Adobe refurbishes Photoshop, Premiere Elements

Hobbyist-oriented Photoshop Elements gets some DNA from Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom, while Premiere Elements gets a YouTube connection.

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Update: Contrary to what Adobe initially said, Premiere Elements doesn't support HD DVD output after all. Sorry for the confusion.

Adobe Systems updated its hobbyist-oriented Elements family on Monday, grafting in some new DNA from Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom into Photoshop Elements 6 and giving Premiere Elements 4 a direct connection to YouTube.

Adobe Photoshop Elements lets multiple photos be combined into one to get around problems such as subjects caught mid-blink. Adobe

Both the Elements family members, which cost $99 individually or $149 together, sport a new dark interface that resembles Lightroom, Apple Aperture and several other applications that set off images and videos more smartly than the usual Windows software. Less superficially, they also get Lightroom's tabbed interface designed to walk users through tasks in a sensible progression.

From Photoshop CS3, the little-brother Elements gets Photomerge and a new Quick Selection Tool. The first of these fancier features lets users join the best parts of multiple photos, such as those with faces of subjects who aren't blinking or grimacing, and create better panoramas. The second is for more sophisticated selection of complicated areas, for example junior minus a distracting background you don't want in the birthday card photo.

Another Photoshop Elements feature is smart albums, which directs the software to create dynamically updated groups of photos based on user-specified attributes such as whether they've been edited, when they were shot or what camera was used. The software also is faster than version 5 when it comes to importing, searching and tagging photos.

Premiere Elements always could be used to produce video files and DVDs, but some new output options are in version 4. For those who like the latest in rotating optical media, Premiere Elements has high-def support for Blu-ray Disc. It's also got a three-channel audio mixer for more elaborate sound control.

And for those who want to skip straight to the virtual realm, a module lets users upload videos directly to YouTube in its native Flash video format, complete with tags.

Photoshop Elements doesn't have any equivalent, though, for photo-sharing sites such as Flickr.

The two components of Elements also are designed to work better together, sharing tags, ratings, styles and a file-browser interface called Organizer, Adobe said.

Both packages are available for Windows users now; a Mac version of Photoshop Elements is planned for early 2008. Though Adobe un-canceled its Mac OS X version of full-fledged Premiere, there's no Mac version of Premiere Elements.