Photoshop Elements 13 New Features
by Linda Sattgast
Hobbyists in the photography and scrapbooking market, who have made Photoshop Elements their top choice for software, will no doubt be anxious to hear about the new features of Photoshop Elements 13, released on September 24, 2014.
There are actually quite a few great new features, but I’ll start with my personal top three.
Elements Live (eLive)
When you first open Photoshop Elements 13 you may be surprised to see a browser right inside Photoshop Elements. It’s called Elements Live, and it has its own button at the top. The other three standard views, Quick, Guided, and Expert, are just a click away, and Photoshop Elements will remember which view you had open when you close the program and reopen it.
I’m very impressed with eLive. Adobe is actually scouring the web to find the best content related to photography, learning Photoshop Elements, and inspiration, among other things. And it’s available right inside Photoshop Elements 13. Simply click on one of the display cards to open your regular browser and go to that particular website. New content will be added continually.
Next to the social media symbols on the right is the word HELP. This takes you directly to the page on Adobe.com where you can get help for Photoshop Elements—no need to search through Adobe’s website to find help.
Content Aware Fill
My second favorite feature is Content Aware Fill. “What?” you say. “What is Content Aware Fill?” Photoshop has had it for awhile, and I’m thrilled to see it in Photoshop Elements because it’s great for automatically replacing items you don’t want with other content from your photo.
Here’s an example of a photo problem. The extra leg in the upper right corner doesn’t do this photo any favors!
• Get the Lasso tool and click and drag around the object you want to remove.
• In the Menu Bar, choose Edit > Fill Selection. Note: Fill Selection will be grayed out if your image is a smart object or a vector file. (PSE 13 turns photos into smart objects if you drag them from the Photo Bin onto another document.) To fix this, in the Menu Bar choose Layer > Simplify Layer, and then Fill Selection will be available.
• When the Fill dialog box comes up, choose Content Aware from the menu. Make sure the Mode is Normal and the Opacity is 100%, and click OK.
• You might need to make some minor adjustments with the Clone Stamp tool—especially if you see a repeating pattern, but this does a really nice job of filling in your selection with similar content.
Here’s the result after using Content Aware Fill:
Inside Stroke Outline
The next feature that made my Top 3 was Inside Stroke Outline! So what’s the big deal about that, you say? Well, if you want to put a stroke outline around a photo, if all you have is an Outside stroke outline, you get rounded corners. Not pretty. With an Inside stroke, you get sharp pointed photo corners that look great! Scrapbookers often use strokes on their photos when they create a scrapbook page, so an option to choose Inside Stroke will be very welcome!
Just FYI—There is currently no preview thumbnail for Inside Stroke in the Styles panel, so you’ll need to access strokes in the Menu Bar by choosing Layer > Layer Style > Stroke, and then you’ll be able to choose Inside Stroke from the menu.
So those are my top three new features, but there are some other really nifty features in Photoshop Elements 13 as well.
Crop Suggestions is a new feature of the Crop tool. It will suggest possible crops, which you can see by simply mousing over the thumbnails. You can also open the crop menu and choose a different aspect ratio for your photo, and Photoshop Elements will give you suggestions within those parameters.
Fix: Photo Bin Resizing Problem
There’s also a fix in Photoshop Elements 13. It fixes a problem in Photoshop Elements 12 where moving a file from the Photo Bin onto another document caused it to resize to the boundary of the destination document, e.g. a half inch button became a 12 inch button when moving it onto a 12×12 inch scrapbook page. Not so good!
So that problem has been fixed, but moving files from the Photo Bin onto another document now changes the files into smart objects. We’ve seen Adobe go back and forth on this issue. In some versions they’ve implemented smart objects, and in other versions they haven’t. In Photoshop Elements 13, we’re back to smart objects.
Some scrapbookers don’t like smart objects because there are many things you can’t do to smart objects unless you simplify them. Other people love them because they can resize papers, elements, and photos to their heart’s content during the design phase of scrapbooking without any loss of quality due to resizing.
If you’re in the “don’t like them” camp, there are plenty of other ways to move files onto another document, and you can also simplify a smart object by choosing Layer > Simplify Layer.
Here are a few more nifty features in Photoshop Elements 13:
Facebook Custom Cover Photo
You can now easily create a custom cover photo for Facebook. You’ll find this option in the Create menu. As of this posting, there are only two themes available, but I’ve been told there will be more themes when Photoshop Elements 13 ships.
This feature, found in the Enhance menu under Photomerge, simplifies the process of cutting an object or person from one photo and placing it into another photo. You’re told step-by-step what to do, making it much simpler for beginners, but more experienced scrapbookers will also enjoy it. There’s even a feature that helps you select soft edges, like hair.
Refine Selection Brush
It’s always exciting when there’s a new tool in the Tool Bar! The new tool for this version is the Refine Selection Brush, which is nested with the Quick Selection Brush. Create a selection with another tool first, and then refine it with the Refine Selection Brush. The brush automatically changes to plus or minus based on your location to the selection outline, and it allows you to click and “push” the selection outline toward your desired edge.
My personal opinion is that it’s easier to simply adjust a selection edge with the Lasso tool, but a beginner might find it helpful to use the push method with the Refine Selection Brush.
Guided Edits: 3 Black & White Effects
Photoshop Elements 13 has three new Guided Edits in the Photo Effects category, and they all have to do with black and white effects.
• B&W Color Pop makes it very easy to select a color from a photo and gives you tools to refine your selection.
• B&W Selection is similar to B&W Color Pop, but use this one for more control over the selection process.
• Black and White has some very nice black and white presets and gives you the option to add a Diffuse glow and/or increase the Contrast.
More Photo Effect Choices
Adobe has added more Effects in the Quick section of Photoshop Elements 13. They’ve kept the original effects but made five variations of each effect. Some of them are quite nice, so check them out. Below is a before and after using one of the photo effects—Autumn.
Last but not least, Adobe has added support for high DPI on Windows and Retina display on Macs, and the Organizer has a new photo display and enhanced slideshow.
Should You Upgrade?
The question on everyone’s mind is always, “Should I upgrade?” For me it’s a no brainer. “Yes, of course! It’s a great version!” But you will have to weigh your pocket book and decide whether these are must-have features for you.
I recommend that you download a trial version of Photoshop Elements 13 and play with it for awhile. That will be the best way to make an informed decision!
Related Post: Transferring Files to a New Organizer
Author: Linda Sattgast | firstname.lastname@example.org
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