Chapter 13. Filters, Effects, Layer Styles, and Gradients

There’s a common saying among artistic types who use software in their studios: Tools don’t equal talent. And it’s true: No mere computer program is going to turn a klutz into a Klimt. But Elements has some special tools—filters, effects, and Layer styles—that can sure help you fool a lot of people. It’s amazing what a difference you can make in the appearance of an image with only a couple of clicks.

Filters are a jaw-droppingly easy way to change how photos look. You can use certain filters for enhancing and correcting images, but Elements also gives you a bunch of other filters that are great for unleashing all your artistic impulses, as shown in Figure 13-1. (You can find the original photos—rooftops.jpg and bauhinia.jpg—on this book’s Missing CD page at if you want to play around with them yourself.)

Most filters have settings you can adjust to control how the filter changes your photo. Elements comes with more than a hundred different filters, so there isn’t room in this chapter to cover each filter individually, but you’ll learn the basics of applying filters and get in-depth coverage of some of the ones you’re most likely to use.

Effects, on the other hand, are like little macros or scripts designed to make elaborate changes to your image, like creating a three-dimensional frame around it or making it look like a pencil sketch or an oil pastel. (Adobe calls them Photo Effects, but you can apply ...

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