One of the most common upgrade questions you’re likely to see is what’s new, what’s different, what’s improved between the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and version 9? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in PSE 10, versus PSE 9, 8, 7, or even version 6? We put together a quick list here of what’s changed since 9, but how about a version-by-version, feature-by-feature table? You’ll find this down below (or shortcut here), but first let’s take a close look at some of the biggest additions.
The before-and-after images pictured above are a demonstration of the new “depth of field” effect, where in just seconds you can produce the feeling of shallow focus (low f-stop) for the subject in any existing photograph you have.
From Adobe’s official press release:
Making Photos Pop with Innovative Tools
Powered by the same engine as Adobe Photoshop, the industry standard for digital imaging, Photoshop Elements 10 utilizes intelligent technology that makes it easy to give everyday photos a boost. Photoshop technology is brought to life through easy to follow steps for achieving stunning photo effects in an approachable way with new Guided Edits, which are very popular and successful. These include innovations such as creating a shallow depth of field or designing a fun layout of snapshots with Picture Stack, or even adding a dream-like diffused glow with the Orton Effect.
What’s the Orton Effect? It gives images a dreamy quality, and works well for candid portraits, landscapes, and photos of children or animals. Besides creating a fairytale feel, it can be useful for salvaging photos that you didn’t quite get in focus to begin with. This enhanced result was created in ten seconds with PSE 10:
More New Features
Also new are the text-on-a-path feature, a Crop Overlay tool, and some significant Organizer improvements:
New text functionality, which scrapbookers will especially love, allows users to add curving, flowing text to a photo that automatically follows the outline of a subject, custom path or shape. In addition, special crop guides [Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio] now help users at any level easily achieve interesting, visually appealing compositions.
Object Search automatically finds objects within photos, such as a landmark, flower or pet. The Elements Organizer can even automatically detect duplicate or near-duplicate photos so users can clean up and delete the photos they don’t need and quickly group similar collections of photos
Probably one of the most-requested features, Photoshop Elements 10 sports three new Text tools for making lines of text follow paths you create… These new capabilities mean you can now place curvy, flowing text on a shape, on an object, or on a customized path – and then resize and reshape or add effects as desired.
The new “Smart Object Search” function saves time by making it easy to find almost anything in your catalog via searching by shape or color – and quickly detect and match together similar photos.
Here’s a one-minute video demo on how to create some of these new stylistic effects with just a few mouse clicks:
Comprehensive Version Comparison
What’s new in Photoshop Elements 10 isn’t perhaps quite as earth-shaking as what was introduced in version 9, which included the long-awaited Layer Masks, Style Matching, and the invaluable content-aware Healing Brush… But there are still plenty of nice additions in PSE 10, including more we haven’t mentioned yet – like integration with your Facebook Friends list, saving creations to PDF format, 30 new Smart Brush patterns, a new Smart Pan & Zoom feature, automatic syncing between multiple devices, and more…
And thus far, the reviews for Photoshop Elements 10 have been pretty positive.
You can see a comprehensive feature comparison between the last five versions of Photoshop Elements below, for both Windows and Mac OS:
Importantly, Photoshop Elements continues to be multi-platform software, available with largely the same features on both PC and Mac (containing both discs in the box) – and installable on up to two machines. The fully-functional free trials are also now available and can install and run alongside any previous versions you may own, without interference. Adobe has also restored the discounted upgrade pricing that was unavailable for PSE 9.
[UPDATE (Sept. 2014) — See the differences in the new Photoshop Elements 13 vs. earlier.]