ways ad­heres to for its con­sumer photo and video apps. This year, with few up­dates to the Or­ga­nizer and a re­spectable Home Screen, Adobe fo­cused its Sen­sei AI en­gine to its best ad­van­tage to sim­plify and auto gen­er­ate ap­peal­ing pho­to­graphic spe­cial ef­fects and so­cial me­dia friendly col­lages, slideshows, and memes.

If you’ve been wait­ing for sev­eral years to up­date your Pho­to­shop El­e­ments app, now is a great time to do that. If you’ve up­graded more re­cently, you can prob­a­bly af­ford to skip this ver­sion. ■

There’s noth­ing ob­vi­ously new in El­e­ments Or­ga­nizer land.

The new Home Screen lets you ac­cess most of the Pho­to­shop El­e­ments app and the new Auto Cre­ations func­tion.

Fill each let­ter with a dif­fer­ent pic­ture on top of an im­age back­ground.

Auto Cre­ations au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­ates nu­mer­ous col­lages and slideshows.

Dif­fer­ent bor­ders and im­age styles adorn your memes.

El­e­gant border over­lays and com­mem­o­ra­tive text high­light your fa­vorite im­ages.

You have sev­eral choices in how to trans­form your im­ages into mixed me­dia cre­ations.

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