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Elements 2021 Layers versus filters for image editing

Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2020

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having recently finished digitizing more than 1000family photos from 1880s on, I Purchased photoshop elements 2021 with the hope of enhancing and restoring  images during  What I predict to be a long, cold Covid winter 2020- 2021. I've read as much information as I could, watched older versions of Photoshop elements in Linked-In classes. I understand there are three modes, quick, guided, and expert.

 

I want to tackle expert for this project. my first question is regarding the tab "enhance".

1. I've read that I do not want destructive editing, but how is this a problem if I enhance on a copy of the image?

2.  I'm also confused regarding whether I would use filters or layers to edit an image?

Without anyone to help me face-to-face, this has been a frustrating albeit excellent challenge for me.

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Correct answer by Greg_S. | Adobe Community Professional

@dianef31111009 said:

I dug further and found in guided mode special edits, a gem: "restore old photo guided edit". Nine locked in order steps (you cannot go backwards).

 

You can go backwards in a Guided Edit.  Use the Ctrl+Z (undo) keyboard shortcut.  You can also redo an undone step using Ctrl+Y.

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Elements 2021 Layers versus filters for image editing

Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2020

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having recently finished digitizing more than 1000family photos from 1880s on, I Purchased photoshop elements 2021 with the hope of enhancing and restoring  images during  What I predict to be a long, cold Covid winter 2020- 2021. I've read as much information as I could, watched older versions of Photoshop elements in Linked-In classes. I understand there are three modes, quick, guided, and expert.

 

I want to tackle expert for this project. my first question is regarding the tab "enhance".

1. I've read that I do not want destructive editing, but how is this a problem if I enhance on a copy of the image?

2.  I'm also confused regarding whether I would use filters or layers to edit an image?

Without anyone to help me face-to-face, this has been a frustrating albeit excellent challenge for me.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Greg_S. | Adobe Community Professional

@dianef31111009 said:

I dug further and found in guided mode special edits, a gem: "restore old photo guided edit". Nine locked in order steps (you cannot go backwards).

 

You can go backwards in a Guided Edit.  Use the Ctrl+Z (undo) keyboard shortcut.  You can also redo an undone step using Ctrl+Y.

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Nov 11, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2020

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Hi , I've moved your post from the Photoshop forum to the Photoshop Elements forum where you are more likely to get help with your issue.

Dave

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Nov 11, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2020

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thank you

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Nov 11, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2020

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Non desructive editing:

To be clear, Non destructive editing is different from editing a copy. In that case, the original is not destroyed, but the copy is modified (not destroyed). The purpose of any editing software is to enhance = modify. So why do people speak about ' non destructive workflows' and distinguish pixel editors from 'non destructive' (better called 'parametric') editors?

The Photoshop and Photoshop Elements editors change the pixels of your image file. Lightroom and ACR in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements are 'parametric'. They store the editing 'recipe', the sliders settings in a small text file. Original + recipe do create a virtual output result which you can export or print in a new pixel file.

About filters:  they are complex pixel transformations.

 

About layers: two main types: standard layers to which you can apply filters or any transformation in the enhance menu or any editing with the local tools, such as painting. You can play with the opacity or blend modes, you can use masks...

Or 'adjustment' layers, which define a given transformation that will be applied to a regular layer. They are working parametrically, the 'recipe' is kept in the adjustment layer, and the resulting transformation is not stored in the layered file, it is calculated and taken into account to show you the effect.

 

If you have to use layers, you'll use file formats like psd or tiff. The good practice is to keep the original file as the bottom layer to be able to recover the initial unmodified state. That layer may be hidden. If an effect you want to be applied can be achieved with an adjustment layer, you'll use that instead of a new regular layer. If you can't, you may keep the original standard layer, duplicate it and apply the effect, then hide the original. Nothing destroyed.

 

 

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Nov 11, 2020 1
Explorer ,
Nov 12, 2020

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I appreciate your thoughtful reply.

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Nov 12, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2020

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1. It is indeed a good idea to work on a duplicate picture file, esp. when first starting out with this program.  The enhace menu drop-down provides several options, e.g. brightness/contrast, levels. If you invoke these modalities via this route, the corrections can be made. However, there are also brightness/contrast & levels adjustment layers which can be utilized for this purpose. The adjustment layers are non-destructive - - the adjustment layers can be deleted, leaving the underlying image layer in its native state.

2.It is critical that you become comfortable using layers. Adobe does have a user guide which you may find helpful. There also several inexpensive print manuals available - check on Amazon or at your local library

https://helpx.adobe.com/support/photoshop-elements.html

3. The filters have limited application in my work-flow. Work your way through them on a dummy file to check them out. I do use the blur filter and photofilter from time to time.

4. Feel free to post one of your digitized files here on the forum, and we can make suggestions towards improving it.

 

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Nov 11, 2020 1
Explorer ,
Nov 12, 2020

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I tried to post a photo, without success. Do I post it in this thread?  In a "reply"? I should write a book, "Photoshop Elements Egads! Every Error Encyclopedia"

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Nov 12, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2020

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In the reply box here on the forum page, click on the "Insert Photos" icon at top right.

You can not do it via an e-mail reply, however.

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Nov 12, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 12, 2020

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I have very large bmp photos from 1880s - 1930s. What/How should I convert those images? Is there a reliable converter to download?  Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2020

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Nov 12, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2020

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Elements supports the bmp format. You can batch convert to jpeg or psd for instance either in the editor or in the organizer.

In the editor, use the menu File > Process multiple files

In the Organizer, select a batch of bmps and menu File >> Export as new files.

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Nov 12, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2020

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The more important question is why do you think you need to convert the files?  Elements will work with bmp files and when you have finished editing them, you can save them in whatever format you want.

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Nov 12, 2020 2
Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2020

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I appreciate your replies, but I'm going to throw in the towel. Yes, I have gone to the Adobe forum help site, and yes I have read adobe Photoshop elements 2021 for dummies (A stupid title, but in my case may be appropriate!) I cannot find a useful tutorial on how to use "enhance" in the expert mode. Not in adobe learning, not in the book, not in the linked in classes. I tried playing around with enhance and then got error messages regarding layers.

 

there is a presumption that the user has a familiarity with these types of  interfaces. 

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Nov 11, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2020

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Just to give you a little broader perspective and hopefully answer your specific questions:

 

  • When you open a file in the Elements Editor, no changes are made to your original file until you SAVE whatever edits you have made. 
  •  Once you have edited a file, you are given various options to save the file and if you don't choose a different name for the edited file, you will receive a warning that the original name already exists and you will be overwriting your original file.  Obviously, you can change the name to create an edited copy.  (If you are using the Organizer and open the file in the Editor from there, with the default option to save the edited copy to the Organizer's catalog, a change of name is automatic.
  • When you open your original file in the Editor, it is automatically transformed into the PSD format which is a format that allows you to use layers.  (I presume that your original scans are in a different format e.g. jpeg, tiff or bmp.)  If that is the case, when you close or save the edited file, you have the option to save the file as a layered PSD file (which retains all of the layers and can be further edited) or you can save as a jpg for sharing with your family via email or social media.  When the PSD is converted to jpg, the layers are "flattened" or removed.  Although you can further edit the jpg file, your editing options are more limited than if you maintain a layered format.
  • You can save your edited photo in various formats but each time you are making a new copy of the file.
  •  Since you are working with digititized photos, I assume they are not in any "raw" format. Raw files are edited in what is known as the ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Editor.  As Michel has explained, the ACR editor is a non-destructive editor which works with a small "sidecar" file (as mentioned by Michel).  Original raw files do not change with the edits but the recipe for the changes is found in the sidecar file.  Once a raw file is edited to your satisfaction, it is necessary to convert them to another format like jpg in order to be shared on social media etc.
  • Even original jpg files can be edited in the ACR editor.  (Confusing isn't it.)
  • Since it sounds like you intend to work with copies of your original files, it really doesn't matter which form of editing you use.  Your originals will always be safe and you can play around with your edits to your heart's content.
  • When working with or restoring old photos, both B&W and color, it is frequently useful to modify different parts of the photo with different changes.  That is where layers often come into play.  You can create multiple layers and apply different editing techniques or adjustments to different parts of the photo, with each change on a different layer.  One reason this is helpful is if you change your mind about a particular edit, you can always change a single layer rather than the who image.
  • Filters are effects that can be applied to the entire photo or to a select portion of it or to pixels that are contained on a layer.  The filters may be artistic, such as turning your photograph into an oil painting, or photographic such as adding a blur or grain to an image.  So, to answer your question #2, you may use both, depending on the change you want to apply.

 

I hope we have not overwhelmed you.  There is a lot to learn.  But Elements has a lot of tutorials that you can start to use by clicking on the guides that appear on the Welcome Screen.  It is also useful to play around with the Guided Edits since they will help you understand how the program works.  Also, the search tool that appears on the Welcome Screen will often answer your How-to questions.

 

Enjoy the challenge and feel free to come back to this forum when you get stumped.

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Nov 11, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 11, 2020

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Sorry, I cross-posted with you.  Don't throw in the towel yet.  If you post an example of a photo you wish to enhance, we can give you some practical guidance of what you want to do.  As I mentioned in my prior post, you should not eschew the Guided Edit mode and go straight to Expert if you are finding that too intimidating.  You can't run before you walk.

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Explorer ,
Nov 12, 2020

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My error in believing that the guided edits were limited to what is displayed on the welcome page. I dug further and found in guided mode special edits, a gem: "restore old photo guided edit".   Nine locked in order steps (you cannot go backwards).  Looks like I will be learning how to use the tools. YEAH!

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Nov 12, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2020

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actually, your explanation makes a lot of sense. thank you.

I have two winter-long photography related projects.

one is looking through a couple of thousand family photographs, And determining which ones should be restored  via Photoshop elements.. It took 6 months to digitize B/W and color negatives as well as 14 albums of hardcopy prints. I paid to have 600 slides digitized commercially. I organized the digitized images in Adobe Bridge using keywords to identify family, and then organize in folders by family surname and year. Definitely a labor of love.

my second project is using Photoshop elements to enhance my macro photographs. I only picked up a DSLR two years ago, never really having used a Camera before then. I fell in love with macro photography Not realizing how challenging it would be to learn. those photographs I shoot in JPEG+ RAW, figuring I will learn the latter at some point.

Yes, I was on my frustration level earlier today, but I found a YouTube that simplified my understanding of layers. I tried using 2 adjustment layers on a copied background photo, so I am honing into the process

 

I will take you up on your suggestion to submit a photograph for a "show and tell" explanation.

 

Thanks

Diane

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2020

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You're welcome. We look forward to your progress.

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