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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Photoshop Elements 9 review

Since deciding to take my photography into an entirely digital form several years ago, I have ever since been bound to the complex world of Adobe Photoshop. Years were spent learning how to get the most out of the program and even now I feel that I have barely scratched the surface.
For any professional photographer, Photoshop is one of the key tools of the trade. But for the consumer, there are plenty of options out there that provide complex image manipulation at an affordable price. Take the freeware Gimp for example; it provides a very formidable set of tools capable of doing just about anything to an image that the average amateur photographer would want. However it is not a particularly easy program to master, nor does it carry the quality user interface that you find in Photoshop.

From the outset, Photoshop Elements set the standard in consumer-level image manipulation software, borrowing from its powerful creative suite brothers and simplifying to a level that anyone could understand. But it wasn't without its flaws; understanding the program still required a decent level of photographic and computing knowledge.
Photoshop Elements 9 draws heavily on the complex technology found in Adobe Photoshop CS5, in particular its clever content-aware fill function. It also tidies up just about everything else within the program, simplifies it to a level that anyone can understand and runs it smoothly on both Windows and Mac. What this results in is a package that feels powerful yet never confuses you. Almost every slider or effect is listed with examples and everything is easy to undo and change.
Better still are Adobe's 'fun edits'; these guide you step-by-step through how to create various digital photo effects. These act as a nice introduction to the basics of the program while still providing you with results that you will be pleased with. This is the first time that Photoshop Elements has truly felt 'beginner ready'. This leads to the first real problem that anyone will come to face with Photoshop Elements; eventually you will run out of things to do with it. Everyone who practises photography improves and eventually the day will come when the purchase of the expensive Photoshop CS5 will become inevitable. But the jump in price is so vast that it is difficult to justify even for the extremely enthusiastic amateur.

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