Tip Use Selection Tools to Limit the Area Affected by Your Edits

Sometimes, you want to edit only a portion of your photo, such as brighten a face or alter the color of a car, but you don't want anything else in your picture to be changed. Use your software's selection tools to draw a line (a "mask") around the area you want to change. Then, when you apply the edit, only the selected area will be affected. (See Figures 18-2a, 18-2b and 18-2c.) These are the same tools you'll use to select portions of images to be copied into a digital collage (see "Collaging" later in this chapter). The basics of selections are rather easy to learn, though it will take a lot of practice and patience to mastertheir incredible power.

Image Alteration

Image alteration includes some of the most prosaic (though important) editing tools, as well as some of the sexier ones. Among the former are those that alter the shape or size of your photo, such as cropping (removing excess portions to create a smaller picture), rotating, or resizing your pictures.

Then there are the many special effects that can change the very nature of your photo, distorting it, adding textures, turning it into something that looks like a sketch (see Figure 18-3) or a fun-house mirror reflection.

Here are some suggestions for working with special effects filters:

■ Before using an effect on your photo, increase its contrast by at least 10 percent. Most effects filters work by analyzing the edges between colors, and this will heighten the differences among your colors, giving the filter more to work on.

■ Play with the effects and their settings to see what they do to your photo. You can always undo anything you don't like, or save versions of what works.

■ Use the program's selection tools to restrict the effect to only portions of your photo, while the rest remains untouched.

■ Copy the filtered version of your photo onto the original (preferably using the layers palette), and then change the opacity (or other attributes) of the upper layer. (Or, in a variation on the experiment, put the original on top and the filtered version on the bottom.) You'll be amazed how artistic the results can be with very little effort. (For information on layers see the "Collaging" section later in the chapter.)

Figure 18-3: Using a special effect filter, we turned this portrait into a whimsical sketch with just a couple of mouse clicks. We often do something like this at the start of an imaging project, to give us an interesting canvas for painting. (See the section later in the chapter on "Painting and Drawing.")

Figure 18-3: Using a special effect filter, we turned this portrait into a whimsical sketch with just a couple of mouse clicks. We often do something like this at the start of an imaging project, to give us an interesting canvas for painting. (See the section later in the chapter on "Painting and Drawing.")

Collaging

We have a nineteenth-century scrapbook in which an anonymous craftsperson cut portions of illustrations from magazines, broadsheets, and labels and pasted them together into wonderful pastiches of her life or, more likely, her fantasies. Collaging (also called compositing) is certainly not new, but with digital imaging, it has become less messy and more adventurous. Cut (or copy) and paste pieces of different images into a single composition, moving them around as you wish, adding text, shadows, and special effects, using a clone or other brushes to paint additional elements into your picture. The most basic collages simply add a person or object to a photo, such as putting yourself onto a Hawaiian beach without having to pay airfare. But it is also a highly sophisticated process used by fine artists (see Figure 18-4).

Figure 18-4: This composition of Sally's (which she calls "Fantasy Man") consists of several elements collaged together in Photoshop: the portrait of Daniel and Sally (taken by Peter Trieber), a photo of a computer board, a picture of the sky, a color gradient (which you can't see in this greyscale version), plus a few colors digitally painted onto the brush in Sally's hand.

Figure 18-4: This composition of Sally's (which she calls "Fantasy Man") consists of several elements collaged together in Photoshop: the portrait of Daniel and Sally (taken by Peter Trieber), a photo of a computer board, a picture of the sky, a color gradient (which you can't see in this greyscale version), plus a few colors digitally painted onto the brush in Sally's hand.

Figure 18-5a: This collage consists of three elements: a photo of our creek, another of our cat Rascal, and some type.

One of the most important, even critical software features for serious collaging is layers. Think of layers as a series of transparent acetate sheets placed on top of each other. Each element (text, a part of a photo, a piece of clip art, and so forth) sits on its own layer, but you can see all the other elements under and above it. By keeping each piece of the composition separate, you can go back and edit, move, resize, tweak or delete it at any time without affecting any other piece. You can also sort the order of your layers, determining what sits on top of what, adjust their opacity or transparency, and in some programs, control exactly how they combine with other layers (see Figures 18-5a and 18-5b). The power and versatility of its layers is one of the determining factors of how advanced an imaging program is.

Opacity control

Adjustment layers-re-editable effects applied to the text

Paintbrush indicating active layer

Opacity control

Adjustment layers-re-editable effects applied to the text

Paintbrush indicating active layer

Figure 18-5b: As you can see in this Photoshop layers dialog, each of the three elements sits on its own layer, What's more, the text layer has several Adjustment Layers related to the re-editable effects we applied to the type. Notice the opacity control at the top of the palette. One of the biggest problems novices have in working with layers is understanding which layer is currently selected. Notice the paintbrush in Rascal's layer, which indicates it's the active layer at present and that all edits done at this time will be applied to Rascal's picture and to nothing else in the collage. ((§2004 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.)

Figure 18-5b: As you can see in this Photoshop layers dialog, each of the three elements sits on its own layer, What's more, the text layer has several Adjustment Layers related to the re-editable effects we applied to the type. Notice the opacity control at the top of the palette. One of the biggest problems novices have in working with layers is understanding which layer is currently selected. Notice the paintbrush in Rascal's layer, which indicates it's the active layer at present and that all edits done at this time will be applied to Rascal's picture and to nothing else in the collage. ((§2004 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.)

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