The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

Photoshop Elements

Fading Color

Creating a beautiful fade from original color to grayscale

To commemorate the first day of Fall, I thought I'd take this gorgeous photo of colorful leaves (plucked from iStockphoto of course!) and show you how to easily create a fade from the photo's original color to grayscale. Sound interesting?

Fall Painterly Effect

Turning a photo into an illustration or watercolor

Ever look at a photo and not be able to tell if it's an illustration or painting? Well that's what today's technique is all about. With a well-chosen filter here, and adjustment layer there, you can create an effect in Elements that's unique, beautiful, and gloriously creative. I've officially dubbed this effect the Fall Painterly Effect because depending upon the image, this technique can produce something like an illustration or something more like a watercolor. That title sounded better than Fall Illustration and/or Watercolor Effect; or, at least it did in my head.

Color Cast Be Gone!

Warp speed color cast correction

Who knew that a one-step color cast fixer-upper lived deep within Elements' menu structure? The next time you pop open a photo with a visible cast—such as the photo below taken during a fabulously rich and gastronomically challenging meal my husband and I had recently at Aureole, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas—you'll know exactly what to do.

The Basics of Retouching People, Part 3

How to whiten teeth

Do Crest Whitening Strips make you gag? Do you lack the money to have molds made of your teeth for bleaching? No worries, my friends. In this third installment of The Basics of Retouching People series, I'm going to show you how to whiten your teeth (or anyone elses) with nary a trip to that evil sharp-tool wielding, white coat wearin' man we call the dentist.

We'll use the same photo of my girlfriend Leslie and I, so when this tutorial series is complete you can see how much digital surgery we've really done.

Creating Cartoon Art

Posterizing your way to creativity

Just go on and admit it, you know you want to. Since the first time you cast your tender eyes upon the newspaper comic section -- I call it "the funnies", though these days it's more "the sorta funnies" -- you've wondered what you'd look like as a cartoon character. That's okay; there are million who quietly harbor the exact same fantasy.

Spot Healing Brush to the Rescue!

Removing antennas and power lines

Ah, Paris. Just look at this famous view of the Eiffel Tower painted brilliantly by so many Masters of years past. But wait... what's that pointy thing toward the right?! Ugh, it's an antenna.

The Basics of Retouching People, Part 1

The secret to losing 5 pounds--digitally!

Summer is the time to get out and have fun. Enjoy the beautiful weather, maybe visit a family reunion or two (or not!), and take a wonderful vacation to an exotic locale (perhaps the next city over) with a friend or your significant other. Whatever gets you out and about taking people photos, it's important know what to do with those pictures once you have them.

The Basics of Retouching People, Part 2

Banishing bags 'n blemishes

Continuing on in Part 2 of this series using the photo of Leslie and I, let's take care of a few minor (ahem!) imperfections on our faces. Luckily, Elements has a couple of brushes perfectly suited for this job: the Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush. In this tutorial, we'll use 'em both.

Delicious Duotones

Creating duotones with Elements' QuickFix mode

You've seen the photo effect everywhere, but perhaps couldn't call it by name: The original color has been drained from the photo, and replaced by a dramatic blue-ish, yellow-ish, green-ish, or purple-ish color cast. This is called a duotone, and it's been a favorite of Photoshoppers for years.

In the full-blown version of Photoshop there's a specific command for this effect; however I'm here to tell you that it's easily recreated in Elements. Oh yes, dear grasshopper; let me show thee how :)

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: