Adobe Systems, Inc. has long been considered the leading software developer for creative professionals. Adobe Photoshop is the gold standard for digital photo editing and Adobe Premiere is widely considered the most comprehensive software suite for video editing and production. Unfortunately, average consumers typically cannot afford to spend $649 on Photoshop CS3 or $799 on Premiere Pro CS3. For those millions of consumers with average, family-sized budgets Adobe comes to the rescue with the Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4 box set.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Adobe Premiere Eelements 4 software combines two powerful yet easy-to-use products to deliver a comprehensive photo- and video-editing solution at a great value. In short, Adobe took the most important features from Photoshop and Premiere and created the “Elements” package for only $149.99 ... much cheaper than the $1,448 you would have to spend on both of the full versions of these two programs. Now you can edit your digital camera photos and create cinematic slide shows or edit your home movies and add dramatic special effects. Then you can show off your finished projects on personalized discs, send them via email, post them on the web, or create and order printed products like photo calendars or photo albums.
Home/start screen (view large image)
Since the Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4 package is actually two programs in one box I will need to address some features individually. However, Adobe managed to merge both programs in some interesting ways. For example, you can access all of your photos and video clips from one convenient place, no matter which product you’re using. The “organizer” allows you instant access to all files whether you're using Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements. Similarly, the “create” and “share” tabs in the main window allow both programs to seamlessly work together. You can create a traditional photo slide show in Photoshop Elements, and then add video-style effects and transitions and add motion to your text using Premiere Elements.
Main interface (view large image)
Individually, both programs are powerhouses for editing your photos and movies. Photoshop Elements lets you take advantage of one-click fixes, add artisitic effects and more. Some of the most impressive features in Photoshop Elements 6 are:
Step-by-step assistance that makes editing easier than ever. The “guided edit” function in Photoshop Elements tells you exactly what you need to do in order to improve your photos. The guided edit tool opens a simplified version of the image editor and provides a list of editing options and step-by-step instructions. The guided edit instructions include:
Clone Stamp Overlay. One of the enhancements with version 6 of Photoshop Elements is the clone stamp tool. In previous versions of Photoshop Elements using the clone stamp was a matter of trial and error because you never knew what you'd get. Now there is a new “show overlay” option with the clone stamp that allows you to preview the results of the clone stamp before the changes are applied to the image.
Improved black and white. Converting your color images to artistic black and white prints has never been easier. The new black and white converter lets you individually control the red, blue, and green channels for precise changes to black and white, and the contrast slider lets you make quick changes to increase or decrease the image contrast for the perfect black and white image.
Convert to black & white (view large image)
Easy-to-use compositing tools. Never let a frown or a closed pair of eyes ruin a group photo again. New photo-blending technology lets you easily combine the best facial expressions and body language from a series of group shots to create a single, perfect composite.
New quick selection tool. Another impressive feature in the latest version of Photoshop Elements is actually a tool that was recently added to Photoshop CS3: the quick selection tool. Rather than using the old lasso tool or magic wand, the quick selection tool makes educated guesses about what you are trying to select based on the tones and textures of the area where you click the mouse. In short, this makes it easier than ever to make precise selections to edit or remove portions of your image.
Make customized photo creations using new themed layouts and even create dazzling interactive web galleries. The “Create” tab in Photoshop Elements take advantage of online offerings to upload photos and creations directly to the web, order prints, and more, and easily share on mobile phones and other devices.
Share your photos like never before. It's not enough to upload your digital images to your computer and edit them ... you need to share them with friends and family. The “Share” tab in Photoshop Elements lets you select multiple photos and upload them to a number of online galleries, send them as an email attachment, create “photo mail” (essentially a photo e-card that automatically resizes the images and lets you select the boarders/frames for the images), order prints online, or create a photo CD/DVD.
Extreme organization. Keep photos at your fingertips with faster, easier downloading, custom tagging, powerful search options, and viewing choices that allow you to sort and find your photos the way that works best for you. The Organizer now lets you scroll through, tag, view, and retrieve photos faster—even when your library grows to include thousands of photos.
Premiere Elements 4
In much the same way that Photoshop Elements makes it easy to manage your digital photos, Premiere Elements makes life easier for your digital video. The actual user interface is very similar the free Microsoft Movie Maker application ... but Premiere Elements is much more capable and easier to use.
Video interface (view large image)
Premiere Elements 4 lets you capture a single video frame, add text, graphics, and other enhancements, and then put the frame back in your movie for a fun or dramatic freeze-frame effect. You can also grab a video frame and create a personalized disc cover for your movie. Additional features include:
Easy-to use interface. Get started quickly with all your video clips and photos at your fingertips and easy options for making movies. Move footage from camera to disc in a few simple steps, or quickly transform a sequence of scenes into a polished movie by adding a Movie Theme, or create your story with drag-and-drop ease in the Sceneline.
Special effects. Give your movies professional polish with a personal touch by adding animated titles; custom, interactive disc menus; rich audio; and stunning visual effects and transitions.
Easily share your movies on DVD or Blu-ray Disc, broadcast far and wide by uploading your movies directly to YouTube or your personal sharing website, or play movies on mobile phones and other devices.
Adobe claims you can “create fun movies in as little as 15 minutes” but the actual editing a processing time depends on the speed of your computer ... and how fast you are with editing the video.
The Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Adobe Premiere Elements 4 software package combines powerful tools and a simple user interface so you can make your photos and videos look their best, share them in imaginative ways, and easily find and view all your photos and video clips.
That said, Photoshop Elements 6 is missing a few features that I'd like to see in future versions of this application, most notably the “Fade” tool from Photoshop CS2 and CS3 which allows you to control the intensity of any change you make to an image. So, if you sharpen your image and then realize you sharpened it too much you can use the Fade tool to reduce the intensity of the sharpening to 50 percent. This is a useful feature that really belongs in Photoshop Elements, so I was sad to see Adobe left it out.
Overall, consumers will be hard pressed to find a better all-in-one photo and video editing bundle for less than $150. Adobe hits a home run with this boxed set!
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Adobe Premiere Elements
Adobe Premiere Elements supported import/export formats include: