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Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 review


The new Elements interface makes a massive difference to photo editing, but there are too few new features to make it a must-have upgrade

Review Date: 25 Sep 2012

Reviewed By: Barry Collins

Price when reviewed: £66 (£79 inc VAT); Upgrade, £53 (£64 inc VAT)

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Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The pressure of meeting Adobe's annual refresh cycle weighs heavily on the developers of Photoshop Elements. Last year's refresh was the dampest of squibs, adding little but novelty features to Adobe's consumer photo editor.

A quick glance at the feature list of Photoshop Elements 11 left us fearing the worst again: an interface revamp, a few new filters, and a couple of additional editing tools hardly left us tugging at the shrink-wrap. However, a few minutes in the company of Elements 11 was enough to convince us there's more to it than the specification sheet reveals.

Let's start with that new interface, which not only sees the gloomy charcoal colour scheme of yesteryear replaced by a lighter grey, but also a rethink of the entire editing workflow. The editor is now clearly divided into three modes: Quick, Guided and Expert. Quick mode deals with basic exposure and levels adjustments. Guided offers step-by-step wizards for creating effects such as a shallow depth of field and toy camera effects. Expert provides a modern twist on the traditional look of full-blown Photoshop and most of its advanced tools.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

While previous versions of Elements offered those three editing modes too, they now feel much more coherent, with options and side panels only appearing when needed. Expert mode benefits the most from this new look. The tool icons have been sensibly enlarged, with the options for these tools - such as brush size adjustment - now located in an enlarged panel at the foot of the screen, rather than crammed beneath the dropdown menus at the top. Panes for advanced tools such as layers and effects now only appear when clicked, eliminating the clutter of windows running down the right of the screen.

The new editing tools are hit and miss. Of the smattering of new effects added to Elements' already extensive library, only the Comic effect enthralled us.

The addition of a simple vignette tool is long overdue, but the new tilt-shift effect is horribly imprecise and complicated compared to the tools in Snapseed and Corel PaintShop Pro X5.

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User comments

Added Info

Missing from the above review.
They've released a 64bit version for those of us running 64bit Windows and have lots of Ram.
The bad news is unlike the full photoshop, it still runs of the CPU rather than using the graphics card to help the speed-up of various functions.

Finally I'm also not sure if they have added anything further to the existing 16bit editing support in PSE 10.

By Jaberwocky on 25 Sep 2012

I only ever use Elements 10 on the PC for quick resizing and basic editing as I have the full CS suite (and PS Extended) on the Mac - where all my imaging and RAW workflow is carried out. As the review mentions, the PS Elements v10 interface was appalling the black/grey made it impossible to use layer masks properly (which I suspect most basic "elements" users wouldn't use directly), so as a professional who just uses it occasionally on another platform, revamping the interface is a key point point to upgrade. Amazon often have offers for Elements too, last year I picked v10 up for half the retail cost.

By isofa on 26 Sep 2012

re photoshop 11 layers functions

Does isofa or anyone know if version 11 allows you to align 2 or more layers as in CSS5? Also has the RAW editor (6.5 in my elements version) been improved over previous elements releases? Thanks!

By andersdn on 28 Sep 2012

Not usable on modern computers

The product is still unsable in Windows as the UI still does not scale on large resolution monitors.

By NJKA001 on 14 Mar 2013

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