Photoshop Elements 15

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is here! Are the new features worth getting this latest version?

That's a question I hear a lot when a new version of Elements comes out. So what's my answer to the question "is it worth upgrading to Photoshop Elements 15?".

My answer is a disappointing "maybe". I'm not a fan of wish-washy answers but I almost always respond this way about whether a version is worth getting because it really depends.

It depends if there's a new feature that you love and you're sure you would use it. Then definitely, you should upgrade to that version of PS Elements.

So let's look at some of the new features in Photoshop Elements 15 and you can decide for yourself if it's worth getting.

• Adjust Facial Features

The one new feature that seems to be getting a lot of buzz is the Adjust Facial Features option.

It's easy to see why. If you could get everyone to smile for the camera you'd have more keepers in your photo files.

This new adjustment is located under the Enhance Menu in Photoshop Elements 15. The dialog panel lets you adjust not only the lips but also the eyes, nose, and face.

Best to make subtle moves in most cases, but the results can be huge!

Photo Credit: Adobe® Photoshop Elements®

Click on the video below to see Adjust Facial Features in action.

• Disable Smart Objects

In previous versions of Elements when you wanted to bring one photo into another photo on its own Layer, I would instruct you to...

  1. Open both photos in PS Elements.
  2. Make the photo that you wanted to add to the other photo active.
  3. Select the whole photo by pressing Command-A on a Mac or Control-A on a PC.
  4. Copy the photo to your computers clipboard by pressing Command-C on a Mac or Control-C on a PC. Then close that photo because you're done with it.
  5. Make the other photo active.
  6. Paste the copied photo by pressing Command-V on a Mac or Control-V on a PC.

In Photoshop Elements 15 I would have you...

  1. Open both photos in PS Elements.
  2. Make the photo that you want to "add the other photo to" active.
  3. Go to the Photo Bin located at the bottom of your window and drag the other photo up to the Active Image Area. Then close the photo that you just dragged up.

With both techniques we get the same results. But with Photoshop Elements 15 it takes half the steps.

You could use the same 3-step technique with earlier versions of Elements. But when you drag the photo up to the Active Image Area it automatically adds the photo as a smart object.

Smart objects are nice because you can resize them, for example way down and then back up and they'll retain their quality.

By contrast, if you resize a "regular" layer down using Free Transform and then try to size it back up later it loses much of its quality as far as being as crisp and sharp as it was originally.

The problem with smart objects is that you can't use certain tools or filters on them. For example you can't use the Healing Brushes or the Clone Stamp tool on a smart object.

With Photoshop Elements 15 you can now disable the smart object feature in the Preferences dialog box.

Once you disable smart objects you can drag a photo from the photo bin to a different photo and it will now be added as a "regular" Layer.

Now you can use any tool or filter you want on that Layer. Basically it eliminates a lot of confusion as well as extra steps.

• Group Layers Into Folders

I really like this new addition to Photoshop Elements 15. It's something that the full version of Photoshop has had for a long time.

It's the ability to add folders to the Layers panel. Then you can put any Layers that you want into the folders.

By having Layers together in a folder they act as a single Layer in certain instances.

For example if you have a Layer Mask on a Layer and then realize that you would like to use that same Layer Mask on other Layers. Put all of those Layers together into a folder and just add the Layer Mask to the whole folder.

Previously you would have to add the Layer Mask to each Layer individually.

Other possibilities are to apply a blend mode to an entire folder of Layers, or change the opacity of the folder.

The other big benefit of grouping Layers into folders is that it helps keep the Layers panel much more organized. You can keep all of the Layers that pertain to a certain element of your file in a single folder and then move that folder up or down in the stacking order. Or show and hide the visibility of all the Layers in a folder at once.

• New Guided Edits

There are five new guided edits in Photoshop Elements 15. Here's a quick rundown of what they are and what they do.

1. Photo Text.

Quickly put a photo inside of text and add special effects (emboss and drop shadow) if you want to the text.

Photo Credit: ®Adobe ®Photoshop Elements

2. Painterly.

This edit guides you through the process of adding an artistic touch to your photo.

Photo Credit: ®Adobe ®Photoshop Elements

3. Effects Collage.

This new guided edit is called "Effects Collage". You can choose to have your photo divided into different panels. The number of panels is up to you (The example below has 3 panels).

Then there's a choice of different effects applied to each panel. You can select from different effects.

Photo Credit: ®Adobe ®Photoshop Elements

4. Speed Pan.

This guided edit puts a motion blur in the background to add the effect of high speed.

Photo Credit: ®Adobe ®Photoshop Elements

5. Frame Creator.

The Frame Creator guided edit helps you add a custom frame that you make to your photos.

You can save your new custom frames to PS Elements frame library.

Photo Credit: ®Adobe ®Photoshop Elements

That completes this look at a few of the new features in Photoshop Elements 15.

Do I think you should get the upgrade?
Like I said at the beginning, 'it's your call'.

Will I get the upgrade?
I get every new upgrade because I run a website about Photoshop Elements. ;)
But even if I didn't feel obligated by my website, I would still get Photoshop Elements 15.

There are more new features that I didn't cover in this article. To get the whole scoop straight from the horses mouth (Adobe) go to this link:

Until next time, this is Rick saying . . . Take care!

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