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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
Most of the editing that you'll do in Elements will be in the Editor, in one of the three editing workspaces in that part of the program which are the Quick Fix, Guided Edit, and Full Edit workspaces. But you can do some editing right here in the Organizer using the Organizer's Photo Fix options. To access Photo Fix, I'll go up to the Task pane and I'm going to click on the Fix tab, not on the arrow to the right of the Fix tab, but right on the word Fix. That opens up the Photo Fix Options which you can see listed here.
These are all one click automatic solutions to common photo problems. So Photo Fix is a good place to start if you're new to Elements and you're looking for the simplest way to spruce up some casual photos. The first step in applying Photo Fix options is to select a photo. So I'm going to click on this horizontal photo here in the Media browser. While I'm applying Photo Fix options, I'd like to be looking at a larger view of this Thumbnail. So I'm going to come up to the slider at the top of the screen and click the icon just to the right of it to take this Thumbnail into Single Photo View like this.
Now, before I start editing, take a look at the name of the original file; thistle-1.jpg and keep that in mind. Now I'm going to go over to the Photo Fix options and I'm going to first try to apply the Auto Smart Fix option. Auto Smart Fix is like one stop shopping. It attempts to improve the color and the lighting of the photo all at once. One thing that Auto Smart Fix will do is try to remove a color cast in the photo. A color cast is a predominant color across an image that's caused by the temperature of light in which the photo was taken.
Here you can see there is a magenta color cast in the background of this photo and I'd like to eliminate that. Auto Smart Fix will also attempt to improve the color saturation of an image, which means the intensity of color. This photo is rather de-saturated. Auto Smart Fix will also work on the brightness of the photo. In this case, I have a pretty dark photo that I'd like to lighten. And finally, Auto Smart Fix will address the contrast in the photo. By contrast, I mean the range of brightness values or tones in the photo.
Most photos look best with some white highlights with photographic detail, some dark shadow areas with detail, and a full range of brightness values in between. This particular photo doesn't have that, so it looks rather dull or flat. To try to fix all of that; the color balance, the color saturation, the brightness, and the contrast, I'm going to click Auto Smart Fix. In just a moment, Auto Smart Fix has analyzed my photo, and done its best to correct those problems. I think it's done a pretty good job.
Now there are some other options to look at in the Fix pane. There is Auto Color which will concentrate on fixing a color cast in an image. It doesn't really address contrast. Then there is Auto Levels which will increase contrast by making the darkest tones as dark as possible and the lightest areas as light as possible and expanding the Tonal Range between those two extremes. But Auto Levels can sometimes cause a color shift, so there is Auto Contrast. Auto contrast does the same thing as Auto Levels in terms of increasing contrast.
But unlike Auto Levels, Auto Contrast does that with as little effect as possible on color. But I'm not going to apply any of those three options, because I like the result that I have here with Auto Smart Fix. Some of the other options here aren't really relevant to this photo. Auto Red Eye Fix will attempt to fix the red glow that you sometime see in a person's eyes when you take a photo of them with on-camera flash. Crop can be used to trim away some of the edges of an image, changing its shape. I'll show you how to crop in a separate movie in this course.
Now, let's say that I wanted to do some more advanced editing on the photo in another program; if I click on Edit Photos, that will launch the Elements Editor opening the photo in its full edit workspace, or if I had another imaging program on my computer like Photoshop CS5, or Fireworks, or Illustrator, clicking the More Options button here and then choosing to edit the photo with an External Editor would allow me to set up one of those programs as an external editor and open the photo there. But I'm satisfied with the change that Auto Smart Fix made to this photo.
So there is only one other option that I'm going to apply here and that's Auto Sharpen. Almost every digital photo will benefit by sharpening at the end of the correction workflow. To sharpen this image, I'll just click once on Auto Sharpen which figures out where the edges of objects are in the photo and makes them a little sharper. Now that I'm done applying Photo Fix options to the photo, I don't have to bother saving these corrections, Elements has automatically saved an edited copy of the image for me without writing over the original. To show you that, I'm going to back off on the Size slider a little bit, and notice that the photo that I was working on, has a new name; it's called thistle-1_edited-2.
You remember that the original name of this image was thistle-1.jpg. Elements has not only made a copy of the original photo, it's also put this edited version and the original version together in a group called a Version Set. This icon at the top right indicates that this is a Version Set as does this Arrow on the right here. If I click this Arrow, the Version Set expands and here on the right, I can see the original photo thistle-1.jpg before I applied any changes. Over here is a copy of the photo with the changes that I applied in the Photo Fix options.
Now, let's say that I decide that I don't like the way that Auto Smart Fix change the image. If I tried to use the Undo command after applying Auto Smart Fix, I would have gotten a message that Elements couldn't undo that action. So here is a workaround if I don't like the changes that I've made in the Photo Fix options. After expanding the Version Set, I'm going to right-click, that's Ctrl+Click with a one button mouse on either of the two images in the Version Set. In the menu that appears, I'll go down to Version Set and over here to the commands that allow me to manage a Version Set and from them, I'm going to choose Revert to Original.
What Elements is telling me is that it's going to delete the edited copy from the Version Set and it also asks if I want to delete that edited copy from the hard-disk. I'm going to leave that unchecked for now, and just click OK. So now here in my catalog, the only image of those two that I have left is the original; thistle-1.jpg. The edited copy is no longer part of my Organizer catalog. If I wanted to try one of the other Photo Fix options, I could. So with this photo selected, I could come over to Photo Fix options and I could try Auto Contrast.
I think that does a pretty nice job on this image too. If I click the arrow, you'll see that I have a new Version Set that contains the original image on the right and the version that I just edited with Auto Contrast on the left. One last thing, and that is, what happens if I try to apply a Quick Fix to a RAW file? A RAW file unlike a JPEG is just data from my camera sensor. Normally, I would have to open a RAW file into the Adobe Camera RAW converter that comes with Elements to convert the RAW data to a format that can be read by Elements or that could be printed.
But that all woks a little differently here in the Organizer when I'm applying Photo Fix options. I'm going to scroll down here where I have this vertical image which happens to be a RAW file. This is a RAW file from my Nikon digital camera and it's identified by the NEF suffix at the end of its file name. Different camera brands produce different flavors of RAW files with different suffixes. Now, let's say I want to apply a Photo Fix option to this file. I'll click on the Thumbnail to select it, and then I'll go over to the Photo Fix options and I'll try applying Auto Smart Fix by clicking on it.
This is basically saying that if I apply one of the Photo Fix options like Auto Smart Fix, the edited version of the file will be written in a format other than a RAW file, and I can choose that format. I can choose between JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and Photoshop file or PSD file. I'll leave this set to JPEG for now and I'll click OK. Then my Auto Smart Fix option is being applied to the selected RAW file. This may take some time because a RAW file is pretty big. Now, you can see that Auto Smart Fix has been applied to the RAW file and the resulting edited version has been automatically saved in the JPEG format and it's been included in a Version Set which I can open by clicking this arrow, and here on the right is my original unedited RAW file and on the left is the corrected JPEG version that Photo Fix made for me.
So if you're an Elements beginner, or if you have some snapshots that you want to quickly correct without getting into the nuances of the Editor workspaces, remember that there are these simple Photo Fix options right here in the Organizer, and that they're the quickest and easiest way to correct a photo in Elements.
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