Thursday, November 1, 2007

A fresh look at Photoshop Elements 6.0


By Cari Cooney

I've been lucky enough to review Adobe's Photoshop Elements 6.0. Having experienced only freeware to edit my images, this was an exciting opportunity to get my hands on a high-quality piece of software. I'd like to show you my experience with Photoshop Elements, and give you the dish on what beginners and experts alike can accomplish with this software.

"So, if freeware can do all of these things, what puts Adobe above them?"

First impressions

Upon opening Photoshop Elements, I was pleasantly surprised. The starting menu was a colorful welcome screen with four buttons. These four buttons allowed me to organize, edit, create and share. It was nice to be able to pick one of those choices, rather than having the program open up into one screen in which I would have to dig to figure out how to upload an image for editing. Figure A shows the friendly start up screen.


It's easy to choose which route you want to take with these simple options. (click for larger image)

When I was trying out the software, I was easily able to navigate, add new layers, touch up photos and add awesome effects and enhancements. One of my favorite photo-enhancing options is to take a grayscale photo and add touches of color. This look has become so popular with weddings, senior pictures, and the world of professional photography in general.

Adobe's layout is so clean and user-friendly, that I didn't have a problem understanding how to accomplish this task using Elements. Take a look at an example of the grayscale to color function in Figure B.


These glass balls were originally a deep, cobalt blue. Once transformed completely to grayscale, I used the brush function to re-add the color back into the balls. (click for larger image)

I also had a little fun with this feature, I added a layer to overlay color, but I didn't change the original picture into grayscale. See Figure C.


Elliot is tickled pink with the re-color function. (click for larger image)

How Elements is different from other image editing software

Well it is, and it isn't. Don't get me wrong -- Adobe has put together a great package in 6.0. It can do basically the same thing other photo software can. You can obviously edit images to reduce redeye, sharpen and touch up blemishes. You can also convert your images into resemble watercolor, mosaic tiles or add a neon glow as shown in Figure D.


This shows a typical "Neon Glow" effect along with a side window to the right, showing the basic effect options. (click for larger image)