Another year passes, and we get new versions of Adobe's consumer photo and video apps, Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements. We're at version 13 for both in this new release. Significant changes include Retina display support on Macs and very cool Guided Editing features.
Since both applications are focused primarily on home and advanced amateur use, Adobe has added a tab called eLive, which is short for Elements Live. The tab takes you to a massive collection of videos and tutorials, all designed to get you up and running with solid results. The channel is dynamic, and frequently updated with software update notices, tips, detailed help and more.
Photoshop Elements 13 has focused on three areas that should resonate with consumers, including the ability to copy people or objects from one photo to another. In an online demo I attended, I saw how easy it was to remove one person from a photo, and plop him down in another, rescaling the person, and matching the color cast to the new photo. A new Refine Selection Brush makes it easy to get a person or object out of one photo and into another.
Adobe has also provided tools to spruce up Facebook pages, combining Facebook Cover and Profile photos with text and layout . Elements 13 also features 'guided edits' for transforming photos into black-and-white images, and, if you like, adding areas of color that are attention getting.
Adobe has continued to enhance its one-click editing tools, and provides 50 operations that any noise can easily accomplish. Cropping has also been partly automated. Elements 13 will analyze your photo, noting faces and the overall photo and recommend up to 4 different crops following rules of composition.
Premier Elements 13 has been similarly improved for this update. With guidance from the app, you can choose various story framing themes, like weddings or a birthday. A Video Story feature automatically gathers the clips, adds transitions, and music based on your chosen theme.
Premier Elements also can reduce or eliminate camera shake. The application has the same Elements Live feature with tutorials, tips and news about the software.
Beyond the impressive demo I watched, I tried advance copies of both apps. While I am a dedicated Photoshop user, I found much to like in Photoshop Elements, and have no problem recommending it to friends who don't want to dive quite as deeply as I do into photo editing. Moving a person from one photo to another is indeed easy, something that can be done in Photoshop but many users wouldn't try it without some deep knowledge. I also found the one-click effects quite powerful, and a time saver. There are so many variations you are likely to find something that will work for you.
I don't take a lot of videos, but Premier Elements 13 had just about every tool a casual video user would want, and goes much further, stepping into semi-pro territory, not in complication, but in getting pro looking results. Transitions, rearranging clips, adding titles are really simple, and the Guided Edits feature is tremendously helpful.
One thing I thought was important to ask Adobe, and that was the matter of subscriptions. Most of Adobe's applications on the pro side or now available only with subscriptions, but they firmly said the Elements line would stay as a purchase-only option. You buy it, you keep it, and upgrade yearly if and when you see fit. With the Creative Cloud subscription service from Adobe, you are basically renting the software. You own all the Elements 13 packages.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 and Adobe Premiere Elements 13 (Mac and Windows) are immediately available for purchase for US$99.99 from Adobe and retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, Staples, Office Depot and Campus Bookstores. Upgrade pricing is also available for US$79.99. The Photoshop Elements 13 and Premiere Elements 13 bundle is available for US$149.99, with upgrade pricing of US$119.99.
Both Photoshop Elements 13 and Premier Elements 13 are first class packages at reasonable prices. This is a solid upgrade that I think will appeal to home users who find themselves wanting to get deeper into photography and video.