The latest version of Adobe’s budget Photoshop-lite application comes with several improvements. There’s a new Home Screen offering easy access to images, effects and Photoshop-related online content. There’s also the usual smattering of Guided Edits that we’ve come to expect with each new release, bringing the total number of walkthroughs up to 53. But perhaps the most interesting new feature is Auto-Creations, which produces automated collages and slideshows to showcase your photos. We’ll take a closer look at these key new features in this beginner-friendly image editor.
The Auto Creations command is the headline feature in Elements 2019. It generates automatic collages and slideshows from the images you’ve imported into the Elements Organiser. Elements does this by scanning your image library and bringing together relevant photos. As such, the feature automatically collates memorable events like birthdays and weddings. If you’ve taken the time to add tags, keywords or facial recognition tags in the Elements Organiser, then these are utilised to build the auto-collages. But the clever thing is, even if images aren’t tagged with anything, then the content can still be analysed and recognised automatically.
This is all down to Sensei, which is Adobe’s machine-learning feature for recognising image content. It’s capable of sorting images of specific people, animals and objects, as well as types of scenes like sunsets or seascapes. Sensei is one of the most interesting Adobe developments in recent years. We’ve seen it utilised in Lightroom CC and Photoshop, and now it comes into play for the new Elements Auto Creations feature.
New guided edits
Guided Edits are one of the best beginner-friendly features in Photoshop Elements. Found within the Guided workspace, they are semi-automated walkthroughs that put the right tools at your fingertips to help you carry out everyday image-editing tasks or create fun effects. There are four new guided edits to experiment with: a meme creator, partial photo/sketch effect, photo/text combiner and a tool for adding text and borders over your photos. For each effect, you simply need to open an image, begin the guided edit, then work your way through the steps and settings.
With each new version of Elements, there are performance improvements to help speed up your workflow, and a faster launch time. There’s also new support for High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) files (Mac only), which is the default file format for those using and shooting on devices running iOS 11 or higher. So if you need to edit HEIF images then you can now do so in Elements 2019.
Worth the upgrade?
If you already own a recent version (like Elements 2018 or version 15) then there’s little need to upgrade to Elements 2019. Of the new features, the new Home Screen is helpful but hardly essential and the newly added Guided Edits can’t really be considered new features; rather they’re walkthroughs that utilise existing tools, and their usefulness will depend on how much you want to make a meme or a sketch. The only true innovation here is the Auto-Creations feature, so if you love making collages and presentations then an upgrade may be worthwhile.