Filed under: technical, tutorial
For digiscrappers, the gold standard of image editing programs is Adobe Photoshop. But the price! Retail cost of a basic version of Photoshop CS3 (most current version) is $649 while Elements is only $149. (Street price is a even greater difference – $619 vs. $80-90 although you can get educational discounts.) So do you need the full version of Photoshop?
Luckily for your bank account – probably not. Photoshop Elements offers almost everything Photoshop does. It really comes down to how much of a commitment you want to make. If you are a good old digiscrapper, wanting to fix pictures, move elements around, and put different kits together into layouts, Elements is perfect and inexpensive. If you have an eye to being a designer like the ScrapKitty, then you might want to bite the bullet and get the full version of Photoshop.
Why might you want the full version of Photoshop? Here’s a partial list of reasons and my thoughts:
- Type – Big difference here. Photoshop allows adjusting the kerning (spacing between two individual letters) and tracking (spacing between all letters). It also allows type on a path which is where you can draw any shape of line (curve , circle, oval, rectangle) and have the type follow it automatically.
- Better Selection Tools – Photoshop offers better control over selections with the Magic Selection tool, Refine Edge, Color Range, and the Extract tools. Note that the features are very similar and the tools often leap frog on another – see it in one version and the same better tools shows up latter in the other. But Photoshop still beats out Elements for those tricky ones.
- Layer Styles – Layer styles are quick tools to add snap and zip to a layer. They can add drop shadows, bevels, gradients, etc to plain shapes and type. While Elements comes with a good selection of pre-defined layer styles, you can’t make your own or alter the ones already there. With Photoshop, go wild. You can download layer styles for free from a variety of sources and change them to suit your needs or just create your own. Your creativity is your only limit! Photoshop is the hands-down winner here.
- Quick Mask Mode – While Elements has a watered down, harder to use version, the quick mask mode in Photoshop is superior and one of the most under appreciated tools in Photoshop. It allows you to “paint” a selection by using the paint brush. It allows much greater control over a selection of tricky areas like jagged edges, hair, etc. You can also quickly switch in and out of quick mask mode to check your work – can’t do that in Elements.
- Custom Brushes – While you can create you own brushes in Elements, you have greater control and options in Photoshop. I can guarantee almost any brush you might download or buy is done in Photoshop. And as brushes are an essential tool to digiscrappers, again Photoshop gets the nod.
- Actions – Actions are steps that you do over and over that you can automate and run with one click. Some actions are incredibly complex (see Clohie Watkins Bow actions or any of the actions at Atomic Cupcake.) It’s easy once you know a few basics to create your own but you can only do it in Photoshop. Elements can run actions made in Photoshop but you can not create your own actions in Elements (and it can be tricky to install actions in Elements).
I hope this shed a little light on this. If you need training on either Photoshop or Elements, look on the blog for the ScrapKitty’s classes forming in January. Our classes are 4 sessions of interactive chat as well as ample written workbooks giving you the training you need to get good using either program. We’ve taught these classes before and our students always find them useful and focus on just the features you need to know.
As always, you can contact me by clicking here. Happy Scrappin!