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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan 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.
Sometimes the range of light in a scene is so wide that your camera can't capture it all. One example is the when you are shooting at night and your camera has trouble registering bright lights, like these in the background, and dim lighting on a subject's face. One solution to that problem is to take two or more shots of the same pose without flash like this and with flash like this. Or if you are shooting a contrasty scene in the daytime, take multiple shots of the same scene at different exposures in your camera.
Once you have got more than one photo of the same scene, you can use the Photomerge Exposure feature in Element's Guided Edit workspace to blend the multiple photos together into one well lit image and that's what I am going to show you how to do in this movie. Here in Bridge, I am going to select these two photos by clicking on one holding the Command key and clicking on the other and then I am going to open them into Elements by double-clicking either one and both photos are now open down here in the Project Bin in the default Full Edit workspace.
I am going to switch them over to the Guided Edit workspace by clicking this arrow on the right of the orange tab and I am going to choose Edit Guided. Here in the Guided Edit workspace I am going to scroll down the Photomerge category in the panel on the right and I am going to choose Exposure. Now both of these photos are open here in the Guided Edit workspace and you can see that, because they are both represented by thumbnails down here in the Project Bin. In the right are instructions about the Photomerge Exposure feature along with some controls for performing the technique.
There are two Photomerge Exposure workflows, one Automatic and one Manual. The Manual one is selected by default here so I will show you that one first. The first step is to decide which photo you want to use for the foreground elements and I like the one that Elements chose for me which is the flash image of the model and then I need to select an image for the background. Well, I only have one other so I am going to use that one. To set an image as the background image I will click and hold on its thumbnail in the Project Bin and drag up to the background area and release my mouse.
Next, I am going to identify which parts of the foreground image I want to blend into the background image. To identify those portions of the foreground image I am going to use the Selection tool from over here in the Manual tab of Photomerge Exposure. So I will make sure that that tool is selected. It's a little hard to see that its icon is darker that means that this tool is the selected one. And then I'll come into the foreground image and I am just going to scribble over the parts of the foreground image that I want Elements to include in the background image, and keep your eye on the background image as I release my mouse.
In just a second the portions of the foreground image that I just scribbled over are over here in the background image. To get a better sense of exactly what was brought in, I will go back over to the instructions on the right and I am going to check Show Regions. The non-yellow parts of the background image are the parts that were brought in from the foreground image. You can see that I have brought in more than I need to around the model's head and that's causing the edge of the model to be a little jagged against the background. I can fine-tune this result by using the Eraser tool from here in the Photomerge Exposure instructions.
So I will click on the Eraser tool icon and then I will go back to the foreground image and I am going to erase some of the scribbles that went over the edge there and there and right away you can see the result over here in the background image. And if I needed to, I could go back and forth between the Selection tool and the Eraser tool as many times as I like, fine-tuning what I am bringing in from one image to the other. But I am going to leave it as is for now. I am also going to uncheck Show Regions, so I can see the result more clearly. One thing I can see is that the edge of the girl's sweater is a little bit jaggedy.
So I am going to go over to the instructions and I am going to check Edge Blending and as the tooltip says, this will smooth the blended edges of the foreground and background elements. I can do further fine-tuning of the blend by using this Transparency slider. As I move this slider to the right, I am bringing in more of the background image and fading out the foreground image and as I go back over to the left, I am using more of the foreground image. And has a move that slider I can see an automatic preview of the result here in the background document.
I am going to scroll down on the right so you can see that there are also some Advanced Options here. If yours aren't showing, you can click the arrow to the left of Advanced Option. To get a good blend between photos you want the content of the photos to be aligned. In this case the photos align themselves pretty well one to the other, but if you ever have problems lining up photos that you are using with this technique, you can set markers on the photos using this Alignment tool and following the instructions here to try to align the photos to one another so that they blend better.
Now when I am all done in the Manual section of Photomerge, notice there is also a Reset button down here. If I wanted to start all over, I could click Reset and that would take me back to the original foreground and background images. On the other hand if I like the result that I have, I can click Done. But I am not going to do that right now because I want to show you the other workflow, the Automatic workflow in Photomerge Exposure. So I am going to move to the scrollbar and scroll up to the top of the instructions and I am going to click on the Automatic tab.
As soon as I click the Automatic tab with both of the thumbnail selected down here in the Project Bin, Elements attempts to blend them together into a final image and that's really all I have to do with the Automatic method. Except if I want to, I can fine-tune the result. Notice that there are two radio buttons here, Simple Blending and Smart Blending. By default, Smart Blending is selected and when it is, I get a chance to adjust the Highlight Details and the Shadows separately. So for example, if I take this Shadow slider and I drag slightly to the left, I have darkened shadows.
And if I drag the Highlight slider slightly to the right, I will darken the highlights and that causes the model to look a little less over flashed. Then there is also a Saturation slider. Saturation refers to the intensity of color particularly in the mid-tones. If I drag the Saturation slider to the left, I will desaturate. If I drag to the right, I will saturate the color. I think I need to be somewhere in between there. Now for some reason I didn't want to have these options, I wanted everything to be done completely automatically I could choose the Simple Blending radio button instead, but in this case it really doesn't give me as good a result as I can get with Smart Blending.
So I am going to go back to Smart Blending. I like this result so I am going to go down to the Done button and click there. And now Elements has created a blended image for me. I can see there is now a third thumbnail down here in the Project Bin representing that blended image. At this point I would click the Close button and I would save the blended image. So the next time you are in a situation with a wide range of light, try shooting multiple exposures with different lighting and then blending them together using Photomerge Exposure here in a Guided Edit workspace.
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