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Photo Editing Basics: 6 Tips for Polishing and Perfecting Finished Images



There are many options to choose from, such as photo editing programs. Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Paintshop Pro, GIMP.net. All functions are very similar now. With these basic photo editing tips, you can work in just about any application available.

Working with Layers in Photo Editing

The "magic" of Photoshop and its clones is the "layers" feature. This is analogous to color separations in which each of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are four-color printed on separate printing plates and then printed over one another to form a full-color image. Each "CMYK plate" is a four-color plane.

When you open a photo in Photoshop, it has only one layer, the background layer, and is called a flattened image. If you use the Lasso tool to sketch a tulip in a field of many flowers, then cut that tulip and paste it back into the same photo, Photoshop inserts it as a new layer, displays it in the Layers palette, and names it as Level 1

Right-click in this field, select "Layer Properties" and enter a new name for this layer.

Each time you cut and paste a flower from the flower field of the photo, Photoshop creates a new layer so you can edit it, recolor it, change the shape, resize it, add a filter such as a box. Watercolor or Style from the Styles palette or a dozen other features. Only the "selected" level is affected. That way you can use different effects and filters for each layer – and a mistake on one level does not affect the other layers.

Why you should leave your original intact

The most important tip I can give you is: Never edit your originals. Always make a copy and, if possible, save this copy as a layered file, as layers can be customized and edited.

The best layered formats are PSD (Photoshop) and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). All popular photo editing programs store either under or under in one of these two formats.

Why not save pictures as JPGs? Because JPG is a lossy format, the image is compressed, creating smaller files (for applications with limited resources such as e-mail and mobile phones). Each time you save it, the quality of the picture deteriorates and no levels are supported.

The other image formats such as BMP, GIF, PHG, EPS and more are not suitable "working" formats. In other words, they are not suitable for editing images.


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