While sold separately, the price difference to buy the two programs bundled presents good value, and unless you’re producing Hollywood movies on your laptop, Elements will probably suit your need just fine.
Adobe Premiere is the vendor’s high-end video-editing software, while, of course, PhotoShop is its flagship photo editing and manipulation software. Both are pricey pieces of powerful software designed for creative professionals, but Elements aims to take just the essential features of those offerings and make them available at a more accessible price-point.
I’ve been trained on Adobe Premiere Pro at work, but I’m starting to do more video editing at home for personal projects and Windows Movie Maker was a severe crimp on my creativity. So I was excited to install Premiere Elements at home and give it a try.
It took me a little while to figure-out where everything was in Premiere Elements, as the user interface does have some substantial differences from Premiere. Once I found out where everything was though, I found my Premiere skills transferred easily to Elements, and I didn’t find myself missing any capabilities.
Probably the biggest plus for me over programs such as Windows Movie Maker was the ability to have multiple video and audio tracks, just like Premiere. But other than the storyline, and some of the keyboard shortcuts, the UI was quite different than Premiere.
Reflecting the different target audiences, Elements is much more consumer-focused. A window on the top right contains tabs with transitions, imported media, and edited media, as well as pre-set themes and a publishing tool, including the ability to upload video directly to YouTube. I found the pre-set themes a bit cheesy, and stuck with designing my own basic titles.
Editing clips is different with Elements. Rather than a main window and a clip preview window, Elements just has the main window. Clicking a clip opens a pop-up window for setting the in and out for the clip, which can then be dragged onto the timeline. I found it easier to just edit my clips on the timeline itself.
While Premiere Elements lacks some of the horsepower and advanced features of Premiere, for my purposes (creating short Web-based videos) there was nothing I needed Elements to do that it couldn’t. Unless you’re producing for broadcast, Premiere Elements will get most jobs done.
I’m not a Photoshop user and I’m not heavily into photo-editing, so I can’t authoritatively compare Photoshop Elements to the full Photoshop. Most of my photo editing consists of touching-up my digital pictures with software such as Corel’s Paint Shop Pro to make myself look slightly less frightening.
Photoshop Elements would probably fall into the same market category as Paint Shop Pro, so that’s probably a decent comparison to make. I’d say Paint Shop Pro is a bit more consumer in focus, with good tools but also a lot of automatic fixes, while Elements is a bit more skewed to the digital professional side.
Elements has a number of one-step fixes and corrections that will appeal to consumers, but it also has a lot of the more skill-intensive tools of the full Photoshop. I’d say Photoshop Elements is more suited to the digital professional looking for a lower-cost tool, or the power-user on a budget, than it is the amateur photographer looking to do basic touch-up their digital pics.
Photoshop Elements 7 and Premiere Elements 7 can be purchased separately for US$99.99, or bundled for US$149.99, and are available now.