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Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 review


A limited selection of new features add little to a powerful, market-leading package that’s stuck in the doldrums

Review Date: 24 Sep 2013

Reviewed By: Barry Collins

Price when reviewed: £96 (£115 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £65
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Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

As predictable as the leaves falling from the trees, every autumn brings another refresh of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Now in its 12th iteration, it's growing increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that Adobe's developers have, understandably, run out of ideas.

Let's start with the positives and the pick of the meagre list of new features. Once again, borrowing from its professional stablemate (Adobe Photoshop CC) Elements 12 introduces Content-Aware Move, a feature that allows you to draw around an object in a photo and drag it to a new position in the frame.

This is a decent party trick, and Elements did a stand-up job of filling in the gap left behind by the moved subject in our tests – a little work with the cloning brush was often enough to rectify glitches that Content-Aware Move left behind. Yet, there are relatively few situations where we find ourselves yearning to shift objects in photos, a feature destined to be forgotten and little used.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

Adobe also introduces two new Guided Edits to Elements 12, which the software uses to walk you through advanced editing processes. The first is PhotoPuzzle, which turns photos into pseudo jigsaw puzzles, even allowing you to detach individual pieces and drop them elsewhere on the image.

It's a Marmite feature that will either leave you marvelling at the ease with which you can create a fun image, or retching at the thought of reducing your images to an end-of-the-pier novelty gift.

We prefer the second: Zoom Burst. This simulates the photographic technique of twisting the zoom barrel as you take a photo to create the sense of motion. The results are reasonably convincing, although, as with the real thing, subjects have to be positioned almost dead centre, so your creative options are limited.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

In a nod to the Instagram crowd, the one-click Quick Edits now include a smattering of filters and textures that can be quickly applied to photos, with preview thumbnails showing the effect before it's applied. And if you have a four-legged friend who gets white-eye every time you take a photo with flash, the red-eye tool has been adapted with an option for pets. Yes, this is the thinnest of gruel.

The other half of Elements is the Organizer, and here the major new addition is integration with Adobe's Revel online service. This allows you to save albums online, and then view and edit the photos in the free Revel apps, which are sadly only available for iOS currently.

That said, the Revel apps are beautifully presented – they're much more attractive than Elements' Organizer, in fact – and edits made on a tablet are instantly synched to the desktop and vice versa, provided both devices have a connection.

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User comments

Thoughts for the next version

I agree.Things they need to address
1) 64 bit version to use more than 4gb of ram in a computer.
2) full 32 bit colour editing mode.
3) offload as much processing to the gpu as is possible.
rather than put even more junk features in, get rid of some of the bloat. Just make it leaner and meaner.

By Jaberwocky on 24 Sep 2013

New products not working 1100 kroner out the window

Just bought PS elements and Premiere after waiting and waiting for the new edition.
4 hours download time. I have slow connection.
Long installation process. Big program, yeah!'
And then error upon error. Nothing works.

Never again Adobe.

By Thinge on 24 Sep 2013

Lightroom the way forward?

Must admit that since Lightroom dropped in price, I rarely resort to Elements. Still running V10 which does everything I need in terms of the rare occasions I need to edit. Wouldn't be without LR5 though for giving photos that polish though.

By offroadrunner on 24 Sep 2013

Editor useful, Organiser useless

I invested in PSE Photo/Video bundle last year. I'd say in a nutshell that the organiser is too frustrating. I went back and started again with Aperture/iPhoto which integrate better with the mac as a whole and manage the files better. Using Elements as an external editor to iPhoto works best for me, but I share the reviews opinion that most home users this is pitched at just won't care about this level of editing I mean who has time to go thru photos and do this sort of fine editing!!

By aitch2000 on 26 Sep 2013

PE is Frustrating with Eyefinity

I have used PE for a number of tears and last year when investing an a 3 screen Eyefinity setup found it really frustrating that the one app which didn't support this setup is PE. Adobe support didn't want to know and blamed graphics drivers which are up to date and according to AMD & Adobe are fully compatible. I got no solution and won't buy or upgrade another Adobe product until resolved. Come on Adobe get up to date. Plus add full Win 7 64 bit support. I agree with all the comments above.

By Sirarchie6 on 7 Nov 2013

Poor review

I think this is a badly written review. Why is it written ONLY for people who already have the product? There is no indication of how good it is, or how it compares to its competitors. This is very unhelpful.

By dmart7 on 27 Nov 2013


I agree with dmart7. I can't believe the review says 'It remains, just about, the best consumer photo-editing package out there' yet it only gets four stars.

By RussReid on 12 Jul 2014

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