Filter Categories

Elements divides the filters into categories to help make it easier for you to track down the filter you want. Some of the categories, like Distort, contain filters that vary hugely in what they do to your photo. Other categories, like the Brush Stroke filters, contain filters that are all pretty obviously related to one another. Here's a quick breakdown of the categories:

• Adjustments . These filters apply some photographic, stylistic, and artistic changes to your photo.

• Artistic . This is a huge group of filters that do everything from making your photo look like it was cut from paper (Cutout) to making it look like a quick sketch (Rough Pastels). You generally get the best effects with these filters by using multiple filters or applying the same one multiple times.

• Blur . The blur filters let you soften the focus of your photo and add artistic effects.

• Brush Strokes . These filters apply brush stroke effects to your photo to give it a hand-painted look.

• Distort . These filters warp your image in a great variety of ways. The Liquify filter is the most powerful of the group.

• Noise . Use these filters to add or remove grain from your image.

• Pixelate . The Pixelate filters break your image up in different ways, making it show the dot pattern of a magazine halftone, or the fragmented look you see on television where they're concealing someone's identity.

• Render . This group includes a pretty diverse bunch of filters that let you do things like create a lens-flare effect (Lens Flare), transform a flat object so it looks three dimensional (3D Transform), and make fibers (Fibers) or clouds (Clouds).

• Sharpen . These filters give your photo an impression of improved focus.

• Sketch . These filters not only make your photo look like it was drawn with different instruments (like charcoal, chalk, and crayon), you can also make your photo look like it was embossed in wet plaster, photocopied, or stamped with a rubber stamp.

• Stylize . These filters create special effects by increasing the contrast in your photo and displacing pixels. You can make your photo look radioactive, reduce it to outlines, or make it look like it's moving fast with the Wind filter.

• Texture . These filters change the surface of your photo to look like it was made from another material. Use them to create a crackled finish (the Craquelure filter), stained glass (Stained Glass), or a mosaic effect (Mosaic Tiles).

• Video . These filters are for use in creating and editing images for videos.

• Other . This is a group of fairly technical filters that you can highly customize to do things like create your own filter.

• Digimarc . Use this filter to check for Digimarc watermarks in photos. Digimarc is a company that lets subscribers enter their information in a database so that anyone who gets one of their photos can find out who the copyright holder is.

POWER USERS' CLINIC Filter Plug-Ins

You're not limited to the dozens of filters that come with Photoshop Elements. You can add filters created by professional developers and other Photoshop experts. You get the filters online, in the form of plug-ins (little programs that you install on your PC to add capabilities to Elements). Any new filters you install appear at the bottom of the list in the Filter menu.

You can find a number of filter plug-ins online, ranging from free to very expensive. A good place to start your search is on the Adobe Studio Exchange (http://share.studio.adobe.com ). About 99 percent of what you'll see listed is made specifically for the full version of Photoshop, but these filters all work with Elements, too.

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