In the latest Elements, the changes are small but useful.
Organizing and Sharing:
Until now, Mac users didn’t have the Organizer—instead, the Mac edition of Elements 8 came with Bridge. We suspect that most of Adobe’s efforts this round went into achieving parity between the Mac and PC editions, because there aren’t too many earth-shaking improvements to the Organizer.
That’s fine: We didn’t have much to complain about in the last version. You can view your images in a typical grid or see them as thumbnails arranged on a calendar. You can create tags and label your pictures singly or in batches. And you can use People Recognition to find and tag faces of friends and family.
With Elements 8, we complained that, while it was easy enough to share to Adobe’s Photoshop.com online service, sharing to Facebook was impossible. That’s been fixed with this upgrade, and now it’s also easy to share to Flickr or Kodak Gallery.
Having just tried out 10 photo-book services in our November issue, we were looking forward to giving Elements’ revamped book-creation process a spin. Unfortunately, it let us down somewhat.
The positive includes the ability to lay out your book and then send it to Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly for printing—you can also print it yourself, along with other creative projects such as collages. It’s a definite improvement over Elements 8, since you can choose the layouts you want and add images with ease.
But the process is otherwise a bit frustrating. If you use lots of high-resolution images, switching between pages is fairly slow. You can’t move images from one page to another, and if you choose more pictures than the layouts can fit, whatever’s left over is unceremoniously excised. For shorter books made from medium-resolution photos, though, it’s just fine.
The Photoshop.com service is becoming an even bigger part of Elements. Sign up for free, and you get 2GB of online storage. To facilitate automatic online backup, toss your photos into an album and check the box for Backup/Sync. Elements will automatically back them up to Photoshop.com behind the scenes, and keep you apprised of its progress in a small pop-up window. If you run Elements on multiple computers, you can use Photoshop.com to sync their photo libraries. Either way, your pictures will be available anywhere online.
And if you share to Photoshop.com via an online album, you’ll be able to show what’s synced to your family and friends. The viewing interface is well-designed and, if you pernit it, your viewers will be able to download high-res files and either print them at home or order prints via Shutterfly. It’s much more elegant, less cluttered, and slightly more private than many photo-sharing sites, and a great choice if lots of people are itching to see your pictures.
If you shoot mostly JPEGs and share a lot of pictures, you should consider an upgraded membership: For $50 per year, you’ll get 20GB of online storage. Note, though, that if you shoot a lot of RAW, or want to back up edited TIFF files, you’ll likely run out of this expanded space in short order. But lovers of slideshow, collage, and greeting-card graphic themes will enjoy the extra, seasonal content that also comes with the upgrade to Photoshop.com Plus.