Ease of Use, Performance: 4/5
Look & Feel: 5/5
How much I enjoy: 4/5
Recommendation: 4/5 Stars
Adobe Photoshop Elements has been and continues to be the best low cost photo editing program that has both image editing and a powerful collection of tools that are user friendly. Photoshop Elements 12 also has an extensive organizer that allows you to keeps things nice and tidy no matter how many photos you have.
Photoshop Elements 12 is still a packaged program that you can use for both MAC and Windows computers and has a full set of features. Still a packaged program may seem a bit odd but last year Adobe took most of its popular programs and went to a subscription based system.
Many of the popular and expensive programs are now purchased through a subscription service where you pay monthly or yearly while Elements continues to be a standard package. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are still a standard deal but only Photoshop Elements gets my recommendation again this release.
Check out my upcoming review of Premiere Elements 12 to see why you should avoid that but Photoshop Elements 12 does get at least my begrudging recommendation. Photoshop Elements 12 still has some great features and works extremely well for simple to advanced image editing and organizing but a few problems do creep in.
Photoshop Elements 12 requires an internet connection to activate the product before you can begin to use it as a regular program. If you are not connected to the internet the program will behave like a trial version and work for thirty days then tell you to connect to the internet to continue using it.
If you think this is not a problem I do know people who have laptops they use for personal use but do not connect them to the internet. Customers are also complaining about this on the Adobe forums because they have volume licenses and are needing a way to install them on numerous computers.
During this activation it is required for each license to input an Adobe ID which means for every computer you want to install it on you would need to create a new account using separate email addresses. The forum thread about this had someone trying to install Elements 12 on 50 computers which would be a huge task to create 50 separate accounts using 50 separate emails.
I’m not sure if the individual resolved his issues or went to another program but it is this kind of basic design carelessness that Adobe has me scratching my head about. It’s like the company is trying to lose customers and the newest edition of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements is no different.
Photoshop elements once you get past the installation and activation does work well and continues to be a very user friendly program. When you first open Photoshop Elements you are given a Welcome screen with choices for image editor or organizer.
On the Welcome screen is also a setting to have the program open either editor or organizer in the future as well as display or hide the Welcome screen. If you decide to hide the Welcome screen you can always go the help menu to return to it as well as having the option on the menus to open the other part of Elements whether you’re in the organizer or editor.
The organizer is a handy to keep things neat and tidy with simple to use controls and a filing system that allows you to organize but also store images in the cloud. The organizer can search your system and try to automatically organize images according to media type, people, places and events.
Adobe has brought their Revel cloud based storage to Photoshop Elements with easy album and image upload and retrieval on other devices like tablets and phones. Other organizer features include easy tagging, map location of images and even a quick edit feature.
Image editing using the main editing section ranges from basic to about as advanced as anyone would want for semiprofessional photographers with cropping, content aware fill and actions being the range. Simple cropping, red eye removal and filters to change images from vibrant colors to black and whites are basics of image editors nowadays and Photoshop Elements has been a standard for this for years.
Advanced features where the program can copy parts of images and move them while keeping the image around the moved object a part of the background works well when you want it. Some features are not going to be used much and some are more common but all the features I have tried in all the versions of Photoshop Elements have worked without many problems.
Actions is a new tool that is a great way to edit and improve images using other peoples scripts or lists of edits or you can create your own. Actions are a list of image edits like crop, create layer, add a color fill to the layer and then change exposure.
You can record a list of edits into an action and save that action for future use in image editing but it takes some work to get an action that works well for you. This can become a time saver in your work flow when you have numerous images to edit and have the same tasks to do on each one like I do for my product reviews.
Actions do not work all on their own every time and sometimes you do have a little tweaking and adjusting to get them to work for some of the steps. I am very impressed with this feature and can easily see how it can make editing easier and you can find a wide range of actions online for free and ones you have to pay for.
Photoshop Elements 12 continues to make your image editing an easy task but also continues to add features that make your job easier as well as more enjoyable. While some features like the activation may be a killer for some Photoshop Elements does continue to be a great image editor and organizer.
I still recommend Photoshop Elements 12 as a great image editor for easy editing and a fully feature program for enthusiast and novice photographers. Photoshop Element 12 is available from Adobe directly as a download or from retailers like Amazon as a package for about $70.
Easily edit images
Plenty of great features
New Actions simplifies editing
Internet connection & Adobe ID Account required for installation & activation