Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 written 13 years ago

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0

… What a bloody great piece of software it is!

After getting a new camera for my birthday, I decided that I might invest in some software to manage my collection of photies. After three years of owning a digital camera I’ve amassed some 4,000 pictures, not a large number of photos by any means, but still makes it difficult to find that picture of a bunny in a field when you want it. My current strategy has just been to create lots of ill-named folders, and rely on some guesswork to find pictures.

So, for the past few weeks I’ve been using Photoshop Elements to sort out my somewhat mangled collection. The “face recognition” function is something of a godsend! You simply say “look for faces”, and it runs away and picks out what it thinks are faces and presents them to you on a nice clean interface, ready for you to tell it who they are.

Tagging photos and adding them to collections isn’t too cumbersome either. Simply drag and drop the appropriate tag onto the photos, and you’re done.

Visually similar photos

Another really handy feature for collating photos is the “find visually similar photos” function. You simply pick a photo that looks like what you’re after, and it’ll run away and find lots of related piccies. The image shown here displays a search for images similar to the disk brake on my bike — the results are all further pictures of the bike. It’s really quite scary how well it finds similarities.

The slideshow function is nice — does pretty much exactly what you want, but what is really clever is the integration with Media Center. Adobe seem to share the same vision as Microsoft that the computer should be at the centre of your home, and have built a function right into Media Center that allows you to connect to your Media Catalogue, and display pictures using the swooshy Media Center interface.

I’ve barely used the more advanced features of ‘Elements, doing nothing more strenuous then clicking “auto fix” on some photos, so I can’t really comment on the Advanced tinkering options. One thing I wish that would have been better is adding captions to photos — none of the major photo managing applications support the idea of very quickly and easily writing a short description of an image. The interface in ‘Elements isn’t bad, it just requries more clicking than I want.

Another feature that I personally will find useful is the “Write tag info to files”. This means that instead of your captions/tags/whatever being locked inside a database file, it’s actually written back to the images themselves. This is something that I was trying to achieve with my PhotoComment app. However my PhotoComment app uses the comment field of the Jpeg, wheras ‘Elements (and most other apps) use the IPTC caption field of a Jpeg. Eventually I’ll update Photocomment to deal with IPTC tags instead, as it will make uploading pictures much more integrated.

This has turned out to be something of a ramble about the application, but I’ve got to say it has made looking after my pictures so much easier. Even as I’m trying to wrap this up, useful things keep springing to mind, such as automatic backup to CD/DVD, and monitoring of folders for images from a mobile phone.

I’d recommend this program to anyone, it’s relinquished my pictures from a dark life inside a folder, to actually being looked at once in a while.

← previous entry | next entry → Fri 3rd Mar 2006 - 21:52 | no comments | tagged with Reviews, Photography, Essays

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