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Does LayersXXL take Photoshop Elements closer to Photoshop?

LayersXXL adds almost 180 new features to Photoshop Elements that are only available in Photoshop, e.g. opening images as layers, auto-aligning, auto-blending, HDR functionality, enhanced layer styles and layer comps. So LayersXXL bridges a big part of the gap between Photoshop Elements and Photoshop. Additionally LayersXXL adds features not available in Photoshop, e.g. the Auto-Expose and HDR-Combine features. Especially if you use LayersXXL together with our ElementsXXL product, you gain 800 new features for Photoshop Elements.


How does LayersXXL compare to ElementsXXL?

LayersXXL and ElementsXXL can be used on their own or together. They have only two functions in common: Auto-Align Layers and Auto-Blend Layers. If you like the Auto-Align and Auto-Blend features in ElementsXXL, you will love them even more in LayersXXL, because using them is now much easier with the additional Open As Layers, Remove Transparency and Tasks features of LayersXXL.

Otherwise LayersXXL and ElementsXXL offer totally different functionalities. ElementsXXL makes available basic functionality like channels, tools, smart objects, path and vector masks, new filters etc. On the other hand LayersXXL concentrates on combining multiple layers for various advanced purposes, e.g. HDR, denoising, macro stacking, multiple exposure and panorama. Additionally LayersXXL provides dozens of new layer composition and layer style features. Both products together make Photoshop Elements even more powerful.


Why should I use LayersXXL for HDR imaging instead of other products?

LayersXXL's HDR-Compose feature has the following advantages over traditional HDR software: It produces natural looking results without the typical overdone HDR look. It also offers more creative freedom and possibilities. LayersXXL's HDR output is not just a single image but three layers (shadows, midtones, highlights) and two layer masks. So you have much more freedom for further improving the HDR look with all tools of Photoshop Elements. You can even reapply the HDR-Compose dialog on the final image to non-destructively edit it, which is not possible with traditional HDR software. Finally, LayersXXL fully integrates into Photoshop Elements, so you do not need to leave its UI to create HDR images.


What is the difference between LayersXXL and other products that extend Photoshop Elements?

The big thing about LayersXXL is that it fully integrates into the user interface of Photoshop Elements by adding new menu items, icons and various dialogs. LayersXXL starts up together with Photoshop Elements, so it does not need to be run manually. LayersXXL feels like an upgrade to Photoshop Elements and not like a plugin or external tool.

Other products that try to extend the functionality of Photoshop Elements have to be executed by clicking a button or menu item. They are limited to a single dialog that blocks the user interface or consist of simple actions. So they are not as intuitively and easy to use as LayersXXL. They do not provide the rich features of LayersXXL.

There is no other product that adds Open/Save Layers commands, Auto-Expose and HDR-Combine features as well as all Photoshop layer styles options to Photoshop Elements. LayersXXL supports Photoshop Elements 6 and higher and does not need to be purchased separately for each Photoshop Elements version.


With which version of Photoshop Elements should I use LayersXXL?

We recommend using LayersXXL with Photoshop Elements 11 to 15. However, in Photoshop Elements 13-15 you additionally have a Content-Aware Fill option on the Remove Transparency dialog. In Photoshop Elements 6 to 10 there are no Layer Comps features and no icon added to the Layers panel. In Photoshop Elements 6 to 7 clicking the fx symbol for editing existing layer styles does not work and the saturation slider of the HDR-Combine feature is less effective.


How do I know which features are added by LayersXXL and which are part of Photoshop Elements?

LayersXXL adds a green background to its icon and menu items (ElementsXXL adds a light blue background). To remove this colorization, please go to File > Automation Tools > LayersXXL and deactivate the "Colorize Icons & Menu Items" check box. Additionally you can check out the manual on the menu under Help > LayersXXL Help. All features of LayersXXL are mentioned and explained there in detail.


Does LayersXXL work with 16-bit images?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is "No" at the moment. So far Photoshop Elements only supports layers for images with 8-bit per channel. As LayersXXL mainly provides features that require layers, it can only be used on 8-bit images so far. If Photoshop Elements will support layers for 16-bit images in future, we will make LayersXXL support 16-bit images. We may also add some workarounds in a future version for making some features of LayersXXL nevertheless work with 16-bit images.


I have a non-English version of Photoshop Elements. Can I use LayersXXL with it?

Yes, definitely. 95% of the features of LayersXXL are automatically translated to the language of Photoshop Elements. For example, if you use a Spanish version of Photoshop Elements, all menu items and almost all dialogs of LayersXXL are in Spanish. Only the Preferences dialog and a few messages are only available in English and German.

There is only a English manuals for LayersXXL (a German one will follow), but you can read about most LayersXXL features in the manual of Photoshop or on the Photoshop Help page - both of which are available for various languages. You can simply search for a certain term, e.g. the name of a menu item, in the Photoshop PDF manual or on the Photoshop Help page. Here are the Photoshop Help pages (where you can also find the Photoshop manual) in all languages that Photoshop Elements supports: Czech, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish, Chinese, Taiwanese.

If you want to look up some LayersXXL features in the English manual and you have a non-English version of Photoshop Elements installed, you can activate the "Force English Localization" check box on the LayersXXL Preferences dialog. After restarting Photoshop Elements, the LayersXXL items will be shown in English language.

Alternatively you can enter the term together with "Photoshop" in Google, e.g. "Photoshop Auto-Align Layers". Then you will find a lot of information and tutorials about it.


Sometimes the Auto-Blend Layers feature of LayersXXL does not work. What can I do about it?

In some cases the Auto-Blend Layers feature may not have enough memory to perform its task. Here are some measures to make it work anyway:

1. Exit all other applications.
2. Close all other documents in Photoshop Elements.
3. Choose Edit > Clear > All to free more memory in Photoshop Elements.
4. Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and increase the Memory Usage to 90 or 95%.
5. Reduce the number of layers that are processed with Auto-Blend Layers.
6. Reduce the image size of the document that contains the layers.
7. If you run Windows 32-bit, upgrade to Windows 64-bit. This will double the amount of memory that Photoshop Elements can use (from 1.6 GB to 3.2 GB RAM). In Photoshop Elements 13 (and higher) you can even use almost all of your RAM under Windows 64-bit.


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