As a follow-up from my post on Autodesk Maya LT - I decided to go on to another top end piece of software with a scary price tag - Photoshop.
Adobe have recently changed their software suites from Creative Suites (CS4, CS5 etc.) and opted for rental plans called Photoshop Creative Cloud, which is a monthly or annual rental program. Sadly, no more perpetual licenses for Photoshop are available.
Currently, Photoshop CC goes for £8.78/month. This amounts to £105.36 per year. Admittedly, this isn't that expensive, when you compare it to Autodesk's monthly fees of £205/month for top end Software such as Maya and £45/month for Autodesk Maya LT.
Now, on to Photoshop Elements. This piece of software is basically a cut down version of Photoshop, mainly aimed at beginners and photographers, but I have found it more than capable of handling my texture work. It's priced at £78.15 - that's a perpetual license; meaning you own the software for life. That's less than you would pay for Photoshop CC 1-year rental.
Photoshop Elements supports basic filters, content-aware, pen sensitivity for tablets, tone controls and has a very user friendly UI; essentially the same as Creative Suite/Creative Cloud.
There are, of course, features missing compared to Photoshop CS/CC - but it's all down to the user and what they need. I would recommend, however a small plugin which regains some of those features - like channel editing, a very useful tool for texture artists (RGBA.) The plugin can be found here. It costs a very affordable £9.41 and It's helped me out a lot.
It is also possible to acquire Photoshop Elements for free - if you purchase a graphics tablet. I received a copy of Elements 11 when I purchased a Wacom Intuos 5, for use in sculpting and texturing. I know that other resellers and brands also offer this deal.
Below is a video showing off features of Elements 12.