Photoshop

Photoshop Elements Vs Photoshop Creative Cloud

Which Image Editor is the best option for you?

Welcome to the digital age, an age that has embraced technology as part of our daily lives. For most of us, we interact with something digital as if it is one of our limbs. On top of this, we have become overwhelmed in a world of Photography, every social platform needs a good profile picture, an adjustment or two and a filter before the upload can even be considered. Our Smartphones and their yearly improvements have allowed the average person to become photographers, documenting everything from their daily tasks to beauty hidden in this blue planet.

What has this got to do with Photoshop?

With our increased photography skills and our need to impress, an interested in digital editing has grown year after year. Photoshop is public knowledge now, it’s famous, a word synonymous in many people’s minds with manipulating photos. It’s no longer for the professional photographer or graphic designer, it’s a tool we can all use, something that looks complex but is simple at its core. As you read on, I am going to discuss the differences between Photoshop Creative Cloud or CC. We will look at them from a personal interest, not mine but yours, and which version is suited more to the outcomes wanted.

To do this we need to split all of you wonderful readers into 3 categories, The Photographer, the Creative and the Enthusiast. All 3 will have your own goals, outcomes and knowledge base so it will be best to address each rather than an overview of Photoshop itself. Let’s begin with the Photographers….

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Photoshop CC Vs. Elements: Photographer

Novice, Amateur, or expert? Personal or Professional? No matter where you stand both versions have a lot to offer. As updates coming pouring in, its easy to see how anyone can just pick up a version of Photoshop and become proficient in a matter of weeks to months. They both have the similar tools and functions that enticed the photographer to digital editing in the first place. Remove backgrounds with ease with quick selection in Elements or use one of the many selection tools in Photoshop CC that over much wider variety. Both allow you to pick out and refine the edges of your selection, but CC is the clear winning when it comes to being refinement. Fix your images with the provided ‘Healing’ tools provided, remove spots, blemishes and unwanted objects with ease. Again, its easy to say that CC has more options to allow you to do so but it’s a matter of complexity. It’s easy to say a good photograph needs less re-touching, so its hard to weigh up what the necessity is unless you base it all on personal skill.

The conclusion for this is simple really, Elements was created as an entry level to editing. It’s the photographer’s version of Photoshop, created specifically for them. It allows the same actions a normal photographer needs that are available in Photoshop CC, quick fixes, small touches and adjustments to correct tones and colour. So, ask yourself are you happy being the Photographer or do you want more? Photoshop CC is the next step up, it allows better editing for RAW files with built-in plugins and can direct you towards a more creative aspect of editing. A small note before moving on is to not forget Lightroom. While they all have their unique attributes keep in mind that they are all Adobe applications, so it really is down to personal choice and future goals.

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Photoshop CC Vs. Elements: Creative

No matter what industry you work in Photoshop has some part to play, it contributes even if you don’t realise. Advertising, logo design, branding, the list goes on and on. Simply put, Photoshop is the industry standard for most creative industries. With so many different tools and options available, it’s hard for even the experts to master it all. Photoshop CC caters to so many different roles that there are tools that some may never even use, while others couldn’t live without them. Complete artistic control really lays in the ability to use layers. Applying multiple images and adjustments to a base image to create dynamic composites. While this is present in both versions, CC really outweighs in terms of artistic freedom. Elements was first designed because a fraction of the users didn’t need all these creative options. It still gets updated with the majority of these options, but it is usually awhile, in most cases a year or so, after something new is debuted in CC.

Again, it’s a clear winner for anyone creative. Photoshop CC offers everything you need to create complex designs easily. It offers a gallery of filters, adjustments that can alter your image in less than 5 clicks of the mouse and options only offered to the creative mind. Elements is great for a novice, a beginner looking to eventually expand their skillset. However, sometimes its best to dive in feet first and hit the floor running with the Creative Cloud. Keep in mind neither of these are essentially free, so to be cost-effective, think what your learning curve can afford.

Photoshop CC Vs. Elements: Enthusiast

This is the tricky part, while we can read this whole article and be positive I only want to use Photoshop for fun, your kidding yourself. Either way, you fall into one of the 2 above if not both. You just haven’t made your mind up yet. Photoshop is addictive, the feeling you get from your first edit, or the amazement of some of the tool capabilities will have you coming back for more. If you truly are just looking for something fun to learn, you will have a lot to use in both versions. Elements hit the more personal editor, someone who has cherished memories that they want to edit and keep forever. Photoshop CC is the more suited to someone who wants to try something new each time and watch the masterpiece unfold. As with both above, the debate is what is your outcome? And how do you want to achieve it? simply or with style?

Elements or Creative Cloud? Neither one is the wrong choice, which means it can be a difficult choice. The choice is always going to be a personal one based on skill, but keep in mind Elements does have its limitations.

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William Eames

Updated: Apr 26, 2018

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