December SIG Notes

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This month is devoted to using Photoshop Elements (PE) to get some creative effects for your images. We will look at two ways to do this by using filters and an introduction to smart objects.  The February meeting will have more details on the other types of smart objects and how to use them.

But our main concern as usual is to use non-destructive editing to achieve the final look of an image.

So let’s get started!

Creative Effect 1 – a soft look

After trying my best to take flower photos that were in focus, I was really stroppy to find this effect that makes a flower look soft (out of focus) and more colourful.

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(1) Open up in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) an image of a shot of some of your flowers, grandchildren, etc.

(2) Adjust the clarity slider by moving it to the left to create a softer effect.

(3) Adjust the vibrance slider by moving it to the right to create a stronger colour effect.

Creative Effect 2 – Using Filters with PE
This is another area where the possibilities are endless. I would like to show you three of these:
(1) Filter/Sketch/Graphic Novel
(2)Filter/Sketch/Comic Book
(3) Filter/Sketch/Pen and Ink

We can watch a short video on these and then I will show them to you. Woo hoo! So sit back and relax. Anyone dozing off will be dealt with severely by being chosen as a victim for the Retirees Christmas Show.

After that, it is up to you to either have a play yourself with the different filters, styles, blending modes and effects.

Filter/Sketch/Graphic Novel Effect
(1) Open up an image in Photoshop Elements.
(2) Duplicate the image, rename it, and save it.
(3) Close the original image without making any changes to it.
(4) This is the photo that I am using.

CE 2 - filter-sketch-graphic novel

Click on image to see as full size.

(5) Click on Layer/Duplicate Layer. This the one that we will apply the filter to. (To which we will apply the filter – would that be better grammar?). So we are still using a form of non-destructive editing.
(6) Click on Windows/Layers to see that you have two layers.

(7) Click on Filter/Sketch/Graphic Novel. Looks like this?

CE 2 - layers filter-sketch-graphic novel click me

Click on image to see full size.

(8) Click OK. Go fix a cuppa if your computer is as slow as mine. You should get a few choices as shown here. Have a play and see what they can do.

CE 2 -  graphic novel filter dialogue

Click on image to see full size.

(9) Set the blend mode to luminosity and you should get something like this. Once again, cycle through all the blending modes to see what appeals to you.

CE 2 - blended graphic novel

Click on image to see in full size.

Filter/Sketch/Comic Book Effect
(1) Repeat Steps 1 to 6 from above.
(2) When you get to Step 7, use click on Filter/Sketch/Comic Book.
(3) Repeat Steps 8 and 9 from above.

Filter/Sketch/Pen and Ink Effect
(1) Repeat Steps 1 to 6 from above.
(2) When you get to Step 7, use click on Filter/Sketch/Pen and Ink.
(3) Repeat Steps 8 and 9 from above.

Creative Effect 3 – Combining Filters
It is possible to combine several filters to achieve even more effects. I am going to create one that is rather lurid. by the time we are finished it may be hard to recognise how it came from the original photo.
(1) Open up an image and repeat the usual steps of duplicate the image, rename it, do a Save As, and then close the original.
(2) Here is the image that I am starting with (from the backyard of Michael and Jan’s house taken with a Canon G12 from Pat).

WIP CE 3  copy

Click on image to see in full size.

(3) Duplicate the layer (Click on Layer/Duplicate). I named my new layer  as filter Layer.
(4) Click on Filter/Artistic/Neon Glow.

CE 3 -  filter gallery

Click on image to see in full size.

(5) Click on the Artistic triangle to get more selections.
(6) Click on Neon Glow. You get a dialogue box that looks a bit like this.

CE 3 -  filter gallery with neon glow dialogue

Click on image to see in full size.

(7) Notice that you can make further changes by using the sliders and by changing the colour. Have a play to see what you come up with.
(8) Now let add another filter effect. In the lower right hand corner of the dialogue box you will find two icons. one is the usual trash can (to delete the selected effect) and the other is to add another filter. That is the one that you want to click on this time.

CE 3 - new layer

(9) This time I’ll pick the glowing Edges filter. Once more you have some sliders to play with. Here is what it looks like now. Notice the two filters where we had just the one before.

CE 3 - with glowing edges added

Click on image to see in full size.

(10) This time I will add the Ocean Ripple filter. Voila!

CE 3 - with Ocean Ripple added

(11) But wait. There is more! You can change the order of the filter layers by clicking and dragging them to a new location. You can also go back and change the sliders (or the colour in the neon glow) by just clicking on the layer that you want o make changes to.
(12) Once again, you may have to wait a few seconds to see the effects of your changes. The alternative is to buy a new and more powerful computer than what you are using now. After all, Christmas will be here soon.
(13) Here is one of my finished variations. I’m calling it “Silver tinsel on a Red Christmas Tree”. Hard to recognise from the original image, isn’t it?

WIP CE 3  copy woo hoo

Click on the image to see full size.

Find Out More
For more information on using filters, you can try here.





Another Resource: Here is a web site with short specific tutorials that may be of interest to you –

The December 2014 PS/PE challenge.

Challenge One (easy)
Create a soft effect with one of your crisply focused images of a flower. I know how you feel. All that time spent learning to focus sharply and now you get told to make it look  soft.  This is from the start of the notes.

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Please send your  before and after jpg image/s  to me at (

Challenge Two (intermediate)
Use one of the PS/PE filters to change the appearance of one of your images.

Challenge Three (intermediate)
Use a combination of PS/PE filters to create an image completely different from what you began with.

Please send your  before and after jpg image/s  to me at (


About woldham

Concise! Retired and loving it!
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