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In this course, photographer and author Jan Kabili explores what you need to know to start using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 to edit, organize, and share your photos.
The course begins with a look at how to import your photos into Elements, and then dives right into editing photos with the Photo Fix, Quick Edit, and Guided Edit workspaces. Jan also introduces the Expert Edit workspace, which provides tools for making selections, retouching, compositing, adding text, and more. Finally, the course reviews the Elements 11 sharing features, including crafting photo creations like greeting cards, emailing photos, and sharing photos on Facebook.
The Photo Fix panel in the Organizer offers some one click automatic photo adjustments for color and for lighting including contrast, color, levels, and smart fix. If you're looking for an instant fix while you're managing photos in the Organizer, these can be handy. The advantage of these options is that they're simple and quick to apply. But, the disadvantage is that they're automatic, so you don't have much control over the outcome. Let's take a look at those options. I'll start by zooming in on this image to single image view by double-clicking the thumbnail. At this size, I can really see that this image is kind of flat and gray looking.
It looks to me like it needs more contrast. So I'm going to start by clicking the Contrast icon over here in the Photo Fix Options. And that did make a slight change. Clicking a Photo Fix icon like Contrast does several things. It makes a copy of the original thumbnail and changes the appearance of the copy as we just saw, but it doesn't affect the original. And then it puts the copy together with the original thumbnail in what's called a version set, which is a stacked group of thumbnails. So, if I go back to Grid View by double -clicking on this image again, I still see just the corrected image.
But, if I click this right-facing arrow, that will expand the version set; the grouping that the Organizer made of the corrected photo on the left and the original photo on the right. And now when I see them together, I really can see that contrast did make a difference to the photo on the left. By the way, you can tell which is the corrected photo because it's the one with the Brush icon at the top-right corner, and Elements automatically appends the word "edited" to the filename of the corrected version. And notice that I didn't have to save anything. When you use the Photo Fix Options, the Organizer automatically saves that copy for you.
You can apply more than one Photo Fix Option to the same photo. So, after I've made a photo look the way I wanted, I'll often sharpen it. To really see sharpening, I need to be zoomed in. So I'm going to double-click the corrected photo to zoom into single image view again, and then I'll apply sharpening by just clicking the Sharpen icon here. And that does sharpen the image a bit. If I want more sharpening, I can click the Sharpen icon again, because Photo Fix Options are cumulative. Now, what if I want to undo some of those steps? That's done from the Task pane at the bottom of the Organizer.
Over on the left side of the Task pane is the Undo button. If I hover over that, the Organizer tells me what I'm going to undo. So I'm going to undo the last step Auto Sharpen when I click once here, then I'll move off and then back on that icon, and now I'm going to undo that first Auto Sharpen, off and then back on, and this time I'm undoing the Auto Contrast. Since that was the first adjustment I applied, that just flipped me back to the Grid View, and now I don't have the version set, I just have the original. Let's take a quick look at some of the other Photo Fix Options that effect lighting or tone and color.
One of those is Levels. I'll double-click the thumbnail again to go to single image view and then I'm going to click the Levels icon. What levels does is try to increase the contrast, but it sometimes has an effect on color unlike the Contrast option. In this case, I think it's added a little bit of a blue tint. It's hard to see unless we compare the original so, I'm going to double-click to go back to Grid View and open the new version set, and I'll zoom in a little so you can see that better. So, here's the original on the right, and here's the version to which I applied Levels which is more contrasty but also has a change in color.
I'll undo that by clicking the Undo button, and now let's take a look at what the Color option does. Again, I'll double-click, and then I'll click the Color option. Color automatically tries to improve both the color, and the contrast. But, I really don't like what it's done with the color here. Double-click again to go back, and open the version set, and you can see that the corrected version is a lot duller. So again, I'll undo. And finally, I'm going to try applying Smart Fix. So, I'll double-click to zoom in, and I'll click the Smart Fix icon. The tool-tip tells us that Smart Fix tries to improve the colors, the shadows, and the highlights.
In other words, it's dark and the light areas of the photo as well as the color. And sometimes, Smart Fix is all you need; let's apply it and see how it does in this case. Again, I'll go back by double-clicking to Grid View, I'll expand the version set, and in this case again, I've got a kind of blue or greenish cast in the corrected version, the one to which I applied Smart Fix. So, I'm going to undo one more time. I think the best fix in this case was contrast. So back, I go to the Contrast icon, I'll click it, and when I expand the version set to compare to the original, I really am happiest with this change, and that's all I have to do.
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