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Product Review Adobe Photoshop Elements 4

AdobeR PhotoshopR Elements 4 has some new features that make it an all-in-one tool for getting the most from your photos. The first step in any photo project is to import your photos from your camera onto your hard drive and Elements' Photo Downloader makes storing photos easy. A new feature in this latest version is the automatic red eye correction. When this option is selected in the Photo Downloader, your photos are automatically analyzed for red eye and the correction is made for you as your photos are loaded. Organizing your photos becomes challenging as your collection grows. However with a little help from the Organizer, you can keep your photos organized and easy to find. You can switch between the Photo Browser and the Date View which helps you find your photos by date, import batch, folder location, meta-data, caption, note, file name and so on. Of course, the Keyword Tag System has been improved also. New to this version is the addition of camera meta-data such as camera model and shutter speed. You can also use the Find By Visual Similarity With Selected Photo(s) command to find photos that have common visual aspects such as clothing or scenic locations. You can even set certain folders as watched folders and Elements will keep track of new additions to these folders and notify you accordingly. This feature must have been created just for me. I'm always starting new folders for my images because I can never remember which folder I was using for a specific project, especially if it has been some time since I have worked on that project. Now I just set them as watched folders and let Elements keep track of them for me. Within the Organizer, you can also order prints, share photos online or by email and switch to the Quick Fix, Standard Edit or Creation Setup Wizard.

Viewing and fixing your photos is easy within the Quick Fix workspace. Along the side of the generous viewing area are the tools that you use most frequently including the Zoom, Hand, Crop, Red Eye and the new Magic Selection Brush tool. As in all Adobe software, the Options Bar across the top changes as each tool is selected. I especially like the new Magic Selection Brush tool for isolating the subject of a photo from the background. You just brush your mouse over the subject and Elements completes the selection around the subject for you. On the right of the workspace are the tools used to correct or adjust your photos such as Smart Fix, Red Eye Fix, Levels, Contrast, Color and Sharpen. You start by clicking the Auto button to use the default settings and then make finer adjustments with slider bars. Everything is right there in the same place and there are no floating palettes to clutter the workspace.

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