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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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

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. It’s amazing what a difference you can make to the appearance of any image with only a couple of clicks.

Filters are a jaw-droppingly easy way to change the appearance of your images. 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’ll find the original photos (rooftops.jpg and bauhinia.jpg) on the Missing CD page at www.missingmanuals.com, if you want to play around with these images yourself.

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

Effects, on the other hand, are like little macros or scripts designed to make elaborate changes to your image, such as creating a 3-D frame around it or making it look like a pencil sketch or an oil pastel. They’re super easy to apply—you just double-click ...

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