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Adobe PhotoShop LE

PhotoShop on a Budget

By Mike Kaltschnee


Adobe PhotoShop LE Box.I’ve used PhotoShop for a long time, and have grown to love this amazing image editor. However, I had a hard time justifying $599 for home use (yes, I actually pay for some of the software I use). Adobe created PhotoShop LE to fill this void, which until recently had been filled by great products like PaintShop Pro. I have to admit that it was awkward, using PhotoShop at work and then returning home and trying to use a different tool.

Adobe took PhotoShop and removed some of the features that only high-end graphic artists use, such as color separations and multi-channel support. I’ve been using PhotoShop LE on my PowerBook for the past month, and it has been able to do everything I need to create Web pages, edit photos, and even create images for presentations. However, I miss the ability to create advanced Web effects such as JavaScript rollovers or animations within PhotoShop. You can still create them, but you’ll need to learn a bit of JavaScript or buy a GIF animation tool.

The only problem with PhotoShop is the learning curve. I recently taught a small class of inexperienced computer students to use PhotoShop, and was able to relive my early experiences. PhotoShop is a very powerful tool, and with power comes responsibility - which means investing time to really learn the product. There are a lot of books, videos, and even Web sites (http://www.i-us.com) to help you get the most from PhotoShop. If you’re serious about images, it’s worth the time to learn this tool.

Adobe PhotoShop and PhotoShop LE both have some great features that I love to use. The first is the ability to really edit photos, creating your own scenes similar to the ones in Forest Gump. My niece, using PhotoShop for the first time, took a family photo and put her head on every body - something I still laugh about. I also use the many filters to enhance my scans or digital photos. You can select from artist filters that change your photo into a painting or charcoal sketch, to fancy filters that mimic stained glass or add a lens blur to your outdoor shots. You can even hide your spouse’s identity using the witness protection-style blur filter. After all of these years I’m still having fun.

If you’re only going to be doing simple photo correction or editing photos to send to your family, I would take a look at Adobe PhotoDeluxe. Adobe took the engine behind PhotoShop and this time put a great interface between the user and the engine. Instead of starting up with a series of complicated tools and palettes, PhotoDeluxe asks you what you want to do to your photo. It’s a simple process to apply a fancy filter or even remove the redeye from your family. It’s a program that even my mother could use.

One tip for buying software: if you’re a student, see if there is educational pricing available. You can save yourself several hundred dollars on software. Some companies will give you educational pricing even if you’re only taking one class (such as a PhotoShop class). Visit Journey Education or any of the many educational resellers if you want to learn more.


So, what does it cost to get one of these Adobe products?

Adobe PhotoShop - $599
Adobe PhotoShop LE - $ 99
Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition - $ 79
Adobe PhotoDeluxe - $ 49
JASC PaintShop Pro - $ 99

It’s easier than ever to have fun with your photos, and Adobe makes it economical for you to get started with some serious image editing tools.

Mike Kaltschnee is a longtime DACS member who wonders if anyone reads these articles. You can let him know by e-mailing him at: mikek@demorgan.com.