(news & commentary)
Adobe today released Photoshop Elements 12, its low-cost photo editing program. The new version integrates more completely with Adobe's Revel cloud photo storage solution. New features include Content-Aware Move, Pet Eye Correction, Auto Smart Tone, and Quick Frames/Effects/Textures.
As always, while the underlying software technology may be similar or the same as used in Photoshop CS/CC, Elements layers everything with more user hand holding, including an improved and extended Guided Edit feature.
Upgrades to Elements 12 are US$80 from the prior version, or US$100 for new purchasers. Revel is a free app (with 50 photo uploads a month; US$5.99 a month for unlimited uploads).
Okay, so let's get out the Financial Analyzer and see what we get. We could get Photoshop CC and Lightroom at US$9.99/month, or US$120 a year. Elements is updating on a yearly basis, and the update is US$80. If we want to use Revel with it, we're at US$12.65/month. Hmm. Even Elements just by itself is an implied US$6.66/month, or two-thirds the new Photoshop CC package price.
True, you can often get a deeper discount on Elements if you wait for a sale. Still, Adobe's "hand holding" photo editor isn't all that much less expensive than it's "full" photo editor now (though it does come as a standalone package that doesn't expire when you stop paying ;~).
Rationalizing Adobe's pricing and marketing is getting tougher and tougher to do. I've always had the problem with the fact that Adobe wasn't doing anything to make it easy for an Elements user to migrate to the full version (completely different user interfaces and workflows, so learning Elements doesn't really help you learn Photoshop CC), but with the options coming closer in implied price (for someone who always updates), it makes even less sense than before. Moreover, giving the low-end consumer (Elements) a way to continue with their experience exactly as before if they get off the upgrade train while punishing the professional for doing so seems a very strange choice.