announced the second version of its low-cost photo editing package, aimed at the home hobbyist and amateur photographer, today. But while it may be cheap, it’s far from a cut-down version of its big brother — like its predecessor it offers a number of new features yet to make it in to full version of Photoshop.

The new Selection Brush makes the process of creating selections far easier for the novice. Rather than have to resort to the Marquee, Lasso or Magic Wand tool, you can simply paint a selection.

Help is always at hand thanks to the beefed-up Recipes, Glossary, Dialog Tips and Smart Messages. Recipes provide step-by-step instructions for complex techniques, and the ‘Do it for me’ option alleviates the hard work. The Glossary explains digital imaging terms in an understandable way and Dialog Tips provide easy to read explanations within dialogs. Smart Messages provide simple context-sensitive help so you’re never left wondering what a particular term means.

The File Browser, which originally debuted in version one and has since found its way into Photoshop 7.0, has been enhanced and can now handle EXIF (exchangeable image file) data — such as creation date, exposure settings, image size and resolution — generated by digital cameras.

The Quick Fix Dialog provides easy access to common photo adjustments — such as brightness, colour correction, focus and rotation — with tool tips to help with the various adjustments.

Compared with the full version Elements offers a huge feature set and at just £75 (ex VAT) it’s less than a fifth of the price. If you’re after a fully featured image edition package, but don’t need the professional features of Photoshop 7.0, Elements 2.0 could be just what you’re looking for.

Look out for a full review in the October 02 issue of PC Advisor.