Hidden Power Newsletter
February, 2005, Vol.13
The Newsletter for Elements Users
IN THIS ISSUE
In this issue we look at The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3. It is time to solve those installation problems, find out a little more about sharpening, take a cut at splitting a channel in a different way, and find out why Photoshop is boring...
WEBSITE UPDATE, TOOL UPGRADE RELEASED, HIDDEN POWER 3
BUY IT NOW
LONG ANSWERS (5)
SHORT ANSWERS (30)
WEBSITE UPDATE, TOOL UPGRADE RELEASED, HIDDEN POWER 3
The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3 was released a few weeks after my last newsletter in November. Since then I've been working on updating my website and getting together some tutorials and new tools, while answering installation questions. I've also been trying to work out a deal with the publisher to distribute the tools for Elements 3 users separately from the book. We finally got that together.
A beta for the web site up: http://hiddenpowertools.com. I got that done at just about the same time that the deal I had worked out with the publisher for selling the tools separately. I welcome your comments on the website. If you don't want to get the book this time around, you can find the tools sold separately on the Sybex website: http://www.sybex.com/sybexbooks.nsf/booklist/5028 . You can buy them and download/install TODAY. I hope that this serves those who were looking to just get the tools without having to buy the new book.
New tools on the Horizon include a Curves Tool & Channel Target combo (more to it than meets the description), Quick Mask, a tool set for foreign language versions of Elements, and a well-delayed type tool. Free tools are a little further off, but I am sure to have some in the coming months.
Please send questions and requests as they arise! email@example.com
BUY IT NOW
By purchasing items using the links below, you will help to support Hidden Power development while getting the best prices around.
Get Photoshop Elements (for PC): http://aps8.com/elements3.html
Get Photoshop Elements (for Mac): http://aps8.com/elements3mac.html
Get The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3: http://aps8.com/hppe3.html
Get only the Hidden Power tools for Elements 3: http://www.sybex.com/sybexbooks.nsf/booklist/5028
Calibrate with ColorVision Spyder
(complete package): http://aps8.com/calibrate.html
(just the Spyder): http://aps8.com/spyder.html
Hidden Power Mend (Healing tool): http://hiddenelements.com/Mend
Hidden Power Dynamic Image: http://hiddenelements.com/dynamic
I've gather a few select items for those who don't have time to read the whole newsletter. FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions...and I have gotten these few questions that follow in various forms over the past several weeks. I hope they help.
Q: I try to install, see a DOS screen flash, and then nothing...
A: The flash you see is the installer doing its job. It is likely that the Hidden Power tools are already installed. Just restart Elements, and you should be good to go. If not see #4 under the Long Answers for more in-depth commentary on installation and troubleshooting for the tools. I forgot to put the install confirmation in the PC installer...and installation happens in a virtual flash.
Q: Please provide the password for installing the Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements.
A: Please read the introduction to the book...you'll find what you are looking for.
Q: You said you'd be making the tools available separately from the book. Have you done that yet?
A: Sybex, my publisher, and I have agreed on terms for selling the tools only. You can get the tools from the Sybex site: http://www.sybex.com/sybexbooks.nsf/booklist/5028
Q: I didn't see a set of free plug-ins for 3 on the Hidden Powers site. Is there one? Do the current ones work with 3?
A: There will be a set of tools for Elements 3, eventually. It takes some time to put them together. I'll announce in the newsletter and on the website when it is available.
1. Isolating a Channel
2. Photoshop is boring
3. How Is It Best to Sharpen?
4. Why Can't I install the tools for Elements 3?
5. Digital Camera Recommendation?
1. Isolating a Channel
<<I have been able to use your RGB tools for separation, and have followed the tutorials in the book for separating out channel information. However, when I use the automated tool, it flattens the image, and I want to sometimes make a targeted change to a particular layer. If you can answer the following question, I think I'll know what to do to solve my various queries. How do I create a red channel? From a single layer?>>
The quickest way to do this may be to just copy the layer you want to work with into a new image and then run the RGB tool. Several Hidden Power tools use similar technique, creating a new image to allow a calculation or other layer-based function. Creating the new image allows you to use tools from the book to speed up the separation.
If you want to make the separation in the same image, you can do it without the tools (or instruction from the book) by manipulating layers manually. If all you want is the red component, I have an easier, quicker method than described in the book. The book process was designed to help make sense of the digital flow; the following steps just get the job done quickly:
1. Duplicate the Background layer. Change the name of the duplicate layer to Red Channel.
2. Create a new blank layer grouped to the Red Channel layer. Call it Red Fill. Fill the Red Fill layer with red (RGB: 255,0,0). Change the mode of the layer to Multiply.
3. Create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and group it with the Red Fill layer using the Group With checkbox in the New Layer dialog, then click OK. Choose Reds for the Edit mode in the Hue/Saturation dialog when it appears. Slide the Saturation slider all the way to the left (-100), and the Lightness slider all the way right (+100).
You now see the red channel. If you click on the Red Channel layer and press Command/CTRL+E the layers will merge and the red channel will be left as a layer. Of course you can use the above technique to extract green and blue image information, too. You just need to change the names and color.
To isolate the red channel without flattening the file (and without my Hidden Power tools), it is just 5 easy steps, based on those above:
1. Create a new layer at the top of the layer stack, and press CTRL+ALT+Shift+E/Command+Option+Shift+E (PC/Mac) to stamp visible.
2. Create another layer at the top of the stack and fill with red (R=255, G=0, B=0). Change the color layer to multiply and merge down.
3. Add a hue/Saturation adjustment, (not an adjustment layer). Choose Red from the drop list and set lightness to +100. The layer should turn grayscale, revealing the red channel.
4. Add a red fill layer grouped to the Red component, and change the mode to Multiply. Change the mode of the Red component layer to Difference. This will subtract out the influence of the red channel in the current image.
5. Duplicate the Red component layer and the fill layer and group the duplicates, then set the layer mode of the Red Component copy to screen. Make adjustments that you need to the Red Component copy.
You can then play with grouping and masking as necessary to get maneuver your change into place in the layers.
2. Photoshop is boring
<<When I got Photoshop Elements, I thought it was going to be a lot of fun. I haven't been as entertained as I expected. It seems to me you have to go into it with something in mind, or else you just don't get much accomplished. Am I missing something?>>
I have taught creative writing and creative imaging, and perhaps this isn't what you want to hear but 'boring' is in the eye of the beholder. If you are going into Photoshop Elements to do something, it isn't the program that you will have to expect to perform tricks or keep your interest like a video game might. YOU have to provide the interest, and perhaps that is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. If I am writing a story and it turns out boring, it is either because I was unable to do something interesting or just having a bad creative day...I'd be hard-pressed to blame that on MS Word (no matter how delightful doing that might be).
I, for one, very rarely find that there is nothing I can do in Photoshop Elements to make an image more interesting. Usually, in my case, that means cleaning up the defects and correcting tone and color. Not everyone will find delight in that like I do. If I were looking for something more entertaining, my direction might be as frivolous as running a few filters on an image, or opening an image (or several) at random and playing with it to achieve some interesting results.
In writing as with images, teaching creative stuff was always a matter of getting students to realize it was OK to play. My guess is you don't see using Elements as a game. It is likely you either expect to perform at a specific level, or don't know what you might do that is fun, and have led yourself to an impenetrable wall of disappointment -- not getting enough from the program.
My books (Elements 1 & 2: http://aps8.com/hppe.html; Elements 3: http://aps8.com/hppe3.html) don't really get into teaching creativity. A book that promised to make a reader more creative would essentially have to teach creative behavior rather than how to get things done. In other words, a text to learn creativity would coax a user to play and experiment in order to find the 'fun'. It doesn't really take a lot of space the way i just wrote it. I can teach techniques for creativity, but I can't promise to make a reader creative if they have no capacity or interest in experimentation and play...Sometimes that comes from having no goals or expectations at all. Again, it isn't the tool or the book or the inspiring object that makes us creative, it would still be the sense of play.
My prescription to try and solve your boredom would be to go into the program without expectation. Open an image and start by doing some basic things like dust corrections and other perhaps mechanical procedures like color correction until you see something in an image that strikes a fancy. If it is interesting enough to explore, you'll start playing with solutions...I bet you might find some inspiration there.
3. How Is It Best to Sharpen?
<<Isn't using unsharp mask in LAB supposed to be better than just sharpening
an RGB image? Can it be done in Elements? Which channel gets sharpened?
First, sharpening should be used to improve images that are already good -- not to sharpen blurry images. I get more into that in the book, but think it is good to start with that here. The specific problem of sharpening an RGB image is that you sharpen the color along with the tone: everything in the image edges is enhanced, including color noise. That's where you have the problem.
The allure of sharpening in LAB mode is that color is extracted from tone. I talk about this a little in the book having to do with the Luminosity and color separation and RGBL. with tone separated from color, you can sharpen just the tone to define edges, without enhancing color noise.
If sharpening in LAB, you will most likely apply the sharpening to the L channel, or Luminosity. This will improve edge contrast for the tone without reeking havoc on the image color. You can do a very similar thing in Elements without leaving RGB by doing the following (again, here, without the tools):
1. Create a new blank layer at the top of your layer stack and name it Sharpen.
2. Press Cmd+Option+Shift+E/Ctrl+ALT+Shift+E (Mac/PC) to merge the content of the image to the Sharpen layer.
3. Change the Mode to Luminosity.
4. Sharpen the Sharpen layer using Unsharp Mask.
Because the upper layer mode is luminosity the result will have less effect on the color. You can make the difference even less by first converting the Sharpen layer to tone:
1. Create a new blank layer at the top of your layer stack and name it Sharpen. Fill with 50% gray. Shut off the view for the layer.
2. Create a second new layer at the top of the stack and name it Source.
3. Press Cmd+Option+Shift+E/Ctrl+ALT+Shift+E (Mac/PC) to merge the content of the image to the Source layer.
4. Change the Mode of the Source layer to Luminosity.
5. Merge Down (press Cmd/Ctrl+E)
6. Change the mode of the Sharpen layer to Luminosity.
7. Sharpen the Sharpen layer using Unsharp Mask.
You may not see a lot of difference between these two techniques, but careful comparison (you might want to use Difference mode) will show quite a lot. The second set of steps will result in something nearly identical to what you'd get in Lab without the mode switch.
Blurring color will likely improve the results, by reducing color noise!
4. Why Can't I install the tools for Elements 3?
<<I have tried to install the Hidden Power 3 tools several times, and I can't seem to. Do you have some definitive trouble-shooting information?>>
This is actually quite a large order. While probably 99% of people trying to install have no trouble at all: they just click on the installer and the tools end up in Elements...no problem. Some people, on the other hand, can go through trouble for several frustrating hours hoping only to install the tools. This part of the newsletter is dedicated to avoiding those problems. I'll be posting this separately to the website as well.
There are a bunch of little things that can be going wrong...I have had experience with everything from people trying to install the tools without installing Elements, people installing to a second installation of Elements and opening the wrong program, people having trouble because of various system-unique problems (one person had a CD-ROM player that did not function, another no CD-ROM player), to more standard problems, like virus protection getting in the way, or the tools getting installed and the user not knowing (failing to look in the program or failing to restart Elements after the install). There are a plethora of simple problems you can have during installation of even simple software. I'll try to go through what I know here.
First, here is how you should install:
1. Turn on your computer.
2. Disable virus protection.
3. Insert the Hidden Power CD from the book into your computer's CD-ROM drive.
4. Locate the Hidden Power tool installer on the CD (if the CD autostarts, you will use the Power Tools link; if the CD does not autostart, the installer will be in the Power Tools folder).
5. Close out of Elements if the program is open or opens on startup.
6. Double-click the installer that you located in step 2.
7. Read and address any installation screens that appear on your monitor.
8. Restart your computer.
9. Enable virus protection.
10. Start Photoshop Elements 3.
11. Check in the program for Hidden Power tools.
You will find the Hidden Power tools in the Styles and Effects palette. Open the Styles and Effects palette by choosing Styles and Effects from the windows menu. Choose Effects from the drop list on the left and the Hidden Power tool categories should become available in the drop list at right (it may take a few minutes for Elements to rebuild the cache...).
If you called me on the phone, the first thing that we would likely do is run through the installation as per the steps above. They are a little conservative (meaning all those steps are rarely necessary), but effective in most cases.
If the installation is complete and you still cannot access the tools, please follow the tips in the trouble-shooting section just below. Take the steps in order, one at a time.
A. Be sure you have followed all the instructions in the installation instructions above, including disabling virus protection and restarting your computer before bothering with troubleshooting. Some of the following trouble-shooting steps may seem redundant. Please humor me...
B. Reboot your computer, then restart Elements. Check for the tools.
C. Be sure the tools you are installing are in the Elements Effects folder. The Effects folder is in the previews folder (Photoshop Elements 3.0/Previews/Effects). You can find this folder in the Elements program folder, as follows:
PC installer will install to: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 3.0\
Mac installer will install to: Adobe Photoshop Elements 3: Previews: Effects:
If the tools are not installed, try the installation again.
After you try the installation again, look for the tools. If they aren't there, you need to locate them. Search for 'PowerTools'. If they have installed, see C. If not, be sure you have not changed the folder name for the tools (for PC it should be Photoshop Elements 3.0; for mac, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3). A PC-only problem can be that Elements is installed on something other than the C drive. [See If Elements is Installed on something Other than the C Drive below.]
D. Be sure you have Elements installed only once and that you are starting the Elements application from the folder where you installed the tools.
E. Delete the Elements Rebuild the Adobe Photoshop Elements Settings file. This will restore default palette placement and tool settings, and will delete your color settings -- so it should be used as a last resort. [See instructions for Rebuilding the Settings file below.]
F. If you have completed A through D, and you see the files in the right place but the tools still do not appear in Elements, open and save the PSD files associated with the tools, saving each without making any changes. use Save As... [See Resaving the Image Files below.]
G. Reinstall Elements, and then reinstall the Hidden power tools from the CD.
H. While it is highly unlikely that you will get this far without a solution, you aren't done yet. Contact Richard by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the Subject: Installation Trouble HPPE3
IF ELEMENTS IS INSTALLED TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE C DRIVE
This is a PC-only issue. You have two choices for fixing this:
1) Install Elements to the C drive and reinstall the tools from the CD.
2) Install the tools from the CD to the C drive temporarily and move the tools to where you have Elements installed.
If you chose the second option, in addition to installing and moving the tool folders (tool folders are named: PowerBonus, PowerSeparations, PowerTools1, and PowerTools2), you will want to delete the Effects Cache folder. You can find the Cache folder in the "Photoshop Elements 3.0/Previews/" folder. You may want to rebuild the settings file as well.
REBUILDING THE SETTINGS FILE
To rebuild the Settings, hold down the Command+Option+Shift/Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys (Mac/PC) on the keyboard when starting up Elements -- immediately after choosing Edit and Enhance Photos on the Welcome screen, if you are on a PC. Hold the keys down until the prompt to delete the Adobe Photoshop Elements settings file appears, and click [YES]. The deleted file will be re-created automatically.
RESAVING IMAGE FILES
If you can see the installed tools in the right folder in Elements, and you still don't see the tools in the program, you might try resaving the image files used to store display information for the tools. There are 4 image files, one for each Hidden Power tool: PowerBonus.psd, PowerSeparations.psd, powertools1.psd, and powertools2.psd. Just open Elements, open the image files (one at a time), make no changes to the file, and save using Save As...
Once done saving the files, restart Elements.
5. Digital Camera Recommendation?
<<My sister asked for a camera recommendation as she knows I take digital images all the time. I am not sure what will be the best for her in her price range (around $300). I do know she isn't patient with the focusing search, and that she'll have the camera for a while. She'll want something easy to use...>>
I recently recommended a consumer camera to a number of people (including close relatives and my boss), though I don't use it myself. All have come back with rave reviews, about ease-of-use, features, and cost. The Kodak Easyshare DX7630 (See: http://aps8.com/kodak.html). It is a 6MP camera, so has the capacity to shoot what are really 35mm equivalents. The first digital I ever used was a Kodak...though it was priced slightly more than my car at the time, and was targeted to a much different market. Kodak makes some pretty good products for digital photography. At under 500, you can get many decent cameras...but few will have a pixel count as high as this Kodak (lots of pixels usually equates to better quality) and quick focusing. The camera will be viable for several years at least as far as pixel count is concerned.
Here is a review (not my own): http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/kodak/dx7630-review/index.shtml
Some notes on the article: The ISO images they show in the review are pretty deceptive. Many digital cameras won't even let you take those images at night. I am not quite sure what thet reviewer was thinking. The later comment about the 6MP being overkill is irresponsible, and shows a lack of understanding of photography in general. 6MP has been a target resolution for standard matrix capture in my book, because it equates roughly to 35mm. I use a Sigma SD9 myself (http://aps8.com/sigmasd10.html), which only has a 3.4MP effective image, though the capture is really 10.4MP. It is a different technology for capture and would be overkill for casual shooters.
Conversion lenses make the Easyshare good enough for many advanced purposes (I see you can get a set of lenses on ebay for 79$), but they are completely unnecessary. Nice lens, nice exposure times...The only downside seems to be a proprietary battery, and for me, no RAW mode. It is likely that a casual user won't care about the latter. You'll want a 256MB card for image storage -- which you can get free or very cheaply if you shop around. I prefer eCost for memory card needs. You can often get what you need for just a few dollars (after rebate).
Keep in mind digital camera shopping is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. You really need to get out to the stores and hold the darned cameras in your hand. The feel of my Sigma would turn off a lot of people who want a pocket camera. Those with big hands will want a bigger camera to provide some grip...those who don't want a lot of bulk would get frustrated lugging a camera bag instead of having a sleek camera they can really slip in their pocket. I like the idea of the Easyshare DX7630 because it seems to ride the line, having low cost and good solid features. However, taking into account your needs, you may find something better for you.
>I have a good system that is working well for me now
>enhanced by your tools, but if I stick with Elements 2
>will you still be supporting it in future???
I expect to make enhancements for Elements until Adobe makes it impossible. Steps they have taken between releasing Elements 2 and Elements 3 suggest they will not soon be ruining the experience for those who use my tools!
> In Photoshop, you can edit the selection using
> Transform without affecting the image, but can
> Photoshop Elements do it?
Sure. With the selection active, you can...
1. Create a new layer, and call it Temp Transform.
2. Change the opacity to 0%
3. Fill with any color.
4. Start the Transform function and distort to your heart's content.
You can Delete the layer when you are done.
> I recently purchased Scott Kelby's book on Elements.
> I'm wondering if your's will have a greater slant
> towards the Mac version as opposed to Scott's PC slant?
Scott and I have decidedly different approaches to image editing. He is a tools-first kind of guy and I am certainly for understanding fundamentals and techniques-like how a digital image goes together. Scotts books will be lighter in theory, and will be more-or-less a surface approach to using the tools.
That said, my new book is all on editing...I don't even mention the organizer as I do not consider it important-at least not as far as editing an image. I supply tools that ramp up the power of elements, allowing you to do thing people still say are only possible in Photoshop. The book is decidedly 'advanced'. It is not a book that you would pick up if your intent is to render some neat effects quickly, or if you don't have a serious interest in photography and getting the best results. You learn how to take an image apart and put it back together like in no other book. This gives you total control over color and objects in your image, and the tools give you the power to accomplish your ends.
> How do I put "white frames" around pics......like the Ansel
> pics? I've got Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
The simple way to do this is just change your background color swatch to white and increase the canvas size (on center) to, say 20 pixels...This will put a 10 pixel border around the image. The larger the picture, the broader the border should be. You either have to be working with a flattened image (Layer>Flatten Image), or you can create a new layer below the image to use as a background and change that layer to a background (Layer>New>Background from Layer). It works either way.
> I'd like to get the Hidden Power book, but I recently bought PS
> Elements 3 for Mac OS X. Do you know if your hack will work with
> PS Elements 3?
Please, let's not refer to it as a 'hack'. Hacking would be changing code in Adobe's program, which is illegal. It is an enhancement, plain and simple. I have updated the Hidden Power book (and tools) to work with Elements 3. If you get the Elements 3 book, it works with both Mac and PC.
> I am currently exploring an educational version of
> Elements 2, borrowed from a friend. Is this a downscaled
> version of the full elements 2?
I don't have that particular item at my disposal. However, if it is like other educational packages, it will likely be the full software package missing the manual, along with other offers and information. This reduces the cost of distribution for the manufacturer.
> I would like to purchase Elements, but wasn't sure if
> I should save up for version 3 or go for one of the
> many version 2's now for sale on ebay.
The reason those Elements 2 packages are up for sale on ebay is probably because the owners moved to Elements 3 ;-) If you have a serious digital camera or a scanner that can capture more than 8-bits, you might want to get Elements 3 just for the options offered for working with high-bit files and RAW images—even if you aren't interested in those possibilities right away.
> Do you intend to continue the Newsletter, and will it
> still serve the needs of those who (like me) don't
> intend to upgrade from PE2?
The newsletter will appear as needed...I will be shooting for once a month, but expecting it out every other. It will serve the needs of those who ask questions. I can't answer what isn't asked!
My goal with future tools is to make what people have the greatest need for as well. So if I get a lot of requests for a tool for Elements 2, it is likely I'll do it.
> In your latest newsletter, you mention that Mend
> and Dynamic Image will work in PE 3. Having both,
> I wonder how to install them in PE 3. Is it the
> same as PE 2 installation?
As luck would have it, when I made those tools I was trying to simplify the installation. As it turns out, Adobe didn't change how the Effects palette gets loaded. Installation for the Dynamic Image and Mend tools is actually exactly the same for Elements 1, 2 and 3 -- and the tools work unmodified in all three.
> I agree with you that PE 3 is worth it just for the RAW
> (and 16 bit processing). I shoot with a 5MP Olympus C5050Z,
> and I swear that the processed RAW images are a lot clearer,
> even when printed (Canon i960). Or maybe it's my imagination.
I don't remember if the Camera RAW plugin has a default for sharpening, and this may be the difference: you prefer the Adobe settings to those used internally in the camera. the real benefit to RAW images and 16-bit is having more data to mine.
> Could you change my email address for the newsletter?
First, thanks for contacting me. I'm glad some people find the newsletter valuable enough to remain subscribed. As far as your subscription to the newsletter, just re-subscribe with the new address. I believe you can still do that by sending an email from the new address to: email@example.com. You can unsubscribe with the other address if you still have use of it by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't it will get weeded out when I start getting rejected attempts to send the newsletter.
> Using Adobe Photoshop Album 2 I made a number of slide
> shows with music and created pdf files. I recently got
> Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 and could not figure out how
> to add music to the pdf file for a slide show. I had no
> problem using the program to make a slide show with music
> and then make a wmv file. Am I missing something?
This is not the type of feature I experiment with very much. However, it also doesn't sound like something that would be in Elements. You may want to get Premiere Elements. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are available in a bundle, as well. See http://aps8.com/premelements.html
> I really like Elements 2 and would like to upgrade for
> some of the new things you have, but I operate on windows
> 98SE. Will Hidden Power work? I have had problems with
> newer programs because they are not set up for 98.
As long as you are on an operating system supported by Elements, the tools will work (as long as you have the tool version that matches your program version). That said, you can find the System requirements for Elements 2 and 3 on the Hidden Power website: http://hiddenpowertools.com (this address will be updated for hiddenelements.com very soon).
> Will someone please tell me about Hidden Power as I have never
> heard of it?
This newsletter sprang from the Hidden Power books (see: http://aps8.com/hppe3.html). I am the author of the books, and I use this newsletter to answer questions and keep people informed about Elements and developments in Hidden Power.
The idea of Hidden Power and my intention was to take Elements and ramp up the power so that you could do just about everything you could do with Photoshop. I found many treasures buried in the Elements interface; Elements is built over the top of the Photoshop engine, and some hidden features can be accessed using my tools. i built a whole methodology around that...which is the Hidden Power book.
While people speak of 'plugins' in association with Hidden Power, that isn't entirely correct as I have not programmed plugins which may be frought with bugs and complexities...I have merely accessed Adobe tested and released functionality in most cases that is lying dormant in the program.
Some other tools I have created (those that don't access hidden features) are unique Hidden Power tools that help you work with images. These tools are mostly NOT available in Photoshop. In fact, these tools are born of actions I created while working in Photoshop to help my workflow. They run using Photoshop functionality, but put together complex steps in a way that makes them easy to use--and again they are not really plugins. Actions are a means of automating and scripting in Photoshop.
The complete listing of tools included with the new Hidden Power book is listed here: http://hiddenelements.com/hppe3tools.html
> I bought HE 2 and loved it. I read somewhere that tools
> from HE2 will not work in PSE3. I just bought PSE3 and
> wonder if I should bother to load the HE2 disk...which
> of them will work in PSE3?
The CD from the Hidden Power 2 CD will not work with Elements 3 due to Adobe's changes in Elements 3. As you are getting the new book, your tools and program version will match, so this doesn't matter.
> I can quickly tell which images come
> from my 20D and which came from other cameras
> that I have owned. In a sense I am thinking of
> Photoshop CS versus Elements 3.0 in the same way.
> Is this a viable comparison?
No, that really isn't a valid comparison. I can make corrections in Elements or Photoshop usually with nearly identical results. The difference in your cameras resolution and ability to capture (lenses, exposure features, etc.) will force a sort of qualitative difference. Elements and Photoshop have essentially the same processing engine and capacity to handle images. CS will not perform magic, and you'll find that just about everything you need to do can be done in Elements when it comes to image editing. You might just do it a little differently.
As one who is terminally frugal, you won't really need CS unless you are doing volume CMYK work, full 16-bit editing, web work, or are recording your own actions.
> Where do I install the the disk that came with the book?
> How to I access the tools once I installed the files in
> my computer - of course I need to know how to install
> the darn files!!
Please take a look at the book and on the CD to find some basic instruction for installing the tools. Visit the website (or read #4 under Long Answers above) for more information about troubleshooting.
The tools for Elements 3 are found on the Styles and Effects palette. For Elements 2 and 1, the tools are installed to the How-To and Recipes palettes. Description of these locations can be found in the book, and there are color images of the palettes on the final page of the color section in each book.
> Where is the bloody password for the PhotoShop Elements 3
> Hidden Tools CD?
Please count in 23 pages from the front of the book...I asked the publisher to insert the page number, and they counted from the front of the book--not using the actual page numbers. Please note that it is in a section about installing the tools in the book's introduction.
> When installing HPPE3, at no time was I asked what
> system I was running, or asked for the password given
> in the book. I could not find any trouble shooting
> guide on the disk.
Have you checked to see that you are successfully installed? Troubleshooting information should be in the readme...for whatever reason that seems to have left it out. Sorry about that. I'll have the new web site up this week and the information will be there. However, while you seem to suggest a problem, it does seem that the installer performed. As the installer was initially built on a Mac (that is what I work on about half the time), I'd like to be sure the parts are not installed before trying something else.
I know you searched, but please take a second look in two places: If you go to the application folder (applications: Adobe Photoshop Elements 3: Previews: Effects: ) there should be 4 new folders there named Power[etc.]. If these are not there, that is indeed strange -- unless you have not installed the Elements program to the default. If they are there, they should show up in the elements program. If you look in the Styles and Effects palette, choose Effects in the drop menu at the top left, the power tools should appear in the menu at right. if they do not, that too is puzzling -- if the files were successfully installed. If the files are not there, we'll have to figure out why they were not installed -- thought the installer said they were. If they are there and do not show in the program, we'll have to determine why they are not appearing. If the latter, few things could be wrong:
1) you need to allow more time for Elements to rebuild the cache before the tools will appear (up to 5 minutes with the program and Style and Effects palette viewed).
2) It is possible that you did not make the default installation for the program and the tools are installed elsewhere (not in the path I suggest), though they should work because they will seek out the program folder.
3) If you did not use the default installation of the Elements program and renamed the folder, they may be installed to the wrong place, or not at all--or to a folder that is titled Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 that does not contain the program.
4) If you have virus protection, it may have disallowed the install...If so, you might try turning it off and installing again.
About the password...I intended to put it in the installer, and had some trouble with that feature in the installer creation program. As a deadline for the publication was looming, I decided not to require the password. The install should occur without it. However, the book was already printed by that time, and there was no way to remove the password from the text.
> I ordered Hidden power for Elements 2 from Amazon.com,
> which dutifully sent me, after two months' wait, H.P.
> for Elements 3! I won't violate the book nor the CDrom
> to check whether HP3 contains anything useful to an Element
> 2 user. Is there any way to download the software relevant
> to E2 and keep the book? I don't intend to move to E3 as
> it would require, I have understood, moving to Windows XP
> first. Should I send the book back from France?
> I suppose the situation means HP for E 2 is out of print.
I can't speak for Amazon or why they would send what you didn't order, but I am sure the Elements 2 book is not out of print -- in fact i suggested to my publisher that a lot of people would likely not upgrade to Elements 3. I would contact Amazon about exchange/return. The software for Elements 2 is available in the book only, and I am not at liberty, by contract, to distribute it without permission from the publisher. I assume you mean that you don't intend to move to Elements 3...it requires Win 2000.
> [after successfully installing]
> I really appreciate your time and patience with this
> problem especially when there is only one of you to
> deal with the hordes of dummies like me.
You can't possibly be a dummy, as a dummy would not have bought the right book, and then would say to me "how could you sell tools that don't work?!?!"
You realize at least that there is some problem going on, and that I wasn't trying to get rich quick selling tools that don't work. That would be career suicide.
> I am looking for a tool that removes glare. Specifically,
> I shoot a lot of stained glass panels (my wife is a stained
> glass artist), and it isn't always possible to get a glare
> free shot. I can email you an example if you need.
The Mend tool might be your best bet. It would be difficult/impossible to automatically distinguish glare from other highlights in the image, so there is really no way to automate a tool to do exclusively that. You'll have to learn techniques for correction, though it may be best to learn techniques for reducing glare. You may need another type of off-camera lighting so you can get the shots you need.
> I was wondering if there is a way just to crop the pictures
> into a star instead of messing with individual layers?
You might do this with the Cookie cutter tool, but you will not get a vector-edge sharpness. To get a crisp edge, you have to add a clipping path. While it doesn't change the appearance of the image as a rectangle in Photoshop, it does essentially re-shape the image border. See pages 248+ in the Hidden Power book. I can't help you do that one without the tools.
> I am having trouble with display of
> some of the Elements tools, including
> Hidden Power. Any ideas?
It might be a good idea to refresh your Settings--which may have somehow become corrupt. Shut down Elements. Have fingers poised over CTRL+ALT+Shift/Option+Command+Shift (PC/MAC), and restart Elements, then immediately press the keys and hold them down. You will be presented with a dialog to rebuild Settings...say [YES] by clicking the appropriate button. To be sure the changes take, shut down Elements and restart. It may take a few moments for the program to rebuild everything. If you are on PC, you won't want to press the key combination till you choose Editor in the Welcome screen.
> I am an amateur using Elements for photo enhancement
> I do about 500 images a year. Given my usage, in your
> opinion, will PSE be the only program I'll need
> (given that I'm planning on using it well)
Most people buy Photoshop and don't even need it. Personally, I use Elements at work. My more considered opinion can be found in an article I published here:
You should be able to figure from that if you REALLY need Photoshop. Sometimes experts don't even need it.
> In the Extracting Luminosity from color
> discussion on page 50, there is no layer
> called composite. In step 4, did you want
> the first layer called Luminosity to be
> called Composite instead?
Yes. This would agree with the Layers picture. Thanks for the typo report...I'll add to the web page.
> Where do I find the dodge and burn icons,
> I can't find them?
Press O on the keyboard, you will get a tool in the same group as Dodge and Burn. Cycle through this group using the shift key: Just hold Shift and press O to cycle through the tools in the group. It is otherwise on the Elements toolbar.
> Just to confirm, your new book "Hidden Power
> of Photoshop Elemenets X" is meant to include
> tools for Elements 3, and I guess 1 and 2 also.
Well, the tools for "X" have PE3 specific tools. I believe most of these tools will work in Elements 1 and 2, but there are a few changes in the functionality from earlier programs that I had to adjust for so certain tools may fail -- like snapshots. Those with Elements 1 and 2 should probably get the Hidden Power of Elements 2 book, which is still on sale: http://aps8.com/hppe.html
> There is no Quick Mask tool in the new book.
> Why'd you leave it out? I used it all the time.
I have a fairly versatile work-around for quick mask...it isn't the same, no...
1) create a new layer at the top of the layer stack.
2) change the foreground color to red.
3) change the opacity of the layer to 50%
4) paint in the layer with whatever brush you'd like, use selection and fill, etc...it will look quite like a Quick Mask.
5) convert the layer content to a selection by pressing shift+clicking on the layer in the layers palette.
While this is not Quick Mask, it offers the same opportunities and allows much flexibility. I'll be making a tool for Quick Mask users in the next month or so.
> I think I have a bad CD. Can you send me another?
While it would be very rare that you have a bad CD, you'll have to contact the book manufacturer, Sybex. I realize I am the author, but I do not control the book content, nor am I allowed to distribute materials from it; as part of the contract with the publisher, I forfeit those rights. Please see the sybex website here: http://sybex.com .
I believe the dedicated form for product support is here:
> I have sent you several emails at email@example.com
> and never got a response. You seem quick once I tracked
> you down on the forum. Why don't you answer the other
Regretfully (as I explain in the errata), my service changed policies, and I was unable to maintain my mailing accounts as they were. I hav fixed the problem (finally) and the email you send to any published address should get to me. That is not a preferred address. Use firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. You are less likely to have a typo in those.
This Opinions section is a new section of the Hidden Power Newsletter, where I snip out a few voiced opinions from my emails and other places. Be heard by sending your opinion to me. be heard by potential book buyers, post your reviews and opinions on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/write-a-review.html/?asin=0782143857
You are totally right on with regard to the discussion about the request (demand?) to make your book available for free. Really, what are people thinking?
I have been an enthusiastic amateur for longer than I care to mention. Your book has been a great insight into the working of digital photographs and how they are put together to an old hand of working with film.
I purchased your Mend and Dynamic Image tools and want to thank you. I use both in Elements 3. Even though Elements 3 already has the Healing tool, I think Mend works better and offers more control. As for Dynamic Image, I can't thank you enough! My drab images are popping off the page and look tons better than before.
Your book has to have been the about the best value for money I've ever been lucky enough to come across! It has enhanced my enjoyment of my hobby immeasurably. Thank you.
I also don't think you owe anyone an explanation about your product or it's prices. I doubt very seriously if Donald Trump explains himself to anybody!
The Dynamic Image Tool works like a charm Richard. Reduces all those laborious tasks to a quick and easy to use form.
Its Great, Super. Smashing on your book The Hidden Power Of Photoshop Elements 2!
Incidentally, although I have only just started reading the book I'm already impressed with the content. This is so much more helpful than many other books, that appear to think everyone wants to learn how to make "cool" effects. Learning about colour theory and how colour and tone interact is much more interesting for me and, I am sure, will represent a much more solid base of knowledge about photography in the longer term. I'm not entirely sure I understand everything that I have read so far, but in a sense that makes it more satisfying.
Do let me know about questions and comments, and let me know what you think about the newsletter. firstname.lastname@example.org
Brought to you by Richard Lynch in conjunction with The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2 and The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3
Copyright (c) 2005 Richard Lynch