Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 - PC review

Six editions later and the latest version of Photoshop Elements is upon us, but should you take note, or just stick to one from the past? We get photo organising to find out.

The first thing you will notice that stands out from the previous versions is the move to the charcoal grey interface found in the company's more advanced album orangiser - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

The grey, a now popular choice from Adobe, and even Apple, noticeably helps the images stand out better and apart from being a bit on the dull side makes everything easy to read and manage.

Within the organising side of things there are no drastic changes and users familiar with version 5 will feel right at home. Those who are new to the Photoshop Elements series won't find anything that breaks from what you would expect either. Images are organised in the main central window and can be viewed large or small quickly with additional album information and keyword tags on the right at all times.

Just like in Flickr you can arrange images via tags like family or holiday and seeing as you can create these yourself the list is endless.

Additionally and new to the software Adobe has added Smart Albums. Working in a similar way, to Apple's operating system this time, the feature allows you to set rules very much like you would in an email package.

The information works off the metadata on a camera allowing you to organise pictures taken with certain cameras, lenses, or other imformation and in practice is something that you'll either use and love, or never really find the need.

Other promised features include better cropping functionality, the ability to edit pictures and most scarily of all replace people's faces with others all by a click of a button all of which on further inspection and test work very well. The head replacement tool will be praised and loved by those who like taking group photos.

For the newbie to photo editing, Adobe has also added a useful guide written in simple English to show you what can be done to your pictures and why it's being done to fix them. It's basic, but it will help if you have no idea why you should be doing certain things to your pictures to make them better.

Storing your pictures and then applying quick or fuller fixes to them is one thing, but Adobe is keen for you to share your images and so there are two areas within the package dedicated to this - Create and Share.

Create is photo books, online galleries, slide shows and calendars and the new package gets more web gallery functionality including the option to auto build flash galleries without having to know any programming. It really is one of the best features of the package.

Share is similar but involves shortcuts to emailing pictures or transferring to CD or DVD.

Verdict

Simple yet effective there is plenty here for the digital photographer who isn't yet ready to upgrade Photoshop Lightroom.

The interface is clean and crisp and there are some really good features like the photo merge option and the flash based web galleries that will make this appeal to lots of people.

What's the catch? There doesn't seem to be one apart from that it's only available on the PC.