Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 review
This is the most wonderful time of year for PSE users because fall usually means a new release of Adobe Photoshop Elements! I was lucky enough to be invited to the press event (virtually) again this year, which I always enjoy because I get to hear from the creators themselves about the new features as they are unveiled.
I'm going to review what's new and improved and also talk about how it applies to digital scrapbookers in general. If you want to skip to the bottom line though, this is it...
DO YOU NEED TO UPGRADE?
Of course that is always a matter of what you can afford and where you want to spend your money, but here are my recommendations:
1) If you can afford it and want the best, this is it. Seriously, this is the most powerful Photoshop Elements program that has ever existed, especially when it comes to photo editing and tools.
2) If you are using a version below PSE 10 or 11, I highly suggest upgrading because there are so many new features that have come out in the last few releases - especially for digital scrapbookers in the workspace.
3) If you just barely upgraded to PSE 13 and are wondering if you need 14, I feel like you need to decide how important the photo edits and new tools are for you as there isn't much of a change overall for digital scrapbookers. Be sure to read through some of the features that I talk about in this post to help you make your decision.
4) If you use the organizer to keep track of photos and use facial recognition, this version has some good improvements that will make it worth your while (and money) to upgrade.
Remember that Adobe doesn't design this product specifically for digital scrapbookers. It is a photo editing tool first and foremost. The organizer is also a power part of the product. Even though those features are designed with the photographer in mind, they are still a big part of digital scrapbooking. Great photos = great scrapbook pages!
The workspace with it's layers and ability to add actions and styles is an important aspect for digi scrappers, but it's not the first thing on Adobe's docket when they look at what to add in each new release. That's ok with me in general because it's already a GREAT program for all of the things related to digital scrapbooking. Honestly, the only thing I really would like to see them add for us digi scrappers would be the ability to put shadows on a separate layer. Other than that, the improvements that have come with the last few upgrades have made me very happy as a digital scrapbooker and I have no reason to look to the full (and expenseive) Photoshop program for what I do with my own digital memory keeping and even for my digital mixed media creations. I just LOVE the simple and user friendly interface of Adobe Photoshop Elements!
So... I bet you are wondering what is new in 14? There are some really cool things!
NEW & IMPROVED - Photo Edits
I especially love that you can visually see the menu of photo edits and understand exactly what each one is going to do for your photo. When you open the guided edits tab, you can 6 different menus for photo edits. Here are the basic edits:
These are the "color" edits. I use the enhance color edit often!
The black and white tools are better than ever and this program makes it very easy to achieve professional looking black and white photographs.
Admittedly, I don't use the "fun" edits very often, but I appreciate the creative options they offer.
I think the "special edits" are really nice in this edition. I'm pretty excited about the depth of field effect!
Photomerge tools let the software do the hard work for you and you can get some really amazing results.
NEW & IMPROVED - Photo Tricks
This is the part of the new release that I am most excited about. I have several photos that I have previously considered to be ruined that can be saved now!
Check out this Auto Haze Removal tool in action!
The Camera Shake correction tool is another lifesaver! How many times have you lamented that the perfect picture was blurry? I know I have many of these in my own collection.
Precise Edge Selection is another great feature if you like to extract images. It's very tricky to get fine hair to come out looking defined without the help of some powerful software.
NEW & IMPROVED - More Powerful Organizer
If you use the organizer tool in PSE, the upgrades in this release will be very exciting for you. Better facial recognition and more powerful organization make a big difference when you want your photos sorted properly.
MINOR TWEAKS - Workspace Options
There were not a lot of changes in this area and as I stated earlier, I don't think there were many needed. I know as a digital scrapbooker that I like to see what the workspace looks like in each version so I will share a screen shot of one my own works in progress so you can see what it looks like. I have one of my Sections templates open on this screen:
Open your own current version of Photoshop Elements and compare it to this screen to see what's different and what's the same.
I hope this review has been helpful for those of you who are considering upgrading to Adobe Photoshop Elements 14. I really enjoy using this program and feel like it is the best version yet. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well! And if you are new to digital scrapbooking, or just want to see how I use PSE for my own process, you will probably enjoy these 3 tutorial videos I put together a few months ago. Many people have told me that they finally had a "lightbulb moment" when they watched these!