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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
Effects offer a lot of different looks that you can apply to your photos. Effects are similar to filters, but they're more complex. A single effect can automatically add layer styles and layers and special effects all with one click. Before I apply an effect to an image, I'll check my Layers panel and see if I have more than one layer there. If I do, I'll select the topmost layer, if I want the effect to apply to the visible areas of all the layers beneath. To apply an effect, I'll go to the Effects panel here. If your Effects panel isn't open, you can open it from the Window menu at the top of the screen.
I am going to click on the third icon from the left at the top of the Effects panel, and that shows me the available effects in just one of several categories of effects, the Faded Photo effect. I'm going to click that Faded Photo menu to display other categories of the effect and I'm going to choose a different category to see what other effects are available. I'll try Vintage Photo. This category has a single effect. If I'd like to apply this effect, I'll just click on the thumbnail that represents the Effect, and then I'll go down to the bottom of the Effects panel and I'll click Apply.
And I'll see the results immediately in the document window. This particular Vintage Photo converted the photo to black and white. It added a bit of sepia toning and it made the photo look like it's printed on antique paper. And in the Layers panel, it made a new layer. Each effect will do something different to the photo and some effects will look good on one photo, but not on another. So, really the only thing you can do is practice trial and error. Apply an effect, as I just did and if you don't like it, delete it by going up to the Undo menu at the top of the screen and clicking Undo or using the Undo History panel.
I'm going to try another effect from a different category. I'll go to the Category menu in the Effects panel and this time I'm going to choose Miscellaneous Effects. Now here, there are lots of different icons and I really don't know which is which. So, one thing I can do is go to the panel menu at top-right of the Effects panel, click there and choose Show Names and then at least I have a name under each icon suggesting what it's supposed to do. I'd like to try an Oil Pastel look with this photo. So I'll select the thumbnail for the Oil Pastel effect and then I'll click the Apply button.
The results appear here in the document window. I can have more than one effect applied to an image and those effects are cumulative. So, I'm going to leave the Oil Pastel Effect on this image and I'm going to go back over to the Effects panel and I'm going to go to another category, the Frame Category. Here I can choose from some frames to apply to this image. I'll try to the first one, the Drop Shadow Frame, selecting it's thumbnail and then clicking the Apply button. The effect has taken the color that happen to be in the Background Color box in the toolbar, which in my case is white, and made a frame and then it added a drop shadow underneath the photograph.
I think that looks pretty nice. Effects can create some really beautiful looks like this for your photos, but like any special effect feature, I suggest that you apply effects judiciously rather than piling them on one top of the other. That can make your photos look more interesting and sophisticated without being overdone.
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