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Photoshop Elements 4

Photoshop has an even bigger heritage than Premiere. You could almost call it the Hoover of photo editing, with some even using the brand name as a verb. But the professional program is rather too powerful and complicated for the occasional domestic photo editor – and far too expensive as well. So Adobe made the sensible move over four years ago to take some of the power of its flagship application and repackage it for the home user.

Now in its fourth incarnation, Photoshop Elements has grown into a suite of tools intended to make your entire imaging life easier. There’s a sophisticated image Organizer, the core editing app which has a Standard Editing and Quick Fix mode, plus various wizards for tasks such as slideshow creation. Each one has had its own set of enhancements in the new version.

When you first import photos into the Organizer, you can now choose to fix redeye automatically. This is handy and relatively effective, although it takes a few seconds for each one so will add many minutes to importing hundreds of images. It also requires eyes with human colouring, so won’t work on animal portraits. The results are turned into version sets, which group the original and edited photo together.

Red eye correction can be performed on images as you import them into the Organizer catalog.

Another new feature Adobe is very proud of is face tagging – a kind of quasi facial recognition system. You simply select the images in your library that you want to tag, and then use the Find faces for Tagging command. This won’t actually figure out who’s who in a picture for you, but it does a pretty good job of finding the faces in your images. You can then review its findings, set up tags for each friend or family member, and then group all the photos with that person under the appropriate tag. It can be pretty laborious and time consuming, but if you have a huge number of wedding photos to sort through, for example, it could also be a godsend. The Organizer also now includes XMP metadata search, so you can use file type, date, and even things like shutter speed if these have been recorded. PDFs are directly supported, too, allowing you to manage, open and extract portions.

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