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A powerful image can instantly communicate your organization's message on your website or blog. A collection of inspiring images can make a great presentation even better.
If you're going to work more effectively with images and don't already have an image-editing tool, you might consider Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and Premiere Elements 12. This newly updated image- and video-editing bundle runs on Windows machines or Macs, and is now available to eligible nonprofits, charities, and public libraries through TechSoup.
TechSoup also offers professional-level image-editing software from Adobe: Photoshop Extended CS6. Over the past few years, Adobe's added a number of features to the Elements line that bring its capabilities even closer to the full version of Photoshop. Certainly, organizations can use either of these products to create professional-looking images. So which one is right for your organization?
Photoshop Elements 12 and Premiere Elements 12 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.
The Elements interface includes three editing modes called Quick, Guided, and Expert that provide a step-by-step process for beginners or allow advanced image editors to get right down to work.
The Elements products also include a common Organizer that allows you to easily tag and find photos (similar in function to the Bridge application used in the Creative Suite programs).
All of these features 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. It also lacks 16-bit color support, for the most part (something that probably only professional photographers would care about).
In contrast, Photoshop CS6 includes advanced Photoshop features such as:
Photoshop CS6 is significantly more complex and thus more difficult to learn – it doesn't have the guided edits that make Photoshop Elements easy to use. Plus, it requires a fairly robust computer with at least 2 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 CS6. 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.
That said, you won't be able to use Elements for designing logos, digitally painting, or doing the professional graphic design work you might see from the Photoshop wizards on the Internet.
Since Photoshop Elements 12 and Premiere Elements 12 is available for a $22 admin fee from TechSoup versus a $90 admin fee for Photoshop CS6 Extended, most organizations are able to save a considerable amount by requesting a donation of Elements.
Plus, the Elements bundle includes Premiere Elements video editing software, which is a useful program on its own for telling your organization's story with moving images. Maybe you can use the software to take home the grand prize in this year's TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge!
Note that non-bundled, standalone versions of Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements aren't available through TechSoup.
If you need granular details on which features are included in Photoshop Elements vs. Photoshop CS6 before making your decision, these articles may help. Some compare Photoshop CS6 with version 11 of Photoshop Elements, but the basic features are common to both versions 11 and 12.
If you want to learn more about either version of Photoshop, you can request a one-month subscription to Atomic Training through TechSoup. This donation provides access to online video courses for over 150 software applications, including Photoshop Elements 11, Photoshop CS6, Premiere Elements 11, and many other Adobe products. Check back for training on Photoshop Elements 12.
Since Photoshop is such a widely used application, there are a variety of free tutorials, training, and help resources available online if you decide you need the full version and have time to learn the software. You can start at Adobe's own Learn Photoshop CS6 tutorials on Adobe TV.
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.
Wes is a Web Content Developer at TechSoup.
Wes, unfortunately both Elements products are currently shown as Out Of Stock. Any idea when you'll get more?
Items are out of stock do you know by chance when more might become available. email@example.com
Elements has been out of stock for many months. Any idea when it will be available.