Even though Photoshop Elements 6.0 (PSE) is a stripped-down and consumer-friendly iteration of Photoshop, much of the pro-level functionality remains. Unlike Picnik, you can work with image layers for sophisticated matting, superimpositions, and isolating effects on portions of an image. Lighten and darken highlights and shadows, make midtone adjustments, and manage hues, saturation, and contrast in several ways. The number of filters is overwhelming (not necessarily a bad thing), and Elements also lets you correct camera distortions such as perspective and vignetting from wide-angle lenses. Elements has the added power of its library with hundreds of plug-ins that add even more effects and tools like RAW image conversion.
Compared with a Web 2.0–savvy program like Picnik, the sharing element of Version 6.0 is weak (however, Adobe is trying to remedy that with the release of the online-only Photoshop Express). You can send images to Flickr or Kodak EasyShare (and Adobe’s own image site) but not interact with these services within Elements in any meaningful way. And Elements is just that much more complex than Picnik; simple things such as importing picture folders, zooming, and sending images as e-mail attachments took more steps in the program than they should. The bottom line: Photoshop Elements 6.0 is a $99 super-bargain for power image editors, but it may be overkill for most others.
Web Apps vs. Desktop Apps