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Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Review

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Review

Following on from the release of its Creative Cloud suite of applications, Adobe has updated Photoshop Elements. Version 12 introduces new effects, frames and filters, as well as the Content-Aware Move tool previously seen in Photoshop CC. As in previous iterations, the main photo-editing interface provides access to tools such as levels, exposure, colour, cropping tools and red-eye removal.

When it comes to its new effects, textures and photo frames, these appear to have been inspired by the Instagram generation. To access these, you’ll need to have an image open in Quick Edit mode and click the appropriate tab in the bottom-right corner. There are 10 effects to choose from, including black and white, and vintage. If after applying one you have a change of heart, press Reset Image to remove it or use the undo button. These effects can be combined with 10 different textures and frames. Unfortunately, I didn’t always find an effect to suit my photos, and I feel the frames are gimmicky. If, however, you’re looking to make some fun, quirky images they may be fine. If you’re new to Photoshop Elements, you’ll appreciate Guided mode – you follow the steps shown and use the provided tools to create the desired effect. Among the Guided Edits is Restore Old Photo, which takes you through the whole process of retouching a photo, including cropping, healing, removing dust and improving the contrast and sharpness.

One tool that Adobe has added to Elements, but not the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, is the Auto Smart Tone enhance option. By going to the Enhance tab, you can now select Auto Smart Tone, which Adobe says intelligently learns your preferences over time to adapt the results it provides. When you select Auto Smart Tone, a window will pop up with your original photo in the middle and four tone options around it – move the circle in the middle of the window towards the one you prefer. While intuitive and easy to use, the results aren’t great.

Pet-Eye Correction

Pets corner

Another new tool is Pet-Eye Correction. If you take a photo of your treasured pet, you’ll find that its eyes are often yellow when shot with a flash, so the Red-Eye removal tool doesn’t work. Adobe’s Pet-Eye tool operates in the same way, but eradicates the yellow instead of red. Animal owners will appreciate it. Within Expert mode, you’ll find the new Content-Aware Move tool, which borrows some technology from Photoshop CC. Patches that didn’t look great were easy to touch up using the clone stamp tool. For more serious photographers, there’s a new Open in Camera Raw feature. If you have a Raw file or a TIFF, JPEG or PSD that you want to edit, go to File, Open in Camera Raw, and edit your image here before continuing. As for the Organizer, many of the changes focus on making the software mobile. Users can access and share their photos using the new Adobe Revel-powered Elements Mobile Albums. The Revel iOS app, Adobe’s cloud server storage service, is free, but if you want to upload more than 50 photos per month, you’ll need to upgrade to Revel Premium. Adobe Revel works in a similar way to Apple’s iCloud. You’ll be able to view stored photos through a web browser by logging in to your Revel account, as well as Elements 12’s Organizer and in the Revel app.

Adobe provides one month of unlimited Revel usage to begin with. If you’re not planning on subscribing to Revel Premium when your first month is up, I advise you not to turn on auto synching in the app. If you do, any picture you take with your iOS device automatically syncs with the Organizer, some of which you may not want to sync as part of your allowance of 50 photos. When it comes to sharing, Adobe has added the ability to share images (one at a time) on Twitter in both the Revel app and Photoshop Elements itself. The Organizer also has some new tags. You can now see Places and Event tags in the Tags/Info panel. Unfortunately, the user interface isn’t the most intuitive I’ve used, and it took us some time to get used to. If you’ve used previous versions of the software on a regular basis, this won’t be a problem, but new users may find it tricky to get the hang of to begin with.

Conclusion

While the user interface could use some tweaking, Photoshop Elements 12 has many useful photo-editing tools.

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