Elements XXL

Elements XXL is an add on for Photoshop Elements that opens up many of the Photoshop features that are necessary to make Elements work.  What they haven’t given you is the means to access those modules to take advantage of the extra power.  XXL unlocks many of the dialogues which makes those modules accessible. 

The cost to install this upgrade is $49.95 so here's the question - why should you spend money boosting the processing power of Photoshop Elements when you can go out and rent something much more expensive?  

Currently, Photoshop CC is available to rent on a monthly basis in the UK for about £17-75 rather than an outright licence purchase. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 costs around £50 for an outright purchase.  To enhance it with Elements XXL 2.51 is an additional US$50.  

For less than five months rental you own a product which should do most of what you need in image processing.  

Elements XXL adds a staggering 230 new features to Photoshop Elements.

The new features are seamlessly integrated into the program, greatly enhancing the digital editing experience.

I’ve used Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 through 13 with Elements XXL 2.51 and there’s not much that I’d want to do that Adobe Photoshop Elements with Elements XXL can’t achieve.  

Adobe has put many of the full version Photoshop modules into Adobe Photoshop Elements because they are required to make it work.  

What they haven’t given you in Adobe Photoshop Elements is the means to access those modules to take advantage of the extra power.  XXL provides many of the dialogues which unleash that potential.

The Plug In Site is where you can order the plug-in that will unlock the hidden features in Photoshop Elements.

Some Examples

I could bore you with listing the 230 filters and settings which are made available to you as Adobe Photoshop Elements users when you choose the plugin Elements XXL from The Plugins Site – but I won’t.  

You can log onto their site and read the Compatibility pages and find for yourself the goodies which Elements XXL unlocks from Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Adobe have lots of wonderful technology in Adobe Photoshop Elements but the front end which you see is limited and the access to the powerful stuff is locked.  Or should we say WAS locked.

I’m going to look at a few aspects in post-processing software which I couldn’t do without and some others which I’ve found to be beneficial to me.

I can’t do without

  • Curves adjustment.
  • Adjustment layers – black and white; exposure; vibrance; curves; channel mixer; colour balance; together with the ability to edit these.
  • Smart objects 
  • Smart filters.
  • Vector masks.
  • Layer masks.
  • Soft proofing.

I’ve found useful

  • Black and white filter.
  • Auto-align.
  • Auto-blend.
  • Puppet warp.
  • Selection from masks.

I usually run Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, but I've access to 7, 9, 10 11 and 13 (don’t know where my copy of 2 went).  Being able to adjust Curves instead of using Adobe’s suggested curves settings is a lifesaver; and I can’t be completely creative without layers which I can edit and manipulate.  I can now!  I could go through each of the filters and settings, but I’ve illustrated three which cover much of the ground.

Curves Adjustment
With Elements XXL

The Curves adjustment in Adobe Photoshop Elements (left image) is poor-to-adequate, serving only the most basic needs of adjustment.  In XXL the curve (right image) can be finely manipulated and if you're at all familiar with Photoshop then you'll recognize this powerful dialogue.

If you've only been exposed to Photoshop Elements then you may not be aware of the power of the Curves adjustment.  Simply stated - Curves is like Levels on overdrive and the fine tuning you can do is quite amazing!

Here's a look at the two Curves dialogues ...

To learn more about Curves and how to use them in XXL, click here ===> 

If you've never used the Curves Adjustment in Photoshop then you're in for a treat. 

Black and White Conversion

The Black and White module in Elements is clumsy and difficult to deal with.  In CS4, Photoshop introduced the Black and White module that provides the ability to adjust each color individually.  For lovers of black and white images (and who isn't) this adjustment was without peer!

The XXL version (both on the image and adjustment layer) a vast improvement over the conversion method included with Elements and it's included in XXL!

XXL Autochrome

Autochrome was the very first practical colour photographic process and was devised by the Lumière brothers in the first few years of the twentieth century.

It brought the recording of colour images within reach of the few rich enough to afford it, but more importantly it brought a view of early 20th century life within reach of later generations.

The most effective method to create an Autochrome is to use the colour channels which are not available in Photoshop Elements.  This is were the XXL plug-in comes in handy - it allows you to access the channels.

Now Elements users can convert an image to Autochrome.  Click the Autochrome image to learn how to do an amazing conversion,

What Else
Will Change?

When you install the plug-in it will make a number of changes to the Menus in Elements.  It's easy to see where the changes are because the additional adjustments are highlighted in blue.  This is a sample of how the Menus will look ...

Normal Elements Menu
Menu After XXL Installed

So what about “Help” and “Support”?  

The website is excellent.  

There are other plugins available and references to plugins available elsewhere is plentiful.  There are informative videos (also on YouTube) which have been compiled by photographer Ken Payne.  I’d recommend viewing those before you try or buy.  The salient points are more than covered by these videos.

Adobe Photoshop Elements running XXL presents the opportunity for an improved workflow, namely, Lightroom to catalogue and raw process; Adobe Photoshop Elements and Elements XXL to deliver specific processing; Smart Objects to access plugins such as the NIK collection.  

As good as Photoshop – nearly.  

Flexible - certainly!

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