Despite its advancing age (31 years and counting), Adobe Photoshop remains the gold standard in photo editing software. But the fact it's only available by subscription has encouraged the rise of numerous Photoshop alternatives, which you can get for a one-off cost – or even free.
Perhaps with one eye on that competition, Adobe has been quietly beefing up its own subscription-free alternative, Photoshop Elements, over recent years.
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Photoshop Elements was once a very basic, stripped-down version of its pricier sibling, aimed purely at hobbyists and beginners. But it's become increasingly capable over time, as Adobe incorporates the AI tech it calls Sensei to add cool new features that take the work out of editing.
Perhaps more significantly, Adobe has developed its interface to offer a choice of three modes – Basic, Guided and Expert – so that users of different abilities can each get the level of sophistication they need.
Now Adobe has launched a major new version of the software, Photoshop Elements 2022. So what does it have to offer?
Photoshop Elements 2022: Top 5 new features
First off, you can now transform your photos into art in just one click, applying stylized looks inspired by famous works of art and popular art styles. You can apply these effects to your whole photo, or just a part of it, and then make adjustments to the look.
Secondly, you now have the ability to extend your photo backgrounds, using a Guided Edit based on Content-Fill technology. You might use this trick, for example, to create a wider landscape if you need your image to be in a particular ratio, but don't want to crop into it destructively.
Thirdly, you can create cool animated MP4s by adding moving overlays such as snowflakes and sparkles to still photos. This is clearly going to be a popular one with anyone posting to social media, because the subtle motion it features is so much more eye-catching in a feed than a full GIF or video.
Fourthly, you can now use Photoshop Elements to warp photos to fit any shape. Most strikingly, this enables you to easily place one photo inside another, by fitting it inside shapes such as the lenses of sunglasses, or wrapping it around an object like a coffee mug.
Finally, Adobe has introduced a new feature that gives your pet photos an instant lift. This tool makes it easy to select and refine details like fur, remove collars and leashes, adjust color and lighting, and even fix pet eyes.
There are also a bunch of new animated slideshow templates, plus it's now easier to view GIFs (updates will now be applied automatically rather than you having to download them) and the interface as a whole has been refreshed and tightened up.
Photoshop Elements 2022 is available for $100 / £85.56 / AU$145.19, or you buy it in a bundle with Premiere Elements 2022 for $150 / £130.36 / AU$219.99.