A major overhaul of Photoshop Elements for Mac OS X shipped today, Adobe Systems announced. Version 6 of the software reaches parity with the same-numbered Windows version, released last year. Photoshop Elements 6 offers an interface - almost identical across Mac OS X and Windows versions - which is simpler than Photoshop's and includes a number of useful new features for those who don't want to master Photoshop.
Photomerge is a fascinating feature that I wouldn't have believed had I not seen fellow TidBITS editor Jeff Carlson working with it. It allows you to take two or more similarly composed images and mark the best parts of each. The software then creates a merged image that appears seamless. Jeff used it to create a composite photo of his nephew and niece who were too wiggly to sit still at the same time. Photoshop Elements 6 also improves a magic brush option for painting a selection by color, has better automated tools for adjusting exposure, and has a batch adjustment option.
(Jeff, by the way, recently completed "Photoshop Elements 6 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide." Since the Mac OS X and Windows version are nearly identical in features and interface, have no fears about buying this book to get up to speed on the new Mac release. The most significant difference between the two platforms is in organizing photos: The Windows version uses a separate mode called the Organizer to manage and tag images; the Mac version uses Bridge CS3 to handle those tasks. The next biggest difference? The appearance of the document title bar!)
Photoshop Elements 6 requires a Mac with a PowerPC G4 or G5 or Intel multi-core processor - that leaves out one model of Mac mini? - and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later. It's available as a universal binary. It costs $89.99 retail, or $69.99 when upgrading from any version of Photoshop Elements (the last was version 4), Photoshop Album, Photoshop LE, or Adobe PhotoDeluxe.