| DIGITAL GURU |
RANGEFINDER • NOVEMBER2013 112
features of that release, which made paying
for an upgrade from the previous version
worthwhile to many photographers.
Now three years later, the same magical
Content-Aware tool is available in Elements
12, which costs just $79 for an upgrade
from Elements 11 or $99 for a new copy.
The same technology is also used to fill
in missing edges with the newly added
Apparently, users of Photoshop Elements
have been pining for a red-eye removal tool
that would work on pets as well as humans.
Their request has been answered with Pet-
Eye removal, which does the same thing for
animals as it does for humans.
It’s these features that make Photoshop
Elements 12 more than adequate as an
image-editing program for many serious
photographers, not just amateurs. It’s also
a great way to learn Photoshop as one can
use the quick or guided edits and then ac-
cess the Expert mode to see layers and how
particular effects were created.
Overall, I am impressed with the latest
version of Photoshop Elements as it feels
like one is working in a less bloated version
of Photoshop. Also, it has a familiar feel to
it for long-time Photoshop users.
If you want to see for yourself if Pho-
toshop Elements 12 could be a substi-
tute for Photoshop, download a 30-day
trial copy from Adobe’s website. You can
also check out a more in-depth review
by Stan Sholik in Rangefinder December.
It’s worth noting that a key component of
Photoshop Elements 12 is its integration
with a new cloud service called Adobe
Revel ( adoberevel.com). Revel lets users
store images in the Cloud, and when edits
are done either on a computer using Elements or on a mobile device using Photoshop Touch, the edits and changes are
immediately shown on other devices as
long as they are connected via the Internet.
It’s a way for users to make sure edited im-
ages are always up to date. Revel is free for
uploading an unlimited number of photos
in the first 30 days, and then a maximum of
50 photos a month. An unlimited plan costs
$5.99 per month.
Adobe Premiere Elements 12
If you want to use Adobe Premiere Pro for
video editing, along with Photoshop CC,
you’d have to pay an additional $20 per
month for the program or subscribe to the
whole suite of 20+ programs in Creative
Cloud for $50 per month ($600 per year).
Just as Photoshop Elements is a consumer
version of Photoshop, Premiere Elements is
a scaled-down video editing program that’s
simpler to master than Premier Pro. As
more still photographers explore capturing video, this program could prove to be
a good way to master video editing. It is
available on its own for $99 or as a bundle
with Photoshop Elements for $149.
Snapheal Pro by MacPhun
Even if you use Lightroom or Aperture as
your primary program for sorting images
and doing some simple image editing, you
will often need something more substantial to perform complex tasks. Photoshop
and even Photoshop Elements might be
overkill for some users. There is now a
low-cost alternative that will perform
several functions and can be installed as a
plug-in, making it instantly available from
within Lightroom or Aperture. It’s the latest version of Snapheal Pro by MacPhun,
an innovative Ukrainian developer that
has recently opened an office in California,
which is managed by former Nik Software
people. The Mac-only program costs just
$40 and can be downloaded directly from
When you first launch Snapheal Pro, it
defaults to the content-aware mode, which
works in much the same way as the one in
Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 12.
The other two modes are labeled Retouch
and Adjust. Essentially, the two modes are
similar to those you’ll find in any pro-level
editing program for adjusting exposure, color temperature, contrast, etc. While there
are some hints as to what each function
does, there are no automated or guidance
steps that you’ll find in Photoshop Elements
and other programs aimed at amateurs. It’s
worth noting that Snapheal is a standalone
version available for just $15 that performs
the same functions as the Pro version, but
with fewer fine-tuning controls.
Beautune by EverImaging
Beautune is an interesting new standalone
Mac-only program from a Chinese company ( everimaging.com) that can be used
to enhance portraits. At the time of writing,
Beautune was available on the Mac App
store for just $15. I would consider it to be
a junior alternative to Portrait Professional.
It offers a variety of separate tools for
improving skin, eyes and mouth. An adjustable size brush tools is used to brush the
effect over the relevant area of a portrait. A
disconcerting aspect is that the changes are
not shown in real time. Instead you have to
apply the edits to see the changes, which
can then be viewed before and after. If you
don’t like the result, you can undo the effect.
Beautune is easy to learn and could prove
useful to a photographer who has not mastered Photoshop. Because the program is
new, it will be likely be updated quickly and
some of the quirks will be rectified. RF
Above: Premiere Elements 12 let’s you edit video without subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.