Photoshop Elements: Good Buy?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Lord Blackadder, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    Up to this point I've been relying on Graphic Converter and iPhoto for my editing tools, but I think I'm outgrowing this software. Most photo-editing tutorials are based around Photoshop, so I'd like to be able to use that software.

    I can't afford Photoshop right now, but was considering getting Photoshop Elements. Is it worth it for someone planning to use Photoshop in the future but unable to afford it now? In particular, can I use it to learn more advanced techniques that take advantage of my SLR's capability, or is it too "dumbed down" for that?
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #2
    No way. Elements is a highly capable application that I would seriously think about getting had I not bought PS. PS paid for itself, but if I weren't in a position at the time to pay for PS I would have gone with Elements.

    What do you mean by taking advantage of some advanced techniques that your SLR has to offer? What SLR do you have and more importantly what tricks does it to do that one could take advantage of in PS or even PSE?

    Also consider this. Aperture and Lightroom are both affordable, even more so if you're a student. Keeping that in mind PSE combined with Lightroom or even Aperture is a nice little combo. I've been told that Aperture is ok for RAW conversion but something like Bibble or Capture NX (if you're using Nikon) is better. Even still, I find Aperture to be a decent raw converter but ignorance in this case is bliss as I haven't done much testing. Consider the combo of PSE and something like Lightroom or Aperture. I consider both to be an assistant to my workflow process and not necessarily a replacement for PS, but for you and your needs I would not rule out some of the features both applications have.
     
  3. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #3
    Quite frankly, I'd say that Elements is *too* dumbed down to be considered a serious substitute for Photoshop. If you are a student, you can get a deeply discounted license of Photoshop. If not, I would take a look at a software called "The GIMP". Its not up to photoshop's par but I'd put it a cut above the Elements version.

    edit - I wrote this out a while ago and forgot to submit. I guess I disagree with Jessica, but my advice is to download the free trial version (they offer one I'm sure) and see if it fits your style. If you like it, great, if not, no harm done. I'm sure its an excellent piece of software, I just never got a feel for it.
     
  4. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #4
    PS Elements is very capable and I think is a great stepping stone for someone who will need Photoshop in the future. I have never needed the full version enough to upgrade, just doing some image editing and web design. I've been very happy with Elements alone, but then again I don't make my living on graphics.
     
  5. gvg45 macrumors member

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    #5
    I have read that PSE 6.0 was coming out in '08. Any word on what month?
     
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #6
    Please share with us specifically what is missing from Photoshop Elements that leads you to make this claim, because I don't think this is an accurate statement.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #7
    I agree generally that PSE has matured into a fabulous piece of software. The lack of a universal binary at the moment is really the only major detractor. Gimp is more powerful, but it's also kind of a pain to use (I use Gimp on my Eee and PSE on my iMac).

    Of the things that are missing in PSE -- as of 5, it still did not have a channel mixer, although there are free ones that can be added in, ditto for curves, and it did not support actions or automator -- the things that really prevent you from getting a specific effect (channel mixer and curves) can be added in; the latter items really only affect you if you have a workflow.

    In PSE3, I actually just used Color Variations to very successfully get the kinds of things I'd get out of a channel mixer. I've been very, very happy with PSE for dSLR post.
     
  8. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #8
    I haven't used it since the 1.0 version that came bundled with an old digital camera so it might have changed since then. I recall it only having a few limited functions when I used it.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    Version 1.0 and 2.0 were really limited... at least from what I've read around FredMiranda. Starting with 3, it became really usable (it's up to 5 :)
     
  10. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #10
    Even with the discount I can't afford Photoshop at the moment. If I decide that Elements isn't worth it I'll wait 6 months until I finish writing my thesis (and paychecks start arriving), and then spring for the full version of Photoshop or possibly Aperture/Lightroom.

    I'm using my Canon Digital Rebel XT with a few cheapish lenses so I have no need to try and develop the kind of complicated work flows pros use; at this point I'm mostly interested in adjusting levels and exposure, and maybe trying my hand at composite images, such as HDR.

    I've downloaded the GIMP and fooled around with that, but I'm not sure I want to spend the time to learn that app if I'll eventually move to Photoshop.

    I'm still using PPC hardware, so not having a Universal Binary isn't critical, especially if I'm buying a $100 piece of software.
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    If money is really tight - one advantage to the Gimp is it's free.

    It's a port of a Linux application, and as such has all the usual limitations in terms of a UI that looks like it was designed by a group of chimps - but it IS powerful. Not nearly as powerful as Photoshop, despite what some FOSS folks claim; but it can do quite a lot.
     
  12. seniorstinky macrumors regular

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    #12
    The 6th month deal makes me wonder if it's worth it for you. If it was closer to a year, I'd say do it.

    I will say that I found it useful before I upgraded. You will find that some of the things on PSE are not the same as PS.
     
  13. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #13
    Can someone tell me if Photoshop Elements handles layers?

    What is it about Photoshop that you can't find in Elements?
     
  14. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

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    #14
    Has there ever been rumors of Apple developing a Photoshop competitor? I'm just curious since they have been slowly encroaching on Adobe's territory with tools like Aperture and Final Cut.
     
  15. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #15
    Final Cut predates Adobe's video tools, does it not?
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #16
    Yes, it can handle layers. As I stated above, the major things of which I'm aware that are not supported to date in PSE are:

    - Curves
    - Channel Mixer
    - Actions
    - Automator
    - Some CYMK stuff might not be in PSE also.

    That's actually all I know of offhand. Of course, any feature that interoperates using more than one CS3 app is also not in PSE....
     
  17. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #17
    Thanks! Sounds like everything I use Photoshop for can be done in Elements.
     
  18. JasonElise1983 macrumors 6502a

    JasonElise1983

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    #18
    you could also try Pixelmator. It needs some polishing, but it quite cheap, and is really fun to use once you get used to it.

    -JE
     
  19. JasonElise1983 macrumors 6502a

    JasonElise1983

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    #19
    Adobe Premier was first introduced in 1991. Final Cut was first introduced in 1999...so i'm thinking "no". Though Final Cut was originally developed by macromedia, but was never released by them...

    -JE
     
  20. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #20
    The curves tool is in the latest Photoshop Elements for Windows, so I imagine it'll show up in the new Mac version (that's supposed to be out in early 2008).

    And while you can't create actions in PSE, you can run the majority of them. I believe that's how the third-party add-ons (such as curves, incidentally) work with PSE.
     
  21. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #21
    ^^ That's exciting. I might even think about getting PSE6 then. :) I did some googling re: actions, and from what I can see, the answer seems to be yes and no -- plugins in PSE are not generally exactly like Photoshop actions, although they're similar, and some but not all PS actions can be made to run in PSE. Even better then.

    Do you know of anything I didn't put on my list that is not in PSE as of 5 for Windows?
     
  22. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #22
    Let's see... you mentioned the lack of CMYK support; someone else mentioned the lack of HDR tools... the only one I can think of (off the top of my head) is that PSE doesn't have the pen tool. It also seems like the full-blown Photoshop can do more with layers than PSE can.

    One advantage to PSE is it's not quite as bloated as Photoshop... :D On my Intel Macbook Pro, CS3 still takes quite a long time to launch. Combine that with the fact that it crashes fairly frequently, and you've got one annoying application. :mad:
     
  23. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #23
    One thing I want to learn is how to use the Levels function on photos I've taken...after looking at PSE's product page I'm not sure whether this feature is available as it is in PS.
     
  24. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #24
    The levels tool in versions of PSE I've used is about the same as it is in PS. It also has some "dumb down" autocorrect type tools, but it has the same standard levels tool.
     
  25. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #25
    Levels is definitely available in both PSE and the full-blown PS.

    Edit: hehe, didn't mean to step on mkrishnan's post!
     

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