- Photoshop Elements offers a stripped-down alternative to the full version of Photoshop, making it a more affordable and accessible choice for non-professionals.
- The upcoming version of Photoshop Elements will benefit from AI technology, including features like one-click selection for skies, removal of compression artifacts, and artistic effects.
- Photoshop Elements also offers a range of quick actions, such as colourising black and white photos, to enhance the appeal of images without requiring advanced editing skills.
As soon as you start talking about photo editing, you'll hear Photoshop drop into conversation. In fact, that brand name has been genericised, becoming a verb and added to the dictionary in 2008 - the same year that I started using it.
But I didn't start using the full version of Photoshop, the much-lauded gold-standard of photo editing software, used by designers and artists the world over. Instead, I started using Photoshop Elements. I like to think of these two software offerings like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the movie Twins. One appears to have everything going for it and gets all the attention, while the other is just, well, overlooked and unloved.
I'm here to make the case of Photoshop Elements, because while some of my contemporaries in the industry are paying for the full subscription to access Photoshop proper, for many people, the stripped down alternative in Photoshop Elements is probably all they'll need. Especially now that Photoshop Elements 2024 is getting boosted by AI thanks to Adobe Sensei.
We recently looked at Photoshop Generative Fill here on Pocket-lint, enjoying its new talents, but Photoshop Elements is also going to benefit from generative AI in its next iteration. The advantage that Photoshop Elements has over Photoshop is that it's designed for those who aren't professionals, so it has a selection of "quick" and "guided" options, as well as the manual features that you'd use as an expert.
That includes one-click selection for skies or backgrounds - powered by AI. The same trick can be used to remove compression artifacts common in digital images. If you have an old version of a photo that you want to blow up or show on a larger display, the compression artifacts can make parts of it look blocky, in areas where there's not enough original data to give an accurate representation of the original image. AI can clean things up giving you better results.
Then there's the Artistic Effect option that will use AI to transform your image into a particular style for a completely fresh look, again with AI playing its part.
Included in the quick actions you'll find options to make changes to photos that really boost their appeal. One of these allows you to colourise black and white photos, something that's been really popular online, especially for things like wartime images. You'll be able to colourise old family photos for example, perhaps bringing something a little more exciting to your family album.
Those sorts of features add appeal to Photoshop Elements, but for me, it's the expert tab that I work in. You get the essential tools that Photoshop offers, meaning that image manipulation is quick and easy. It's not as comprehensive as Photoshop, so you don't have the same creative power, but you can clean up images, make a full range of adjustments, create layers to apply edits in a range of areas just like you would on full Photoshop.
The advantage that Elements offers is that you pay for your software and that's it - you don't have to worry about an ongoing subscription to pay for features that only a professional digital artist needs. Of course, Photoshop Elements isn't the only easy accessible photo software that's turning to AI. I recently looked at the AI offering that has come into Google Photos thanks to Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 Pro. I've also pondered on whether we should see all the photos coming out of the Pixel 8 as fake - but then, as I've been using Photoshop Elements for the past 15 years, I'm not sure if there's an untweaked photo anywhere in my collection.