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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.
Filters, photo effects and layer styles are the features to turn to in the Full Edit workspace when you feel that you're urged to make your photos into unique pieces of art. We'll look at all three in this chapter. Let's start with filters. A filter affects only one layer at a time in a multilayer image. So before I apply a filter, I check the layers panel to make sure that I've selected the layer that I want to filter. This file has two layers; on the top layer there is this smaller photo of a truck, the larger photo is on the Background layer. It's that larger photo to which I want to apply a filter, so I'll make sure that I have the Background layer selected in the layers panel.
There are several different places from which I can apply a filter. I could go up to the Filter menu and choose one of these filter categories and then choose a filter from here, but I think it's more intuitive to use the Effects panel over here. If your Effects panel isn't open, you can open it from the Window menu at the top of the screen. The Effects panel has four tabs at the top. The first tab is the tab that reveals filters. The other tabs are for layer styles and photo effects and the fx tab encompasses filters and layer styles and photo effects.
So I have my Filters icon selected and that makes this menu of Filter categories available. I'll choose a category of Filters from this list. I'm going to choose the Sketch category and that shows me an icon for each of the filters in the Sketch category. It's difficult to see exactly what each filter does from these icons. So I like to see the names of the filters. To display a name under each one of these icons, I'm going to go up to the panel menu on the right side of the Effects panel and I'm going to choose Show Names and now I can see at least part of the name of each one of the filters.
I'd like to apply a Halftone filter to this background image. So I'll select it here in the Effects panel. This particular filter uses whatever color I currently have over here in the foreground color box. Mine is set to blue, but you can use whatever color you like if you're following along. Then I'll go back over to the Effects panel and I'm going to click the Apply button to apply the Halftone filter. So applying a filter from the Effects panel is just a one click operation like that and that's the upside if using the Effects panel. The downside is that you get no preview with the Effects panel and you have no control over the properties or settings for each filter.
So if I want both a preview and control over a filter, then I'll apply filter in alternative way which is from the Filter Gallery. I'll use the Filter Gallery to apply a couple of filters to the truck insert layer. I'll select that layer in the layers panel and then I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Filter Gallery. That opens the large Filter Gallery dialog box. In the center column of this dialog box, you see the same Filter categories that we saw in the Effects panel. To expand a category, I'll click the arrow its left and then I can see the icons for each of the filters in that category.
I'll select one of the filters in this category, say the Cutout filter and that shows me a preview over on the left of how the selected layer is going to look with the Cutout layer applied with the settings that are over here on the right. Here I have controls to customize the selected filter and as I drag these controls, the preview on the left updates. So as you can see I have a lot more control over filters here in the Filter Gallery than I do when I apply filters from the Effects panel. Now let's say I want to try a different filter on this layer.
I'll go to another Filter category, the Sketch category and I'm going to scroll down and I'll give the Graphic Pen filter a try. I can try as many different filters as I want because I always have the opportunity in this dialog box to preview how the filter is going to look on the image. Notice that there is a filter list over here on the right. This shows me every filter that I'm previewing at the moment. So this is telling me that the Cutout filter is no longer applied instead I've applied the Graphic Pen filter. If I want I can preview how the image will look with additional filters that have a cumulative effect on top of this one.
To add another filter, I'll go down to the bottom of the column on the right and click the Add New Filter icon. That makes a copy of the last filter that I applied, the Graphic Pen filter and with this copy selected, I can add a different filter on top of the first Graphic Pen filter by moving into the column in the center and clicking on another filter. I'll apply the Note Paper filter and now you can see both filters over here in the filter list. If I want to see how the image will look with the Note Paper filter, but not the Graphic Pen filter, I can click the eye icon to the left of the Graphic Pen filter and that makes it temporarily invisible in the preview and then I can make the Graphic Pen filter visible again to see the cumulative effect of the two filters and if I want to, I can switch the order of the filters.
So I'll click on the Note Paper filter and I'll drag it beneath the Graphic Pen filter in the Filter list and that gives me another look. If I decide that I don't want one of these filters, say the Graphic Pen filter, I can select that filter and then go down to the bottom of the column on the right and click the little Trashcan icon there and that deleted the Graphic Pen filter. So I'm satisfied with the Note Paper filter with its default settings. So I'm going to click OK to apply that filter and there is that filter on the truck insert layer back in the Document window.
So you can see you have lots of options with filters. The best approach to using filters I think is to experiment with different combinations of filters and different filter settings to get a unique look that you like and if all the options available with the filters aren't enough for you, you can combine filters with photo effects and with layer styles, two other artistic features that I'll cover in the next movies.
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