What’s new in Photoshop Elements 12?

October 19, 2013

What’s new in Photoshop Elements 12?

Photoshop Elements Version 12 is out.

This latest software upgrade includes a number of fun new features and helpful new tools that make photo editing, organizing and sharing faster and easier.

Let's look at what's new in Version 12.

Editing Your Photos

Version 12 has added a number of new photo-editing features and enhanced and improved a couple of our old favorites.

Enhancements to Quick Edit Mode—Effects, Textures and Frames

A new feature in the Quick Edit Mode allows you to add interesting photo effects, textures and frames to your images.

The icons for these three new edits can be found in the lower right corner of the workspace when you're in Quick Edit mode:

Elements 12

If you click on any of these icons, you will see a panel of 10 thumbnails, displaying the effects, textures or frames available. To apply any of them, single click on the thumbnails.

Elements 12

Enhancements to Guided Edit Mode

There are three enhancements to the Guided Edit Mode: Restore Old Photo and the Zoom Burst and Puzzle Effects.

Restore Old Photo

A new option in the Guided Edits menu is Restore Old Photo. You'll find it in the Touchups section of the Guided Edits

This tool walks you through the process of restoring an old photo, stepping you though the most common photo repairs in the appropriate order.

So the Restore Old Photo Guided Edit shows you the steps needed to fix an aged photo, but you still have to do the work yourself. So this tool is helpful for those who may have a lot of editing experience.

Elements 12
Zoom Burst Effect

The Zoom Burst Effect can add a fun touch to action photos.

With the Zoom Burst Effect, you can simulate the effect of shooting an image while manually zooming in on your subject with the shutter open. The result is a radial blur effect that adds a sense of movement to the photo.

You'll find the Zoom Burst Effect in the Guided Edits under Photo Effects.

Elements 12
Puzzle Effect

The Puzzle Effect turns your photo into a virtual puzzle. The individual pieces of the puzzle are movable, so you can remove pieces and move them to another place on the photo.

Elements 12

You can find the Puzzle Effect in Photo Play section of the Guided Edits.

Enhancements to Expert Edit Mode

Content Aware Move Tool

Elements 12 includes a new photo editing feature that allows you to move objects within your images from one point to another by clicking and dragging.

To use this tool, you need to be in Expert edit mode. Once there, you'll find the it at the bottom of the toolbar. The icon looks like a pair of curvy, crossed arrows:

Elements 12

Once the tool is selected, check "move" for the mode and then draw a rough selection outline around the object that you want to move. Then just click and drag the object to its new location:

Elements 12

The program will move your object and fill in the missing pixels where it used to be. It's almost like magic!

Now, to be fair, you will sometimes have to do some work with the clone stamp tool to clean things up. But, even with that, the new Content Aware Move Tool works pretty well and it can save you a lot of time and energy.

Pet Eye Feature

Elements has had the Red Eye tool for awhile now, but the latest version has added an option for pet eyes. The new Pet Eye feature allows you to fix the odd discolorations often seen in your four-legged friend's eyes when an image is snapped using the camera's on-board flash.

To use this tool, first select the Eye icon from the Enhance area of the toolbar and check "Pet Eye" in the options:

Elements 12

Then just click on one of the eyes. You'll see the eye turn dark, removing the discoloration:

Elements 12

If you don't like the results, undo the effect (using Ctrl+Z in Windows or Cmd+Z on a Mac). Adjust the pupil radius and/or darken sliders in the tool options and try again. Once you get the effect that you like, click on the second eye so there's a matching pair.

An Improved Straighten Tool

The Straighten Tool has been improved.

If you have ever used this tool in the past, you know that it be very handy for realigning your images to make them level. But in the past, this edit often left your photos missing edges when the photo is rotated to make it level.

The Straighten tool has been designed to fix this issue by attempting to fill in the missing background, using Content Aware Fill, as the image is rotated.

To see this in action, choose the Straighten Tool from the very bottom of the toolbar. The icon looks like a bubble level:

Elements 12

When you do, the options bar will pop up along the bottom of the workspace. There, check Autofill edges if you want the software to fill in the missing pixels around the edges.

Elements 12

Below, you can see the effect. The image on the left was straightened with "Autofill edges" unchecked; the right image was straightened using "Autofill edges".

Elements 12

Other Editing Enhancements

Open Files in Camera Raw

Elements 12 allows you to open files directly into Adobe Camera Raw. You can open any supported file format. So formats like JPG, TIFF, PSD and Raw will open directly in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).

You'll find the this new option in the menu bar under File>Open in Camera Raw:

Elements 12

Once a file is opened in Camera Raw, you'll find a slew of editing options. You can adjust all sorts of things like white balance, exposure and contrast:

Elements 12

After you done editing in ACR, you can open the image back in Photoshop Elements, or you can save the edited image directly from the Camera Raw window.

Auto Smart Tone

The Auto Smart Tone feature is another addition to Elements 12.

Auto Smart Tone will automatically adjust the tonal value of your image. The tool works by displaying the result of four automatically generated tonal adjustments in each of the corners. As you move the position of the joystick-type control, you will see the tone of your image change based on which corner you move towards.

The Auto Smart Tone tool is available in all three editing modes under the Enhance menu:

Elements 12

When you select the tool, a default tonal correction will automatically be applied to your image. And the Auto Smart Tool window will open, showing the joystick controller that you can use to tweak this correction:

Elements 12

Then just use your mouse to drag the controller around to get the effect that you want.

Elements 12

Click "OK" when you're happy with your results.

And one more thing about the Auto Smart Tone tool. It's capable of learning. You can set the tool preferences to learn as your work. To do this, click on the tool settings located at the bottom left of the Auto Smart Tone screen and choose "Learn from this correction":

Elements 12

With that setting checked, the tool will "study" how you edit and what you like and will begin to generate changes based on your previous choices. So it actually learns your personal preferences, making editing faster and easier.

Organizing and Sharing Your Photos

The enhancements in Elements 12 don't stop at editing your pictures. There's also lots that's new when it comes to organizing and sharing those pictures.

Mobile Albums and Revel Integration

The new Mobile Albums feature allows you to gather your photos and videos from all of your devices—laptop/computer, smartphone and tablet—and keep them organized in a single location. And you can access those files from anywhere while you're on the go using your smartphone, tablet or via the web. You can create albums to share with family and friends. And any changes that you make to your photos are automatically synced across all your devices.

This photo syncing and mobile functionality is made possible through Elements 12 integration with Revel, Adobe's cloud storage technology. With the free version of this service, you can started with 30 days of unlimited uploads and then 50 uploads per month.

The setup for Mobile Albums is easy and quick. All you need is an Adobe ID and you're ready to go. If you are interested in more information on getting Mobile Albums set up on your computer, the video below will help.

Share to Twitter

The previous version of Elements allowed you to share your photos to a number of social media networks directly from the Organizer Window. With Elements 12, Twitter has been added to the list of social media sites:

Elements 12

Greeting Cards

The latest version of Photoshop Elements includes the ability to print greeting cards on your personal printer.

In previous versions, the greeting cards created in the software needed to be printed through an online service like Shutterfly. But now, with the ability to send your cards to a home printer, you can keep the process in-house.

So Elements 12 makes creating a personalized greeting card a snap. Just start with one of the many templates that come with the software and then drag and drop your photos into them:

Elements 12

And now, with the ability to print them at home, there's no waiting for the final product. That's especially handy if you're like me and have a tendency to wait till the last minute…

Additional Organization Tools

  • The tagging features in Elements 12 have been enhanced. The Places tags now include GPS coordinates.
  • You can create new Keywords as well as People, Places and Events tags directly from the right panel within the Media view of the Organizer.
    Elements 12
  • You can view the media files in the Organizer in alphabetical order. I find this feature especially helpful:
    Elements 12

So that's a look at what's new in Version 12.

If you'd like to see some of these new features in action, check out the video below from Linda Sattgast at DigitalScrapper.

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