Check Out My New Photoshop Elements: The Organizer eBook

As many of you know, I have been using Photoshop Elements from its beginning, which must be over ten years now. I began using its Organizer when it was first introduced in PSE 3. To manage my images before that, I used  Adobe’s Photoshop Album, which became the Organizer with PSE 3’s introduction.

Over the years my photo and video collection has grown to over 33,000 items. PSE’s Organizer is not perfect (no software program is), but it has served me well for a long time. Although there have been many excellent Photoshop Elements books over the past ten years, almost all of them devote most of their coverage to its editing capabilities. Michael Slater wrote what I feel to be the definitive book covering the Organizer (Organize Your Photos With Adobe Photoshop Elements 3), but it was written when PSE 3 was first introduced.

I decided last summer to write an eBook strictly devoted to the Organizer. I have been using and teaching it for the past ten years. Don’t get me wrong, my intent was not to replace Slater’s book. I do not cover every detail and feature within the program. Instead, I have tried to focus on those things that I have used over and over throughout the years, and which I feel are the most important.

That being said, my eBook ended up taking longer to complete and grew in size more than I had envisioned. It ended up containing eight chapters, consisting of over 160 pages and 200 illustrations. Please click on the following link to find out more about my eBook and how you can purchase it.

Photoshop Elements: The Organizer

Should I Upgrade to PSE 6 Revisited

In my January 10, 2008 entry I my thoughts regarding upgrading to Photoshop Elements 6.0. I began my comments with the simple answer, “It depends.” The other day a student brought in a book he had just bought. The book was Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 – A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography by Phillip Andrews. I am not really familiar with this book, but after thumbing through it quickly, it certainly holds its own against the many excellent books on PSE 6 and earlier versions.

The one thing that I did notice right inside the cover was a very complete table comparing the features of all of the versions of PSE beginning with Version 1.0 through Version 6.0. In the table, Andrews also compares these same features for Photoshop CS through CS3. I was very impressed with the table and have never seen such a comprehensive list. This table should help anyone who is trying to decide whether or not to upgrade.I have paraphrased Andrews’ table below comparing PSE 4 through PSE 6. I put a couple of entries in bold type, because although the feature was in earlier versions, it was significantly improved in PSE 6. By the way, the student highly recommended the book.

Click Here for the link to my summarized table. I suppose I have violated a few copyright laws, but hopefully I will not end up in the slammer for my transgression. 

Until next time,


I learned Something New About PSE 6

I think I learned something new about how the Organizer in Photoshop Elements works in various versions, regarding its handling of Version Sets. Right now at the Griffith Center in Torrance, we are still using PSE 4. At the South Bay Adult School PSE 6 is used. At SBAS we were going over editing a photo without including it in a Version Set. As I was about to explain, how edited copies of photos retained whatever Tags were assigned to the original, I suddenly noticed that our edited copy had no tags assigned to it. That took me totally by surprise.

I have been using Version Sets almost exclusively since they were introduced in PSE 3 and only occasionally do not use them. However, I was sure that whenever I did chose not to put the edited copy in a Version Set, it still inherited the Tags that the original was assigned.

Later, I checked my recollection. Sure enough PSE 5 and earlier versions retain the Tags of the original even if they are not part of a Version Set. However, in PSE 6 if you do not save the edited copy in a Version Set, there are no Tags assigned to it. To the best of my knowledge, there are no Preferences that control this behavior and I have not seen it mentioned in the Help file or other documentation. Have any of you seen this?

For those of you new to PSE and its use of Version Sets, the diagram below shows where you select the option when you are saving the edited copy. The option is on the bottom line of this figure. When the Version Set option is selected the images are stacked on top of each other in the Photo Browser with the edited copy on top. And the filename of the edited copy is automatically generated by PSE.


Increasing Mid Tone Contrast Safely

Here is something you may find useful. We know that using the Levels command you can increase the contrast of an image by dragging the two outer sliders inward. However, you can only drag them to where the histogram just lifts off of the bottom horizontal line. If you drag them any further, you will be clipping the data. This means that depending upon which slider is moved too far inward, you are blocking up the shadows and losing detail there, or blowing out the highlights. What we really want to do is increase the contrast of the mid tones.

There are many ways to do this. In PSE 5/6, you can use the Color Curves command (Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Color Curves). If you are using an older version of PSE or just don’t want to use the Color Curves, try this.

Click on Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights. Assuming that you do not want to lighten the shadows of your image, Move the Lighten Shadows slider all the way to the left. Now you can adjust the contrast of the image by using the bottom slider, Mid Tone Contrast without fear of blowing out the highlights or losing shadow detail in your image.

Until next time….


Question For The Day: Are you using Version Sets when saving your edited pictures? Let me know by using the Comments button below. I would to hear from you.