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Adobe Photoshop Elements 5

It hardly seems like yesterday when Adobe launched Photoshop Elements 4, yet a year has flown by and now we have Photoshop Elements 5. Lets take a look at what’s new and more importantly see if it’s worth upgrading to.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 (PE5) has had a face lift to the interface, it looks very slick but I am not totally convinced by the sombre grey menu bar and camera illustration (top right), I would have preferred a more uplifting colour or lighter grey. The editing tools are the same as in Elements 4, but the icons are now in colour (Photoshop CS2 still displays them in b/w until you hover the pointer over them). The overall design is well thought out with palettes that can either float or be docked into the Palette bin. The bin can be collapsed to maximise the work area. For efficient image editing you should set the screen resolution to 1280 x 1024 and use a 19 inch or larger monitor, using a lower screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or 800 x 600 can leave the workspace looking cramped.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 - new look interface

What’s new in version 5?

The Lens Correction filter was a welcome feature in Photoshop CS2, Elements 5 has a cut down version - Correct Camera distortions. This filter allows you to correct barrel and pincushion distortions and apply Horizontal or Vertical perspective distortions. You can view the corrections happening in real time on the large preview window and there is a grid to help you to square up perfectly. The alignment grid is a fixed size which is too small and therefore proved to be more of a hindrance than useful, thankfully it can be turned off. The grid colour is grey by default but can be changed by the user to display any colour. One notable missing feature is the useful Chromatic Aberration for fixing the purple fringing found on so many consumer (compact) cameras.

Correct Camera Distortions with Vertical Perspective applied

The new Adjust Sharpness filter enhances the overall sharpness of an image. Motion blur and Lens blur can both be removed (to a degree). For the newcomer to digital imaging the Adjust Sharpness filter provides more control that the Auto Sharpen filter, but is not as daunting as the UnSharp masking filter (USM). This version of PE5 includes the USM and Auto Sharpen filters so you can have the best of both worlds.

Adjust Sharpness


Curves, you either love them or hate them – I love them. Elements has finally incorporated curves into the application, its called Adjust Colour Curves. But don’t get too exited, you can’t actually make any adjustment to the curve itself, but you can adjust the four sliders and see the curve changing and view the effect on the image - rather like driving a car in a computer game, it’s never as good as the real thing. I’m not sure why Adobe calls this Adjust Colour Curves as you can’t actually adjust the colours.

Adjust Colour Curves

Continues on next page........


25 September, 2006

© Vincent Oliver 2008 www.photo-i.co.uk
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