Quick and easy landscape fixes in Photoshop Elements
Photoshop Elements’ one-click Quick Fix solutions can help you to dramatically improve your photographs in a matter of seconds.
Some budding photographers are reluctant to start using image-editing software such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements because they assume they will need to spend countless hours on their PCs, fruitlessly attempting to improve their photographs. However, technophobic photographers everywhere will be pleased to know that, by using Photoshop Elements’ built-in Quick Fix tools, they can enhance their images quickly and accurately.
In the following tutorial, we’ll guide you through each of these one-click Quick Fixes, showing you which Auto settings work well and which you should avoid. We’ll explain which settings will help you successfully and realistically enhance your landscapes (such as the Levels and Contrast Auto buttons under the Lighting tab and the Saturation slider under the Colour tab) by improving the colour and tone of your foregrounds. We’ll also show you how to quickly select large sections of sky in your shots so you can instantly strengthen weak blues, enhance cloud detail to dramatic effect and transform lacklustre vistas into stunning scenes. So let’s get started, here’s our quick and easy landscape fixes in Photoshop Elements…
1. And we’re off
Open quickfix_start.jpg from the PhotoPlus Video Disc in Photoshop Elements and click on the Quick tab in the top right corner. Click the Fit Screen button in the top left of the new workspace. In the View box at the bottom left of the window you can choose to look at just the After image, or select Before and After so you can compare your original and edited images.
2. Quick Steps
For quick enhancements, try the Smart Fix option under General Fixes. Click on Auto, or use the Amount slider to enhance your shot manually (watching out for image artefacts) before clicking the tick. If you’re unfamiliar with Photoshop’s Levels settings, click the Auto buttons for Levels and Contrast under the Lighting header. There’s an Auto button under the Colour header, too (see Super Tip!)
3. Blue sky thinking
One handy tool in Quick Fix in Photoshop is a tool called Make Dull Skies Blue. Simply click on the icon, choose a brush size of around 200 pixels, then drag to select the sky and watch it turn bright blue. However, the effect is garish and you can’t tweak the strength of the enhancement. You get a full-on blue sky or nothing!
4. Targeted improvements
Click Reset, then pick the Quick Selection tool. Set Brush Size to 100 pixels, then click and drag to select the ground. Click Refine Edge, set Smooth to 35, Feather to 6, Contract/Expand to 0 and click OK. In Lighting, set Lighten Shadows to 15%, Darken Highlights to 15% and Midtone Contrast to 60%. In Colour, drag Saturation to around 60%. Click the tick.
5. The sky’s the limit
Go to Select>Inverse to quickly swap your selection from the ground to the sky. In the Lighting panel, move the Darken Highlights slider to 15% and the Midtone Contrast slider to about 40%. In the Colour panel, move the Saturation slider to 60%. Click the tick, then go to Select>Deselect to clear the sky selection.
6. Look sharp
It’s always good practice to make sharpening the last thing you do. If you sharpen your photo before going back to boost contrast, for example, the image quality will decrease. Only minor adjustments are necessary to make a difference when sharpening an image for printing. Zoom in to Actual Pixels (100% view), and then push the Sharpen slider up to around 15%. Click the tick, then go to File>SaveAs to finish.
PhotoPlus Super Tip!
Be careful when using multiple auto enhancement settings in Quick Fix. If you use two or three adjustments combined – such as Auto Levels, Auto Contrast and Darken Highlights – the tweaks can quickly become noticeably destructive. This means that the image-editing process decreases the image quality and the pixels start to break up. This reduction in quality will be obvious when you zoom in to 100% view and will also show up when your image is printed. Follow the combinations we found successful in the tutorial to the left, or stick to using just one or two individual settings to retain your image’s quality.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 4:33 pm and is filed under Photoshop Elements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.