Only part of Adobe’s brief for Photoshop Elements is producing fancy photos. The other part is organising and distributing them through a variety of media conduits. Elements 10 shows Adobe’s concentration on the second part of this brief, though there are some interesting changes to its editing features, too.
When the program starts, you’re asked if you want to organise or edit your photos, and the organise option leads to the revamped Elements Organiser. This will happily look through a photo collection and index it automatically. You can then do nifty things like searching for similarities between, and specific objects in, pictures.
A slider offers the choice between matching by colour and by shape. Colour matching is the more useful, particularly on landscapes. Veering too far towards ‘shape’ showed a 59 per cent match between this reviewer’s wife and a muscovy duck. This kind of content search can be a time saver, as long as it’s applied intelligently.
The organiser can also spot duplicate or very similar photos and by deleting them reduce the storage space necessary for albums, going through 4,000 plus images in around two minutes.
Sharing photos is also made easier by direct connections to social networking sites, like Facebook. Your Facebook Friends list can now be used to tag photos, making it a quick way to mark them up before uploading.
Switching from the organiser to the editor, Photoshop Elements 10 offers several new innovations to add to its already strong set of tools and effect filters. New filters include the Orton effect, which selectively blurs the background to a central image, Picture Stack, which makes a shot appear like a collage of prints piled one on another, and Depth Of Field, where you can defocus a subject’s surroundings to give it more attention. There are 30 new Smart Brushes, too, producing effects like Snow, Pencil sketch and Oil pastel.
Not only does the program include these new tools, but Adobe has extended the way they can be applied. For example, the Smart Brush tools can be used to apply textures and special effects to just part of a picture. The selection is created by painting it onto the image and takes on the chosen effect as it’s painted.
Text on a curve is now supported, something rival applications have been able to do for a while, and this is particularly useful if you’re creating cards or posters from photos.
Even simple things like cropping a picture have been enhanced. Crop guides can now be used to retain artistic aspect ratios, like the Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio, so you can give your pictures more aesthetic appeal as you crop and shape them.
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- Lots of new brushes and new ways of applying them.
- Newcomers may find a steep learning curve – it’s not that elemental, any more.