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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also 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.
When you are photographing there are often times when your camera can't capture the entire range of light in a scene. The solution in that case is to take more than one shot with your subject in approximately the same location and if you have a tripod, by putting your camera on a tripod, although that's not entirely necessary. Then you can take two or more exposures of the same scene and bring them into the new Photomerge Exposure technique in Guided Edit in Photoshop Elements and have Elements blend those multiple exposures together into one shot in which everything is well lit.
To show you that, I have two shots here. These were taken at night, although you can use this technique with photos taken during the day. This shot here on the right in the Organizer was taken without flash and so although the foreground subject is not lit, you can see the lights and the silhouettes in the background. Right after that the photographer took the same shot with flash and in this image the foreground subject is lit but the background is black. I am going to bring these two images into the Photomerge Exposure feature in Guided Edit to blend them together.
I'll select them both here in the Organizer by clicking on one and then holding the Ctrl key and clicking on the other, and then I'll go to the Fix tab in the task pane. Click the arrow there and I'll choose Guided Photo Edit and that opens both photos here in Guided Edit Mode. The first step here is to select all of the photos that I want to blend in the Project Bin. So I'll click on one, hold the Ctrl key and click on the other. Then I'll go over to the list of Guided Edit techniques on the right. I'll go to the Photomerge category and I'll choose Exposure, a new technique in Elements 8.
It may take a moment as Elements analyzes both images and then it opens them here into Photomerge Exposure. Here on the right is an explanation of how to use Photomerge Exposure along with controls for this technique. There are actually two different workflows here. By default the Manual workflow is selected. So I'll show you that one first. I like the Manual workflow because it gives you the most control over blending your images together. You can see on the left that the photo taken with flash has been placed into the foreground area. I need to bring another photo into the background area.
I have only one other photo here, the one taken without flash. So I'm going to click and hold on the thumbnail of that photo in the Project Bin, the one with the yellow border around it, and then with my mouse held down I'll drag into this background area and release. The next step is to identify which parts of the foreground image I want to blend into the background image. To do that, I'll make sure that this Selection tool is highlighted on the right and then I'll come into the foreground image and I'm going to just draw over the parts of the foreground image that I want to blend into the background image, and in just a second Elements automatically brings those portions over here into the background image.
I'm going to enable Show Regions, so I can get this Overlay view of which parts have been brought in. It's the parts here that don't have the yellow overlay on them. Now I made my brush strokes so wide here that I brought in parts that I really don't want. But that's okay. I can fix that using the Eraser tool. I am going to select the Eraser tool and then I'll come over to the Foreground image on the left and I'm going to erase those parts that I don't want to include and this happens interactively, so I can see the results over there on the Background image as I do it.
If I go too far, I can get the Selection tool and come back and bring part of that back in and then the Eraser tool again, down here to try to erase that extra bit. Now I'm not going to take the time to do this perfectly. I'll just go with that for now. Then I'm going to go back and uncheck Show Regions and I can fine-tune further by using the Transparency slider here, which determines how much of each photo is blended into the final. I am going to try dragging that to the right and you can see that the subject is getting just a little bit darker as I allow some of the background image to show through.
Checking Edge Blending can also smooth the edges of the blend between the two photos. And I see I have a little bit extra black here, so once again, I'm going to get my Eraser tool, turn on Show Regions and I'm going to try to eliminate that by clicking and dragging over the corresponding area in the Foreground image. That looks pretty good to me, so I'm going to uncheck Show Regions. I'll uncheck Show Strokes, so I don't have to look at the blue strokes on the Foreground image. And then I'm going to scroll down, because I want to show you that there are some more controls here.
If you find that your two images aren't well aligned in the final that showing here in the Background image, you can click the Advanced Options and here you'll find instructions about placing markers on each of the two photos to try to align them better. In this case, I don't think I need to do that. I'm pretty happy with the result that I have, so I could click Done. But I'm not going to do that because I want to go all the way back up to the top by clicking and dragging on the scrollbar and show you the other workflow for Photomerge Exposure and that is using its Automatic features.
So I'll click on Automatic. When I click on the Automatic tab, Elements is automatically blending the images together and giving me a final result here. And I actually think in this case it's not bad, but I do have options to fine-tune this. Notice that the Smart Blending radio button is enabled by default and that means that I have these three sliders. Here I can tweak the Highlights or I can tweak the Shadows. So for example, if I drag Shadows to the left, I've darkened the shadow areas, maybe I want a little too far there, so that the model doesn't look over flashed.
I can also adjust the Saturation of the final photo. The Saturation is the purity of color or the intensity of color. So if I drag that to the right, we get a little more color in the final image. And then if I like that result I could click Done, but I want to show you one last option here. If I don't want to take the time to even do the Smart Blending, I can have Elements do everything for me automatically by clicking the Automatic tab and then just choosing Simple Blending. Now in this case, I don't really like the result of Simple Blending. I much prefer the results that I got from the Automatic Smart Blending and even better, the results that I got from the Manual tab.
But I'm going to choose Smart Blending for now and I'm going to go with that by clicking Done, at which point Elements creates a final image for me which you see here in the After window of Guided Edit and also here as an additional image in the Project Bin. At this point, I would save the image and close it by clicking the Close button.
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