Photo and Text Effects in Photoshop Elements

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

In addition to the multitude of filters at your disposal, Elements provides a lot of effects that you can apply to enhance your photos, such as the Fluorescent Chalk applied to the following figure.

[Credit: ©istockphoto.com/Graffizone]
Credit: ©istockphoto.com/Graffizone

Some effects automatically create a duplicate of the selected layer, whereas other effects can work only on flattened images.

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. Select the Effects tab at the top of the panel.

  4. Choose your desired category of effects from the drop-down list in the upper-right area of the panel.

    Elements 13 reorganized the categories of the effects and added about 20 new effects:

    • Frame: Includes effects that enhance the edges of the layer or selection.

    • 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.

  5. On the Effects panel, double-click your desired effect or drag the effect onto the image.

    You can view your styles and effects by thumbnails or by list. To change the view, 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. 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. Elements 13 added a bunch of new effects to Quick mode as well.

You may also want to check out the interesting effects found in Guided mode. Elements 13 even provides a few new effects — Black and White (converts image to grayscale), B&W Selection (paints selections grayscale), and B&W Color Pop (highlights your image with a colored tint) — that are worth a whirl.

You can also apply an effect to type. Select your type layer and follow Steps 2–5 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.