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Photoshop Elements 12: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Chapter 13. Filters, Actions, 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 computer program is going to turn a klutz into a Klimt. But Elements has some special tools—filters, actions, and layer styles—that can sure help you fool a lot of people. It’s amazing what a difference these features 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.

Most filters have settings that let you control how they change your photo. Elements comes with more than 100 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.

Actions, on the other hand, are like little macros or scripts designed to make elaborate changes to your image, such as creating a three-dimensional frame around it or making it look like a pencil sketch or an oil pastel. One of the most popular features in recent versions of Elements is the Actions panel, which makes it easy to add and use actions. (You can also find a few actions in the Effects panel. They’re also easy to apply—you just double-click ...

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