Review: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Works Nicely for This Beginner


Screencap of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9

Before I start my review, I wanted to state up front that I’m a beginner at using these types of programs.

Those of you who are Photoshop experts will probably tell me to do really fun stuff, I need the full Photoshop program, not just Elements.

But I have to walk before I can run, so I was really happy to receive a review copy of the bundled Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Premiere Elements 9. After I installed the program, I had three main goals:

1. Organize my photos.

2. Create a much-needed author photo for my website and books.

3. Make sure I had off-site backup in case I lost my hard drive.

The first step after installation was a quick tutorial for beginners that was nicely laid out via slide show. I also signed into my Adobe account which offers free automatic online back-up for up to 2G of photos and videos. Step three was accomplished without any effort at all.

Next, I imported all the photos on my desktop hard drive to the Photoshop. As you can see from the screen cap above, there are a number of options clearly laid out once that’s finished. I went into the organizer tab and, using People Recognition, quickly tagged me, my kids, and my husband. Once those were done, I sent the program fishing around for unidentified people in photos.

I was able to identify and tag my sister, my mother, and my in-laws. I was afraid that it would also tag my comic book covers as needing identification but People Recognition definitely knew the difference between artwork and photos.

alternate history, erotica, Vikings, Native Americansalternate history, erotica, Vikings, Native Americans

This cover photo was tagged as needing identification.

There were one amusing glitch which wasn’t the fault of the Photoshop Elements. The program pulled up the cover of my novella, Freya’s Gift, as needing identification.

Since the cover was created using a real photo, it makes perfect sense that Elements would identify it via facial recognition.

The other thing I found incredibly useful about the organization page was that I could see all my photos together. I’m using Windows 7 and, in theory, it should do the same thing. But Elements organized them a better on importing and it was easier to get an overall view of what I have.

It took at least an hour to import all the photos. I have several hundred so more would obviously take a longer period of time.

Next, I moved onto creating an author head shot. Like a lot of people, I hate having my picture taken. I also tend to hate the photos of me. But there’s one photo I like, which was taken on my twins First Communion.

But, obviously, I can’t use that as my author head shot. Even if I wanted photos of the twins on-line—and I’m leery of that–I needed a close up photo.

So with my youngest son, the tech genius minion, I cropped the headshot out of the original photo and then resized my head shot to get just the right size for my website.

I think it came out rather well.

Thus emboldened, I played around with resizing photos and images for my online icons. Not being familiar with pixel size as I should be, I was pleased I was able to resize using percentages instead. The program aksi allowed me to make mistakes that could easily be undone. First, I went with a new Twitter icon. I’d been using an icon that included someone holding two guns and said “Don’t Bother Me, I’m Writing,” but after the shootings Arizona it no longer seemed ironically funny. I tried a couple of different images, nixed several because the image quality didn’t hold up to smaller size, and finally decided on Black Canary.

My New Twitter Icon

Note: Yes, I know this is beginning stuff. What I most wanted to know is how fast it would take to learn and how much I could do without spending time intensively reading directions. Being able to use programs without studying directions is my own personal baseline for how user-friendly they are.

Next up, I plan to play around with some of the photo editing features, including removing background images, changes in contrast and colors, and even creating some cool effects, like this neon-colored photo of the youngest son.

Neon version of the tech genius minion

Because I was sent a double-pack that included Premiere Elements video editing software, I wanted to create a book trailer for one of my novels.

Unfortunately, this experiment has been delayed because the tech genius minion used his new video camera to film himself and his sister and then took over the desktop for editing. Originally, his film was thirty minutes long. Edited, it’s down to twenty minutes and he added sound. I’ll spare you his efforts. Twenty minutes of my twins hamming it up is probably twenty minutes too much for anyone.

I want to say “even a child can use this program without directions,” but I suspect that children are more tech savvy in many households than adults.

However, this would be a very good program to teach children photo manipulation. In the “Create” selection, they can create cards, calenders, and slide shows. And the “share” button allows quick and easy sharing on the internet.

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