Lastly, the Frames panel offers ten different preset frames styles. You simply click on the style you want and it’s added to the image. Again it would be better if there was a wider range – there seems no reason why the sidebar can’t scroll to display many more – and while you can control the size of the image within the frame, that’s about it.
05 Swapping to Expert mode
You can do all this in Quick mode, then swap to Expert mode to carry on working – you don’t need to save and re-open the image, and this seamless switching of modes is very useful.
At first glance, it looks as if Elements has neatly layered the Effects, Textures and Frames. In fact, though, it’s simply added a new layer at each stage in the process, so there’s not quite the level of retrospective control you might have thought. it finishes off with a finished, ‘composite’ layer, which is separated from the rest by a solid color adjustment layer. I’m not quite sure what the point of that is.
And, oddly, the frame effect I’ve chosen here has shifted the original image over to the left in the lower layers to leave a blank space on the right. The final image looks fine, but it’s by no means clear what Elements has done to achieve it, and why.
06 The finished image
The new Effects, Textures and Frames in the Elements 12 Quick mode are good for retro-style ‘distressed’ effects, which are all the rage right now, but the choice is quite limited and the way it constructs the final image is quite odd. I’ve also noticed that my frame is quite low resolution and looked like it had been resampled upwards to fit my picture in the original high-res version (you can’t see it here because the picture’s been downsized for web use).
I’m glad Adobe’s catching up with the image styles and effects of the Instagram generation, but Elements 12 still falls some way short of the effects you get in programs like Snapseed or the multitude of cheap and effective smartphone and tablet imaging apps you can get now.
In fact, I do sometimes transfer images to one of my mobile devices to apply quick and contemporary special effects before transferring them back to my desktop machine.