Monday, May 21, 2012

Photoshop - $25 - almost

I have been a user of Photoshop Elements since v8 and Photoshop Lightroom since v3; together they make an awesome library, development and post processing combo for photographers. Despite having flirted with CS6 during the beta stage, I always baulked at the exorbitant price premium that Photoshop commanded (see "Photoshop CS6 Beta - first thoughts" and "Photoshop CS6 - second thoughts"). But now I have nearly all the functionality of Photoshop for a mere NZ$25 thanks to two small programs - "TPG Elemental" and "Elements+".

TPG Elemental is a Lightroom plugin which links Lightroom to Elements in a very similar way to Lightroom's  built in linking with the full Photoshop CSx application. It allows the user to send images from Lightrrom to Elements for editing, stacking or merging and a number of other functions. It is simple and works as advertised. It is 'donation ware' so send the author whatever you think is appropriate and he will send you a license key to unlock the full functionality of TPG Elemental.

Elements+ is a Photoshop Elements plugin. Photoshop Elements is a stripped down version of the full Photoshop product, only it seems that most of the full product's functionality is still lurking under the hood of Elements. Adobe blocked access through the Elements interface but did not remove the functionality. Elements+ provides it's own interface to the hidden functionality so now, for example, I have access to the color channel functions, can align layers, merge and blend layers and access dozens of other functions previously reserved for the users of the full Photoshop. Elements+ cost NZ$15.

Now, this combination is not perfect and some may find the interface to Elements+ 'odd' - I know I did at first. Not everything in Photoshop is there either but, if Elements on its own is 80% of Photoshop, then these two little apps take that percentage up to about 95% - now that IS worth NZ$25! Which makes paying another NZ$930 for the last 5% even less likely than it used to be.

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