Photoshop Elements 5.0
I recently had a birthday and received some very nice gifts. One was Photoshop Elements 5.0. I've used Photoshop for years, professionally. I've faithfully purchased each upgrade and spent countless hours with it doing photo editing and creating mock-up web pages. When I got my Digital SLR camera for Christmas last year, it was a no-brainer to use Photoshop to edit and optimize my hobby photos as well (and boy have I taken a lot of those!).
Then in the spring I discovered Picasa (and blogged about it). I fell in love with it. I could edit/optimize my photos in a fraction of the time with simple controls and they came out looking great! My only real complaint about Picasa is it doesn't have a way to watermark photos. So after I edit my already great photos ;-) I still have to launch Photoshop to put my signature on them. It's not a big deal but when you're editing a lot of photos that extra step becomes a nuisance.
Then quite by accident I came across a web site about digital scrapbooking using Photoshop Elements. As a graphic/web designer, scrapbooking (or better yet digital scrapbooking) is right up my alley. But I've avoided taking an interest in it because I knew how time consuming it would be and God knows I don't need another hobby that has me sitting in front of the computer for hours on end! But this web site really caught my attention with the simplicity of creating scrapbook pages digitally in Photoshop Elements.
When I looked into it more I realized that Elements had the same sort of simple controls for editing that Picasa did, but it also featured layers which meant I could create a watermark. Now don't get me wrong, I live in Photoshop and am always singing its praises. But it is a feature rich program and it's hard to do anything in it simply and quickly. Years ago I'd looked at Elements (I think it was version 2.0) and dismissed it as being basically "Photoshop Lite". But this latest version of Elements (5.0) seems to have all the features and controls of Photoshop (the more advanced ones buried so you have make a concerted effort to access them) except for the pen tool and few that Photoshop doesn't. At least that's all I've noticed so far. Anyway, the long and short of it is that I got the program for my birthday and I've been having fun with it ever since. I will likely still use Photoshop for my work projects (where I might need the pen tool) but I think I'll be doing virtually all of the editing of my hobby photos in Elements from now on. It's really slick!
And yes, I'm getting into digital scrapbooking. It was inevitable ;-)