Adobe has a
reputation of producing amazing photo editing software packages and
even though Photoshop may be the definitive product in this field,
the price is generally too steep for the average user.
Fortunately for us
mere mortals, Adobe have continued to release their affordable range
of "elements" software packages with their latest incarnation
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 & Adobe Premier Elements 4 that not only
allows for photo manipulation but also movie manipulation. Best off,
this software package retails for a recommended retail of just under
$200 and even cheaper at online stores.
This package targets
the home user in that the software is extremely easy to use thanks
to its innovative user-interface which will allow even the most
novice of users to improve their photos and create flair to their
In its essence,
Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements could be considered
Photoshop "light" and Premier "light", still keeping the powerful
aspects of these programs but allowing the inexperienced end-user
easy access. Whether you're fixing up redeye, fuzzy photos or
creating slideshows, this program almost has it all. Movies? Well...
that's another Premier Elements 4 which it does remarkable!
The installation of Elements was a
breeze and it successfully installed on our Windows XP machine
without any issues whatsoever. Once the installation was completed,
we were greeted to the familiar "elements" interface that although
reminiscent of Photoshop, has a more basic feel like Paintshop and
Corel which is a bonus in anyone's book. The interface also has a
"Vista" feel to it and should make any Windows user quite
It should also be
noted that this software bundle contains two programs, however Adobe
have incorporated a clever utility called the organizer which allows
users to access all their photos and video clips without searching
through complex folders or directories.
The developers have also
allowed the user to share their photos via online galleries which is
almost as simple as 1, 2 and 3. Thanks to the "Smart Albums", users
can also setup 10 different search criteria areas such themes or
dates of the photo.
So what photo
manipulation can one do in Photoshop Elements 6? The simple answer
is quite a few such as adjusting the brightness or contrast of a
photo, an enhanced clone tool that removes unwanted objects from a
photo or flaws (e.g. the next door neighbor's head in a photo or a
sign), the spot healing brush which is a great tool for removing
wrinkles or blemishes through just a click of the mouse and for the
more artistic photographer, a plethora of black and white options.
Best of all is the new Guided Edit
workspace which allows the user to photomerge two photos and
combines the best elements from each of the photos. This is great
for removing people with "closed eyes", depending if you have
another photo with their eyes open. The things that you can do
with Photoshop Elements is also limitless.
Adobe Premier Elements 4
contains a very easy to use program called "Movie Maker", the
special effects are options are quite limiting to the end-user. This
is where Adobe Premier Elements 4 comes into its own league with not
only an easy to use interface but a variety of special effects and
options. Creating special effects was extremely easy and the program
contained a variety from professional to sometimes extremely cheesy.
feature of Premier Elements 4 is the ability to add themes to your
movies and even add opening credits and end credits. This wizard is
quite powerful and does produce some impressive looking videos. As
with previous versions, the program also comes with a plethora of
filters such as water waves to more simple traditional effects such
as fade out and in.
Although you can add
your own music to your videos, a nifty option for Premier Elements
is the detect beats option that actually analyses your music for rhythm
which allows you to add striking visuals or for those action movie
or music video users who wish to create something powerful. The new Audomixer turns the program into a music studio that allows the
user to easily change a variety of music and sound options.
Want to create Blu-Ray? Simply! Premier
Elements now supports this popular new video format and for users of
YouTube, the program also has an option to save your videos for
optimal YouTube encoding.
The program did freeze on a few
occasions but I'm guessing this was due to the video conversion as
it only happened with the same file. Depending on the special
effects and movie quality, some effects do take a considerable
amount of time to render which are probably the only two downsides I
can see in Premier Elements 4.
Both programs are also compatible with
each others file formats. For instance, you may wish to create a
Hollywood style slideshow but some of your photos are blurry or too
dark. Simple! You fix the photos in Photoshop Elements 6, then run
Premier Elements 4 in order to use the in-built special effects.
Needless to say, it was quite a painless experience.
I must also applaud
Adobe for the speed of Elements as we have reviewed the high-end
Adobe products before, Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements are
extremely fast programs to use and the basic computer specs are a
1.3GHz P4 and 512MB RAM which is considered the standard of today.
In conclusion, Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 and Adobe Premier Elements
4 is a must have software package for users who wish to manipulate
video and photos in an extremely easy to use program that is quite
affordable. Definitely worth checking out!