Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I take a lot of pictures.  I used to use a lot of different versions of Photoshop and other picture-editing software.  (I used to love to see how many free versions I could get.)  When I started posting pictures to Flickr, I decided it was time to get a paid version.  I knew Photoshop the best, so I decided that I'd buy from them.

I went with Elements because I didn't really need a fancy version.  I needed something that could do color correction and maybe cropping a few pictures as needed.  Most of the free programs I used couldn't do what I wanted.

To give you an example of how little I need, I have an SLR, but I don't even shoot in the RAW format.  I usually shoot in jpeg because I don't really want to spend a lot of time editing photos.  (I'm also limited to 2GB per card, which makes file size a big concern.)

For the most part, Elements does what I need.  I've had problems with the free versions, such as the programs not retaining a lot of the metadata.  Photoshop seems to retain much of the important data, such as which camera the photo was taken with, but doesn't seem to retain lens information.  (I have yet to find a program that retains everything.  It's simply a question of how much and exactly what is lost.)

As for the editing, you can do a quick color balance which seems to work most of the time.  There's also a Smart Fix that allows you to correct several things at once, such as color and contrast.  You can choose any whole percentage between 0 and 100, which gives you a good amount of control.  Sometimes, I'll play around with the actual colors in the picture because the shortcuts don't work, but this is pretty rare.

Cropping is pretty easy.  There's a specific tool you can use which allows you to rotate the crop area and even resize it once you've selected an area.  I find this useful mostly when I'm taking pictures for eBay auctions.  A lot of times, getting just the right crop means having to rotate it a little bit either way until I can get it just where I need it.  I can almost always get it in one crop.

I've rarely run into a problem using Elements.  The only time that this has happened was when I wanted to try something called tilt shift.  This allows you to make a photograph of a full-sized object look like it was a miniature.  Most of the instructions are geared for the full version.  When I try to follow them, there's usually some part of the instructions that either doesn't work or doesn't make sense for my version.  I have yet to find instructions that allow me to do this with Elements 6.

Fortunately, this is the only major limitation I've had with the software.  This is the version you want if you need some software, but don't plan on doing enough that you want to shell out a lot of money for it.  You should be able to find the latest version of Elements for under $100.  If you have any software meant just for viewing photos, keep it.  Photoshop takes a while to load and isn't really meant just for looking at stuff.  For this reason, I still use the photo viewer that came with my computer.

 Adobe Web site

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