Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 in Review

Adobe Photoshop Elements Opening Screen

 

Previous versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements have always included both an intricate image organizer, as well as an impressive photo editor. The recently released Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is the most powerful, intuitive, and creative version of Photoshop Elements to date. This version has something for all photographers: fun features/enhancements for hobbyists, as well as new innovative tools for professionals.

The Organizer

The Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Organizer’s newest feature allows you to share your photographs with anyone, anywhere, anytime. With a few clicks your images are transported via mobile devices, or to a variety of the most popular social media sites. You can also create a private album and then share the album’s URL by inviting friends and family to view your memories.

At first glance, the Organizer may appear unchanged. Yet, there are subtle differences. Some users will appreciate the slightly different UI (User Interface). However, I found the rearrangement of the UI not as intuitive as past versions. Rather like having someone rearrange your kitchen cabinets. It is always difficult to find certain items when they are not where you expect them to be, even if the new placement is better organized.

Quick Edit Mode

My favorite new feature is the Red Eye Correction for Pets (located on the Tool Bar in Quick Edits, click on the red-eye icon, then click the Tool Options icon, and be sure to check the Pet Eye box). My photo albums are filled with photographs of my dogs, so this feature has been high on my Adobe-wish-list for years. I was very excited to take it for a test drive, and ecstatic when I discovered what an excellent job it did.

Every photographer knows the deflating feeling that comes with eye-flash, and how difficult it is to correct, especially in a pet’s eyes. An otherwise beautiful photograph can be ruined by the creepy glow created by the camera’s flash. Within Tool Options, it takes only minor adjustments to both the Pupil Radius and Darken sliders to quickly get outstanding results. This new feature restored the eyes to perfection on both my new puppy, and my older Labrador with cataracts. If you own a cat or dog, this feature alone makes Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 a must have!

 


Best New Feature in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12: Pet Flash-Eye Removal

 

Within the Quick Edit Mode you can also create unique works of art using the Effects, Textures, and Frames features. The selections are limited, especially with the variety of available frames. Even so, I was impressed with the ease, and more important the end-results, of these new Quick Edit Mode features.

 


Quick Edit Mode: Effects, Textures and Frames

 

Guided Edit Mode

With every new version, it’s an Adobe Photoshop Elements tradition to add three new features to the Guided Edit Mode. This version’s new trifecta is: Zoom Burst, Photo Puzzle, and Old Photo Restore.

 


List of the Guided Edits

 

I was especially impressed with the new Restore Old Photo feature, located in the Touchups list. Using this feature, I was able to restore an extremely damaged photograph in minutes, instead of hours. As the name implies, Guided Edits walk you through each step; making the process foolproof, and better yet, quick and easy.

 


Guided Edit Mode: Restore Old Photo

 

The new Photo Puzzle effects (located in the Photo Effects list), is a fun special effect. This is a great feature for scrapbooking, or adding novelty to a website. Like a cookie cutter, the effect creates puzzle piece images over the original photograph. It then allows you to select individual pieces, and not only remove them from the image but also rotate and stack them. When a puzzle piece is removed, an outline of the removed piece remains. If you don’t like the look of the outline pieces, you can quickly remove the lines with the Erase Tool located within Tool Options.

 


Guided Edit Mode: Photo Puzzle

 

Zoom Burst is located under the Photo Play list. It gives a whimsical look to images. It is also a great way to salvage a less than perfect photograph. Within the guided instructions are numerous tools to adjust the Zoom Burst effect, including adding a vignette to the final image.

 


Guided Edit Mode: Zoom Burst

 

Expert Edit Mode

The Content Aware Move is similar to the previous version’s Content Aware Fill … but don’t be fooled, this new feature is so advanced from the original that it earned the new prefix. The only downside is its rather hard to find placement. It is located on the bottom of the tool bar (the curvy downward-arrow icon), in Expert Edit Mode. The results create a clean move of the object, filling in the image’s original space with precise detail. This is really a great feature, especially useful when shooting a group shot (with dogs or people).

 


Expert Edit Mode: Content Aware Move

 

Skylines are a favorite photo opportunity among both professional and amateur photographers. Yet, a tilted horizon can send an otherwise striking image to the trash can. The new Straighten Tool (the green-level tool icon located at bottom of the tool bar) works like magic in achieving the perfect horizon line. There are two different actions that can be taken, producing similar results. With Autofill Edge unchecked the image is straightened perfectly, but the results resemble a rotated, layered image. When using this version of the Straighten Tool, you can then crop the image to remove the white edges.

Yet, the true power of the Straighten Tool comes into play when the Autofill Edge function is engaged. The corrected horizon line remains the same with or without the Autofill Edge. However, the edges that were once empty are automatically filled with Content-Aware Fill working unnoticed in the background. This action creates an image that no longer needs to be cropped. It fills in the blank edges with realistic content that matches seamlessly with the original image.

 


Expert Edit Mode: Straighten Tool

 

Auto Smart Tone is an intuitive feature that has the ability to learn and apply your preferences in regards to an image’s tone. Then you have the option to allow Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 to set your tone to your previous preferences, or you can override the auto-function and create an image to your current needs.

A different thumbnail image appears in all four corners of the Auto Smart Tone’s workspace, with the original image displayed in the middle. Each of the thumbnails reflects a different level of tonality. You then have the option to click on one of the corner thumbnails, at the same time previewing the changes to your image. You can also move your cursor within a bounding box to further tweak the tone.

 


Expert Edit Mode: Auto Smart Tone

 

Other new editing features include three filters: Comic, Graphic Novel, Pen and Ink. The filter menu is located on the top of the UI, on the Menu Bar. The new filters are listed within the Sketch menu. The filter menu can be accessed while you are in any of the Edit Modes (Quick, Guided, or Expert). This is important to note, as many of the menu items are not accessible in all Edit Modes.

 


The New Pen and Ink Filter

 

Sharing and Printing

In Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, you are now able to share images, destined for print or online use, directly from the Editor. You can also create and send greeting cards to your preferred printer (local or online) from within the Editor. Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is also integrated with Adobe’s mobile photo app, Revel; making photos available on a majority of touch devices, including Windows 8.

Conclusion

For the price, power, and accessibility, Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is the best version to date. With Mobile Sharing, Old Photo Restore, and Camera-flash fix for pets' eyes, it is apparent that Adobe listened and responded to their customers’ wants and needs. Furthermore, if you are unable, or unwilling, to join the Cloud Generation, the non-cloud-based Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is the perfect solution for your photo editing, storing, and sharing needs.

We invite you to visit the Adobe website to view all of the Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 features.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 runs on both Mac and Windows operating systems.
Visit the Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 specs page for complete System Requirements.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Standalone Versions

Standalone Full Version: $99.99
Standalone Upgrade (from any previous Photoshop Elements standalone version): $79.99

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and Adobe Premiere Elements 12 Bundle

Bundle Full Version: $149.99
Teacher and Student Bundle Full Version: $119.99
Bundle Upgrade (from any previous Elements Bundle version): $119.99

30 day Fully Functional Free Trial version also available
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October 7, 2013

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