More than just a cut-down version of Adobe’s flagship Photoshop Creative Suite 5.0 software, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 delivers cutting-edge features in a package that’s been specifically designed to make managing and editing your photos easier and more fun. Updated, 9 June 2011
Like its bigger and far more expensive brother, Photoshop Elements 9.0 appears slick and professional. From the start, everything is made as simple as possible. The software is divided into two self-explanatory modules: Organize and Edit. See also: Adobe Photoshop CS6 review.
The organiser keeps track of your entire photo collection and lets you rate, tag and search your collection in a variety of ways, including by face, date and location.
It also lets you perform basic enhancements, with tools for a one-click Smart Fix, automatic colour and contrast adjustments, red-eye removal and cropping. These can be applied to batches of images simultaneously. The software is also clever enough to keep track of multiple versions of each picture.
Once enhanced, you can create a variety of printed projects using your images, including greetings cards and calendars. You can also share photos online, by email or upload them directly to services such as Flickr and Facebook.
The Edit interface offers a Photoshop-like environment, with advanced, non-destructive editing features such as layers and content-aware tools. For example, paint over an unwanted object or blemish using the Healing Brush, and Elements analyses the surrounding pixels to work out what should go in its place.
There are three levels of editing complexity, allowing novice users to progress through each as they become more familiar with the software. Quick mode offers only the basics, with a few sliders for adjusting the lighting and colour, and a selection of Adobe’s simpler tools. Guided mode has the full range of tools, complete with walkthroughs on how to use them.
If we had one gripe, it’s that Elements can be sluggish on underpowered PCs such as netbooks.
Next page: Our original review of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, by PC World's Alan Stafford, from 21 September 2010 >>