Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 review

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As predictable as the leaves falling from the trees, every autumn brings another refresh of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Now in its 12th iteration, it’s growing increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that Adobe’s developers have, understandably, run out of ideas.

Let’s start with the positives and the pick of the meagre list of new features. Once again, borrowing from its professional stablemate (Adobe Photoshop CC) Elements 12 introduces Content-Aware Move, a feature that allows you to draw around an object in a photo and drag it to a new position in the frame.

This is a decent party trick, and Elements did a stand-up job of filling in the gap left behind by the moved subject in our tests – a little work with the cloning brush was often enough to rectify glitches that Content-Aware Move left behind. Yet, there are relatively few situations where we find ourselves yearning to shift objects in photos, a feature destined to be forgotten and little used.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

Adobe also introduces two new Guided Edits to Elements 12, which the software uses to walk you through advanced editing processes. The first is PhotoPuzzle, which turns photos into pseudo jigsaw puzzles, even allowing you to detach individual pieces and drop them elsewhere on the image.

It’s a Marmite feature that will either leave you marvelling at the ease with which you can create a fun image, or retching at the thought of reducing your images to an end-of-the-pier novelty gift.

We prefer the second: Zoom Burst. This simulates the photographic technique of twisting the zoom barrel as you take a photo to create the sense of motion. The results are reasonably convincing, although, as with the real thing, subjects have to be positioned almost dead centre, so your creative options are limited.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

In a nod to the Instagram crowd, the one-click Quick Edits now include a smattering of filters and textures that can be quickly applied to photos, with preview thumbnails showing the effect before it’s applied. And if you have a four-legged friend who gets white-eye every time you take a photo with flash, the red-eye tool has been adapted with an option for pets. Yes, this is the thinnest of gruel.

The other half of Elements is the Organizer, and here the major new addition is integration with Adobe’s Revel online service. This allows you to save albums online, and then view and edit the photos in the free Revel apps, which are sadly only available for iOS currently.

That said, the Revel apps are beautifully presented – they’re much more attractive than Elements’ Organizer, in fact – and edits made on a tablet are instantly synched to the desktop and vice versa, provided both devices have a connection.


Software subcategoryPhoto editing software


Processor requirement2GHz

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
Other operating system supportWindows 8

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