The Effects Menu
The Effects menu allows you numerous choices for altering graphics from Photo enhancing to deformations and artistic effects.
Most of the Dialog Boxes available from the Effects Menu have several common features. The first is the ability to Zoom and Preview the effects. The following graphic illustrates how these options are represented on the Dialog Boxes:
- Zoom 1:1 - The left magnifying glass zooms out on a graphic, the right zooms in. The cross-hair graphic in the middle will pop up a rendering of your graphic with a "thumbnail" selection under the cursor. You move can then move the selection to a different part of the graphic and that part will be rendered in the preview window.
- Auto Proof/Proof - The eye symbol proofs the effect directly on the image. The down arrow locks Auto Proof so that it automatically proofs on the image.
- The OK button applies an effect.
- The Cancel Button cancels the effect.
- The Help button will take you to the help file for the effect you are currently using. This can be a quick and efficient way of learning how to use each effect.
- The button on the right is the "Reset" button. This button will reset an effect back to the default settings.
The Effects Browser allows you to preview most the effects available from this menu at their default settings. It does not allow you to preview any of the Enhance Photo menu items.
Average, Gaussian and Motion Blur all give you an Control panel where you can adjust the level of the blurs. The remaining blur options apply a default setting and can't be adjusted.
Sharpen and Sharpen More can't be adjusted, but Unsharp Mask can be. Unsharp Mask, in my opinion is the "unsung hero" of Paint Shop Pro. It can often do more to fix a graphic than any other Paint Shop Pro option.
The Unsharp Mask works by locating adjacent pixels with the difference in lightness values that you specify, and then increases their contrast by the amount you select.
- Radius - The radius indicates the number of pixels around the edge of parts of the image that will be effected. You should start with a lower radius setting and move your way up to test the effect.
- Strength - The strength controls the intensity of the contrast or sharpening effect. Again, start with a low number and work your way up.
- Clipping - Clipping determines how much contrast two pixels must have before they are sharpened.
The Edge effects find the edges of the graphic and enhance them in various ways. Rather than going over the results of each edge effect, I suggest you experiment by opening a photograph and applying each of the effects. This will give you a visual representation of how the effect works. The "Trace Contour" effect is fun in that you can get kind of a "sketch" artistic effect when you apply it to a photograph.
Noise refers to random or uniform pixels that give a graphic a grainy effect. Paint Shop Pro provides filters to remove noise from graphics and to add noise to a graphic.
- Add Noise - The Add Noise dialog box allows you to add noise as random or uniform and to set the percentage of noise to apply. This is a very handy tool for creating fine grain backgrounds (see my Fine Grain Background tutorial).
- Despeckle - This filter is designed to remove spots from a graphic. It does this by blurring the image around the spots.
- Edge Preserving Smooth - This filter smoothes an image without the loss of edge detail in the image. This filter is often a good starting point when you are repairing a photograph.
- Median Filter - This filter can also be used to remove noise and imperfections from an image. It works by setting the color value of a pixel to the median of the color values of all the pixels immediately around it.
- Salt and Pepper - This filter removes black and white specks from an image. It is very useful when you are touching up old photos.
- Texture Preserving Smooth - This filter works the same as Edge Preserving Smooth except that it preserves the texture rather than the edge detail.
The Enhance Photo tools in Paint Shop Pro 7 are worth the price of the program alone. All the filters are highly adjustable, allowing for more accurate corrections.
Automatic Color Balance
Automatic Color Balance will remove a color cast from an image and can be used to cool down or warm up an image. The following image demonstrates the power of this filter. The photo on the left is the original, the photo in the middle has the Automatic Color Balance filter applied at it's default setting with "Remove Color Cast" checked. The photo on the right has the same settings as the middle photo, except that I moved the Illuminant Temperature towards Warmer with a final temperature of 5000.
Automatic Contrast Enhancement
This filter enhances the contrast through adjusting the highlights, midtones and shadows. You can adjust the settings for Bias, Strength and Appearance. Always adjust the Color Balance of a photo before adjusting the Contrast. The following image represents the photo on the right above with a Contrast enhancement of Bias: Neutral; Strength: Normal and Appearance: Natural.
Automatic Saturation Enhancement
This filter enhances the saturation of the colors in the image. You can set both the Bias and Strength.
The following illustrates the above graphic with a Saturation Enhancement with the Bias: Normal and Strength: Normal. You will see that this adjustment brought back the blues that were lost in the Contrast Enhancement.
This filter removes scanlines from scanned images. This filter will not work on a selection. When using this filter, always be sure you have no active selection.
JPEG Artifact Removal
This filter removes artifacts left behind from excessive compression of a JPEG graphic. It basically smoothes out the blocky-looking areas that appear with jpeg compression.
Moiré Pattern Removal
This filter will remove patterns that can appear in scanned images.
Automatic Small Scratch Removal
This filter will remove dark or light small scratches from an image. It has a tendency to blur the image somewhat so you will usually need to sharpen the image back up with either the Unsharp Mask or the Clarify filter.
This filter will sharpen the focus on blurred images.
This filter restores color and contrast to a faded image.
Manual Color Correction
This filter adjusts colors based on Hue, Saturation and Lightness. To use this filter, you need to make a selection in the graphic representation in the left window to select a target Hue to shift. All pixels in the image that contain the source hue will be shifted to the target hue (the color set in the Preset Colors box). One very cool feature of this filter is "Gray World". I find that any image that has a color cast to it can be greatly improved by selecting the entire image in the left window and clicking on the Gray World button. I think that this method works better than Automatic Color Balance at preserving the underlying colors when you remove the color cast. The following images demonstrate this fact. The image on the left is the original and has a green color cast. The image in the middle was corrected with Automatic Color Balance and the image on the right was corrected with Gray World/Manual Color Correction.
This filter will remove the red-eye effect in humans and animals either automatically or manually. I don't use this filter since I have a preferred method of reducing red-eye. There is a good explanation of how the filter works in the help file, so I will defer you to the help file to learn this filter.
To demonstrate the power of the Enhance Photo filters, please compare the following images. Following the images are the steps I used to fix the image on the left
- Automatic Contrast Enhancement - Bias: Lighter; Strength: Normal; Appearance: Bold. This brings out the dogs facial features and enhances the detail of the photo.
- Automatic Color Balance - Strength: 100; Remove Color Cast: Checked; Temperature: 8000. This removes the pink cast to the image.
- Automatic Saturation Enhancement - Bias: Less Colorful, Strength: Weak,
Skintones present checked. This further reduced the pink tones and brought out more detail in the dogs fur.
- Clarify - Strength: 3 to bring out additional detail in the photo.
The 3d effects are what people call "beveling" effects. They apply light and dark shadows to images that cause the image to appear 3d.
The Buttonize filter only works on rectangular shapes and does not need a selection active to work. You can create a button with a solid edge or a transparent edge. The solid edge gives a sharper and more contrasty edge to the button whereas the transparent edge gives a softer rounder edge to a button.
This effect will add a three-dimensional border to make a selection or layer appear to be cut out of stone. To use this effect you must have a selection active. I use the Chisel effect to create metallic colored text (See my Metallic Text tutorial).
This filter creates an illusion that looks like part of a graphic has been cut out and you can see through to the lower levels. Many of my artistic tutorials use this filter. This filter can be a lot of fun. Depending on the angle of light you apply (the offset), your graphic can look like it is carved inwards or extruded outwards. The following graphic demonstrates this. The graphic on the left was created with the cutout filter: black shadow offset by 3,3 then a white drop shadow offset by 1. The graphic on the right was created with the cutout offset -3, -3 and the white drop shadow offset by -1. Pretty cool..
This filter will apply a drop shadow behind an image. It is a very versatile effect and can be used in many artistic and creative ways. Many of my artistic tutorials use the drop shadow filter.
This filter allows you to bevel any shape. All it needs is an active selection. There are numerous bevel presets that install with the program and you can save your own presets. An interesting aspect to the inner bevel filter is that if you reverse the direction of the light, you will end up with a cutout effect. The graphic on the left below was created by applying the Metallic preset to text. The graphic on the right was created by using the same preset, but changing the light angle from 315 to 130.
This filter allows you to create a 3D effect by adding a bevel around the outside of the selection. The size of the selection expands by the width of the bevel. The following graphic demonstrates the difference between the Outer Bevel filter (left) and the Inner Bevel filter (right). You will notice that the bevel in the Outer Bevel brings the background into play with the bevel whereas the Inner Bevel does not touch the background in any way.