Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements Updated

Adobe's consumer level apps both get autumn refreshes.

Adobe Photoshop is one of those mammoth professional applications that is so incredibly deep and complex, that even those using it for years don’t know all its ins and out. The same goes for Adobe’s full-on video editing app, Premiere. That’s why its Elements applications are so cool. You get most of the power of the big boys, but honed down to what you really need and presented in a way that you can actually use without swallowing a manual the size of War and Peace. You also don’t have to go into national debt to actually buy the app.

Good news then that Adobe has today announced new versions of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Photoshop Elements moves up to version 5.5, while Premiere Elements hits version 3.

At a rather exclusive briefing last week, Adobe gave a brief demo of some of the new features so I’ll go through some of the standouts.

Adobe claims that Photoshop Elements now has a Windows Vista style look and feel. It also promises faster performance through tweaked algorithms and new additions such as Colour Curves, Distortions, a Flip Book, and Stacks, which lets you group related photos together by having only one example appear on top, making browsing through large collections much easier.

Adobe has also clearly taken on board the developments in the online world. Hence you now have more flexible image naming options, including the ability to tag images, aka Flikr. Also added is the ability to relate images to a location on a map, again mimicking Fikr with its integration with Google Maps. Meanwhile, the new Flash Gallery feature that generates a Flash slideshow that can be shared on a web page, via FTP or burnt to DVD.

Premier Elements meanwhile is essentially the nearest PC equivalent to Apple’s iMovie and iDVD but bundled into one application. The interface on Version 3 is quite different to what has come before. It eschews the Wizards from the previous version as Adobe says that it notes from its research that people just didn’t use them. Instead uses get a choice between a simple scene based clip view and a more advanced timeline view and users can easily switch between them.

New features include being able to add text directly to clips, a Stop Motion tool, and again support for Flash video. Version 3 of Premier Elements can also export video for more formats including 3GP for mobile, MPEG4 for the PSP and the H.264 for the iPod. HDV, the High Definition format used by cameras such as Sony’s HC3 can be edited and output at 720p or 1080i.

When questioned about Blu-ray and HD DVD the intimation was that this would be added by a new version rather than a patch, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Though the updates won’t be available until the beginning of August, Adobe is holding a promotional event at the fun filled Legoland on Sunday 24th September 2006, where there will be demos, presentations and competitions.

Each application will be available from early October at a retail price of £69.99, but you can buy both together for £99.99. Those upgrading from previous versions will be able to enjoy a £20 discount.

I’ve not actually used either version of Elements before but from what I saw in the demo, if you’ve take pictures or edit video these could well be essential purchases. Expect a full review on the site soon.


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