How Photoshop Elements has Changed Throughout the Years


As I read the discussions in various forums and Facebook groups, it is apparent that many users continue to use older versions of Photoshop Elements. Many users are even using older versions than PSE 11, released in the Fall of 2012. This version is significant, because Adobe changed the complete look and feel of the program in that version.

One of the most commonly asked questions from users of older versions is whether or not it is worthwhile to upgrade to the then current version. The answer for a given user depends upon their circumstances. It is often driven by changes in the computer they use, its operating system, and/or the camera they use.

Today, we are probably about half way through the product life cycle of PSE 2020. If history repeats itself, PSE 2021 will be released sometime this Fall. So the question many users ask is should I upgrade to the latest version. Adobe has a excellent table that compares PSE 2020 features with previous ones going back to PSE 15. You can access it at the link below:

PSE 2020 Logo

For several years now I have maintained my own table. It is more detailed than the one in the above link and goes back to PSE 11. The link below is to my current version. It is an Excel spreadsheet. 

Feature Comparison PSE 11 Through PSE 2020

If you have been struggling to decide whether to upgrade or not, I hope you found this information helpful. If so please star-rate it or Like/Share the post. Also, I am always open to comments.

Until next time…

Addendum: Some were not able to open my spreadsheet. I have converted it to a PDF file. The link to it is below.

Photoshop Elements Feature Comparison PSE 11 through PSE 2020 PDF File.

 

The Evolution of Photoshop Elements: PSE 11 through PSE 2018


One of the recurring topics that routinely show up in Photoshop Elements forums and social media is what are differences between different versions of Elements, and is it worth upgrading. Whether it is worth it or not is certainly up to the individual, but having a idea of what each version adds (and on occasion removes) is the first step in making your decision.

Sometime ago I put together a table that compares the current version to an earlier one. The PDF file that is linked below is my latest version of the table. It compares PSE 11 through PSE 2018. Hopefully, it will of some help to those who have struggled with the question of whether or not to upgrade.

PSE Evolution

Let me know if you found this table helpful. Don’t forget to explore my blog for other helpful digital photography articles and tutorials.

Until next time…

Photoshop Elements 15 Folder View


In this tutorial we will cover the Folder View in PSE 15’s Organizer. This view can be extremely helpful if you want to do some disk storage housekeeping. Viewing the folder layout in this view and then reordering the files and folders can be done without risking the common mistake of disconnecting your images within your catalog. This is because you are working from within the Organizer and not an external program, such as Windows Explorer.

Also, those of you who have organized your file structure relying on folder names, will find this view to be very familar.

Click on the link below to display and access the PDF file.

pse-15-folder-view-title

If you find this tutorial helpful, please Rate, Like, or Share it with others using the applicable links on the page. I welcome any comments you may as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and see you next time.

Using the Backup Command in Photoshop Elements


 

How one should go about backing up their photos when using Photoshop Elements continues to be one of the most frequent questions asked by new and more experienced users of Photoshop Elements.

I have written on this subject a few times in the past on this blog. If you enter applicable keywords in the area provided at the bottom of the string of posts near the bottom of this page, you will get links to those earlier posts.

In this post, I will provide a link to a video tutorial I made some time ago, which covers both the Backup command and the Restore command in the Organizer of Photoshop Elements 6.

However, the same process and screens that are displayed when using these commands remain the same in Photoshop Elements 14. The video quality is certainly not the best, but I believe it is adequate to clearly describe the process. I plan to update the video with a better quality version soon, but in the meantime, I hope this one will help answer the many questions that keep coming up about the subject.

Click on the figure below to watch the video.

Simple Way to Enhance Gray Skies


Those of you that of taken my classes, know that I like to use various techniques to make the skies better than they were when I took the photo.

And in this post I’m going to explain one of the simplest ways. The results are often quite good when applied to the right photo.

The example here is of the old Nike site in Palos Verdes. You can see it was a very gray day.

Here are the steps I did in Photoshop Elements to go from the gray skies to something that looks like I probably took the photo in middle of a day sunny day.

  1. Since it’s a RAW image, I opened in Adobe Camera Raw, adjusted Contrast, Clarity and the Vibrance a bit to make the foreground have a bit more snap.
  2. I then opened it in the Expert Editor workspace in Photoshop Elements.
  3. I then selected the sky using the Quick Selection Brush, which was quite easy since the sky is such a uniform gray.
  4. I copied the Sky to its own layer using Ctrl+J.
  5. I Ctrl-Clicked on the sky thumbnail  in the layers palette so that I could get back to arching ants.
  6. I selected the selected a suitable color of light blue from the color swatch at the bottom of the  Toolbox.
  7. Using the Paint Bucket Tool, I painted the entire selected area on the Sky layer with the chosen color of blue
  8. I added a layer mask to the sky layer. This had the foreground masked out – painted black.
  9. I selected the Linear Gradient Tool with the gradient going from black to white.
  10. With the shift key held down and making sure the mask was selected on the active sky layer, I dragged the mouse from the top of the image to the bottom.

This gave me the effect that I wanted for the sky. I then flattened image, so I could save it as a JPEG.

Improved Sky - LIn Gradient

Free onOne Software Perfect Effects 8


onOne Software is a maker of Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements plug-ins and a suite of programs that can add creative effects to your photos. For a short time you can download their Perfect Effects 8 program/plug-in for free. The link to do this is shown below.

This will get you the plug-in, as well as the standalone program. I have and use this plug-in and others in the onOne suite of programs/plug-ins and I really like them.

Perf Effects 8 Offer

Photoshop Elements Organizer – The Folder View


Folder View Video

Photoshop Elements has had a Folder View for some time. But in earlier versions it was a bit clunky and had some bugs that were problematic. Consequently, I did not use it much.

However, in PSE 11 the folder view was improved significantly. I think it can be a very useful tool for those of you who have organized your folders into well thought out folders and sub-folders. Even if your folder system does not have a lot of thought put into it, it can be quite helpful when you need to know the physical location or path to a particular group of photos. An example of such an occasion is when you are uploading a series of photos to somewhere like Costco to order prints. At some point in the process you need to navigate to the actual location of the pictures.

I have made a short video that explains the how this view works. It is the top item on my Video Tutorials page of my website. Here is the link to that page.

Video Tutorials

As you can see, the videos on this page have become dated and were made with earlier versions of Elements. However, they are still useful today. Sometimes it is primarily only the dark background that is the main difference. I have removed some, and will be adding new ones and even updating the older ones on the page soon.

Please let me know if these videos are at all useful, and what other topics you would like see covered.

The Case for Multiple Photoshop Elements Catalogs


My general advice to my students is to use only one Catalog. Do not be tempted to organize your photos into different Catalogs. The Organizer of Photoshop Elements provides a number of ways to help you. The obvious one is to use Categories as a way to separate your media. For example, you could define one high level Category to business photos and another one for your personal photos. And then use Sub-Categories, and Keyword Tags to refine your organization structure beneath each of your two Categories.

Another possibility is to use folders to keep your personal pictures separate from those devoted to your business. Given the significant improvements made to the Folder View in PSE 11/12, this approach has some real merit, especially if you are comfortable using folders and files to organize your other documents. Even Albums and Album Groups can be used.

Any of these methods or a combination of them can be used to organize your media, so that you can find a given item quickly, without the added complications arising from using multiple catalogs.

Well, I’m afraid I do not always practice what I preach, is illustrated in the figure below from clicking on File > Manage Catalogs in my installation of PSE 12.

Blog post 12-5-13-2

I rationalize my use of multiple Catalogs in a variety of ways. After all, I teach Photoshop classes and sometimes I need a Catalog devoted to that. At some point, I felt I needed a separate Catalog just for my video files, or one just for testing. I even have a Catalog that only contains MP3 files I have downloaded over the years – this one has proven quite useful, by the way.

But by and in the large, I have more Catalogs than I need and this has made my life more complicated than need be. Granted, one large Catalog does require long back-up times when using the PSE Backup command. And there are certain dangers of putting all of those photos into the same basket.

All that being said, I recently made yet another Catalog, and it has worked out quite well. Recently, my high school graduating class celebrated our 50th Reunion, and I volunteered to produce a DVD to commemorate the reunion weekend, as well as highlighting what life was like back in the early 60s for us. As part of this project, several of my fellow classmates submitted their pictures to be part of the DVD. Additionally there were photos from our high school years, as well as Super 8 movies. All and all, I had over five hundred files from which to choose for inclusion on our DVD. The project grew to include more than seven hundred items by the time the DVD was completed.

 Blog post 12-5-13-1

I have been active on this project for a couple of months. During that time, I have also been taking a ton of personal pictures that I import into my prime photo Catalog. Using a new Catalog for the photos, videos, and music files for my reunion project made keeping everything straight much easier. I used the Backup command quite often throughout the project, since I was constantly changing the content and versions of the photos and video clips quite often. Backing up my prime photo Catalog (about 40K items) takes between three and four hours, while backing up my project catalog takes a matter of minutes.

Now that the project is winding down, and the DVD is completed, another advantage of using a separate catalog is becoming apparent. I have already begun to delete a lot of the content that I did not use to make the DVD. I will retain the photo CDs that were contributed by fellow classmates. Also, the pictures/videos that I took that became part of the project were Exported from my prime Catalog, so they are still part of that. As part of my final wrap-up of this project, I will Move all of the media in the reunion catalog to a DVD or Blu-Ray disk, using the File > Copy/Move to Removable Drive command. I will retain the Catalog, but the disk space it takes will be quite small. If I ever want to resurrect the project, it will be quite simple to get the media back.

So, there is a time and place for using multiple Catalogs. Just don’t overdo it as one could argue I have.

An Aside: As of right now, my initial backup to Carbonite is 56% complete with about 7,550 files to go. See my prior post on this subject.

 

Edited Photos May Fail to be Added to Elements 12 Catalog


I received an email from a former student stating that she had selected several photos from the Organizer of PSE 12, edited them in the Edit mode, saved the edited version (not using a Version Set), closing each image, and then returning to the Organizer. The problem is that generally only one of the edited images was in the Catalog.

 

I have not experienced this in using PSE 12, nor any version of PSE that I recall. Normally, I do not work with multiple images open in the Editor, unless I am going to combine them in some way. So I decided to essentially duplicate her steps. I was surprised by what I found.

 

I selected four images in the Organizer and opened them in the Editor. One at a time I made a change to each image and then saved it, not selecting to use a Version Set, as is my usual practice. I was surprised and upset with the results. Three of four images I edited were shown in the Organizer’s Catalog as expected, right next to the original version. The fourth one was not.

 It had indeed been saved and was in the designated folder. Also, back in the Editor, I could load it again via File > Open Recently Edited File. It just was not in the Catalog. Worse yet, when I tried to Import it again from its folder, I received the standard message saying nothing was imported, because the image was already in the Catalog or it was the wrong etc. To make sure the file was indeed ok, I changed its name and it then imported fine into the Catalog.

 File Not Imported Message

I went to the Adobe Forums and found this thread.

 http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/save_in
_version_set_not_working_in_pse12

It turns out that others have experienced similar problems. It seems the Auto Analyzer and/or using a Catalog converted from an earlier version are related to the bug. I do not know much more than that now. I do not use the Auto Analyzer and have its option turned off in the Preferences. I also recommend this setting to my students as well, but for different reasons. In the past, my PC took a noticeable performance hit when this option was turned on.

 To the best of my knowledge, I have not experienced this problem using my single picture editing workflow using Version Sets. But I am going to be much more watchful now.

Photoshop Elements 11: The Organizer Revisited eBook


Collage for Cover

Some of you may know that I wrote and published an eBook, Photoshop Elements: The Organizer” about a year or so ago. It essentially covers the Organizer in all versions of Elements up through PSE 10. It is still available on Amazon.

Adobe drastically changed the look and feel of Elements when they released PSE 11 last year. During the summer,I began updating the eBook for PSE 11, and just completed it. As they have consistently done, Adobe released PSE 12 about a month ago. Fortunately for me, the user interface of the new version is virtually the same. My eBook is based on PSE 11, but I did include a bonus chapter at the end that overviews the significant changes in PSE 12’s Organizer.

Both books cover only the Organizer, because I feel it does not get nearly the coverage it should within the many other books that have been written on Photoshop Elements over the years.

If you would like to take a look at it on Amazon, Click Here.

Let me know in the comments section below what you think. Thanks.