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Part I: Photoshop Elements 2 Defined.
Chapter 1: All About Photoshop Elements 2.
Chapter 2: Getting to Know Photoshop Elements.
Chapter 3: Making Photoshop Elements Your Own.
Part II: Repairing, Restoring, and Retouching Photographs.
Chapter 4: Opening, Scanning, and Capturing Photos.
Chapter 5: Selecting and Masking Content for Editing.
Chapter 6: Photographic Housekeeping.
Chapter 7: Mastering Color and Light.
Chapter 8: Changing Image Size.
Part III: Creating Your Own Works of Art.
Chapter 9: Drawing and Painting with Elements.
Chapter 10: Using Layers to Control Image Content.
Chapter 11: Using the Shape Tools.
Chapter 12: Applying Fills and Styles.
Chapter 13: Using Filters and Special Effects.
Part IV: Working with Type.
Chapter 14: Adding Text to Images.
Chapter 15: Applying Type Styles and Effects.
Part V: Sharing Your Elements Creations on Paper and Online.
Chapter 16: Saving Your Elements Images.
Chapter 17: Printing Your Artwork and Photographs.
Chapter 18: Turning Images into Web-Safe Graphics.
Appendix A: Keyboard Shortcuts to Speed Your Elements Activity.
Appendix B: Finding Photoshop Elements Tools on the Web.
Appendix C: Restoring and Preserving Your Original Images.
Photoshop Elements' most important role is bringing the power of the world's most deservedly popular photo retouching program (Photoshop) within the budgetary reach of most of the world's computer owners. This means that everyone, not just photographers, Web designers, and graphic designers can afford the software (Elements is normally available for under $100), and can take advantage of its many features.
Understanding What Elements Does
Unlike the "lite" versions of other applications, Elements provides most of Photoshop's key features, most in the same form and with the same options that you find supporting them in Photoshop. Some features are "missing," but you have workarounds for most of them, enabling you to achieve similar results without the exact tools as they appear in Photoshop. Elements also has a few tools and features that Photoshop doesn't have, and that the Adobe designers will hopefully make part of Photoshop in its next release-a paintbrush-like selection tool is my personal favorite from the Elements toolbox.
What Can You Do with Elements?
The list of functions you can't do with Photoshop Elements would be a much shorter list, and you can find that in the next section of this chapter. For now, the list of functions you can do, along with visual examples of those things, follows:
*Scan photographs. With a scanner attached to your computer, you can take printed photos (or any other artwork for that matter), and scan them directly into Elements. You can do this simply to be able to print copies of a photo on photo-quality paper, or so that you can resize, crop, or retouch the scanned image.
* Restore damaged photos. Think that precious and only-remaining photo of your great grandmother is damaged beyond repair? Think again. Elements toolbox contains tools that allow you to recreate lost portions of the image, bring details out the darkness, and restore depth and detail that's been lost to sunlight, dryness, mildew, and rough handling. Figures 1-1 and 1-2 are before and after versions of the same photo-in the first figure, you see a photo that looks ready for disposal. In the second figure, that same photo is ready for framing.
* Adjust the color and contrast in photos and other images. Whether your flash was too bright or it never went off, you can fix the contrast and light levels. You can also remove a color cast (such as a greenish or yellowish tinge that's taken over an older print or Polaroid?, and you can add or remove color that's too faded, too bright, or just wrong. Figures 1-3 and 1-4 are examples of the sort of corrections Elements can make-selected areas in each image have been fixed-the first one in terms of lighting, and the second in terms of color.
* Create graphics in Web-safe formats. Any artwork you create in Elements, be it a drawing, painting, or photo you retouched or made your own through the use of special effects, can become a graphic for the Web. Web browsers require the use of a small set of file formats, and good sense dictates that those images load quickly so as not to bore your site visitors. Elements makes it easy to pick the right format for your Web-bound graphics, and to make sure they load quickly without losing visual quality in the bargain. Figure 1-5 shows an image being optimized for the Web in Elements' powerful Save for Web dialog box.
* Colorize black and white (grayscale) photos. Remember how Ted Turner "colorized" all those great black and white movies? Some people loved the change, and others hated it. You can be the judge when it comes to your black and white photos, and if you want to add color-a splash in one spot or over the entire image-you can do so quite easily with Elements. Figure 1-6 shows a black and white photo that now looks like it was taken with color film-back in the 1800s!
* Create original artwork. You have an idea, a vision, and you want to create a picture, a shape, a design of some sort. Can Elements help you? Yes-with paint brushes, pencils, special effects and filters, and tools for drawing shapes of just about any description. Figure 1-7 shows just such an original design, something you could make without even stretching Element's capabilities.
* Design Web page backgrounds and navigational tools. From a visually-appealing "wallpaper" for your Web page to a series of tabs or buttons, you can use Elements' tools to create a pattern, draw a button or tab, and place instructional text on anything you create. Figure 1-8 shows a row of navigational tabs that was created in Elements. After they are placed in a Web page, you can convert each tab to a hotspot-a hyperlinked section of the image, pointing to another page or site.
* Add text to photos and other images. A picture's worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. If you need to augment the message in your photo or other picture, Elements' Type tool stands ready to give you text in any font, size, color, and style (see Figure 1-9). There are even special type effects that will make your text stand out-from making it look three-dimensional to creating the look of see-through, plastic letters. You can also cut away content from your image in the shape of text, using a type mask. The possibilities are nearly unlimited.
* Apply special effects to photos and drawings. You can turn photos into paintings or drawings, turning the pixels that make up your realistic image into brush or pencil strokes, watercolor, or the look of pastels, smudged to perfection. As shown in Figure 1-10, where part of the image is still a photo, and the other half has been turned into a painting, you can turn a relatively boring photo into an alleged work of art with a simple menu selection.
What Can't You Do with Elements?
Photoshop Elements is not intended for creating crisp, sharp line art. Elements is not a vector-based illustration tool, and its bitmap method of creating and retouching images does not yield the kind of sharp edges and clean lines that some artwork requires. Applications such as Adobe's Illustrator or CorelDRAW! are better tools for that kind of art, but if Elements is the only tool at your disposal, you can still create very nice line art, much like the image seen in Figure 1-11. The same image, created in Illustrator, appears in Figure 1-12. See much difference? Probably not. For some very high-quality print jobs, however, the latter image will be the more desirable, but if you're designing for the Web or for personal use (printed on an inkjet printer, for example), the former image will probably do just fine.
What are vector and bitmap images? Vector images are made up of mathematical information-the length of a line, the depth of a curve, the angle of a corner, the space between two sides of a closed shape. A bitmap image is made up of a group of pixels, each one a particular color, making up the appearance of text, lines, and shapes. Photos are best rendered in a bitmap-based product, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, where as a piece of line or clip art would probably be better designed in a vector-based application, such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW!.
Another thing you probably don't want to do in Photoshop Elements is page layout. Tools such as QuarkXPress and PageMaker are better suited to creating a magazine or book layout, placing text and image placeholders around on the page to determine how the page components will work together visually. While you can do this in Elements, no tools specifically are designed for these jobs in the application. The aforementioned Quark and PageMaker are created specifically for page layout tasks, and have the proper tools ready and waiting.
Do You Need Photoshop Instead?
Good question. If you look at the Photoshop workspace and compare it to the Elements workspace (see Figures 1-13 and 1-14, respectively), you'll see that they're quite similar. At first glance, they're nearly identical. The choice between the products, therefore, will be determined by the details.
So getting down to those details, you have a few features in Photoshop that you won't find in Elements. One of the first ones people notice is the Channels palette, which is conspicuously missing from Elements' docking well. What does the Channels palette do? It allows you to break your image down into colors-red, green, and blue (for an RGB image) or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (for a CMYK image) and to isolate the different colors in channels. After being isolated, you can tinker with a particular channel to achieve various retouching effects. Figure 1-15 shows the Channels palette in Photoshop, and a photograph with just the red channel displayed.
You have ways to work around this in Elements, however, as you'll discover. The Type formatting tools are also somewhat limited in Elements, but not in such a way that the average user would find them lacking. Some of the dialog boxes for various filters and special effects are also somewhat pared down, and someone who has become quite adept with Photoshop may feel slightly limited or controlled by the reduced set of options offered for some tools in Elements. As a user of both products, and as someone who creates mostly Web graphics and print content for informal projects, I have yet to find any of these "limitations" significant enough to say I'd only use Photoshop. In fact, due to some of the simplified tools, sometimes it's faster for me to work in Elements, despite my having spent more years as a Photoshop user.
What does this all mean? If you're a professional photographer, creating work for magazines, books, or for use in television or other visual media, you may want to use Photoshop so that you have every possible tool and option for those tools at your fingertips. While even a professional photographer won't use every tool in Photoshop's arsenal every day, having them available can be reassuring. If, on the other hand, you're a Web designer, graphic artist, or a growing business or home user, Elements has everything you'd ever need to do just about anything you'd ever want to do with photographs, scanned images of any description, or original drawings. Of course, if you have several hundred dollars to spend on your photo retouching and Web graphics software, go ahead and buy Photoshop, and know that you have the world's most popular and powerful photo retouching software in your hands. If $100 or less sounds more like your ballpark, with Elements you have the right tools, the right price, and now, the right book.
Excerpted from Photoshop Elements 2 Bible by Laurie Ann Ulrich Excerpted by permission.
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