Photoshop Elements 8 & Premiere Elements 8 In Review
In all honesty, I myself had never really given the Adobe Elements software much thought previously, and I must say that I was quite surprised at what I found. Though the name Elements suggests watered down versions of Adobe products, Photoshop and Premiere Pro, there really is a great deal here in both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, both of which are now in version 8.
For each of these programs, Adobe has gone all-out in providing a killer toolset that really delivers the goods in well-rounded packages for image and video solutions, and yet quite affordable in comparison to the fuller Creative Suite counterparts. And with the current state of the economy, this is very much welcomed.
Both Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8 are available separately, however, the bundled product is definitely the way to go, at a meager price of $149.00 (USD). I really couldn't think of anyone who couldn't make great use of both of these, especially if one wishes to organize treasured memories in pictures and video.
So, let's take a gander at these products one by one, shall we?
Photoshop Elements 8
Certainly, as a product that is targeted for the general consumer, ease of use gets top billing. The layout is easy to navigate and there is plenty of help, including tool tips and web links to tutorials.
The first thing I must mention is the great job Photoshop Elements does in helping to organize your pictures. For one, the new Auto Analyzer will automatically tag your pictures when you import them. This is a great feature that allows you to quickly locate shots in your image library, based on things such as quality, contrast, motion, etc. You can also add tags as well.
There is a people recognizing feature also, though I think it needs a bit of work yet as it works best with front-facing shots, but still not too shabby. For the most part though, if you need to locate certain shots quickly for a project, you really can't beat all these organizational tools in Elements.
For editing pictures, you can choose from quick, full, or guided. The quick edit allows for the basics of cropping, red eye tool, etc., while the full edit brings in the heavier editing tasks, layering, etc.
The guided edit is, of course, exactly as it states. You can see this in the picture below:
I must say that Adobe has really made quick and easy work of image touch-ups in Photoshop Elements, such as red eye removal, teeth whitening, and blemish removal. Add in the power of layers, filters, and a couple neat new tools I'll mention next, and this package really exceeds the low price tag.
Now, of the new features in Photoshop Elements 8, what really impresses me is the new Photomerge Exposure. What this does is allow you to get the best lighting out of two different shots combined. Meaning that you can take a shot with the flash on and one with the flash off and combine the two for a nicely lit shot all around. It's real easy to do as well, simply by quickly scrubbing out the area of one picture that you want to merge into the other.
Another key new feature is Recompose, where you can bring elements of a picture closer together or spread them apart, without distortion to these elements you select. It certainly is a great tool when you are trying to fit a particular frame size.
One more note I'll add as far as ease of use and quick editing is concerned, and this is in image adjustments. Take, for example, in the image below, as I am looking to change the temperature of an image. Not only are there sliders for making adjustments, but also a visual grid that will automatically preview it's effects on your image as you pass your cursor over it. Then, it's just a slight click and drag for more finer adjustment. Brilliant!
Premiere Elements 8
Now we get to the video portion, through the likes of the new Premiere Elements 8. And much like Photoshop Elements, you also get some great organizational tools. But what makes this package really nice is also its ease of use as well.
Drag and drop video clips as well as a plethora of cool transitions onto an open timeline and you can really make fun work out of any video project.
There are also plenty of effects and adjustments to play around with. You can also design disc menus through plenty of different templates and themes.
The cool new features this time around in Premiere Elements 8 are Motion Tracking, Smart Fix, and Smart Trim. With Smart Fix, you can easily make quality adjustments to the video, while Smart Trim can analyze video for excessive problem areas or unnecessary non-action parts, which you can then choose to cut out.
With the same ease of use, excellent organizational features, and a couple of great new tools just as in Photoshop Elements 8, this is a wonderful package which yields professional quality video.
Lastly, with purchase, you can get 2 GB of free video/image storage on photoshop.com, as well as automatic backup service. You also have the opportunity to purchase a Plus package that gets you even more space. you can read more about photoshop.com here.
All in all, the Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8 bundle is a really great, well-rounded and affordable package, offering not only an easy-to-use solution for editing images and video with plenty of creative control, but also your best bet in organizing your digital media. Highly recommended.
Price: $149.99 (USD)
For more info, be sure to visit the Adobe website.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 8
Adobe Premiere Elements supported import/export formats include:
ASF (import only), AVI, AVCHD (import only), SWF (import only), Blu-ray Disc (export only), DV, DVD, Dolby® Digital Stereo, H.264, HDV, JPEG, PNG (import only), PSD (import only), MOD and TOD (JVC Everio, import only), MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media, WMA (import only), and 3GP.
Import/export of some formats, including AVCHD, DVD, Blu-ray, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and H.264, may require activation or download of components via an Internet connection. Activation or download is fast, easy, and free. Import/export of 3GP, 3GP2, MOV, MPEG-4, and QuickTime requires QuickTime software.
Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's Front Page News.
March 1, 2010
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