With version 3.0, Adobe Photoshop Elements has finally developed a personality of its own. No longer simply a stripped-down version of Photoshop, this $99 hobbyist-targeted image-editing package looks, feels, and behaves more like competitors from, , and . Though folks looking for a cheap version of Photoshop will likely be disappointed, overall Adobe does a better job of addressing the needs of consumer digital photographers with this version than the last. Unless you gravitated toward previous versions of Elements for its low-budget resemblance to Photoshop, version 3.0 is definitely worth an upgrade. And if you're still searching for a hobbyist-friendly imaging program, it's definitely worth a look.
First, there's a lot more hand-holding. For instance, the program now has three different interfaces for retouching images: an Auto Fix window, which provides a handful of automatic tools; a Quick Fix editor that offers a full set of retouching options but with friendlier tool implementations; and Standard Editor, which provides a more Photoshop-like interface for all the tools. Version 2.0's Recipes have evolved into the more common How To, and there are a lot more automated, template-based projects.