Making Photoshop Element-ary

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An estimated 22 million digital cameras will be in use by the end of the year. By 2005, that figure could grow to 81 million. No wonder Adobe (800/833-6687, www.adobe.com ) isn't content to dominate the professional graphics market and now wants to take advantage of the exploding consumer demand for digital-imaging products.

That's the idea behind Adobe Photoshop Elements, an image-editing program aimed at users who want the power of Photoshop in an easier-to-use package. "The digital-camera customer was thought of throughout the development process of this product," says Adobe Product Manager Mark Dahm.

Shipping this spring, the $99 Photoshop Elements replaces the similarly priced Adobe Photoshop LE. It offers many of the features found in the $609 Photoshop, including the History palette, layers, and an optimization window for saving Web graphics. But the new program also sports a user-friendly interface -- think Microsoft Office, Dahm says -- that includes a Hints palette with information and tips for different tools. A feature called Recipes offers step-by-step instructions for specific tasks such as color-correcting photographs and creating simple animated GIFs.

While many Mac products target professionals and beginners, few image-editing applications exist for hobbyists. The closest competitor to Photoshop Elements on the Mac platform is ArcSoft's PhotoStudio 2000.

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