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The Photoshop Elements 11 Rendering Filters

In computer lingo, rendering means creating something from a set of instructions, in a way. That’s why all rendering filters in Photoshop 11 produce special effects by creating a look, an object, or a lighting effect that’s melded with your original image. Here are a few favorite render filters and what you can do with them:

  • Clouds: Create a sky full of clouds using random values taken from a range between the foreground and background colors. To create a cloud effect with more contrast, hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) quickly when choosing the command.

    If you don’t like the first set of clouds you see, apply the filter repeatedly until you do. If you want a more “realistic” sky, try using a dark sky blue for the foreground color and a very light blue or white color for the background color.

    [Credit: ©istockphoto.com/skodonnell Image #1217074]
    Credit: ©istockphoto.com/skodonnell Image #1217074

    Need a quick web background image? Create an image of 128 x 128 pixels (or a multiple of that size) and apply the Clouds filter. It tiles seamlessly on your web page.

  • Difference Clouds: Create puffy objects in the sky (or foggy clouds at lower levels). The Difference Clouds filter uses image information to calculate the difference in pixel values between the new clouds and the image they’re joining. The result is a unique cloud effect. Try applying the filter repeatedly to create a marbleized effect.

  • Lens Flare: Create the reflection effect that plagues photographers when they point their cameras toward a strong light source, such as the sun. The filter mimics several kinds of photographic lenses, giving you useful flares that can spice up concert photos and add a sunset where none existed. Specify a location for the center of the flare by clicking the image thumbnail or by dragging the crosshair.

  • Lighting Effects: In a sort of photo-studio lighting setup, use pixels to do this type of work. You can set up 16 different lights and manipulate how they illuminate a photo.

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