Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11: Easier on the eyes

According to Adobe, more than half of its current Photoshop Elements users are over 50; so, like some of those users, the product has gotten a face-lift for version 11. The result is a relatively lightweight, streamlined interface that should appeal to the company's core users. (Note: I've only played around with it a bit, so this falls somewhere between a preview and a full review.) The interface changes also carry over to its sibling application, Premiere Elements 11.

The $99.99 image-editing program retains its central architecture -- an organizer plus editor, the latter divided into three basic modules of Quick, Guided, and Expert. Tool options have moved to the bottom of the screen as part of the Action bar. But the first thing you notice is how BIG the text and icons have gotten, as well as the retreat from the dark-gray interface that has swept through most the Adobe's latest-generation applications. A nice byproduct is that the program is now a lot easier to use on a smaller laptop display.

In the Organizer, you can now arrange photos by people, location, and event, with albums, keywords, tagging, and metadata hidden by default. You can scrub through stacks -- scroll through the contents in place by mousing over them -- which is very nice. Overall, the module is a lot faster; scrolling zips along almost too fast, but my system also got bogged down occasionally by simply switching to it. You can group people and assign profile photos to a stack of photos of a person. Unfortunately, I find the operation of the face recognition utterly baffling. I could swear that for an earlier version of the program you could simply select a bunch of photos and say "Identify people."

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