Adobe's updated Elements app uses AI to fix common photo problems

Did your dad look off-screen in the family portrait again? No problem! AI to the rescue!

The latest versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements software are here, and they’re chock full of AI-powered features that are sure to turn head. Literally. You can use them to shift the gaze of subjects in images, and while the results are impressive, the process is a little unsettling.

One of the most impressive — and useful — new features in Elements 2021 is the ability to adjust where everyone in a photo is looking. The effect is uncanny, to say the least, but it’ll definitely come in handy for group photos where someone’s gaze is — inevitably — just a little off-kilter.

While Photoshop is definitely Adobe’s most well-known piece of software, Elements is popular with a different crowd. It’s aimed at amateur photographers who might not have time to learn Photoshop’s complex control system.

Elements has tons of automated tools already for quick photo-editing, so these new AI-powered effects fit in perfectly with the existing software. If they’re well-received, we may well see them in the main Photoshop sooner rather than later.

Uncanny and also useful — The new Elements features are disparate in many ways, but they share something similar: they blur the lines between reality and fiction just a little more than we’re used to.

The Adjust Face Tilt feature ranks as the most uncanny of the bunch. Just select a face — the app automatically detects them in your photo — and use three sliders to push and pull that face by various degrees in different directions. Not all of the provided angles appear quite as natural, though; we shudder to imagine the creepy portraits this tool will result in from overzealous image correctors. But we look forward to the memes.

Moving Photos in action.Adobe

Other new features include Moving Photos — which can turn your still photos into GIFs — and Quote Graphics — which sets pre-set motivational quotes (that you can edit, thankfully) over photos. The latter is sure to be loved by Facebook Moms, and the former is cool but ultimately pretty gimmicky.


Digital photography is less real than ever — We’ve reached a point with digital photography where fake is the new normal. Kids are finding colorized historic photos without realizing they’re not originals. Our faces can become live deepfakes on video calls. And AI is allowing these tools to grow by leaps and bounds. Digital image manipulation technology is progressing so quickly at this point that we’ve hardly grown used to one tool before another even wilder tool is introduced.

As usual, Adobe is at the forefront of the movement. This is surely only the beginning of the company’s foray into AI-powered edits and corrections. The full list of new Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements features can be found on Adobe’s website.