The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

Photoshop Elements

Swirls of Summer

Cookie Cutter tool + Custom Shapes = fun photo frames

I'm continually amazed at the functionality and goodies buried within Photoshop Elements. Take the Cookie Cutter tool for example. It's sole purpose in life is to place your photo inside a shape, just as if you'd taken a real-life cookie cutter and firmly pressed it onto your photo: you get a "cut-out" photo with that shape (scrapbooking, anyone?).

Now, at first glance the built-in Cookie Cutter shapes (which are really Custom Shapes) probably won't light your fire. There's a heart, a butterfly, a snowflake and 27 other non-exciting choices:

Quick Polaroid Frame

Using the Crop tool to make a 10-second frame

I have the attention span of a gnat. Seriously. I get bored easily, I rarely enjoy leftovers, and I make faces when I'm forced to do the same thing over and over again. That's why you'll see me using different frames -- edge effects, rather -- on photos throughout this site. I'll do the Black Hairline Pixel Edge thing for a bit, followed by the Soft Fluffy Feathery edge thing for a while, and I've even been known to hop over to iStockphoto and download real picture frames to plop photos into. Just anything to jazz things up.

Selective Color

How to create a grayscale image with just a touch of color

The weather is warming here in Nashville, TN, and back home in The Great Country of Texas the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes will soon be colorfully dotting the hillsides and medians. I do miss my home state, and with that in mind, a quick search on iStockphoto for "bluebonnets" yielded a gorgeous photo for use in today's tutorial.

In order to show off these bountiful blooms, I'm going to illustrate how to easily use Photoshop Elements to convert this image into grayscale, then bring back just a bit of color in the areas of your choice.

Classic Colorizing

Adding color to a grayscale image is a neat little effect you see all over the place. Recently I saw it on a congratulatory wedding card where two cute little kids were all dressed up in pastel formal wear, while the rest of the background was draped in shades of gray. I've also seen it in movie posters, like Schindler's List.

Placing Text Behind an Object

Have you ever wanted to float a piece of text behind a portion of an image? It's really easy to do using layer masks in Photoshop, though Photoshop Elements doesn't support layer masks. Never fear for clipping groups are here!

Painted Edges in Elements

Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements come with some pretty cool brushes. Today I'm going to show you how to get creative and use them to paint in a photo, or rather, give it painted edges. The technique is very simple, we'll use Photoshop Elements' Group with Previous command to create a layer mask. It's also a non-destructive process, meaning we'll harm nary a pixel in the process.

With Macworld right around the corner (my favorite time of year!), I thought it appropriate to use this box of crabs I shot while strolling around Fisherman's Wharf last January.

The Beginner's Guide to Image Editing, Part 2

Last week we chatted about pixels and resolution, and the importance of deciding what an image's purpose in life shall be. "To print, or not to print," that was the question. This week, I'll show you how to navigate inside the Image Size dialog box, enabling you to tweak image resolution and sizes at will. Though this tutorial is done in Photoshop Elements, the steps are nearly identical in the full-blown version of Photoshop.

To illustrate how tweaking the resolution of an image affects its document or physical size, let's take a peek at resizing a web image.

The Beginner's Guide to Image Editing, Part 1

So you bought a cool new Firewire scanner, and a piece of software named Photoshop Elements came nestled snuggly in the box. Sweet! Now you can do fun things with photos! There's just one little problem: you have absolutely no idea where to start. Never fear, for the Beginner's Guide to Image Editing is here (thanks for the idea Kirk!).

How to Fix Animal White-Eye, Part 2

I recently wrote a tutorial on fixing animal white-eye in Photoshop, where I used a photo of a beautiful dog named Abbey... and that was good. Then one of my readers sent along a photo of their fluffly cat Chloe... and that was good. Chloe did indeed suffer from white-eye, though only in one eye--the other eye was an odd turqoise. That is not good.

Livin' La Vida Levels

Poor little Levels. It sits patiently in the adjustment layer pop-up menu, waiting to serve you. Quietly it watches you struggling to color correct photos. Flinching only inwardly, it is deeply saddened by your ignorance of its powers. Indeed, there are few who are wise to its color correction prowess.

I dare say it's time to give Levels a little lovin' :)

Let's continue on with our pretty kitty, Chloe, whose eyes we fixed in another tutorial. We're going to use Levels to color correct the photo, thus bringing out the regal beauty of this fine feline.