Adobe has just released Photoshop Elements 15 and Premiere Elements 15, the latest updates to their consumer versions of the world’s most powerful photo and video finishing tools. These are terrific tools, and in my work, almost everything I do in the full version of Photoshop can be done in Elements, including panoramas and head swapping, and it’s usually easier to do it in Elements. I’ve spent some time with Photoshop Elements 15 (PSE), so I’ll show you some of its new features, but you should also consider Premiere Elements for creating fun videos and slideshows with built-in templates that just aren’t available in the pro version of Premiere.
PSE has a powerful organization section, much like Bridge, and it can help you organize your photography library. Interestingly, when it launched the first time it popped up with a prompt to explore Lightroom as a more professional organization tool. Personally, I’ll keep using Lightroom for my library, but I’m excited about some of the features in PSE that I hope may trickle over to Lightroom. For instance, you can search PSE by keyword and it will find pictures including that word. This isn’t only keywords you added as metadata. It searches through and intelligently recognizes subjects in the photos and brings them to your view. That’s pretty cool.
On the editing side, PSE includes a truncated version of Adobe Camera Raw to process RAW files. It lacks many of the tools we see in Photoshop and Lightroom, but it still has the most world’s most powerful basic adjustments section. I used it here to adjust white balance and contrast in my RAW file.
PSE also has a powerful set of Guided Edits that help you accomplish popular Photoshop tasks. Things like removing a distracting element from a photo, or swapping heads, or combining photos and making panoramas.
One new Guided Edit helps you create the look of speed panning. I used it here to help my subject stand out more and make it look like much more action was happening than I could show at the time of capture.
The guide told me how to select my subject, then add the amount of blur I wanted, and finally, touch up the edges of my selection to help it look realistic. I must say, this was much faster for me than doing the same thing in Photoshop.
There are also really desirable design tools in PSE. Don’t ask me how to make a photo collage that looks like photographs scattered on a page in Photoshop, or a how to use the text tool to cut letter shaped masks out of a picture–I’d have to watch videos from Dave Cross and Corey Barker to find out how to do it. But in PSE, there’s a guided tutorial to make all kinds of cool layouts and pictures with cool frames around them. These kinds of options make it fun to share pictures digitally or in print. They’ve even included really cool templates specifically for Facebook headers.
A section called eLive (Elements Live) has been enhanced from previous versions. This section is full of tutorials and examples of others’ works to give you ideas and help you become a better photographer.
Click here to see a complete list of all the new features in PSE.
If you’ve been overwhelmed with Photoshop or Premiere, or if you’ve been looking for something more powerful than your computer’s built-in apps, then Elements are probably the right tools for you. These are not included in Creative Cloud, so you’ll make a one-time purchase for your license. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements can be purchased together or individually. Also, if you’ve ever owned any version of Elements, you qualify to upgrade. It’s fairly priced and very powerful. I can’t wait for some of these features to trickle over to my Creative Cloud tools.
Pricing as follows:
Photoshop Elements 15
Full – US $99.99
Upgrade – US $79.99
Premiere Elements 15
Full – US $99.99
Upgrade – US $79.99
Adobe Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 15
Full – U.S. $149.99
Upgrade – US $119.99