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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan 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 lots of different looks that you can apply to your photos. Effects are similar to filters, but they are a little more complex. A single effect can automatically add layers and layers styles and special effects, all with one click. Before I apply an effect, I always check my LAYERS panel, and if I have more than one layer here, I'll make sure to click on the topmost layer that I want to have affected by an effect, because when I apply an effect, it will apply to the visible areas of all of the layers beneath it.
To apply an effect, I'll go to the EFFECTS panel here. If yours isn't open, you can open it from the Window menu at the top of the screen. In the EFFECTS panel, I'll click the third icon for Photo Effects, and then I'll go to the Category menu and I'll choose the category of effects that I want to use. I am going to try out Vintage Photo. There is only one effect here. To apply it, I'll select its thumbnail and I'll click Apply. In just a moment, the effect is applied to the image. This particular effect has added some sepia toning.
It's given the background the look of antique paper and it's created a new layer here in the LAYERS panel. This effect looks good on this particular photo but it may not look good on another. But really the only thing that you can do is just practice trial-and-error. Applying an effect and if you don't like it, undoing or in this case, I could just remove the Background copy layer that the effect created by dragging that to the trash can at the bottom of the LAYERS panel. I am going to try an effect from another category. I'll go up to the Category menu in the EFFECTS panel and this time, I am going to choose Miscellaneous Effects.
Now, there are lots of icons here, and I really don't know one from the other. So one thing I can do is click on this panel menu, which is a little bit hard to see over on the top-right of the EFFECTS panel, and from the contextual menu, choose Show Names. And that at least gives me a name under each one of these thumbnails, suggesting what that effect might do. I am going to try out this Oil Pastel effect by clicking its thumbnail and then clicking Apply. Now, I can apply more than one effect to the same image. Effects are cumulative. So this time, I am going to go up to the Category menu and I am going to choose Frame.
I'll select the first icon here, which is going to add a Drop Shadow type frame to this image. Because I want the frame to be white, I want to make sure that white is the background color here in the toolbox. If it isn't, I will press D on my keyboard to set the colors to their defaults, which are black as the foreground and white as the background color. And then with the Drop Shadow effect highlighted in the EFFECTS panel, I'll click Apply. If you get a result like this, just go to the bottom-right corner of this inner document window, move your mouse over that corner and click-and-drag a little to see the full effect.
I think effects can create some really beautiful looks for your photos. But like any special effect feature, I suggest that you apply effects with a light hand judiciously rather than just piling them on, and that will make your photos look more interesting and sophisticated.
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