Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 review

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There’s a smattering of new Guided Edits, where the software holds your hand through pre-set special effects. The newcomers include the Orton Effect – a trick originally performed using different exposures of the same photo to give a “dreamy feel” to the image – which doesn’t work particularly well. The Guided Edit for artificially adding a narrow depth of field is more impressive, especially on portraits where the subject looms large in the foreground, although the resulting images do have a rather synthetic feel to them.

Synthetic is also the best way to describe another of Elements’ new features, which allows you to paint on special effects using Smart Brushes. You can, for example, turn the people in the foreground of a portrait into a pencil sketch, leaving the background as nature intended. Why anyone would want to create such a horrific montage is beyond us.

Indeed, the Elements 10 editor is getting a little top heavy on the gimmicks. Another of the new features is a Picture Stack effect, which makes a single photo look like it’s comprised of several different prints laid on top of one another. It’s clever, but an effect you’ll quickly tire of.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 - photo stack

And if splashing special effects all over your photographs is your thing, then the final new addition to the editor will be welcome. It’s now possible to draw text paths around objects in your photos, and splash on annotations or captions. It’s the kind of effect most often used by amateurish desktop publishing outfits, but if used with care, it can add impact to photography you plan to use on a website or newsletter.

Overall, then, we’re not exactly blown away by the additions to this year’s Photoshop Elements package. Most of the new features fall into the novelty category, and there’s little that will enhance the work of photography enthusiasts. That said, they’re easily ignored, and the fact that Adobe has made some improvements to general responsiveness and performance is welcome.

If you already own Photoshop Elements 9, then put your wallet away: a £65 bet on Gordon Brown winning The X Factor would be better value for money than the cost of this upgrade. But, if you’re new to the Elements family, or haven’t upgraded in a couple of years, Elements remains our pick of the consumer photo-editing packages – albeit based almost entirely on past glories.


Software subcategoryPhoto editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?yes

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