Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 9

The newest release of Adobe Elements has hit the streets but with only a few new features and improvements to the core programs this may or may not be worth an upgrade.

Ease of Use, Performance: 18/25
Look & Feel: 18/25
Features 18/25
How much I enjoy 15/25

Total: 69/100

Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 9

I have a love hate relationship with Adobe Elements, not other Adobe programs but the more novice friendly editions of editing programs for images and videos. I love Photoshop Elements and have used them for years, more years than I have been writing up reviews for that matter and enjoy Photoshop Elements.

I purchased a couple of editions of Photoshop Elements before I started writing and still think PhotoShop Elements is the best software for editing pictures in the less than $200 category. That is the love part; the hate side is Premiere Elements that should be redirected toward a more advanced audience and not novice or beginner users for video editing.

I do not mean you should not purchase it but novice users who want a simple and easy video editing solution should steer clear. Premiere Elements 9, and prior editions, are for serious intermediate editors only who have really good computers to edit with, not first time amateurs.

Adobe needs to up their system requirements for the video editing software and at least add more warnings about compatibility with camcorders and computer systems. They need to make sure that users are aware that not all camcorders and computers are created equal and their program needs a more video editing tweaked system.

Adobe has a great program history in image and video editing but the problems with the programs and current releases of its entry level programs are stability and system requirements. Photoshop Elements 9 is a great image editing program that can edit common image types like JPEG and RAW images for professional looking results.

The Photoshop Elements 9 release does contain a few improvements but with the prior problems of stability being addressed upgrading from previous releases may be a worthy purchase. The program does not contain a lot of new features but if you’re going from earlier releases it may be worthwhile as an upgrade.

The start of your journey with Photoshop Elements 9 will be installation and using the interface of the main program, installation should be painless but may take about a half hour. Once installed Adobe will repeatedly offer you to sign up for their Adobe ID feature and will continue to do so when you open the program if you don’t sign up.

Elements Organizer

The Adobe ID feature is a way for Adobe and you to keep track of what programs you own and serial numbers along with support requests and such. It’s a great feature but a waste of time if you really don’t want to use it as every time you open the program it will ask for the ID.

Another annoying feature is the opening splash screen that will open every time you open either the editor or organizer for both Premier Elements and Photoshop Elements. They have given you the option to just open the editor in Photoshop Elements but with both programs you’re still treated to a big splash screen listing all those programmers that came up with the program for thirty seconds or so.

The organizer for both the images and videos is nearly identical and simple to use with plenty of nice features, but it does take some getting used to. It also takes a hefty computer to use the features as images do take a lot of memory and having many open on the screen at the same time but as small thumbnails can take a lot of processing and memory power.

From the organizer you can do simple edits, upload to various services like storage on the internet through a subscription based service at Adobe and more. The organizer is nice but if you have your own system like simple folders and naming them it may not be a main feature for many to use.

Once you’re into the editor you can begin the serious work but even with the main tools as sidebar icons several features and enhancements are still in drop down menus that you may have to dig through. I have had no problem finding all the features and Adobe Photoshop has largely remained the same for several releases so finding things is pretty simple for me, but I’m used to it.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the program you can take some simple images and create professional looking results that will fool a school into thinking a professional photographer created them. We had this result a few years ago with our sons photos for his senior year in high school and the same can still be said.

Spot Healing Tool

Photoshop Elements 9 has one new feature that is worth mentioning but mainly the new tweaks that are improvements are what the new edition is all about. If you’re using the Elements 8 edition this may not be a worthwhile upgrade as it really does not contain all that much in improvements.

Content Aware Fill using the Spot Healing Brush is not all that Adobe would have you believe it is, at least not what they show on their videos. Their videos show a quick selection of objects like a person in a scene and the program instantly removes and cleans up the spot where the person was at.

Like any other tool or edit feature this one makes a single job simple and easy taken in context, for some objects in some scenes it works easily in only a few steps but in other scenes it does not work at all. In one image, a photo of my home, I found it a simple process to edit out an entire plant holder wishing well that is several feet tall but had problems editing out a simple post.

Sometimes the content aware works well and other times it does not but in all cases it does need at least a little tweaking and final editing. It really depends more on what is behind the object you are trying to get rid of, smoother backgrounds are easier for the program to deal with than multiple textured ones.

I had no problems using the editor and the new Healing brush tool along with the host of other tools that I would normally use to edit and fix images. Photoshop Elements 9 is a great program and on its own I would highly recommend it unless you just purchased the release they sent out last year, Elements 8.

Photoshop Elements 9

Adobe Premiere Elements 9 is another great program but once again you have to watch what you’re getting yourself in for with this heavy program. Premiere Elements 9 is a release that may not work for you if you’re not using a good system or a camcorder on the list of compatible devices from Adobe.

Going from reviews of professionals the program works great and it does have some very good features but I have had nothing but problems from the start with this program. I actually have complaints about both programs and the general way they behave from start to finish but they are both still good programs.

Importing RAW images works well but you cannot see them as thumbnail views in the Organizer while you can in the Editor, this is confusing to me as you can only see RAW images in the organizer in the preview pane. In the Organizer the thumbnail views of RAW images are simple icons while the preview pane has your selected image viewed correctly.

In the Editor while opening images you can see all the thumbnail views of images so you can change the thumbnail size to extra large and see the images before even selecting them. In Organizer you can only see the preview pane image alone so you have to guess which image you want to deal with or go one at a time to each image to even see them in the organizer.

As it is you can have an easier time finding RAW images if you are not sure of the image name or file number using the editor and not the organizer. Trying to find that better image of my son for editing his Senior High School pictures was easier in the editor.

I went into the editor and imported pictures from the File/Folder option and I could view the whole folder of RAW images I wanted to select from. I am not sure why they have this available in the editor and not in the organizer but this is a common type of problem with several things in the programs.

While using the image editor Photoshop Elements on a Hewlett Packard laptop I saw some performance decrease when using Photoshop Elements compared to my desktop computer but it was still useable. The video editor Premiere Elements 9 brought my Quad core 2.9 GHz 12 GB RAM system to its knees and even crashed several times for unknown reasons during video editing.

According to system requirements for video editing this system should be just fine and it is with the bigger brother to Premiere Elements in Premiere Elements Pro Creative Suite 5. I have had little or no problems editing the same video clips in Premiere Pro and with the same clips and computer Premiere Elements crashes several times or stutters with editing and loading.

Premiere Elements 9

I have gotten video clips edited and working fine but have had several problems like long times where the program does not respond and takes a long time to do some editing. Importing video even had the video window disappearing at times so I was not sure if video was still being processed by the program.

I did get things working but several times I had to restart my computer while editing video using Premiere Elements 9 which I have not had to do with Premiere Pro. I just found it incredible that with the same computer the more basic version of a program would not work nearly as well as the more expensive and advanced one.

Another complaint I have with Premiere Elements is the lack of useful names and hiding things deep in menus, several times I had to find features buried three and four menus deep. This hunt and search for tools and features is annoying but with a little practice and program use you can get the hang of things as long as you have a system that works with the program.

Actually I should rephrase that as I really do not recommend Premiere Elements 9 for anyone, it would work better with a system that can easily handle video editing. With the myriad problems and slow response of the program as well as the general consensus from other users of Premiere Elements 9 I really cannot make my recommendation for this part of the bundled software.

Adobe Premiere Elements 9 follows along the same lines as the previous edition with some bugs fixed but a general lack of a stable program on a system that works just fine with other Adobe programs of more complexity. Photoshop Elements 9 however is a whole other ball of wax or kettle of fish or whatever phrase you could want, Photoshop Elements 9 is excellent.

If you are reading this and just cannot make up your mind about getting both Premiere Elements 9 and Photoshop Elements 9 just let other users give you their opinions. Go to Amazon and Newegg and see what people think of the programs separately and even read the review for the bundle many have complaints for Premiere Elements but not Photoshop.

Many applaud the Photoshop editor as a great if not excellent program while too many hate the Premiere Elements editor and have found it does not work on their computers. I just cannot recommend the Premiere Elements 9 edition as a video editor but do highly recommend Photoshop Elements 9 as an upgrade from previous older editions.

Adobe Website