Adobe Photoshop CS is the accepted “industry standard” for image manipulation, and is used by almost everyone who’s professionally involved in graphic design and printing. It’s a work of genius, unbelievably rich in features, but comes with a hefty price tag – around £570.
The truth is that a lot of your money goes towards buying stuff you won’t need unless you work in the predominantly Mac-based commercial prepress business. For instance you’re very unlikely to use the CMYK mode (which is used for commercial printing), or to need to automate tasks through Photoshop’s scripting features, or to need the arcane LAB colour mode. Not only is CS expensive, but with all the complex features on hand it’s hard to know what you need to worry about, and what you can safely ignore.
To address the “digital camera, Windows PC, inkjet printer” market Adobe introduced the Photoshop Elements series around 2002. Elements 11 is the latest incarnation, introduced in October 2012 and very different from earlier versions - so much so that we've given it a special page (see the left hand side of this screen).
You're welcome to give us a call if you're thinking of upgrading: we'll be able to tell you what difference a new version would make.
In case you’re nervous, rest assured that Elements is
Photoshop. The core is the same one as in Photoshop CS, and everything you need to produce top-quality prints is in Elements. Sometimes it’s hidden, but it’s there. Essentially Adobe have adapted the user presentation to make Elements more meaningful to people who don’t have a printing background – and they’ve added some new features, such as the Organiser, slideshows, photobooks etc which address the needs of the serious home photographer. These aside, everything you’ll learn on an ElectricLandscape course is applicable to Photoshop CS.
The good news is that Elements costs about £60. The best way of getting it is online from Amazon - just type Elements 11 in the search box. Or buy it on your course - we usually have new copies available.
There are some good books on Elements. I’d recommend “Photoshop Elements - the Missing Manual” by Barbara Brundage. It's well structured and readable. You can get that at Amazon too.