Usually the members of the press get a release notifying them of new Adobe products but that didn’t happen this time. Instead, Elements 2018 simply appeared on the Adobe website and was ushered in by a post on Adobe’s Creative Connection blog.

The Elements team also wants to assure fans that they didn’t miss versions 16 and 17. As of this year, Adobe is swapping the version naming to reflect the year of introduction.

It’s all a bit low key, to be honest, and a scan through the new features reveals that the Elements team is, as ever, concentrating on novices and learners rather than enthusiasts. That’s a shame, because in Expert mode Elements is a powerful, efficient and inexpensive photo editor, a kind of Photoshop Lite. It’s a shame Adobe doesn’t publish it in that form.

What’s new in Elements 2018

When Adobe talks about ‘memory keepers’ you get a sense of where it’s now pitching Photoshop Elements.

Elements 2018 now uses some clever machine learning to offer an Auto-Curate feature. Now you don’t have to trawl through all your photos to find the best ones because the Elements Organizer – the other app in the Photoshop Elements double-act can automatically ‘curate’ your photos based on quality, faces, subjects and more.

Slideshows have been ‘reimagined’ so that you can quickly and easily turn your curated photos and video clips into slideshows with just one click – you can choose a different theme and music, or add captions.

There are new Guided Edits, a mode where you’re walked through special effects and the tools needed to create them, step by step. New Guided Edits include background swapping, double exposures, artistic overlay and watercolour effects and bounce-back GIFs, freeze frames with motion titles and action cam footage enhancement.

The Elements Editor gets a new Auto Select tool for quick cutouts, and an eye-swap feature that can take open eyes from one shot and drop them into another where your subject’s eyes are closed.

All the new stuff is aimed at beginners, which is how it’s been for a few years now, so although the Elements Editor is actually a decent and inexpensive Photoshop Alternative for enthusiasts, it is somewhat buried by the novice-friendly user interface.

Prices and availability

You can get Photoshop Elements 2018 for $79.99 (upgrade) or $99.99 (full price), or get the Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premier Elements 2018 bundle for $119.99 (upgrade) or $149.99 (full price).

Students and teachers should note that they can get the Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premier Elements 2018 bundle for just $79.99.