Adobe Photoshop Elements

Over the years I have been disappointed by the disconnect between advanced photo editors and photo editing software for beginners. There was no real path for beginners to follow to reach the next step with their growing skills. You either went with Photoshop and the learning curve that came with it, or worked with some of the very viable, but limiting beginner photo editors that had proprietary features and no real upgrade path.
A couple months ago I found that Photoshop had a new product, to me at least, which was Photoshop Elements. Shortly after this I was working with a customer that was using Photoshop Elements for their web site’s photo editor. At that point, I decided it was a good time to check out this new tool.
Going into it I was certain that Photoshop Elements 5.0 would not stand up to the latest full-featured Photoshop CS2. Obviously, at the price point, Elements wouldn’t do nearly as much. I prepared myself and accepted the fact that it probably would be much like some of the other low cost photo editors I had seen in the past. Even reading the product descriptions from Adobe gave me the sense that it was a very simple (in functionality) program. Well, I was wrong…

I’m very impressed with Photoshop Elements and believe it is an excellent tool for beginning and aspiring designers (photo/image/graphics manipulators). Elements not only includes many of the beginner tools and features you would expect from a $99 (list price) photo editor, but also includes a number of features that I feel are ideal for the intermediate graphic designer still learning and building their own skill set.
I could fill a couple pages reviewing the product and all of its features, but I’ll focus on the one I find most important and relevant to our template customers. Photoshop Elements 5.0 allows you to open Photoshop PSD (source) files and edit the layers contained in the PSD file. There are a few limitations, but for the most part any PSD source files you find with PixelMill products can be edited in Elements. Since PixelMill templates are built from within the web site editor, we only create graphics and PSD files necessary for the site. You don’t receive a large, convoluted collection of layered images cut up to make a web page. You can open the file you need, make the desired changes, and output as a web image.
In light of the value we find in Photoshop Elements with its’ ability to be an easy and flexible graphics editor and a solid stepping stone to Photoshop, we have started an ongoing series of articles and tutorials for Photoshop Elements. Much of this series will focus on how Elements compares to Photoshop, and how you can accomplish some of the same effects found with Photoshop. You can see the beginning of this series in our previous two newsletters.
Reflection in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – February 2007
Fading Images in Photoshop Elements – January 2007
We hope you will find value in our new series, and we encourage you to take a look at Photoshop Elements if you do not already use Photoshop or other photo editor.
Learn more about Adobe Photoshop Elements
Download a free 30 Day Trial from Adobe
Buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 from Amazon

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