Adobe Systems Inc. has refreshed its popular duo of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Version 9 has a couple of surprises. First, Photoshop Elements 9 is available for Windows and Mac at the same time. In the past, the Mac version of PSE was always one generation behind the Windows version. Second, Premiere Elements 9 comes to the Mac — previous versions were Windows only.
Photoshop Elements is often seen as the lesser version of Photoshop and there’s no denying that PS the Elder is the true powerhouse. However, PSE has all the tools you’ll need as a photographer. Adobe says that PSE users include photography enthusiasts who are relatively new to digital manipulation but eager to learn. For them PSE includes Guided Edits that take users step-by-step through unusual “how’d they do that?” effects.
PSE inherits the smart healing brush introduced with CS5. This tool is versatile, allowing you to repair cracks, tears or stains in an antique photo or remove unwanted objects from a photo you took yesterday.
The PhotoMerge toolset carries a few functions. StyleMerge allows you to clone the properties of one photo (contrast, brightness, saturation) onto another. One of the side effects of panorama stitching is that blank areas that often occur when several photos are warped to create a seamless panorama. The usual solution is to crop the blank areas. The Photomerge Panorama tool offers another solution by seamlessly filling those areas in.
Premiere Elements is a capable editor that’s been modernized in a few ways. It includes support for most video devices under the current sun — regular and high-definition camcorders, tapeless flipcams or still cameras with video. Built in is an audio editor that removes background hiss from the audio track. There’s also a pile of transition and image effects whose individual characteristics you can tune with slider controls.