Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop request became more relevant after Ps Elements has been updated to the 2021 version. I tested and compared these versions side by side, answered the main questions, and shared my opinion regarding whom these programs are suitable for and what they are capable of.
Adobe Photoshop is one of Adobe’s largest and most powerful software for creatives. It is suitable for many professionals in different industries. But even experts use only a small percentage of what the program offers. That’s why Adobe developed and released Photoshop Elements, originally designed as a lite version for beginners.
Photoshop Elements has three modes: Quick, Guided or Expert. The Quick view displays only the most common tools and elements to help you quickly create a design or edit a picture.
The Guided view shows different design effects and teaches how to apply them to your images. The Expert workspace has all the tools you can use in any way you wish.
Photoshop Elements app is a great choice for beginners, as automatic tools allow you to customize pictures – from import to export, from adjusting white balance and exposure to red-eye correction and skin smoothing.
With a wide selection of brushes and the ability to create your own ones, the program lets you adjust the thickness, stroke, color and tip of the brush. Moreover, the image editor has been recently updated to Photoshop Elements 2020 and got many additional features.
Skin smoothing in automatic mode. The Smooth Skin tool is aimed at minimizing wrinkles and other imperfections, without significantly affecting other facial features, such as eyes. Slider control helps avoid the overdone effect so that the skin doesn’t look artificial.
Auto-tag with Smart Tags. The program automatically identifies such details as pets, faces, birthdays and sunsets in the videos during import to simplify the process of tagging and finding them.
Better performance and enhanced HEIF and HEVC support. If you work with a large number of files simultaneously, for instance, correct white balance in the wedding photo session, you can notice that the latter copes with the task faster.
Automatic colorization of pictures. Thanks to the Adobe Sensei AI technology, it is possible to bring color to a black and white shot or improve an already colorful photo.
Advanced photo organizer. An organizer lets you filter content by people, location, keyword tags, media type, date and folder. You may combine search criteria to narrow down the results too. Smart tags will automatically detect that the photograph is featuring an animal, a face, a landscape, a flower.
Reference manuals. In addition to the already familiar guides, which mainly tell us about the standard and basic functions, for instance, where the brushes are located and what can be done with them, you can learn about newly introduced tools. These are aimed at adding multi-image text and borders, creating part-image sketches and memes.
No CMYK support. Comparing Photoshop vs Elements in terms of color models, the first one supports RGB and CMYK. As for Elements, it features RGB only. The difference between CMYK and RGB is that RGB is essentially just the emitted color (or light), and CMYK is the reflected color (paint).
RGB is formed due to the intensity of the glow, and CMYK is obtained as a result of overlaying paints in printing. CMYK support is crucial for prepress.
No correction of chromatic aberration or lens geometry profiles. Ps Elements doesn’t offer correction of chromatic aberration. Lens distortion corrections are present, but they do not use profiles for automatic correction on your equipment.
It is not limited to advanced picture retouching, its functionality covers design, animation, 3D graphics and even video post-processing.
Since Photoshop is packed with all sorts of features, it may be somehow complicated for beginners. Therefore, it is widely used by experienced photographers/retouchers/designers. However, Ps is the most popular image editor of all times, which means that thousands of helpful video tutorials, courses, active forums are available on the net. Besides, brief tooltips on the interface make the learning curve slightly easier.
I enjoy working in Photoshop due to its customizable workspace. It is possible to change the placement of instruments and take advantage of hotkeys.
The same as all image editors, Photoshop offers a set of drawing tools. Moreover, these tools have a large number of settings that let you make the process of creating drawings from scratch even more efficient.
You can download different styles for text, brushes, actions and gradients to automate and facilitate the work in the program.
A large number of well-developed tools. In addition to advanced picture retouching tools, such as layers, curves, Photoshop masks and brushes with many professional features, Adobe Photoshop can be used to work with simple video content, create attractive graphics and more.
Capable of performing professional color correction. Adobe Camera Raw is a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop that ensures comprehensive work with files in RAW format, color correction.
Among the tools, you can find the already familiar exposure, tone, contrast, clarity, saturation, white balance settings, adjustment brushes, curves, HSL. You may even use professional plug-ins and more.
Advanced layers. You can use non-destructive "adjustment layers" to alter the look of your image, without changing the underlying pixels. Moreover, you can also combine image layers to produce complex combinations of two or more shots, mixed with layer masks and overlay modes. For example, it is good for frequency separation.
Useful plug-ins. Photoshop plug-ins are aimed at adding special features or effects, simplifying the process of creating various graphic design projects. Among the plug-ins, you can find actions, brushes, overlays, fonts and textures. This is the same as the presets in Lightroom, but the choice is larger.
Active community of users. Many people decide to purchase Photoshop because they see a great number of other professionals using it and willing to instruct beginners. Besides, Internet sources are full of free tutorials, plug-ins, actions and more helpful materials available for download.
Complicated learning curve. Since Adobe Photoshop has all sorts of features and tools, it requires devoting a large amount of time to study all aspects. Moreover, for novice users, the interface may seem too overloaded and frightening.
Lacks batch editing feature. Photoshop can’t offer simultaneous post-processing of multiple shots. It is more convenient to work with separate pictures.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to open numerous images in Photoshop and editing them one by one. However, a few options for batch editing can be found in the program.
Incomplete updates or untested beta versions. Developers no longer release annual updates, which is a serious drawback of Photoshop. Instead, updates are released at frequent intervals. This made the software liable to errors. They aren’t too annoying and get fixed quickly thanks to the responsiveness of Adobe and the community. But they may get in the way of a project you are trying to complete on short notice.
As for Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop comparison in terms of price, the first one is undoubtedly a better investment. Ps Elements offers an unlimited license, which is more beneficial.
There is one universal way to buy Adobe Photoshop – a monthly or yearly plan subscription. But you still have a choice between Photography Plan with 20GB or 1TB of cloud storage, Single App or All Apps.
No matter which plan subscription you pick, you have a possibility to install Adobe Creative Cloud Free Trial version. Thus, you can test different types of Photoshop software and make an informed decision on whether the programs are worth investing in or not.
One more difference between Photoshop and Elements is that the latter isn’t a part of Creative Cloud. So, you can’t take advantage of cloud storage and other options. But if you only need assistance in completing basic tasks, Elements is a perfect choice.
For the vast majority of users, the functionality offered by Adobe Photoshop will be simply unnecessary. Photoshop Elements will offer almost the same features (if we are talking about picture retouching), only in a simpler manner. Ps Elements is perfectly suitable for beginners and even advanced users.
However, if you prefer having precise control over every aspect of image editing, or you need more advanced features, like 3D objects or color management, choose Photoshop without any hesitation in the Adobe Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop battle.
Although the Elements version is simpler to use, as it offers practically all automatic settings, including not only eye correction but also face retouching. Moreover, the picture editor is packed with more than 100 different filters (this is several times less than Photoshop offers). It is also worth mentioning that Photoshop Elements comes as licensed software. You don’t have to pay for it every month; purchasing it once is enough.
If after studying this Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop CC comparison, you opt for the latter option, free top-notch materials will certainly come in handy.
This universal, free matte Ps action is aimed at correcting cold and pale colors in shots of practically any genre and style. It improves white balance, mutes colors and tones and makes the picture softer, adding a matte shade to it.
Shots of a young couple taken in nature are associated with light colors which sometimes look very bright or acquire blue shades. This free action makes the image softer and the colors – warmer. Besides, there appears a slight creamy effect.
This HDR action is suitable for photos with colorful textures, as they require a slight expansion of the dynamic range. It adds volume, reveals details; makes the image soft and light, with a touch of pink.
With this Ps overlay, you may easily add a few small leaves to your shots. They naturally fill the entire composition of an autumn photograph.
With this Rain action, you can create a dramatic but romantic atmosphere. Small raindrops will barely be visible in your shots, but there appears the overall rain effect.