Should You Upgrade to Photoshop Elements 2021?

with 12 Comments


Should You Upgrade to Photoshop Elements 2021?
by Jen White

As of Thursday, October 8, 2020, Adobe officially released Photoshop Elements 2021. Now the question is, should YOU upgrade?

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s new and then you can decide.



The Home Screen
With each upgrade, Adobe works hard to make the Home Screen of PSE a more inviting and useful jumping off place for its users. So as expected, the Home Screen in PSE2021 has been updated.

  • Q: Will this help the typical digital scrapbooker?
  • A: No, but it’s fun to explore at least once.


Adobe Sensei AI Technology
Adobe is working hard to perfect automated edits for your photos. For PSE2021, new automated editing of images includes:
  • Adding motion
  • Fine-tuning face tilt
  • Automatically colorizing
  • One-click selection of the subject
  • Adjusting facial features
  • Skin smoothing
  • Fun filters & effects
  • Whiten teeth, make skies blue, remove haze, reduce camera shake, and fix tilted photos
Is this enough to make ME want to upgrade? No. Most of these things have to be edited after you automate them. For me, it’s easier and better to just do things the old fashioned way.
However, I do love that AI technology is greatly improving the performance of selection tools with each new version of PSE.
  • Q: Will this help the typical digital scrapbooker?
  • A: If you have a version of PSE that is a couple years old or more, you should notice an improvement in selections made with the selections tools, Refine Edge and Select Subject. You will not likely notice a difference if you have PSE2020.



Guided Edits
Here at Digital Scrapper, we do not currently teach using any of the 58 guided edits included in PSE2021. But if you are interested, here are three new features:
  • Duotone Effect. Apply cool, custom duotone effects to your photos for a beautiful two-color creation. Choose from custom pre-set social sizes, add a gradient, and more!
  • Perfect Landscape. Easily replace skies, remove haze, and erase unwanted objects to create epic outdoor scenes. Powered by Adobe Sensei.
  • Recompose. With step-by-step help, it’s easier than ever to select an object and change its position, size, and more.
Want to learn more about the new features of Photoshop Elements 2021? Read the full Adobe introduction here.
Straight Talk — Should YOU Upgrade?
If you’d like straight talk and upgrade advice for digital scrapbookers, here it is.
  • Do you own Photoshop Elements 2018 or earlier? Then I say upgrade now. You will have Adobe’s latest selection technology and stay current with our classes and tutorials.
  • Do you own PSE 2019 or PSE 2020? Then my recommendation is to sit tight and plan to upgrade next year at this time.

12 Responses

  1. Barbara
    | Reply

    Have PSE 2019 but have started PS and find it fairly easy to do but of course still much to learn. Wondering though if the past purchased classes of PS and PSE are good for the newer versions or will these be updated?
    Thanks for all the wonderful info shared, you guys are great to learn from.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Great question, Barbara. We do our best to make sure our classes stay up with newer versions. If something big changes the instructor will make notes in the classroom. Hope that helps. Glad you’re enjoying Photoshop!

  2. Genie Wooden
    | Reply

    Does it have everything PSE15 has and just added new features or did it take anything out of PSE21 that was in PSE15

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Great question, Genie. The one thing you’ll find missing is ELive. Adobe has discontinued that feature.

      • Genie Wooden
        | Reply

        Thank you for answering, I was up in the air about upgrading… now I’m not!

  3. Lynn Wiggins
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for the information. I have PSE19 and went straight to the blog for your opinion on upgrading. I will take your advice and wait! Thanks again.

  4. Kelly
    | Reply

    Have you heard about any compatibility issues with Mac Catalina?

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Kelly. The general public is just now starting to use the program. But in my personal experience, PSE 2021 works great with Catalina. I would suggest downloading the trial version and checking it out on your computer.

  5. Cynthia Dennis
    | Reply

    I’m updating. I still have PSE 13 and currently PSE 15. I do believe it’s time to go forward. LOL

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      GREAT plan, Cynthia!

  6. Beverly Powell
    | Reply

    I have PSE 2019 and still find myself using 15 sometimes.

  7. Margaret Lovejoy
    | Reply

    I would use virtually none of the so-called upgrades so will sit tight with PSE 2020 and maybe upgrade next year. Thanks Jen.

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