Customer Review

579 of 589 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite photo editor, September 29, 2010
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (Win/Mac) [OLD VERSION] (Software)
I upgraded from Photoshop Elements (PSE) 6 for Windows to PSE9 for Mac and was glad to see that the Mac and Windows versions were essentially the same. Since I use iPhoto for organizing, I can't say anything about PSE's Organizer, but I gave the Editor a workout.

Elements is at the high end of what I'll spend for a photo editor, and I buy roughly every third version to keep the price reasonable over the years, so it's time, and I'm happy to say that 9.0 fits my needs . . . and then some.

Like PSE6, PSE9 it is a great overall photo editor. It does a good job of enhancing photos, either with a click of a button or just a few clicks if I happen to disagree with the Auto Smart Fix. It can process batches of photos that all need the same work done to them. And it has enough manual controls (histograms, contrast, brightness, shadows/highlights, red eye, color correction, layers, etc.) to do just about anything to a photo you can imagine.

Pros:
* It works smoothly with iPhoto; I could switch back and forth easily and quickly and open multiple photos at once for editing.
* It's fast on my MacBook Pro.
* The editor hasn't crashed yet, and I'm running through thousands of photos.
* All of the features that I'm familiar with from previous versions still work well, and some, like the magic lasso, work even better than before.
* Content-aware healing can perform minor miracles in my hands. In the hands of an expert, or someone with more patience, it can probably perform major miracles.
* The Guided Edits helped me visualize the steps involved for some of the more complicated features, which helped me make better use of the Full Edit.
* PhotoMerge Group Shot is incredibly easy to use. I had two photos shot at different distances, and PSE had no trouble making the necessary adjustments.
* Removing clutter from photographs is simple.
* Oh happy day, Elements now has layer masks, a feature that used to be the domain of its pricier sibling. Now you can make parts of a layer more or less opaque, allowing for some really neat effects. I won't use this often, but a few of my photos are just crying out for it.

Cons:
* The Welcome Screen is still annoying. Fortunately, you can set it up to go straight to the Organizer or Editor.
* It still can't batch process the Save for Web feature. Sigh.
* My camera has a panorama assistant but doesn't stitch them together, so I was interested in PSE9's enhanced panorama stitching. For the most part, it's very easy. PSE does most of the work. Unfortunately, it created an enormous file--117mg--out of my five 5mg photos and ran out of RAM before it could finish everything--even after I maxed out the RAM in Preferences. I ended up with a very nice panorama but had to reduce the file size before doing some of the final touches myself. Then the final jpeg size turned out to be smaller than any of the individual photos.
* Yeah, I would have liked a manual.

If you are currently using PSE 8, there may not be enough new features to warrant an upgrade yet, though the content-aware healing might make it worth it. From version 6? Definitely.

If you have never used Elements, this is a great application with a bit of a learning curve. Get the free one-month trial, and borrow a book on it from the library. That's where I'll be headed once the manuals for version 9 show up.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 30, 2010 2:40:51 PM PDT
Geoff Dolman says:
Great review -- thanks for taking the time to write a helpful content-laden review.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2010 4:23:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2010 4:23:56 PM PDT
My pleasure. I had a lot of fun trying out the new features. And perfect timing on Adobe's part. I took over 7000 photos in Yellowstone last week and needed to process them. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2010 8:36:03 AM PDT
David N. says:
Nice review. I do believe it's worth the upgrade to PSE 9 from PSE 8 due to the fact it now has true layer masks. I also think it's worth the upgrade having the Spot Filling Brush with Content Aware Fill, which is found on Photoshop CS5.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2010 7:44:02 PM PDT
I used to agree in regard to the "No printed manual", but I've come to understand the price of printing & binding, plus shipping weight, (in the accompaning box), adds greatly to the cost of the item.
I have had to take several of my Software's PDF's to the nearest Office Max and have them printed and spiral bound, and they've ranged from 6 to 12 dollars, depending on # of pages.
I now prefer the spiral bound types over the glued pages that won't stay open to the page you want without clipping or weighting it!
You can't print it front & back perfectly, without mistakes, and bind it your self for that price!!

Posted on Oct 2, 2010 4:49:32 AM PDT
Gromit says:
Very good review.
I use PSE 8, and find that the lack of layer masks does impede me somewhat.
I really would like to see Adobe issuing upgrade versions, as I'm undecided as to whether I want to give over another $100 for a few more features (again)...

Posted on Oct 2, 2010 4:52:01 AM PDT
Gromit says:
Re: * The Welcome Screen is still annoying. Fortunately, you can set it up to go straight to the Organizer or Editor.
I ended up creating desktop shortcuts to the executables - saves a little time, as you can launch the editor and organiser at pretty much the same time, go get a coffee, and they are both up and running for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2010 10:20:25 AM PDT
@ David N. and R. Bayliss - Thanks for commenting from a PSE8-user perspective. Adobe is very good at adding just enough new content to make it tempting (which is why I close my eyes, plug my ears, and sing loudly when I'm between versions). It's a pity that there's no true upgrade.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2010 10:44:34 AM PDT
Spiral bound is the way to go for manuals.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 6:03:31 PM PDT
I am currently running PSE 6...and because of your comment describing precisely my same predicament (sp?) - I am ordering it. Thanks! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 7, 2010 7:18:48 AM PDT
You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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