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In this course, photographer and author Jan Kabili explores what you need to know to start using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 to edit, organize, and share your photos.
The course begins with a look at how to import your photos into Elements, and then dives right into editing photos with the Photo Fix, Quick Edit, and Guided Edit workspaces. Jan also introduces the Expert Edit workspace, which provides tools for making selections, retouching, compositing, adding text, and more. Finally, the course reviews the Elements 11 sharing features, including crafting photo creations like greeting cards, emailing photos, and sharing photos on Facebook.
If you have a photo that's too dark or too light or looks flat or needs less contrast or needs the lighting to be evened out, you can sometimes fix those lighting problems in Quick Edit, using the Exposure and Levels Adjustments. I'm going to open a couple of images with lighting problems here in the Organizer, and then I'll click the Editor button to open them into the Editor. I'm in the Quick Fix workspace. Down here in the Photo Bin, I'm going to double-click this image on the right. If your Photo Bin isn't showing, you can open it by clicking the Photo Bin icon in the taskbar.
Now, here's an image with uneven lighting, I'd like to open up the dark areas without blowing out the highlights, so that there is detail in both the shadows and the highlight areas. For that I'll go to the Levels controls, clicking the arrow to the right of Levels in the Quick Edit workspace. In Levels, I can adjust the dark areas, the Shadows; the light areas, the Highlights; and the Midtones separately. I'll start with the Shadows, clicking on the Shadows tab, and that gives me a separate set of controls that will impact the dark areas the most. I could drag the slider, or I can just hover over these various presets until I find one that I think looks good on this image.
I'm going to go with this one right in the middle. Next, I'll go to the Highlights tab and click that to get a whole new set of controls that will primarily impact the Highlights, which in this photo are over on the right side of the photo. I'll hover over these presets and I think I'm going to go with this one. Finally, I'll go to the Midtones tab, and notice that the slider starts in the middle. If I drag the slider to the left, or if I use the presets which are to the negative, like these, I get this kind of a gray overlay. So most often with Midtones I want to increase the contrast in the Midtones by moving the slider to the right of the starting point or using the presets over here.
I think I'm going to go with this one. So that does a pretty good job of evening out the tonality in this image, but I do think that overall it's still too dark, so this is where Exposure comes in. I'll go up to the Exposure control and click the arrow to the right of it to open the slider and the presets for Exposure. As I hover over the presets to the right of the one that's currently selected, the one with the blue outline, I can see that I'm starting to blow out the highlights right away, and these are just too much exposure. So I'm going to select this preset and then I'm going to come up to the slider and I'm going to drag it slightly to the left to fine-tune that result.
So that's how to use the Levels and Exposure controls in Quick Edit to fix lighting problems. Now let's take a look at another image which I'm going to double-click here in the panel Bin. Here's an image that has lighting problems. It needs, I think, a little more contrast, but it also has a colorcast. The actual scene wasn't this orange. I'm going to go to the Levels controls again, clicking the arrow to the right of Levels, and I'm going to come down to the two Auto buttons here. Watch what happens if I click Auto Contrast. The image does get a little more contrasty, but I still have that colorcast.
So I'm going to come down to the taskbar and I'll click Undo, and that takes me back to the original state of the image. Again, I'll open the Levels controls by clicking the arrow to the right of Levels and this time I'm going to try Auto Levels. Auto Levels impacts not only the contrast in the image, but also the color, giving me a result that's more true to life. So when you have a photo that needs more contrast and has a colorcast, Auto Levels is something to try, but if you have an image that needs a contrast boost but the colors already look right, then you might try Auto Contrast.
So those are the Levels controls and Exposure controls here in the Quick Edit workspace. They're useful when the main thing you want to correct about a photo is the lighting. Sometimes color is a bigger issue than lighting, and in those cases you might use the Color and the Balance controls, which is what we'll look at in the next movie.
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