Dressing Up with Photo and Text Effects in Photoshop Elements 15

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

In addition to the multitude of filters at your disposal, Elements 15 provides a lot of effects that you can apply to enhance your photos, such as the Fluorescent Chalk effect. Note: Some effects automatically create a duplicate of the selected layer, whereas other effects can work only on flattened images.

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© istockphoto.com/Graffizone Image #5421076
Enhance your images by adding effects.

Unlike with filters, you can’t preview how an effect will look on your image or type, nor do you have any options to specify.

Here are the steps to follow to apply an effect:

  1. In Expert mode, select your desired image layer in the Layers panel.

    Or, if you’re applying the effect to just a selection, make the selection before applying the effect.

  2. Choose Window→Effects or click the Effects icon in the bottom right of the workspace.
  3. Choose your desired category of effects from the drop-down list at the top of the panel.
    • Faded Photo, Monotone Color, and Vintage: This group of effects makes your image fade from color to grayscale, appear as a single color, or look like an old pencil sketch or a photo on old paper.
    • Glow: This group adds a soft focus, and/or a white glow to your images.
    • Painting: Makes your images look like paintings or chalk illustrations.
    • Panels: These effects divide your image into paneled sections.
    • Seasons: Includes effects to make your image appear snowy, rainy, sunny (bright and yellow), or wintery (white and overexposed).
    • Textures: Gives your images a lizard skin or rubber stamped appearance.
  4. On the Effects panel, click your desired effect or drag the effect onto the image.

    You can view your styles and effects as just thumbnails or as thumbnails with the name of the style or effect. Click the down-pointing arrow in the upper-right corner of the panel to access the menu commands.

Quick mode sports its very own Effects panel. Be sure to check it out — you’ll find effects not found in Expert mode, such as Toy Camera and Cross Process. Click the Effects icon in the bottom-right corner of the workspace. To apply an effect, double-click it or drag it onto your image.

You may also want to check out the interesting effects found in Guided mode. Guided mode is nicely organized into categories of effects with corresponding interactive thumbnail images.

With each release, Adobe adds a few interesting effects. In Elements 15, you have Effect Collage and Painterly under Fun Edits. This version also gives you Photo Text and Speed Pan under Fun Edits and Frame Creator under Special Edits. All the effects in Guided mode are very user friendly (hence, the name). Simply click your desired effect and follow the detailed steps delineated in the panel on the right of the workspace.

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© istockphoto.com/Tony Tremblay Image #2272088 and DanielBendjy Image #65827705
Elements 15 brings the new Effect Collage (left) and Painterly (right) effects.

You can also apply an effect to type. Select your type layer and follow Steps 2 through 5 in the preceding list. A dialog box alerts you that the type layer must be simplified before the effect can be applied. Simplifying that layer, of course, means you lose the ability to edit the text.