By Alan Stafford
Most image editing applications fall into one of two categories: lousy and not worth the money, or Adobe Systems' $600 Photoshop. But one, Adobe's $99 Photoshop Elements, does a very good job without breaking the bank. I looked at a beta version of Photoshop Elements 2, which is even better than the original.
A new Quick Fix dialog box in Elements 2 shows you before and after versions of an image, along with several often-used tools. You can find all of the tools elsewhere in the application, but Quick Fix explains what they do and how to use them--and it also gives you a Reset Image button that can take you back to the original image.
The program's File Browser now reads and reports metadata--image size, resolution, and creation dates. The feature makes renaming and rotating multiple images easy; but as with the earlier version of Elements (and Photoshop 7), you can't move the Browser window outside the Elements application window, which means the interface can get cluttered. It does dock easily in the toolbar, however.
A help search field now perches in the toolbar--so you don't have to open a database to type in a question such as, "How do I correct color?" The application returns several answers; some of these may be Element's Recipes, which are included, or downloadable walk-through instruction sets.
These changes don't constitute a major upgrade to Elements, but the application still beats all other comers. This well-designed, well-thought-out application packs a lot of value for the money.
From the September 2002 issue of PC World magazine