For several years now, Adobe Photoshop Elements has been the software of choice for a huge percentage of digital scrapbookers, as the submissions we receive at Digital Scrapbooking make clear. With the release of Photoshop Elements 6.0, it's apparent once again why this program is so popular with digi-scrappers of every level of experience and ability. Several cool new features make it easier than ever to use, and a color-scheme makeover gives it a fresh dash of style.
I've had the chance to play with this new version for a few weeks now, and here are some of my favorite updates:
Sleek new space. As soon as you launch Elements 6.0, you'll be greeted by a sleek new workspace with a charcoal-gray background similar to Adobe's Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom professional-level programs. This darker color helps photos stand out against the screen and gives a less cluttered appearance.
Easy organization. In the Organizer workspace, star icons below each photo make it easy to quickly rate each image (so you can start assembling a collection of five-star photos for a book project!) and a new keyword sidebar gives you instant access to descriptive tags for every photo.
Kit control. If, like most digital scrapbookers, you have a hard drive crammed with kits and elements, you'll love the new Smart Album feature. This feature allows you to create new albums, or collections of images, based on specific criteria that you suggest—and they'll automatically update as you add new content! For example, you can create a Smart Album for all files whose name contains “paper,” or one with the name of a favorite designer set as a keyword.
Menu options. The Organizer workspace includes four menus in the right sidebar: Organize, Fix, Create and Share. Each gives access to a range of common tasks and creative options, from “Auto Red Eye Fix” to “Create Photo Book.” Whether you're a brand-new digital scrapbooker or have been scrapping digitally for years, you'll appreciate the convenience of having these most-requested features at your fingertips.
Professional guidance. The new Guided Edit mode takes you step-by-step through a series of the most common photo editing tasks, from fixing lighting and contrast problems to repairing tears and scratches in a scanned image. It's like having a Photoshop tutor standing at your elbow.
Better black and white. Although Photoshop Elements 5.0 included some new black-and-white conversion options, version 6.0 goes a step further and gives you more precise control over your results. In addition to a menu of options such as “Infrared” and “Scenic Landscape,” a series of sliders allow you to fine-tune the effect of each preset option for a truly custom look.
Perfect group shots. This one might be worth the price of the upgrade all on its own! New Photomerge technology allows you to select individals from different shots from a group photo session and combine them into a single image where all members look their best. Check out what I did with these less-than-perfect images from a recent family photo shoot.
Here are the original pictures:
And the final result:
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 sells for a suggested price of $99 for the full version or $79 for an upgrade. Try it for free by downloading a trial version at adobe.com.