The newest version of Adobe’s media tools for enthusiasts has just been released, Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 13. The Photoshop & Premiere Elements lineage are based to their powerhouse siblings Photoshop and Premiere Pro. These tools provide the user with the ability to organize, edit, and share their photos and videos in print, online, or as keepsakes. Elements make your media look their absolute best, while doing this all within the Elements software. Photoshop & Premiere Elements are not watered down version of their older siblings but are designed for non professional use. The Elements apps are also teaching tools. They have built-in guides that help those new to art creation create impressive results. And these tools offer lots of pre-designed templates that can get you up and running right from the start.
The Elements apps are integrated modules with the principal units being the Organizer and the Editor. These are somewhat comparable to Adobe Bridge as the Organizer and Photoshop & Premiere Pro as the Editors. If you get Photoshop & Premiere Elements together, they are integrated with each other with the organizer synced between each app. Plus, you can setup your apps to sync and download the media from your phone or tablet and share those memories with family and friends using Adobe Revel.
Here’s a quick look at what new features these apps have in common. First, there’s Elements Live. This module is a new in-app experience that serves up tips, tricks and inspiration when you are in the Organizer. Because of the Elements integration, you can also access Elements Live from the Editor too. Learn, be inspired, and get news and support with Elements Live—Get fresh content curated by Adobe, right inside the Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements Editors and Elements Organizer skipping the aggravation of digging through 10,000 suspect results in a Google search to find useful information.
New in Photoshop Elements there’s, Crop Suggestions. Elements will suggest four different options—you just pick the one that works for you. Next is something Adobe is calling “Scenes” using the Photomerge Compose. Pull something out of one photo, pop it into another, and the color and lighting blend for a “realistic” looking scene. There’s also a new Refine Selection tool and no photo app worth its salt can do without a new set of One Click filter effects. But, what I think is the coolest new feature, creating Facebook Cover Photos. With the Facebook tool you can create what Adobe is calling an integrated cover page photo that combines the Profile photo with the Cover Photo. It’s a pretty slick trick. I don’t know how often you’d want to do this, but could certainly make a few extra quick bucks with it!
On the Premiere Elements side there’s a great new feature, Video Story. With Video Story you pick the story type, say birthday party, then grab clips for each chapter, and Premiere Elements does the rest—trimming, transitions, and music based on the mood you choose, so you get a full-on production. This feature can make bad video look okay and tell a story. However, this is one of those teaching tools, because it can teach you what makes a compelling story in the first place. So when you’re out shooting, you can think about the story before and during your video shoot, instead of after the fact. There’s also something called Favorite Moments. With this, Elements takes video clips of your favorite moments that you click and choose, and Elements turns them into a movie. I’d be careful with this one. As with all new releases of video editing software there are some new title and image effects.
Both apps also have Guided Effects which walk you through the process of creating a photo or video. This ultimately serve to teach new users what these apps can really do and can help the user develop their personal style. The Elements apps are a great way to learn digital media and tell your stories. While the box may speak in terms of fun and easy, the making of great imagery still is the responsibility of the user not the software.
So a final question may be, are the Elements 13 apps better for new users, than the full blown versions of Photoshop and Premiere Pro? Yes they are, if you do not plan to use the software professionally. That’s not to say you can’t achieve professional results with the Elements packages, because you certainly can. Is price a consideration? Not really, at least for the first year of ownership. The Photographer’s Creative Cloud Plan subscription of Photoshop CC, and Lightroom is $10.00 a month and the bundle of Photoshop and Premiere Elements 13 is $149.00 the upgrade is $120, and is less than $100 for each app when purchased separately. It all boils down to how much heavy lifting you want to or are willing to do. Is your need industrial strength or for home use? Playing in the shallow end of the pool or training in an Olympic size pool? It’s not so much where you want to start, but where you want to end up. If you choose starting with the Elements apps you really can’t go wrong.