Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Review

We take a look at what's new in the latest version of Elements and put its improved performance claims to the test.


|  Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 in Adobe Elements
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Features
Ease Of Use
Performance
Verdict
System Requirements

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 is the latest version of Photoshop Elements and it comes equipped with several new tools, improved features and of course, the essential tools we've all come to expect in software packages. You can buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 as a standalone product, no subscription to the Creative Cloud is needed, for around £98 or less. There are also 64-bit and 32-bit versions available on download.

Elements is more of a consumer-based piece of photo editing software that's definitely designed for the photo enthusiast who wants to edit their holiday snaps, landscapes and other photos from their collection with software that's easy to use and not too expensive. Here, we put it to the test to see how good the latest version really is. 

 

Photoshop Elements 14
 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Features

 

New features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 

  • Camera Shake Removal tool 
  • Haze Removal tool

Enhanced features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 

  • Quick Edits
  • Find photos quicker - Photo Organiser 
  • Guided Edits
  • Effects suggestions 
  • Difficult selections made easier 
  • View photos on a map 

When you first open Elements 14, you'll see the familiar options bar across the top but below this is a grey bar that features the words: 'eLive', 'Quick', 'Guided' and 'Expert'. eLive features useful guides and tutorials, Quick opens up a workspace where you can quickly perform the most common editing tasks, Guided provides step-by-step instructions to help you make a range of edits and finally, the Expert view lets you edit and enhance your photos using the complete set of tools available in Photoshop Elements 14. 

For those new to the software, you can access the online help / learning centre where video and text tutorials can be viewed. There's also a 'getting started' guide available online, too. 


 

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Ease Of Use

Photoshop Elements offers several levels of editing, from quick and basic photo fixes and easy-to-use editing workflows to advanced colour correction and composition in the Editor workspace. No matter what workspace you are in, you'll have access to the photo bin where thumbs of images you're working on are stored and you can also access the improved photo organiser from here. 

Organiser: The Organiser is a very simplified version of Lightroom's Libary and it's where you can view, add and organise images you want to work on in Elements. For those new to image management, you'll soon find your way around the interface as it's really easy to navigate, plus it's not something you must use, it's simply there as an option. The Organiser has actually got a little quicker to use and you can use it to find photos by a person's name, where an image was taken or even by where ou were when the photo was taken. We added several images from our photo library and the Organiser responded really quickly, plus it recognised and grouped portraits together with ease. You can also view photos on a map, too which is a nice feature. 

 


 

Quick: Here you can rotate, resize and make quick fixes to images quickly and easily. Basically, you have access to all of the most common edits people make to images so you're not hunting around for the right tool, wasting time as a result. 

Guided: The Guided view provides step-by-step instructions on how to achieve various results. Predefined effects can be applied to improve brightness, skin tone etc. and each guided edit has an associated image that displays the applied effect when you hover the mouse pointer on it. 

Expert: The Expert view gives users complete access to all of the tools available in Photoshop Elements. It has lighting and colour correction commands, along with tools for fixing image defects, making selections, adding text, painting on your image and more. 

The different editing windows are a nice feature as it gives the user clear editing options they can pick from depending on their level of knowledge and skill. They're really easy to navigate and easy to get to grips with when in use. We'll be taking a closer look at the new tools on offer in each mode as well as how the software, as a whole, performs. 

 


 

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Performance

The software opens up fairly quickly and saves images / shuts down quickly, too. Switching between work areas is also rather speedy as all you have to do is double-click the name of the work area you want to move into. Applying edits, even auto ones, isn't a slow process and when working in the Guided work area you can actually see changes applied in real time which are useful. 

There are plenty of useful tools on offer some of which you'll be familiar with if you've used Elements previously, but there are also some new features found in Elements 14, of which we've tested the performance of below along with the tools / features that have seen enhancements since the previous release.  

 

Quick Edits

If you're wanting to make adjustments with the software's help then this area will be perfect for you. To the left in the toolbar you'll find basic editing tools such as selection, red-eye removal and spot healing tools while on the right are one-click adjustments which can be applied by clicking on a thumb that shows a preview of the image with the edit applied. For example, under Exposure are a series of 6 rectangles all of which have different exposure settings applied. You can also see how the edit will change the look of your image without having to apply it by hovering your mouse cursor over the edit option which is a rather nice and useful feature to have. There's also a slider available to increase / decrease the effect of the adjustment you're applying should you wish to use this instead. 

 

 

Smart Fix, which adjusts multiple settings in one action, actually does a rather impressive job and enhanced all of the images we tested in a pleasant and pleasing way.

Another useful feature of this area is that before and after images can be shown side-by-side as demonstrated below in the image we ran through the Smart Fix filter. 

 

 

Guided Edits

Initially, you'll probably think that Guided Edits are just for beginners and even though the Basic guided edits are probably more aimed towards those new to photo editing, the other guided edits on offer are actually something photographers of all levels may find interesting and useful. Under Special Edits, for example, you can add depth of field, restore old photos, apply tilt-shift effects and much more without too much effort. Under fun filters, there are some options available that won't be everyone's cup of tea however, adding reflections in what essentially is 8 easy steps is a useful feature. Other useful Guided Edits include the ability to merge / blend multiple photos into one, blend shots of the same scene with different exposures to create one image with the correct exposure levels and the ability to remove unwanted objects from a photo. 

You'll find the various Guided Edits organised into sections which can be accessed via a toolbar that appears towards the top of the window when working in this area of the software. 


 

All of the Guided edits have step-by-step instructions walking you through how to use them and some even have buttons you simply have to click to apply certain effects or part of the edit. The Basic edits also have sliders you can tweak manually should you wish to improve on the correction made by the Auto Fix option. There are some great little time savers available and the Guided Edits are also fun to play around with, too. Some do take a little tweaking to get right but generally, they do perform well and respond quickly. 

 

Guided Edits In Action:

Original image left, adjusted image right. 

 

Original image left, adjusted image right.

 

Original image top, b&w adjusted shown in the second image. 

 

Making Selections

Even the best photo editors can struggle to select hair and fur but Photo Elements selection tools have been improved to make difficult tasks like this a lot easier. In fact, you don't have to be too precise as Elements figures out what you want to be included in the selection and finishes it off. You can also now nudge the selection boundaries to add / remove parts of the image in small increments should you select too much or too little. 


 

 

Haze Removal Tool

The Haze Removal tool is a very interesting feature that comes to Elements as it wasn't long ago that it was introduced to Lightroom. There's an auto Haze Removal tool which makes fog disappear magically at the click of a mouse button or you can select the manual Haze removal tool should you wish to increase / decrease the effect. The tool actually works surprisingly well but do be careful if editing manually as pulling the Haze Reduction and Sensitivity sliders too far to the right can add unwanted noise to the shot.

Left: Shot before adjustment. Right: After Haze Removal tool is used. 

Photo © David Pritchard. 

 

Camera Shake Removal tool 

This tool is designed to fix photos that have been spoilt by camera shake and even though it did remove shake from our shots, the end results didn't always look that great. The shot of the cup below is one example where the final image was a little disappointing although the shaky selfie does look better after running it through the shake removal feature, even if it is slightly oversharp. 

 

 

 

 

Value For Money

Photoshop Elements 14 is now available for £98.16 and unlike Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you don't need a subscription to the Creative Cloud to use it. It's also cheaper than a yearly subscription to Adobe's photography plan which includes Photoshop and Lightroom and costs £8.57 a month (£102.30 a year) or you can pay £17.15 a month just for a single application. 

With Lightroom and Photoshop you do get more advanced controls and features than Elements, however some would say they're not as easy to use and they don't offer near as many automated options as Elements does. 

Another alternative to Adobe Elements would be Paintshop Pro X8 but this is actually much more like Adobe Lightroom and even Adobe Photoshop with built-in HDR creation and RAW editing rolled into one. It's available now for £59.99 (normal version). Other alternatives are Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 or OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.5, both of which scored well in our reviews. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Verdict

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 offers a lot of features (new and old) and automated tools, that perform well, for a reasonable price. The software offers far more options and controls than free software on offer and the hobbyist or someone who's just stepping into the realms of photo editing will definitely find it easy to use.

It is ideal for anyone wanting to edit images easily, with the help of the software if needs be, without having to pay a monthly subscription to do so. All of the controls are easy to learn how to use, plus there are helpful guides and step-by-step instructions should you need guidance on how a particular tool works. It's also packed with features and really useful auto tools that actually do a really excellent job. The interface looks great and generally, it's quick to respond and use.

For those looking for an Adobe product that's simple to use, offers guidance as well as automated tools when needed and produces pleasing results, then Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 is an excellent choice and we Highly Recommended it. 

Visit the Adobe website

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Pros

Easy to use 
Automated controls produce pleasing results  
Plenty of photo-editing features
Quick to install

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Cons

Some of the effects won't be to everyone's liking 
Camera Shake Removal Tool didn't always perform well 
Price isn't much less than a membership to CC offering Lightroom and PS. 

FEATURES  
EASE OF USE  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 has lots of features, is easy to use and for a standalone product, isn't badly priced. 

 

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 System Requirements 

Windows

  • 1.6GHz or faster processor with SSE2 support
  • Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (32-bit versions will be installed on 32-bit systems; 64-bit versions will be installed on 64-bit systems)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1024x768 display resolution (at 100% scale factor)
  • Microsoft DirectX 9 or 10 compatible display driver
  • DVD-ROM drive (for installation from DVD)
  • QuickTime 7 software
  • Internet connection required for product activation and content download

Mac OS

  • 64-bit multicore Intel processor
  • Mac OS X v10.9 or v10.10
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1024x768 display resolution (at 100% scale factor)
  • DVD-ROM drive (for installation from DVD)
  • QuickTime 7 software
  • Internet connection required for product activation and content download

 

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Comments


dannyr 10 46 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2015 12:38PM
Yeah ill stick with Gimp, it might take a bit more getting used to, but seeing that it's free cant really complain.

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NDODS 9 5.2k 127 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2015 8:08PM
An informative well written review which leaves me wondering whether to part with my money are stay with my now rather outdated Photoshop CS 5.

Regards NathanGrinGrinGrin

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