Using Photoshop Elements 11
In this stripped-down view, there are only a handful of tools – selection, redeye, tooth brightening, text and healing. The Smart Fix, Exposure, Colour and other buttons that were one-click effects in the Organiser now pop open to reveal a 3×3 grid of variations, each showing the target image.
There are other simple controls as well – the Colour adjustment, for instance, can target Saturation, Hue or Vibrance, as well as having an Auto button.
While the panels have been pared down, the menus still offer the full Elements experience, with access to all the filters, adjustments and techniques. For the beginner, though, Quick mode will provide much of what they need to do on a day-to-day basis, without scaring them off.
In this mode all the tools and panels are hidden, save for a single panel that presents you with a series of options – Touchups (skin tone correction, colour enhancement, scratch and blemish removal, and so on), Photo Effects (depth of field, Orton effect, and now featuring tilt-shift, high-key and low-key effects) and Photo Play (out of bounds, pop art, picture stack and reflection).
Selecting any one of these guides you through the process, holding your virtual hand as you make adjustments, invoke filters and apply enhancements – all without reaching for a tool or menu option. Guided mode is a terrific learning experience, as it shows the power of Elements without frightening the horses.
The biggest surprise comes when you create an effect in Guided mode, and then switch to Expert. Your image is now presented as a series of layers, masks, adjustments and filters, exactly as if you’d created all the effects in Expert mode in the first place.
This allows you to edit the images you’ve created, fine-tuning the results, adjusting layer modes and repainting masks. Plus, it also enables new users to learn a lot about how the effects have actually been created.
Apart from the cleaner look, Expert mode benefits from a few new filters. As well as a powerful Lens Blur effect there are new Comic, Graphic Novel and Pen and Ink filters, all of which create variously hand-drawn looks with a great sense of realism – far better than anything Photoshop itself can produce.
The new Refine Edge window now provides sophisticated cut-out tools – not just smoothing edges, but isolating tricky areas such as hair from difficult backgrounds.
There’s also enhanced support for Actions (the automation system that enables a complex series of effects to be executed with a keystroke); however, as in previous versions of Elements you can only use Actions that have been built in to Photoshop CS. You can’t create new ones, and not all effects work.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 review: the interface in detail
Adobe has freshened up its interface with Photoshop Elements 11. Take a look at our cheat sheet below where we illustrate some of the key features to consider.
Click on the infographic to expand the file, or simply drag and drop it to your desktop to read the larger version.