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Photoshop Elements 10 vs Photoshop CS5

Photoshop Elements 10 vs Photoshop CS5

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Photoshop Elements 10 vs CS5

This post was originally authored by TechSoup's Carlos Bergfeld in 2010 and was recently updated by Wes Holing, also a web content developer here at TechSoup.

Check out Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, the newest in Adobe's line of consumer-level image-editing software and a new addition to TechSoup's product catalog. Eligible organizations can request this for either a Windows PC or a Mac. TechSoup also offers other image-editing software from Adobe: Photoshop Extended CS5 (a souped-up version of Photoshop CS5) for both Windows and Mac. Organizations can use either of these products to create professional-looking images. So which one is right for your organization?

All the Basics: Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements 10 includes what most organizations need in an image-editing program. Users can: remove red-eye; adjust colors, lighting, contrast, shadowing, and highlights; create composites from multiple photographs; and perform most other standard image-editing tasks.

Elements doesn't have Photoshop's high-end features, but still provides standard editing tools, a filing system for managing photos, and handy tutorials and wizards for newbies. All of these should be enough to create great-looking photos for a website, online photo library, or even basic printed outreach materials like pamphlets and flyers. Elements lacks support for CMYK coloring (the type of coloring used for professional printing), so you won't be able to create images for truly professionally printed outreach materials.

For Advanced Users: Photoshop CS5

In contrast, Photoshop CS5 includes advanced Photoshop features such as:

  • Channel Mixer and Color Balance for making precise image adjustments
  • Support for automating Photoshop tasks through scripts written by developers
  • CMYK coloring for preparing images for professional printing

Photoshop CS5 is significantly more complex and thus more difficult to learn. It requires a fairly robust computer with at least 1 GB of RAM and a decent video card. If your organization doesn't need truly professional image-editing functionality, you probably don't need Photoshop CS5. Further, the Extended version we offer on TechSoup features really advanced tools for mapping 2D images in 3D space, editing 3D and motion-based images, and analyzing images with measurement and counting tools.

TechSoup Admin Fees

Since Photoshop Elements is available for a $15 admin fee from TechSoup versus a $90 admin fee for Photoshop CS5 Extended, most organizations are able to save a considerable amount by requesting a donation of Elements.

Bundled Version Available

Organizations that want to edit videos as well as images might consider the bundle of Photoshop Elements 10 and Premiere Elements 10, which is also available from TechSoup. When requested as a bundled product, these two software programs count as a single application against the Adobe donation program limit of four individual applications (or one suite application) per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).

Other Helpful Resources

To learn more about these products, see the TechSoup Solution Web, Multimedia, and Design. For a more detailed comparison of features in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS5, see this offsite article. It's mostly accurate, except that it says only Photoshop CS5 can do photo compositing – both CS5 and Elements allow you to combine similar photos to produce a single superior image through compositing.

You can also discuss these two products in our forums: Photoshop vs. Photoshop Elements. Have you used either or both? Share your thoughts on how you've used either product as well as any tips or tricks for getting the most out of image-editing software. Also in this series: read about Adobe's Premiere Elements vs Premiere Pro CS5.

Carlos Bergfeld
Lead Web Content Developer, TechSoup Global

  • Are the manuals available for PhotoShop Elements in the download version?  How does one learn to use the software?

  • Just ordered the PhotoShop Elements 11 and like Al-NarrowWay, wondered if I will receive some training on the tool.  I am anticipating the download version and would like to know about webinars or short training on the basics.