Price: $99.00 (Rebates Available)
Back in August of 2001 I reviewed Photoshop Elements and was impressed with what Adobe had presented to computer users in its then new product. Adobe Photoshop Elements had taken up a position between the low-end PhotoDeluxe and the ultimate Photoshop, offering a mid-range product in both pricing and capabilities for Mac users. Photoshop Elements definitely also made the learning curve a heck of a lot easier for the new or average user.
Fast-forward to the present day and Adobe has presented us with Photoshop Elements 2, which continues to improve upon an already great product. While PSE 2 is not its older sibling Photoshop, it offers users the capability to do almost everything that regular Photoshop users can do. The two primary areas that Elements 2 has yet to reach that Photoshop covers are no CMYK mode or the ability to work in separate color channels. But for the price difference between the two and for what you can still do with Elements, I think that most users will agree it’s alright with them.
Rather then go over everything again that Elements 2 can do, I’ll update you all on what’s been included in the latest version. While Elements 2 is still OS 9 compatible, (9.1 and 9.2.x, no longer 8.6 compatible) it is now also OS X compatible. Adobe has improved Elements’ File Browser, permitting faster drawing of thumbnail versions and better control over files within the Browser. Photomergeª, a really great capability in Elements, has improved memory efficiency for dealing with larger files and better control. System Help, a really outstanding capability in the original Elements has been improved to include a new Help Search field and a new Glossary. I was impressed with the help capabilities in the original Elements; Adobe has continued to improve upon the help aspect, making the program even easier for first time users. And let’s not forget the improvements made to Recipes and the Picture Package Printing capabilities of PSE 2.
New to Elements 2 are the Quick Fix tool and the Auto Color Correction tool. The Quick Fix Dialog allows a user to make corrections in a simple step-by-step process. When the box opens up, pick the Adjustment Category, which are Brightness, Color Correction, Focus and Rotate. You then go to step 2 that covers the adjustment that you want and then make your adjustment or apply the aspect in step 3. It’s fun to sit and play around with photos that you have and see what you can do to improve upon what you have. Frame from Video permits the capture of individual frames from video with support for the most common video formats and it’s compatible with QuickTime for the Mac.
Elements 2 also now permits a “attach to email” command that will automatically resize images, optimize them for attachment to a email message, and then attaches them to a message being sent from your email program. Elements 2 has a new “Selection Brush” that permits you to select an area by “brushing” over it with this tool. This brush is basically the Quick Mask mode with a new look. It “paints” the selection and the outer limits will look like you have used the Lasso tool just as a professional would. And once you’ve worked on and corrected any problems with the family photos,
you can spread the wealth by creating a “PDF slide show” that is viewable by any computer using Acrobat Reader and send your work of art out to the entire clan, even those without a Mac.
Just like regular Photoshop, it does use a bit of memory to do what it does properly. But, with the price of RAM being what it is today, there really isn’t any excuse that most users can’t increase the physical RAM in their Macs and make the most of the capabilities of their Mac and of Elements 2. I ran Elements on a 867Mhz DP G4 running 10.2.1 with 1 gig of RAM and on a 6400/180, running OS 9.1 with 136 Megs RAM (max) with a Vimage G3 (320 MHz) card and didn’t encounter any problems. Elements 2 went through its paces and overall, it’s a great program. Finally, an image-editing software program priced for the rest of us.
As before, the CD-ROM that has the software for Photoshop Elements 2 on it has both a Mac and a Windows version on it. Shop around for prices less then the SRP of $99.00. With $30 rebates abounding for owners of licensed versions of PS Elements 1.0, Photoshop LE or PhotoDeluxe, plus nine other image editing software apps, plus additional rebates, you can purchase Photoshop Element 2 right now for less than $40 USD. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the holidays for your favorite computer user or digital photo taker, you really should consider Photoshop Elements 2.
PowerPC processor, OS 9.1, 9.2.x or OS X, 128 megs of RAM with virtual memory turned on, 350MB of hard disk space, color monitor capable of displaying thousands of colors at a resolution of 800 x 600 or greater and a CD-ROM drive. Check out all the pertinent information on Photoshop Elements 2 at Adobe’s Web Site.
MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5