VERDICT: Photoshop Elements 2021 got closer to Lightroom due to a convenient organizer, automated tools and an updated Camera RAW, and many users actively discuss Lightroom vs Elements competition.
Is the photo editor a full-featured beginner-oriented replacement for Adobe Photoshop for Mac? No. The developers strive to make the image editor as simple and effective as possible, instead of creating another program crammed with all sorts of functions like Photoshop.
Photoshop Elements is a more task-orientated version of Photoshop. It contains many tools that you need when editing images. Photoshop Elements has a convenient intuitive interface that is completely different from its older brother.
The program is based on Adobe Sensei AI technology, being one of the best AI photo editors. Novice photographers will definitely appreciate the automation of many complex tasks, which greatly facilitates their work.
Thanks to the 78 Guided Edits you can easily cope with various tasks and get more control over the final result. More experienced users can benefit from Adjustment Layers and other advanced features. Such extensive capabilities induce many users to look for Photoshop Elements free version.
If you don’t want to look for a simpler picture editor or trust only Adobe, then pay attention to the Elements series, I call it “nothing needless”. I recommend paying your attention to Photoshop Elements 2020.
I'm used to the fact that modern programs look dark, have minimalistic icons and a hidden interface. But when I opened Photoshop Elements, I felt this spirit of the 2000s, when all the programs were bright, colorful and each icon was a separate picture with many details.
The design of Photoshop Elements 2021 interface remained far in 2005 when CS2 was just released. There are practically no complaints about the interface itself. It is very clear how and where all the buttons are located.
Tools – everything you need for basic work with the photo is on the left. I believe that there is nothing superfluous there - Quick Selection, Eye Tool, Whiten Tool, Straighten Tool, Text, and Spot Healing Brush.
Organizing photos - you will find the most necessary tools for quick viewing or rotating images below. The drawback is that you cannot work with several photos at the same time, for example, rotate them.
Color correction - there is a color correction menu on the right. It is managed according to the classic Adobe scheme. You should move the sliders to the sides and see what happens.
Quick Effects - you can also apply some color effects to the photo. They are located just below the color correction panel.
I can’t but mention the handy Home Screen in Adobe Photoshop Elements. It is very convenient to use and is a kind of continuation of the 2019 version. Everyone can easily find the necessary tools and start editing pictures.
You now have the opportunity to quickly import images and take advantage of the Auto Creation options. Photo Editor, Video Editor (Premiere Elements), and the Organizer are also available.
You can view the feature set with the help of a scrollable carousel. You can find it at the top of the screen. If you would like to go to the online tutorials, you can do this through a search bar.
At the very top, you'll find the Guide tab, which contains the official guides for Adobe Element. Here you’ll find everything: from removing small objects from the picture to replacing the complex background.
The most interesting thing is the way these lessons are delivered. You can select the “Simple or the “Custom” mode. In the first case, you don’t even need to think about where and which tool to look for.
All the necessary tools can be used from the lesson itself by clicking on their icons in the text. Usually, even the most difficult lessons turn into an elementary game.
Camera Raw opens automatically if you choose a RAW file. This version has a more simplified collection of features than Photoshop and Lightroom.
Nevertheless, its functionality is enough to change white balance, exposure, contrast and some other parameters. I would also like to note the lack of local adjustments.
You will find the Expert button at the top, next to the Guided button. It activates the advanced program mode where you will find the most frequently used tools from Photoshop.
One of the features of the Expert area is the ability to work with adjustment layers. You can make the necessary changes to the layer and then return to them again. After applying the mask to the layer, you can use gradient tools or a brush.
This way you can alter certain areas. For example, you are working with a Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer and you need to edit the sky while leaving the ground unaffected. You can apply the mask editing tools after working with the layer to get the desired result.
To be honest, I did not expect anything unusual from this tool, because I got used to it in Photoshop. However, the developers changed it in Elements and now it is a completely new instrument.
You can select any element in a photo and it will disappear. Although in Photoshop, most often this happened very noticeably and left behind a curved space, here the objects simply disappear as if they have never been there.
The Organizer is an important feature of both Premiere and Photoshop Elements. Here you upload your photos for further operations such as tagging with keywords, distribution by album, adding information about what people, places, and events they contain.
The Organizer allows you to find the pictures you need quickly and more conveniently if they are uploaded here. If you don’t want to do this, you can simply open pictures from the Photo Editor. But I would like it to be integrated into the program as it works in Lightroom.
Adobe Photoshop Elements has great control over the printing and cropping of your pictures including printer’s mark tools and bleed setup. The software will warn you if some issues occur when sending the image for printing. You will be able to fix all the problems before a printer receives your request.
You can perform Adobe Photoshop Elements download both separately and together with Premiere Elements. If you already have one of the previous versions, you can purchase an upgrade for a lower price.
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Adobe Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 2021 Prices: