All posts tagged ‘photos’

File Under: Software & Tools

New Versions of Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements from Adobe

ElementsboxAdobe has announced new versions of its Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements photo and video editing suites for the Windows platform. These suites are what the company refers to as its “hobbyist-level” offerings, the little siblings to its flagship editing products, Photoshop and Premiere. Which isn’t to say they’re under-powered. In fact, each application packs a substantial number of features into a $100 package, with the emphasis clearly on ease of use, online sharing and quick execution of common tasks. And while the Elements apps may fall short of expectations for professionals or “prosumers,” they will appeal greatly to their target audience: mom and dad, kids, or anyone new to working with digital media.

Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements will be available toward the end of September for Windows XP and Vista and will cost $100 each. There will be bundle available with both apps for $150. A Mac version of Photoshop Elements is due at a later date (it’s on a different release schedule than the Windows version). There is no Premiere Elements for Mac, but that gap is nicely filled by Apple’s iMovie.

The Elements line last got updated in the fall of 2007, and the newest versions of both apps pack in the enhancements. The clear standout is the integration of Adobe’s new online sharing service, Both Photoshop and Premiere Elements now offer automatic syncing and backup of your images and videos through the new service. is essentially Photoshop Express, combined with pieces of the new Elements desktop software.

When you fire up either Elements app for the first time, you’ll be given an option to sign up for a free account (there’s also a pay version with more storage space). Once Elements has your account info, using the new features is dead simple — just select the folder you want to back up away you go. All backup and syncing operations are handled in the background — no need to wait or pause what you’re doing.


If you make some changes using the online editor at, the next time you open the desktop software, it’ll update to match your changes. And don’t worry, it wont overwrite anything on your local drive — any changes will be stacked on top of the original as a non-destructive edit, much the way Photoshop Lightroom works.

For those not interested in the new online features, fear not, both apps have plenty of new features on the desktop side as well. Of course, both Elements products continue Adobe’s flagrant disregard for the user interface conventions of Windows (or any other platform), but as long as you can get past that, the new versions have some very nice new tools.


Photoshop Elements now offers a very slick Scene Cleaner feature, which builds on the Photomerge tool that debuted in the last version of Elements.

Where Photomerge was designed to combine several images to find the best overall composite (handy for group shots where Grandma closed her eyes), Scene Cleaner works in the opposite direction, taking several photos and allowing you simply brush away unwanted subjects, such as tourists cluttering up your image of the Eiffel Tower.

Also new is the Smart Brush, which makes it easy to apply pre-set effects as a mask without having to understand that that’s what you’re doing. More advanced users can then move in and change and manipulate the mask and effects. But even using the default settings, the Smart Brush is one of the easiest ways you’ll find to selectively touch up an image.

There’s also a new set of “Quick Fix” tools designed to make it easier to do common retouching tasks like whitening teeth, brightening blue skies, enhancing sunsets or softening skin, all while retaining nice sharp edges and details.


On the video editing side, the new Adobe Premiere Elements now supports AVCHD video, which should be welcome news for auteurs wielding those new tapeless HD cameras.

The software also features an InstantMovie tool that can create professional-looking effects through a simple drag and drop theming tool. There’s also a new “green screen” tool that makes it easy to merge video or superimpose your subject on top of another scene, without needing sophisticated video editing skills.

Once you’ve got your video looking the way you want it, Premiere can burn it off to DVD or Blu-ray and offers publishing options for just about any screen size — from mobile phones to HDTV. There’s also an option to upload your movie directly to YouTube.

Pricing for the new web service is tiered. At the bottom level, there’s a simple Photoshop Express account, which hasn’t changed; you’ll still get 5 GB of storage for free. The next level up is the Basic Membership, which you can sign up for through either Elements app. A Basic account is still free and offers the same 5 GB storage limit, but it gives you access to the automatic backup features as well as tutorials and some additional themes.

Also available is the Plus membership, which will set you back $50 per year, but bumps the storage to 20 GBs and offers a steady stream of updated themes, video tutorials, hints, trick and ideas.

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One Man Photoshop: Pixlr is Slick

Pixlr edit window

New online image editor Pixlr is closer to Photoshop than web-based Adobe’s Photoshop Express. And Pixlr was created by one person.

Sweden-based developer Ola Sevandersson spent a year writing–and re-writing–his Flash-based image editor. He also maintained a full-time job as the development manager for a Swedish web community.

The reason Pixlr feels so much like a desktop app may be its menus. The standard top bar begins with File. Creating new images, or loading from your computer occurs via this menu, and it doesn’t feel buggy (except I cannot load in an image now, which could be caused by all the attention this project is receiving today). Other online image editors use HTML forms for uploading, or partially implement the desktop menu metaphor.

Maybe the best part: Pixlr is the only online image editor I’ve seen that has layers, which is a necessary feature for all but the most basic of edits. Yes, there are still some features missing, but this is already more usable for me than Photoshop Express, and other online photo editors. See links to our coverage of Pixlr’s competitors at the bottom of this post.

Pixlr creator Ola SevanderssonWebmonkey had a chance to talk to Sevandersson about Pixlr, his development process, and what he has planned for the tool.

How is Pixlr different from Photoshop Express?

The difference between PSX [Photoshop Express] and Pixlr is that while Adobe doesn’t want to create a free online replacement tool for their Photoshop Elements and other licensed software I just want to create an online tool that will satisfy the 80% of the photo enthusiasts needs. I am well aware of that it’s much more work left to do before Pixlr will accomplish what Elements do, but this is just the first beta launched.

How long did it take you to write Pixlr?

Yes, the first line of code was written in august 2007, but it was not full time and done by a single person. The code is rewritten several times to get the overall performance up and the app to work. To get the performance up and keep the size down I have written all of the controls my self and not used the built in flash controls.

Any plans to make money? A year is a long time for just a labor of love…

All you need is love and I love bitmap algorithms. The plan for Pixlr is to license the techniques and do small app spin-offs’, and there is some ides of a PRO app (Maybe on the desktop?).

What other features are coming soon?

Crop tool, text tool and more auto adjustments are the first things in the development plan. API and other development tools are on the wish list too.

The dotted line [to show selection as the user drags the mouse] will be added soon. Some features was ignored in this release, I just wanted to get the application out to the public so I could get some feedback and know if I was going in the right direction with the product.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Photoshop Express: Now With Easier Uploads, More Printing Options

adobe6.jpgAdobe recently pushed out an small update for its Photoshop Express online photo editing service. Among the new features are a new desktop uploader and image printing options via Shutterfly.

The new desktop uploader is built using Adobe AIR and allows you to send photos to Photoshop Express with a simple drag and drop. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about it, but it does provide an easier-to-use alternative to the web uploader.

Adobe has also included some new options for the Resize tool, including presets optimized for mobile sites, blogs, e-mail or online profiles.

The new Shutterfly integration means that you can easily order prints of your favorite photos. But perhaps even better, anyone you share photos with can also order prints through Shutterfly, which means getting your pictures to less tech-savvy family members is potentially much easier.

Photoshop Express has been on a bumpy ride lately with downtime and some other hassles plaguing users, but, while the service is still a beta, Adobe assures us that those problems have been solved.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Adobe AIR is in Your Creative Suite, Firing Scripts

AirlogoAdobe has rolled out a new release of AIR, the company’s on/offline web app development framework. AIR 1.1 is primarily a localization update with additional language support. But coinciding with the release is a new development framework that appears to open the door to AIR-based photo editing applications.

It isn’t ready for prime time just yet, but Adobe has taken the wraps off SwitchBoard, an AIR framework for interacting with Adobe Creative Suite apps.

SwitchBoard is a Flex library (ActionScript 3.0) that allows AIR apps to have roundtrip communications with, for instance, Adobe PhotoShop.

Although the documentation is a bit vague, it looks like developers will be able to hook into Photoshop’s native scripting language through their AIR apps. That means, in theory, that your AIR app could send an image to Photoshop, fire off a Photoshop script, for instance a recorded Lomo-effect script, and then pipe the results back to the AIR app.

So far there don’t seem to be an example applications available, but according the Adobe Labs page, the tools make creating more sophisticated AIR apps much simpler.

Adobe AIR developers can create applications that participate as first class citizens in creative workflows. Each SwitchBoard solution consists of an AIR application written for SwitchBoard, JavaScripts, and the SwitchBoard service that delivers the scripts to the Creative Suite applications. AIR developers only need to include a Flex library called SwitchBoard.swc in their projects in order to send and receive scripts to and from Creative Suite applications.

If SwitchBoard sounds appealing, you can grab the installer and SDK through the Adobe Labs site.

[via John Nack]

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Bug Delays Flickr Support in Photoshop Express

adobe6.jpgBack when Photoshop Express, Adobe’s online image editing tool, was first released it it lacked what many considered a killer feature — support for editing and organizing your Flickr photos. Adobe was set to release an update today that would have added Flickr support to Photoshop Express, however, a last minute bug prompted the company to delay the new features.

Without Flickr support, many users have elected to stick with other online editors like Picnik or FotoFlexer, so naturally Adobe wants to get the Flickr support up and running.

Based on the original press release that Adobe sent over last night, the Flickr features sound as if will they work much like the existing Photobucket or Picasa tools — just give Express your Flickr credentials and it will pull in all your images for editing.

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