There's a popular saying among artistic types who use software in their studios: tools don't equal talent. And it's true: no mere program is going to turn a klutz into a Klimt. But Elements has a few special tools—filters, effects, and Layer styles—that can sure help you fool a lot of people into thinking you're a better artist than you actually are. It's amazing what a difference you can make to the appearance of any image with only a couple of clicks.
Filters are an automated way to change the appearance of your image. You can use filters for enhancing and correcting your image, but Elements also gives you a bunch of other filters that are great for unleashing all your artistic impulses, as shown in Figure 12-1. You'll find the original photos (courthouse.jpg and paulownia.jpg) on the "Missing CD" page at www.missingmanuals.com, if you want to play around with these images yourself.
Most filters have settings that you can adjust to control how the filter changes your photo. Because you get nearly a hundred different filters with Elements, there isn't room in this chapter to cover each filter individually, but you'll learn the basics of applying filters, and you'll get in-depth coverage of some of the filters you're most likely to use frequently.
Effects are like little macros or scripts, designed to make very elaborate changes to your image, like creating a three-dimensional frame around it or adding a layer of realistic wood ...