While Photoshop Elements 6 does retain many of the features that the original Photoshop has - I noticed that there were a few missing; particularly, Masks, which I used for Extractions. I was also slightly surprised that there were no manual Levels or Curves adjustments made available, as they were all Auto. I can't say that this was a bad move, because the Auto-levels do adjust pretty well, but I felt a bit restricted in terms of creativity. In contemplating further, I think that this was actually a pretty good move on Adobe's part, taking into consideration the Photoshop skill level of the average user as well as the possible complexity of Levels. Also, I noted a different method of selection, which I didn't really prefer, but am still adjusting to.
There are three Edit modes in Photoshop - a Full Edit, which takes you to the traditional and more familiar Photoshop and makes all the functions available - a Quick Edit, which I would use mainly for Cropping and Red-Eye Correction, and last but not least, a Guided Edit - a function which I thought was a no-brainer to feature.
I'm afraid that this time, I can not afford to take the tedious route and document my thoughts on all the tools Photoshop has to offer; I will say this - everything performs up to par. Gradients are gradients, Magic Wand still selects, and Text still anti-aliases. Rather than take a look at everything, I will focus on the tools that I found to be the real deal-sealers.
First-up on the chopping block would be the Photomerge tool in Photoshop Elements 6. I'll admit that I've always taken an interest in creating Panorama shots, but could never align them correctly myself, which I grew to accept painfully. However, Photoshop Elements 6 has re-awakened this dream of mine - and it's actually worked! I found that as long as the shots are taken accurately without the change in perspective that could kill a Panorama, Photoshop stitches them beautifully to create a seamless, natural-looking photo. I'll say this though - Photomerging takes up a heck of a lot of processing power - if you don't have the resources, please take the number of photos you merge into consideration.
What happens if you did change perspective in one of your photos though? Not to worry - Photoshop Elements 6 features an option called Correct Camera Distortion. Found in the Filters menu, Correct Camera Distortion can tweak the horizontal and vertical perspectives, as well as the shape of the picture (arching it to correct lens distortion), and also rotate the angle of the picture. It's an interesting and fine tool to use, that's for sure.
Last - but definitely not least, I present to you Magic Extraction. As I nearly began tearing due to the removal of Masks, I scoured the menus for anything that could help me. Enter Magic Extraction - I was a bit surprised that it was so easy to find and use, and a bit skeptical of the results initially. However, I grew to really appreciate Adobe for creating such a useful tool. Basically, the procedure goes like this - take the Mark Foreground paintbrush, and paint on the object you want extracted Take the Mark Background paintbrush and paint on the background that you want to remove. Click Preview, and you've got your results. It was not nearly as tedious as manually Wanding or Masking, and was extremely accurate on removal - assuming that your background is a different colour from your foreground. I noticed that this feature worked particularly flawlessly on a white backdrop.
These are not the only features that Photoshop Elements 6 rocks, but are the ones that I thought really sold me to Photoshop Elements 6. Sure, I did appreciate the Filters, the Red-Eye Correction, and the Auto-Levels, but I think that these three features are absolutely amazing for what is perceived as "stripped-down software".
The Create tab allows you to create an interesting method to display your photos; the five options being Photo Book, Photo Calendar, Photo Collage, uploaded to an Online Gallery, or a Slide Show. The Photo Books can be customized to the page layout and has preset themes.
After completing editing and processing, Photoshop has a Share function, making it so easy to share with the entire world, or just your family. You can choose to create a Flash gallery of the pictures, which you can then e-mail to people or publish on Photoshop Showcase (www.photoshopshowcase.com), or burn to a CD/DVD.
1. Introduction, Packaging
2. Importing and Sharing Photos
3. Functions and Exporting
4. Adobe Premiere Elements 4