Darkrooms Replaced by Computers
One of the main joys of digital photography is the ability to "touch up" one's pictures in all kinds of ways. What used to be done
by darkroom and spray-gun specialists, is now done by PC users with programs like Adobe PhotoShop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. The former has
always been the choice of graphics professionals, and costs about $600. PhotoShop Elements, a slimmed down version, cost about $100. I like
Corel Paint Shop Pro, which costs about $80, and can be downloaded from
There's no way I can describe all the touch-up tricks available in so many different programs, but I can give you a few tips to get you
started enhancing your digital photos.
Simple Brightness and Contrast adjustments can fix over/under-exposed pictures with a few mouse clicks, while the
Dodge and Burn tools can lighten or darken areas you select.
Clone, Smudge, Straighten & Lots More
The "clone" tool is one I use constantly. It lets you choose an area of a photo and then "clone" it onto another
location. A facial blemish, for instance, can be hidden by simply cloning a clear spot over it. Or — visualize snapping a child at play on a
park lawn just as a stranger walks into the shot. You can make the stranger disappear with cloned grass, trees, and sky. It's amazingly easy.
Another handy item is the "smudge" or "smear" tool. If, for instance, some of your cloned grass appears a little
different than the area it was copied into, you can "smudge" dissimilar edges into a smooth, natural-looking blend.
An alternative means of cloning is to use a "selection" tool to outline an area in a photo, whereupon it can be copied and
pasted into other locations with traditional Ctrl+C (copy) and Ctrl+V (paste) commands.
Choosing Ctrl+X (scissors) will cut the selected area out of the picture, leaving the "canvas" color showing
through. This is handy if you want to, say, remove a distracting background from around someone's portrait, whereupon a "paint
bucket" tool can be used to fill the cut-out area with a solid color or a texture of some kind.
All image-editors have tools for rotating mal-aligned pictures, but Corel PSP has a super-easy "Straightening" tool. After
clicking the tool, you draw a straight line along, say, the edge of a building. Click on the line and the picture rotates to where the building is at a
right angle to the horizon.
How do you find these tools, along with details on how to use them? All of these programs come with extensive Help menus, including a
Search box into which you can type the name of a tool, command, or effect you're seeking. Many also have built-in tutorials, with additional
instructions being available online.
For serious students of image-editing, ROP and evening courses in Adobe PhotoShop can be
found in many high schools and community colleges. But the average snapshot-taker can also become a formidable touch-up artist with a little
More PC Help & Other Free Programs Can Be Found Here.
© - Donald Ray Edrington - 2006 - All Rights Reserved
Contact Information on Don Can Be Found