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Photoshop Elements 7 is packed with features to help amateur photographers with every stage of digital photo processing, from getting organized to sharing projects with family and friends. In Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training, Jan Kabili shares workflow techniques for organizing, editing, creating projects, and sharing. She also demonstrates how to enhance photos with this budget-friendly software. Jan explains the latest updates to the Organizer and Editor workspaces, and also covers new features like the Smart Brush tool and Photoshop.com integration. Elements is very well known for its project features, and Jan shows how to create books, collages, panoramas, and more. Example files accompany the course.
Effects are similar to filters and that they offer lots of different looks for your photos, but effects are more complex than filters. A single effect can automatically add layers and layers styles and special effects and more all in the blink of an eye. Let us take a look at some of the sophisticated looks you can get with effects. I'm using theater.jpg from the 11_02-effects subfolder of the Chapter11 Exercise Files folder. Before you apply an effect to take a look at your Layers palette, if you have multiple layers -- we don't have this time, but if we did make sure you are the top layer if you want your effect to apply to the entire image and then go up to the Effects palette.
If yours isn't open like mine is, click the arrow to the left of it to expand it. Then click on the third icon from the left, which is the Effects icon. Right now we are looking at just the three effects in the single category called Faded Photo, but if I click this menu and I choose another category I'll see more effects. For example I'm going to go down to the Vintage Photo category and see what is there. Just a single effect but it is a good one, to apply that I'm just going to click on the effect to select it and go down and click Apply. In the blink on an eye Elements applies this, what I think is a relatively sophisticated effect to this photo. It converted the photo to black and white and added sepia toning and made it look like it is printed on antique paper.
And if you look in the layers palette you will see that it created a new layer. This effect looks good on this particular photo, but it may not look good on another photo. So really the only thing you can do is just trial and error. Try an effect and if you don't like it you can delete it by going to the Edit menu and choosing Undo or pressing Ctrl+C on your keyboard. Let's try an effect from another category. I'll go to the Category menu in the effects panel and this time I'm going to choose Miscellaneous Effects. When you see so many icons like this it is hard to know which is which, but you can add names to each one of these icons. To do that you go to the double pointed arrow at the top right of the Effects panel and from there you will choose Show Names and now you can get at least a sense of what each one of these effects is supposed to do.
I would like to add an Oil Pastel look to this photo, so I'll select that effect and then click Apply. And you can see the results in the document window. Effects are cumulative; to do that once you have applied one effect, you just apply another on top of it. Let's try that, I'm going to go the Category menu again and this time I'm going to choose the Frame category. Each of these applies a different kind of frame to your photo. I would like to have a white frame around this photo, so before I apply this effect, I'm going to go to my foreground and background color boxes over here in the Toolbox and I'm going to click the tiny icon to the bottom left of those which sets them back to their defaults. Black foreground color, white background color and that is what I want because this particular effect takes the color that is in the background color and makes a frame of that.
You could choose any color you want as the background color and that would affect the frame that is made for you with this effect. So let us go ahead and apply this Drop Shadow frame effect by selecting it and then clicking Apply. Now I can't see the whole thing, so I'm going to go over to the tool box and use my shortcut for Fit on Screen which is the double-click the Hand tool. As you can see this effect has done quite a bit of work to the image, it has expanded the canvas, added a couple of layers and added a Drop Shadow effect to the photo. I think it looks pretty nice. So as you have seen effects can create some really beautiful looks for your photos, but like any of the special effect features I suggest that you apply effects judiciously rather then piling them on to make your photos look more interesting and sophisticated.
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