More Photoshop tools in Elements, more integration, an improved file browser, and a new price. Get this: Windows users are being charged more for the new Elements than Mac users. That’s a twist.
Adobe is touting Elements 3.0 as an excellent add-on for Apple’s many iPhoto users. That’s a good thing. We use Elements here on both Macs and Windows and even the 2.0 version is a good “true digital imaging application” for iPhoto.
Version 3.0 provides the consumer user with a number of powerful image editing tools that were previously available only in Photoshop CS (the Creative Suite). One of the new tools is a favorite, the “Healing Brush.” I use it to fix image blemishes and imperfections in photos. One click. It’s nice to bring that kind of power to what amounts to a home imaging application.
As you’d expect for an application that works with iPhoto, Elements also includes an improved red eye removal tool. Adobe promotes a number of the new enhances that can “instantly click away imperfections, transform photos with effects and filters, and correct color and lighting.”
This kind of power is taking Photoshop Elements to a new level for the consumer user.
One feature that stuck out as necessary is the Elements 3.0 File Browser. This will allow Mac users the ability to find photos more quickly. As hard drives get bigger, we tend not to throw away as many of our bad photos. I’m esspecially guilty of this practice.
My iPhoto database now exceeds 6,200 photos. Plus, there’s plenty of other photos sitting around on those 160 gigabyte and 260 gigabyte hard drives on my desk.
At just 10% bad photos that still means I have to sift through over 600 photos just to throw away. Any kind of elements organization will be sorely needed.
Photoshop Elements 3.0 takes the file browser a step further and lets you search your Mac based on a variety of search criteria. This include the type of camera, the name of the person who shot the photo (if available), and the date and time the photo was taken.
Going a step beyond iPhoto, Elements will now allow you to share photos; that includes an Adobe PDF slideshow with music and transitions.
Sounds like iPhoto with real digital imaging tools.
Indeed, this may be the best version of Photoshop ever. True, Elements is not for the power user. It’s really a digital image application for the rest of us. Photoshop power, more ease-of-use, and a bucket of tools now aimed at the home user, small business user on a budget.
For example, among the many new features I think are hits:
Easily adjust shadows and highlights
Adobe says this helps you to rescue poorly lit photos by lightening shadows and reduceing highlight glare. I need this. Most of the photos I should throw away have bad shadows, not enough light. Elements requires only a click to bring life back to the photo.
Brush away flaws
If only this worked on our kids, right? Well, it does. It works on kids’ photos. All the teenagers in your photos will have a perfect complexion thanks to Elements new tool set.
Quick Fix Mode
This lets you see how your changes, adjustments, tweaks and major surgery to a digital photo will look with the all important Before and After views. You think this will be popular?
RAW and 16 Bit
For the slightly more professional user, Elements 3.0 also handles digital camera raw data files (the really large ones that most of us don’t worry about). There’s also support for smoother, more accurate color with 16-bit image support.
You’re starting to look at a consumer application with many advanced tools.
It’s one thing to have a tool that’ll make your image better, it’s better to have a tool that’ll do the job without you having to think much about it. Face it, some of those Photoshop tools require a summer course at the local college to figure out how to use.
Adobe appears to feel your pain and included powerful tools such as Smart Fix. One click will detect lighting and color flaws, as well as contrast problems (do you have those, too?), and another click makes it all better again.
It’s like a kindergarten nap for image manipulation.
Why this feature wasn’t there 100 years ago is beyond me. I once spent hundreds on an application that created decorative image edges. Hundreds of edges. The interface was clumsy and crashed a lot. Adobe has that same feature built-in to Elements 3.0. No, not the clumsy interface and crashes. The hundreds of decorative edge designs.
Is there more? Oh, yeah. Plenty. Frankly, I’m surprised at this update. Not the fact that Adobe is taking Elements to version 3.0 from 2.0. After all, Apple took iPhoto from 2.0 all the way to 4.0.
What’s surprising is that Adobe is working to make their professional level tools, those found in Photoshop CS, available and useable in a consumer, home, small office application. That’s Apple’s forte—just look at what you get with iLife. Very good quality applications for the price of a new Mac.
Guess what? Photoshop Elements 3.0 has a price, too. The formerly $69 application is now $89 for the full version and is expected to ship by early November. $99 if you’re a Windows user. What if you have Elements 2.0? Adobe says you can come back to their web site in October to pre-order Elements 3.0 upgrade but they don’t say how much it’ll be.
How hard can it be for a big company like Adobe to set up an upgrade price and order form?
Adobe and Apple appear to have developed an amicable love/hate relationship in recent years. A big chunk of Adobe revenue and profits still come from sales to Apple’s Mac customers and the Mac market. Photoshop is the centerpiece of that revenue stream.
Photoshop Elements is an entre’ to that more professional market and is a popular Adobe application on both Mac and Windows’ platforms. With digital photos all the rage for personal computers, there’s no doubt it’ll be a big hit.