Today Adobe announced its latest rendition of its popular photo editing software, Photoshop Elements 2018.
What? Shouldn’t it be called Photoshop Elements 16?!
Adobe decided that moving forward Photoshop Elements will be named after the upcoming year of its release in-lieu of a version number, similar to its big brother Photoshop, hence the transition from version 15 to Photoshop Elements 2018.
Amazing New Features!
The Editor has one new tool, one new enhancement, and four new guided edits. As is my custom I like to start with my favorite new feature and work my way down from there.
This year two new features tied for top spot, so, since I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite, I decided to start with the shear WOW factor of Open Closed Eyes.
Open Closed Eyes
Seriously, it’s as easy as one click to transfer the eyes from a photo with open eyes to a disappointing photo with closed eyes! You’ll find this new feature in the Enhance menu.
New Tool: Auto Selection
Wouldn’t it be nice to select an object or person in a photo instantly with one tool? The new Auto Selection tool (nested with the Quick Selection tool) gets closer to that goal. Click and drag a rectangle around the subject and when you let go of the mouse Photoshop Elements places a selection around it.
Does it make a perfect selection? Occasionally, yes. But I found that most often, as with every selection tool, you’ll need to zoom in and refine the edges or remove a selected area that shouldn’t be there.
I like starting with Auto Selection to grab the main object. Then I can continue clicking and dragging with Auto Selection to refine the selection, or I might switch to the Quick Selection tool, depending on which one is best for the situation.
So, even though it isn’t perfect every time on the first click and drag, it’s a big step forward in making selections a lot easier! I especially like it for selecting thin items like the stem of a cherry or a shoe lace which are difficult to select with the Quick Selection tool.
Four New Guided Edits
Photoshop Elements 2018 has four new Guided Edits. Guided Edits walk you through complex edits step-by-step to achieve a fun result, so they’re especially helpful for beginners, but they can be a good starting point even for more advanced users.
Have a boring (or cluttered) background? Replace it with something a lot more fun! Since it’s October, I chose a spooky background. The video of me switching backgrounds shows a good representation of how to use the Auto Selection tool as well.
Turn an ordinary photo into an artistic watercolor! You can choose between a more traditional watercolor look or an abstract painting. This guided edit has some of the nicest watercolor paper overlays I’ve seen!
Embellish a photo by choosing a shape to highlight the main subject, and then choose an effect for both the shape and the background.
Back in the day we had cameras that sometimes ended up with unintentional double exposures. Now you can mix two photos together intentionally to create an artistic effect. I have to be honest about this one. I couldn’t produce an effect I liked. In my opinion it would be much easier to overlay two photos in the Editor to get an artistic effect and use a gradient to provide some interesting color.
Photoshop Elements Organizer
With this version Adobe put a lot of effort into making the Organizer run faster and more efficiently, but it also has two really nice new features:
Auto Curate, a new option in the upper right of the Organizer desktop, uses Content Intelligence to choose the best photos in any group of photos, based on clarity, lighting, composition, and people. It’s a great starting point when you have tons of photos from a family vacation and want to create a photo book or scrapbook page! Use a slider to choose more or fewer photos.
Creating a Slide Show has gotten a lot easier with the new one-click option in Organizer to turn a group of photos into a great slide show! Of course, you’re still in charge and can make any changes you want to the theme or photo arrangement.
Here’s an example of a short video I created using the new one-click Slideshow button in the Organizer. It was so easy and fun! (about a minute)
Should You Upgrade?
The biggest question is always, should you upgrade? This version is definitely worth the upgrade, in my opinion. To think…I no longer have to laboriously transfer eyes from one photo to another when a subject has closed eyes. I’m in heaven!
And that new selection tool is a dandy…
But in the end my answer is always—it depends on your needs and wallet. I recommend that you download a free trial of Photoshop Elements 2018 and give it a run. I predict you’re gonna like it!