Medium 9781449398507

Photoshop Elements 10: The Missing Manual

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Elements 10 offers much of Photoshop's power without the huge price tag. It's a great tool for most image-editing buffs—whether you’re a photographer, scrapbooker, or aspiring graphic artist. But Elements still doesn't come with a useful manual. This bestselling book helps you get the most out of the program, from the basics to advanced tips for both Windows and Mac users.

The important stuff you need to know:

  • Quickly learn your way around. Customize Elements to suit your working style.
  • Get to work right away. Import, organize, and make quick image fixes with ease.
  • Retouch any image. Learn how to repair and restore old and damaged photos.
  • Add pizzazz. Give images more zip with dozens of filters, layer styles, and special effects.
  • Design with words. Make text flow along a curved path or around an object or shape.
  • Find your creative flair. Create scrapbooks, greeting cards, photo books, and more.
  • Try out advanced techniques. Work with layers, blend modes, and other tools.

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1. Finding Your Way Around Elements

ePub

Photoshop Elements lets you do practically anything you want to your digital images. You can colorize black-and-white photos, remove demonic red-eye stares, or distort the facial features of people whove been mean to you. The downside is that all those options can make it tough to find your way around Elements, especially if youre new to the program.

This chapter helps get you oriented. Youll learn what to expect when you launch the program, how to use Elements to fix photos with just a couple of keystrokes, and how to sign up for and connect to all the goodies that await you on Photoshop.com. Youll also learn how to use Guided Edit mode to get started editing your photos. Along the way, youll find out about some of Elements basic controls and how to get to the programs Help files.

Unlike the past several versions of Elements, with Elements 10 theres not much difference in how you start up the program, regardless of whether you have a Mac or a Windows computer.

 

2. Importing, Managing, and Saving Photos

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Now that youve had a look around Elements, its time to start learning how to get photos into the program and how to keep track of where these photos are stored. As a digital photographer, you dont have to deal with shoeboxes stuffed with prints, but youve still got to face the menace of photos piling up on your hard drive. Fortunately, Elements gives you some great tools for organizing your collection and quickly finding individual pictures.

In this chapter, youll learn how to import photos from cameras, memory card readers, and scanners. Youll also find out how to import individual frames from videos, create new files from scratch, and open files already on your computer. Then youll be ready for a quick tour of the Organizer, where you can sort and find pictures once theyre in Elements. Finally, youll learn about saving and backing up your precious files.

If you bought Elements 10 from the Mac App Store, you got a special version that doesnt include the Organizer, so the parts of this chapter about using the Organizer dont apply.

 

3. Rotating and Resizing Photos

ePub

In the last chapter, you learned how to get your photos into Elements. Now its time to look at how to trim off unwanted areas and straighten crooked photos. Youll also learn how to change the overall size of your images and how to zoom in and out to get a better look at things while youre editing.

From here through Chapter14, you need to be in the Elements Editor. If youre still in the Organizer, press Ctrl+I/-I to go to the Full Edit window.

Anyone whos scanned printed photos can testify about the hair-pulling frustration you feel when your carefully placed pictures come out crooked onscreen. Whether youre feeding in precious memories one at a time or scanning batches of photos to save time, Elements can help straighten things out.

If youve got a pile of photos to scan, save yourself some time and lay as many of them as you can fit on your scanner. Thanks to Elements handy Divide Scanned Photos command, you can save them as individual image files in no time.

 

4. The Quick Fix

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With Elements Quick Fix tools, you can dramatically improve a photos appearance with just a click or two. The Quick Fix window gathers easy-to-use tools that help you adjust the brightness and color of your photos and make them look sharper. You dont even need to understand much about what youre doingjust click a button or move a slider, and then decide whether you like how it looks.

Even if you do know what youre doing, you may still find yourself using the Quick Fix window to tweak things like shadows and highlights because Quick Fix gives you a handy before-and-after view as you work. Also, the Temperature and Tint sliders can come in very handy for advanced color tweaking, like finessing the overall color of your otherwise finished photo. You also get two toolsthe Selection brush and the Quick Selection toolthat let you easily change specific areas of your photo.

Besides letting you make general fixes, the Quick Fix window also makes it a snap to whiten teeth, make the sky more blue, or even make part of a picture black and white. And Adobe has made it super easy to decide just what to do to an image by adding a number of presets to the adjustments; youll learn about them on The Quick Fix Panel Bin. These presets are great if you need extra helpyou can pick one of them as a starting point and work from there.

 

5. Making Selections

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One of Elements most impressive talents is its ability to let you select part of your image and make changes only to that area. Selecting something tells Elements, Hey, this is what I want to work ondont touch the rest of it.

You can select a whole image or any part of it. Using selections, you can fine-tune images in very sophisticated ways: change the color of just one rose in a bouquet, for instance, or change your nephews festive purple hair back to something his grandparents would appreciate. Graphics pros will tell you that good selections make the difference between shoddy, amateurish work and a slick professional job.

Elements offers you a whole bunch of different selection tools to work with. You can draw a rectangular or circular selection with the Marquee tools; paint a selection on your photo with the Selection brush; or just draw a line with the Quick Selection tool and let Elements figure out the exact boundaries of your selection. When youre looking to pluck a particular object (a beautiful flower, say) from a photo, the Magic Extractor works wonders. And Transform Selection lets you resize your selections in a snap.

 

6. Layers: The Heart of Elements

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If youve been working mostly in the Quick Fix window so far, youve probably noticed that once you close a file, the changes youve made are permanent. You can undo stuff while the file is still open, but once you close it, youre stuck with what youve done.

In Elements, you can keep your changes (most kinds, anyway) and still revert to the original image if you use layers, a nifty system of transparent sheets that keeps each component of your image on a separate sliver that you can edit. Layers are one of the greatest image-editing inventions ever: By putting each change you make on its own layer, you can rearrange your images composition and add or subtract changes whenever you want.

If you use layers, then you can save a file and quit Elements, come back days or weeks later, and still undo what you did or change things around some more. Theres no statute of limitations for the changes you make using layers.

Some people resist learning about layers because they fear layers are too complicated. But actually, theyre really easy to use once you understand how they work. And once you get started with layers, youll realize that using Elements without them is like driving a Ferrari in first gear. This chapter gives you the info you need to get comfortable working with layers.

 

7. Basic Image Retouching

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You may be perfectly happy using Elements only in Quick Fix mode. And thats fine, as long as you understand that youve hardly scratched the surface of what the program can do. Sooner or later, though, youll probably run across a photo where your best Quick Fix efforts just arent enough. Or you may simply be curious to see what else Elements has under its hood. Thats when you finally get to put all your image-selecting and layering skills to good use.

Elements gives you loads of ways to fix photos beyond the limited options in Quick Fix. This chapter guides you through fixing basic exposure problems, shows you various ways of sharpening your photos, and (most importantly) helps you understand how to improve the colors in your images. Youll also learn how to use the amazing Smart Brush tool that lets you apply many common fixes by just brushing over the area you want to correct.

To get the most out of Elements, you need to understand a little about how your camera, computer, and printer think about color. Along with resolution (Changing the Size of an Image), color is one of the most important concepts in Elements. After all, almost all the adjustments that image-editing programs make involve changing the color of pixels. So quite a bit of this chapter is about understanding how Elementsand by extension, youcan manipulate your images color.

 

8. Elements for Digital Photographers

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If youre a fairly serious digital photographer, youll be delighted to know that Adobe hasnt just loaded Elements with easy-to-use features. The program also includes a collection of pretty advanced tools pulled straight from the full-featured Photoshop.

Number one on the list is the Adobe Camera Raw Converter, which takes Raw filesa format some cameras use to give you maximum editing controland lets you convert and edit them in Elements. In this chapter, youll learn lots more about the Raw format and why you may (or may not) want to use it for your photos. Dont skip to the next chapter if your camera shoots only JPEGs, though: You can use the Raw Converter to edit JPEG and TIFF images as well as Raw files, which can come in really handy, as youll see shortly.

Whereas JPEG and TIFF are acronyms for technical photographic terms, the word Rawwhich you may occasionally see in all caps (RAW)actually refers to the pristine, unprocessed quality of these files.

 

9. Retouching: Fine-Tuning Images

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Basic edits like exposure fixes and sharpening are fine if all you want to make are simple adjustments. But Elements also gives you tools to make sophisticated changes that arent hard to apply, and that can make the difference between a ho-hum photo and a fabulous one. This chapter introduces you to some advanced editing maneuvers that can help you rescue damaged photos or give good ones a little extra zing.

The first part of the chapter shows how to get rid of blemishesnot only those that affect skin, but also dust, scratches, stains, and other photographic imperfections. Youll also learn some powerful color-improving techniques, including using the Color Curves tool, which is a great way to enhance your images contrast and color.

Then youll learn to use the exciting Recompose tool, which lets you change the size and shape of your photos, eliminate empty areas between subjects in an image, and even get rid of unwanted elements in your pictures, all without distorting the parts you want to keep. This amazing feature works so well that nobody seeing the results would ever suspect the photo wasnt originally shot that way.

 

10. Removing and Adding Color

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A stunning black-and-white image is so much more than just a color photo without color. If you love classic black-and-white photography, or if you yearn to be the next Ansel Adams, youll be over the moon with the high-quality black-and-white conversions Elements can do. If, on the other hand, you cant imagine why anyone would willingly abandon color, consider that in a world crammed with eye-popping colors, black and white really stands out. Or say you need to have something printed where you cant use color illustrations. And for artistic photography, theres nothing like black and white, where tone and contrast make or break the photo, without colors to distract you from its underlying structure.

In this chapter, youll learn how to turn a color photo black and white, and how to create images that are partly in color and partly black and white. Youll also learn how to reverse the process and colorize black-and-white images.

 

11. Photomerge: Creating Panoramas, Group Shots, and More

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Everyones had the frustrating experience of trying to photograph an awesome viewlike a city skyline or a mountain rangeonly to find that its too wide to fit into one picture. Elements, once again, comes to the rescue. With the Photomerge command, you can stitch together a group of photos you shot while panning across the horizon to create a panorama thats much larger than any single photo your camera can take. Panoramas can become addictive once youve tried them, and theyre a great way to get those wide, wide shots that are beyond the capability of your camera lens.

Elements includes the same great Photomerge feature thats part of Photoshop, which makes it incredibly easy to create super panoramas. Not only that, but Adobe also gives you a few fun twists on Photomerge that are unique to Elements: Faces, which lets you easily move features from one face to another; Group Shot so you can replace folks in group photos; and Scene Cleaner, for those times when your almost-perfect vacation shot is spoiled by strangers walking into the frame. You also get Style Match, which lets you copy the overall look of one photo into another. Like the Ansel Adams-ish look you came up with for one of your images? With Style Match, you can just tell Elements to copy that onto a different photo.

 

12. Drawing with Brushes, Shapes, and Other Tools

ePub

If youre not artistically inclined, you may feel tempted to skip this chapter. After all, you probably just want to fix and enhance your photoswhy should you care about brush technique? Surprisingly enough, you should care quite a lot.

In Elements, brushes arent just for painting a moustache and horns on a picture of someone you dont like, or for blackening your sisters teeth in that old school photo. Lots of Elements tools use brushes to apply their effects. So far, youve already run into the Selection brush, the Clone Stamp, and the Color Replacement brush, to name just a few. And even with the Brush tool, you can paint with lots of things besides colorlike light or shadows, for example. In Elements, when you want to apply an effect in a precise manner, you often use some sort of brush to do it.

If youre used to working with real brushes, their digital cousins can take some getting used to, but there are many serious artists now who paint primarily in Photoshop. With Elements, you get most of the same tools as in the full Photoshop, if not quite all the settings for each tool. Figure12-1 shows an example of the detailed work you can do with Elements and some artistic ability.

 

13. Filters, Effects, Layer Styles, and Gradients

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Theres a common saying among artistic types who use software in their studios: Tools dont equal talent. And its true: No mere computer program is going to turn a klutz into a Klimt. But Elements has some special toolsfilters, effects, and Layer stylesthat can sure help you fool a lot of people. Its amazing what a difference you can make in the appearance of an image with only a couple of clicks.

Filters are a jaw-droppingly easy way to change how photos look. You can use certain filters for enhancing and correcting images, but Elements also gives you a bunch of other filters that are great for unleashing all your artistic impulses, as shown in Figure13-1. (You can find the original photosrooftops.jpg and bauhinia.jpgon this books Missing CD page at www.missingmanuals.com/cds if you want to play around with them yourself.)

Most filters have settings you can adjust to control how the filter changes your photo. Elements comes with more than a hundred different filters, so there isnt room in this chapter to cover each filter individually, but youll learn the basics of applying filters and get in-depth coverage of some of the ones youre most likely to use.

 

14. Text in Elements

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Elements makes it easy to add text to your images. You can quickly create all kinds of fancy text to use in greeting cards, as newsletter headlines, or as graphics for web pages.

Elements gives you lots of ways to jazz up your text: you can apply Layer styles, effects, and gradients to it, or warp it into psychedelic shapes. And the Type Mask tools let you fill individual letters with the contents of a photo. Best of all, most Type tools let you change your text with just a few clicks (see Figure14-1). By the time you finish this chapter, youll know all the ways that Elements can add pizzazz to your text.

Elements 10 brings three exciting new tools for making artistic text: Text on Selection, Text on Shape, and Text on Custom Path. With these tools, you can create text that swoops and turns, or make text run around the edge of an object in your photo. You can create very dramatic text effects with these tools. Theyre covered beginning on Artistic Text.

 

15. Creating Projects

ePub

If youre into making scrapbooks, greeting cards, or other photo concoctions, Elements is perfect for you. You can dress up your pictures in all sorts of creative ways without any other software. Elements is crammed with add-on graphics, frames, and other special effects; it even lets you create multipage documents.

This chapter kicks off with an in-depth look at how to create a photo collage. Once youve got those steps under your belt, all the other projects (summarized starting on Photo Books) use the same basic method. Youll also learn how to create photo books and calendars using Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly, Adobes online photo-printing partners.

To learn how to create online albums (photo-filled web pages) and slideshows with Elements, flip to Chapter18.

The Create tab (in both the Editor and the Organizer) helps you make fancy pages featuring your photos, which you can then share as either printouts or digital files. Although Elements gives you lots of preset layouts to start from, you can customize every aspect of them to create projects that are totally your own.

 

16. Printing Photos

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Now that youve gone to so much trouble to make your photos look terrific, you no doubt want to share your masterpieces with other people. This chapter and the next two look at the many different options Elements gives you for sharing photos with the world at large.

This chapter covers the traditional method: printing photos. You can print them at home on an inkjet printer, take them to a kiosk at a local store, or order prints online. Elements makes it especially simple to use Shutterfly and Kodak Gallery, Adobes online printing partners. You also get an easy connection to several other popular online photo services (A Few More Ways to Share). The best thing about ordering prints online is that youre not limited to just ordinary prints: You can create hardcover books, calendars, embarrassing t-shirtsyou name it.

If you create online albums at Photoshop.com (Online Albums), you can let friends order prints directly from your personal Photoshop.com web page. (Those prints come from Shutterfly.)

 

17. Email and the Web

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Printing photos is great, but it costs money, takes time, and doesnt do much to instantly impress your faraway friends. And to many people, printing is just so 20th century. Fortunately, Elements comes packed with tools that make it easy to prep your photos for onscreen viewing and to email them in a variety of crowd-pleasing ways.

Back in the Webs early days, making graphic files small was important because most Internet connections were as slow as snails. Nowadays, file size isnt as crucial; your main obligation when creating graphics for the Web is ensuring theyre compatible with the web browsers people use to view them. That means youll probably want to use either of the two most popular image formats, JPEG or GIF, though PNG is also an option:

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the most popular choice for images with lots of detail, and where you need smooth color transitions. Photos are almost always posted on the Web as JPEGs.

 

18. Online Albums and Slideshows

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In the last chapter, you learned how to email photos. But what if youve got legions of friendsdo you have to email your pictures to everyone individually? Not with Elements, which makes it incredibly simple to post images online, thanks to Photoshop.com, a one-stop shop where you can share your photos and back them up. You can create fancy online albums complete with professional-looking effects, courtesy of Flash, the ubiquitous Adobe program thats responsible for zillions of nifty online animations.

If you have Windows, Elements can also help you put together elaborate slideshows, complete with slick between-photo transitions like wipes and dissolves, clip art, and even audio. And for the perfect combination of high-tech wizardry and old-school charm, you can make digital flipbooks, simple slideshows that are easy to share with friends. Like the paper flipbooks of yore, these little shows can make a series of still photos appear to move, like a cartoon. In this chapter, youll learn the ins and outs of all these ways of sharing photos.

 

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