When reviewing any product
(such as PSE 10) there’s always the
temptation of falling into the same old trap. You end up with a
biased review for any of the five reasons ...
Your over-zealous brand loyalty results in a glowing
Your loyalty to another brand results in a
Your attempt to review the entire product’s features
results in a
sketchy and boring review.
Your highly technical review loses the average reader
and misses the
product's features totally
Your review consists of the features you like, or at
worst the features
Photo Shop itself has travelled a long way since its birth in 1987 as a
graphics display program.
Photo Shop Elements 10 is marketed at enthusiasts, and like its big
sister CS5 allows access to layer technology. From Photo Shop
Limited Edition in 1999, this software has undergone many
metamorphoses, so an attempt to show all of its features is a
This review looks at the new features.
I already own Photo Shop Elements 9, I would not purchase Photo Shop
Elements 10 (PSE 10), since the recent material would not justify it; but I
would recommend it to a novice keen to start, because of its
facilities, layout and price.
The software is available both as download and as a disk set, for both
MAC and Windows but you should check that your OS is the right
platform. As a download it is 1.5GB and may take considerable
time to download. On your hard drive it occupies 2.3GB.
Support for Photo Shop Elements is widely available; the best advice is
to type “Photo Shop Elements 10 tutorials” into your web browser.
Its processing is reduced to 8 bit, compared to the 16 bit of its
bigger sister Photo Shop CS5. Some argue that this downgrades the
image. In the flat tonal range of a near monochrome image the
absences of the nuances in tonal values may be noticeable; so in close
portraiture work the number of observed skin tones may appear reduced;
where the range of adjacent tones is large, the omission of
intermediate tones will not be as apparent.
the beginner, the Guided Edit in PSE 10 is a well laid out work flow.
Additions to Guided Edit since Elements 9,
The Orton Effect.
The order within the Guided
Edit has been changed and there is an improved Content Aware Spot
Healing Brush to fill-in where objects had been.
The first edit stage is that of cropping the image. A fuller
description of the options is given below; I’ve chosen the Golden Mean
option for this example.
The cropping area is moved until the
golden mean is located on the object of interest and the “TICK” or the
“DONE” button chosen. The grid can be flipped vertically and/or
horizontally to aid composition.
The Crop Tool now has four crop guides ...
The Normal view has the conventional re-sizeable quadrat
without grid markings we are familiar with.
A conventional grid 14 squares by 10 squares to allow you
to trim accordingly to your layout needs.
The Rule of Thirds view overlays a quadrat divided into
horizontal and vertical thirds.
The Golden Mean view overlays a quadrat marked out to the
classical 5:8 rule.
Gold Mean Example
Ratio from Guided Edit
Ratio after Crop
As we move down the Guided Edit, we move though the standard image
corrections to the esoteric. Of these, the one I have used the
most often since Elements 7, is the Group Shot, which enables you to
assemble the best image from several, when the group cannot all smile
and sit still at the same time!
The Orton Effect, first described by Michael Orton, and extolled by
analogue film camera practitioners including Freeman Patterson and
André Gallant, exhibits an ethereal glow and is a new addition to PSE 10.
This is brought about by the technology which creates a blurred layer
above the main image (or background layer) of which the contributing
quantity can be chosen; and then the chosen amount is blended into the
You can achieve this for yourself using adjustment layers without PSE 10!
combination of layer and Smart Brush technologies gives another two of
the new facilities. Paint Effects lets you paint onto areas
bounded by changes in contrast or tone, with textures from a fairly
limited palette. Again the amount of texturised image can be
controlled. A wider range of filters complements this facility.
By choosing the effect in the Smart Brush choice, the type of effect
can be selected; by setting the amount of opacity afterwards, the
extent of the treatment can be decided, since the effect is created in
a new layer. I selected the background and gave it the “old
paper” treatment, leaving the flower untreated.
The new Text Tools include options for applying text along boundaries
of your choice.
Using the Smart Brush on object can be highlighted and its edge chosen
as the path on which text can be applied. A shape chosen from the
standard palette of shapes can be similarly used.
A freehand line completes the additions to this tool. Text
applied in this manner responds poorly to a line which has sharp
changes in direction; smooth paths give the best results. As an
example, I chose Text on Custom Path Tool by holding my tablet pen onto
the Text button on the Tools Bar.
The organiser of PSE 10 is not intuitive to use, but
it’s the most powerful and fastest I’ve seen so far at this end of the
market. Facial recognition algorithms are common in many imaging
packages, including some free packages; PSE 10 also has
I chose an image of a notable recognisable object from an image which I
knew I’d captured several times within the folders loaded into the
Organiser. At least 9 images were missed in the search.
The search for duplicate images was impressively fast and surprisingly
accurate, and did show images of similarity as in those taken around
the same time and place for the construction of a panorama.
Like Photo Shop Elements 9, PSE 10 offers the opportunity to
assist in the uploading of images to social networking sites.
Should this be the only reason you are considering the purchase of
Elements, there are cheaper and free alternatives available.
The big sister of PSE 10, Photoshop CS5, is around 10 times dearer and
probably only a small percentage of Photoshop CS5 gets used by the
dedicated user. So value-wise, Elements 10 gets my vote. In
terms of basic processing of images it does the business.
If I was a complete beginner, I’d choose PSE 10 since the
processing value per £ or $ is quite high; however, if I had Elements 9
already, I’d not upgrade since the additional features do not merit it.
A grid to enable Golden Mean or any other cropping can be generated as
a layer and overlaid during editing; the Orton Effect is similarly
achieved by the use of layers – and such tutorials exist out there on
the web; the SmartBrush enhancement is a matter of personal artistic
taste. The organiser improvements are worth having. If
you’re into video-photography, the package including Premiere Elements
10 might justify upgrading from 9 to 10.
The guided edit procedure does help the beginner and lay down good
habits for the future.
The language and terminology differ from that used in Paint Shop Pro,
“panels” rather than “palettes” being one example; the layout and
interaction of these being another. So, translating tutorials for
one into the other makes for interesting exploration.