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Filters offer lots of options for enhancing your photos, many of the filters in the Elements are decorative, they are fun to play with, but there are also some filters that are useful for photographic techniques. Let's take a look at filters and how to apply them using this image skulls3.jpg of the Chapter11 Exercise Files folder. If you have multiple layers in a photo, then before you apply a photo you have to select the layer to which you are going to apply the filter because filters only work one layer at a time. But you can make a selection as I'm doing now with the Rectangular Marquee tool and apply a filter that will affect only the content of that selection. I'm going to delete that selection by pressing Ctrl+D, in this case I'm going to apply the filter to the entire single layer in this photo. There are three places from which you can apply a filter; one is from the Filter menu at the top of the screen. Here you see all of the filters that are available separated into categories. This is where I go when I want to apply a photographic filter, let's say that I have scanned the photograph and I have got some dust on the scanner.
So the photograph shows a lot of little black specks, then I would come here to the Filter menu and choose noise and dust and scratches. But when I'm just applying decorative filters than I usually don't come to the Filter menu and the reason is I have no previews here of what is going to happen when I apply these filters. So I'll either go to the Effects menu or to a special filter gallery. Let's look at the Effects menu over here in the Task pane. I'm going to expand the Effects palette and make sure that I have the first icon here selected which shows me in this area all the available filters.
Now here at least I can see these little icons of an apple that suggest what individual filters are going to do and from this menu at the top of the Effects palette, I can select individual categories just like I could in the Filter menu, but again I like to see a preview right on my images. So if I know I'm going to be applying one of the decorative effects and there are so many, then I go to the Filter menu at the top of the screen. And I choose Filter Gallery and that's where we are going to work now. The Filter Gallery will fill the entire screen. On the left is the preview of the image. The first thing I do here is go down to the bottom of the preview and click the minus sign if the preview is too big to fit in this window. To choose a filter, I go to the middle column where again I see filter categories.
Clicking the arrow to the left of any category expands the category and lets you see what is there. To preview any one of these filter effects on this image all I have to do is click the effect. So for example if I want to see the Dry Brush filter, all I have to do is click the icon that represents that filter. So if I want to see say the Poster Edges filter, I'll just come down and click that and in the second I have a preview on my image. The beauty of working like this is that Elements is not actually applying the filter at this point; it is just offering me a preview. So I don't have to wait while the filter renders and I can change my mind at any time. So let's say I wanted to wrap these skulls in plastic wrap, I would just come over and click that filter and it would replace the last filter. And I could go through these really quickly seeing the one that I want, I'm going to go up and apply this one Cut Out.
I really like Cut Out because it gives this posterized graphic effect to a photograph. Most of the filters including this one offer options in the column on the right. The options for each filter are different. For this one I can increase the number of levels of posterization to get a little more detail in that image and I can change the complexity or the simplicity of the posterized edges. And I also can tweak the edge fidelity, which affects how similar these edges to the original. When I'm happy with what I see I could accept that or I can add more filters. So let's go down to another category one that I like is the texture category. From these six filters we can create lots of different textures.
Let's say I want to add some texture to this photo but I want to keep the Cut Out filter applied. I'm going to go over to the bottom of the right-hand column and click the Create New Filter icon that adds a new filter to the list of filters that I have applied. And with that second filter selected here I'm going to click on the Texturizer filter. So now I have both the texturing image and I have applied the Cut Out. So starting to look really nice, with the Texturizer filter I have lots of different choices in the options area. This texture is the Canvas texture, if I click there I can choose Sandstone, which I also like, and once I have selected the kind of texture that I want.
I can adjust the way it looks by moving these sliders, here I'm making the sandstone texture larger and here I can make that sandstone texture more intense. I also could change the lighting on both the texture but I'm going to leave this as it is. Down here in the list filters that I have applied here in the filter gallery I can change the order of the filters to get a different look. So if I take the Texturizer filter and I drag beneath the Cut Out filter, the image looks slightly different. I think it looked better before and so I'm going to drag the Cut Out beneath the Texturizer. You also can temporarily hide any one of the filters that you have chosen by clicking the eye icon to the left.
So here I hid the Cut Out effect and just look at the image with the Texturizer filter. I think that looks really nice too but for now I'm going to add the Cut Out back in by clicking that eye icon again and if you don't want one of the filter you decided it just doesn't look right you click the trash can at the bottom of this column. When you are satisfied with what you have you can click okay and Element supplies all the filters that you selected in the filter gallery to the image. Now once the filters are applied you can go back and change them, so you want to make good use of the filter gallery and make sure you got everything the way you wanted there before you click okay and apply the filters. I have shown you just the fraction of the many artistic options that the filters offer in Elements. You can use them to make extensive changes or you can use them the way that I prefer which is to select and apply filters with a light touch to give your photos just that little extra something without making them look over filtered or cliched.
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