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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.
The panels on the right side of the Quick Fix workspace offer controls that you can use to fix common photo problems like lighting issues, or color issues, or even to sharpen your image. I have opened this image from the 05_03 folder as I showed you how to do in the last movie, starting in the Organizer, selecting the image and then opening it here in the Quick Fix portion of the Editor workspace. The first panel in Quick Fix is the SmartFix panel. This is a kind of one-stop shopping that attempts to correct brightness, contrast, and color in an image.
There are several ways to apply SmartFix. One is simply by clicking the Auto SmartFix button, and sometimes this is all you need to do the image. Let's see what it does in this case. I'm going to click the Auto button, and immediately I see the results here in the document window. These results are really too intense for my taste. So I'm going to undo Auto SmartFix by going up to the top of the interface and clicking the Undo button. By the way, if you've made more than one change, you could always get back to the initial state of the image by coming down to the Reset button here, and clicking.
And as the tool tip says, this will revert the photo to the way it was before any Quick Fix changes. Another way to apply SmartFix is to use these sliders here manually. So if I don't like the Auto result, I'll see how this looks if I click the slider and just drag it slightly. Well that's a little bit better, but I still don't like this result. So I'm going to come up to the two icons at the top of the SmartFix panel, there is a checkmark and a cross. If I don't want to make this change, I'll click the cross. If I do want to make the change, I'll click the checkmark.
Even after I click the checkmark though, I can still step back one step using this Undo button, or multiple steps pressing this Reset button. But at this point, I'm just going to click the X on SmartFix to reject that change. Before I leave the SmartFix panel, I want to show you that it has a little grid icon here. This is something new in Elements 8, and you'll notice that each one of these sliders has a grid icon to the left. I am going to explain what this grid does, when I get down here to the Saturation controls, but I did want to mention that you have the option to use the grid with all of these controls including SmartFix.
Well let's move on to the Lighting controls now. There are three separate Lighting controls. The first of those is Levels, and with Levels, you get only one choice, an Auto button. I'll give it a try and see what it does to this image. In this particular case, Levels is introducing a really strong colorcast, and I don't like that result. What Levels does is looks for the brightest tones in the image, and tries to brighten those, and looks for the darkest tones and tries to darken those, and expands the range of midtones in between.
But Levels can also introduce a colorcast like this. So sometimes this is not the best choice. I'll undo this Levels adjustment by going up to the Undo button and clicking. Instead I'm going to try the next control, which is Contrast, which also has only an Auto button. I'll click Auto Contrast, and I think in this case that does a fairly good job, certainly better than Auto Levels. So I might just go with this and move on to the Color section, but I do want to show you what the next three sliders do in the Lighting panel.
So I'm going to undo this Auto Contrast change, by going up to the Undo button and clicking. Using these three sliders, I can adjust the darkest areas, the shadow areas separately from the brightest areas, the highlight areas. I can adjust the midtones in between separately as well. So I'll start with the Light and Shadow slider dragging it to the right to brighten up the darkest areas of this image. And that alone has a pretty dramatic effect on this particular photo. Let's see what happens if I try to darken the highlights as well.
Now in this particular photo, that doesn't have a lot of effect, but it does bring out some of the cloud detail in the sky. Now I could increase or decrease the midtones in the image. I'm going to try increasing them by dragging the Midtone slider slightly to the right, and if I'm now satisfied with the results of dragging all three of these sliders, I'll go up to the top of the Lighting panel, and I'll click the checkmark. Now the image still doesn't look the way that I'd like it too. I have done something about the tones in the image, but I haven't yet addressed the color.
One of the problems with the color here is that I think it's not intense enough. So I'm going to go to the Color panel and here, I could try to automatically correct the color by clicking this Auto Color button. But in this case Auto Color doesn't work. It's creating these really unnatural looking colors in this image. So I'm going to undo by clicking the Undo button at the top of the screen, and instead, I could try to move the Saturation slider by hand, in order to increase the intensity of color in this image. But this is a case where I think that the grid of thumbnail previews is really going to come in handy, because I really don't have a good sense of what's going to happen when I move the Saturation slider.
So it's hard to choose how far to move it. I am going to click on this grid to the left of the Saturation slider, and here, I can see nine thumbnails, each representing a different level of saturation. I'm not going to click. I'm just going to move my mouse over the first of those thumbnails and notice that moved to the saturation slider to -100, and the image has no color in it at all. I don't recommend this is a way to convert color to black and white, but it's a good example of what decreasing saturation will do.
Well, I obviously want more color than this so I'll move to the next thumbnail, and then the next, and again, I'm not clicking. I'm just moving my mouse over these various thumbnails to try out or get a sense of what these various preset levels of saturation are going to do the image. And notice as I move from thumbnail to thumbnail, that saturation slider is moving to various presets. So here it's at level 25, and here the slider is at level 50, level 75, and so on. Well, this is obviously too much saturation.
I think this is just about right level 25. So I'm going to click on that thumbnail, and that sets the saturation. Now if I want to fine tune that, maybe bringing it down to about 23 or so, but I don't want to go so far as zero, which is what's offered by this next thumbnail, I could try to click on the 25 level thumbnail and drag to fine tune somewhere in between those two levels. But to be honest, I find that really hard to control as you can see. So instead of doing that, I'm just going to click on the 25 level thumbnail, and then come up to the slider, and I'm going to drag to the left manually, decreasing the saturation just slightly from that preset represented by that particular thumbnail.
So that's what the thumbnail grid does, and you do have a thumbnail grid not only on saturation, but on these other controls as well, and sometimes that will come in handy for you. I'm going to scroll down a bit to show you that there are a couple of more color related sliders. Here is a Hue slider, which will change the overall hue of the image. I'll click its grid to show you some of the choices. These are all pretty psychedelic, so I'm not going to go there with this image. I'll just leave it at its default, and close that grid. Now I'll accept my color changes by clicking this checkmark, and I'll move down to the Balance area.
There are two sliders here that affect the overall color balance of the image. The first, Temperature, ranges from a cool blue, to a warm orange, with these thumbnails representing other temperature levels in between. I actually like the default here, so I'm going to leave that thumbnail selected. The thumbnail with the orange arrow on it is the default thumbnail, so that if I happened to select another thumbnail, and then I want to get back to the default or the original state of temperature, I'll just click on this thumbnail, the one with the arrow.
I am going to close that grid and give you a look at the Tint grid so you can see that it ranges from green to magenta. The Tint control comes in handy most often when I'm correcting skin tone, because often, skin tone needs just a little bit more magenta. But in this case, I'm going to leave it at its default, and click the grid to close it. After all the adjustments are made, it's time to sharpen the image, and that can be done from the Detail area of Quick Fix. There is an Auto Sharpen button here, I can give that a try, but I really don't like that result.
I can see too much of the noise in the sky. So I'm going to go up to the Undo button and click it, and instead, I can open the grid, I'll scroll down, so you can see the choices there and then I could move my mouse over the various choices and click on the one that I liked. I'm going to go to the second thumbnail. I'll select that one. I could fine tune with the slider but I think things are fine as they are. So I'm going to click the checkmark. At this point, I would come down to the View menu and change View from After Only to Before & After.
In order to see the entire image, I'd go to the Zoom tool, select the Zoom Out button and click in either of these two previews, and both changed together. So now I have a really visual representation of how the image looked without the changes I just made, and how it looks with the changes that I made here in the Quick Fix workspace, quite a dramatic difference in this case. Now at this point, there is something else that I need to do. I need to save the image with these changes. If I were working in the Fix panel of the Organizer, I wouldn't have to save, because changes made there are saved automatically.
But in Quick Fix, I do have to save my changes. So I'll go up to the File menu, I'm going to choose Save As and I'm not going to show you all the detail in the Save As dialog box, yet I'll do that in a later movie. So I'll just leave everything at its defaults and I'll click Save and then I'll click OK. And that doesn't save over the original; it just saves another copy of the image with all the changes that I made here. And finally, when I'm done, there is a close button here. Before I click Close, let me show you what the image would look like in the Organizer if I didn't close it here in the Editor.
I'm going to go to the top of the Editor and click the Organizer button and here you can see in the Organizer, my open image with this red locked belt across it, telling me that this image is in progress in an Editor. So now I'll go back to the Editor, by going up to the Fix tab in the Organizer and choosing Quick Photo Edit. I'll cancel out of that message and I'm back in the Quick Fix workspace of the Editor. So here, I'm going to click Close to close the image, and if I go back to the Organizer by clicking the Organizer button at the top of the Editor, I no longer have that warning that an edit is in progress.
So that's a look at the controls in the Quick Fix workspace of the Editor. As you can see, Quick Fix gives you the best of both worlds. It offers access to powerful editing controls but it also presents them in a simple way that's relatively easy to learn and to use.
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