2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #02, Foto Enhance Auto Fixes
Curriculum Guide Index

This guide begins by exploring Auto Fixes. Often the auto fix features will work well on many photographs. Thus, it is usually worth while to test them out initially on a photograph to see if the result is what one wants to achieve.

AUTO FIX FEATURES

As a general statement, auto fix features tend to combine a number of other features that are able to be used on an individual basis to achieve the result. The four basic changes that may be used include Brightness/Contrast (brighten or darken), Color (fixing hue differences), Saturation (richness or leanness of colors) and Sharpness (usually sharpening rather than softening). By using the auto fix the various values for the particular effect change being accomplished are automatically set.

Thus, try the Auto Fixes first. Remember to duplicate your original photograph to preserve it and just work on the duplicated image.

ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH Click on image for full size

The original photograph is an 800 x 600 pixel picture of my puppy, Bear, a toy poodle. This picture is a bit dark and also has a photo date on it. Ultimately, I will eliminate the date by cropping the picture, but initially I want to lighten it to have Bear sharply in focus.

AUTO FIX FEATURES

The Auto Fix features of PSP automatically fix the color, saturation, brightness and in some instances the sharpness of the photograph. Thus it is always worthwhile to try these fixes first as they may produce the desired results.

Version 8 Fixes

PSP version 8 does not have a single auto fix button. To achieve a similar result as in version 9 and 10, one must use three auto fix buttons: Automatic Color Balance, Automatic Contrast, and Automatic Saturation.

For exploration purposes, start with the Automatic Contrast which changes the brightnes/darkness of the picture. Begin with the default settings and then vary the options of Bias (light, neutral, dark), Strength (Normal, Mild), and Appearance (Flat, Natural, Bold). Try different combinations of the options. For the illustrations purposes I left the values at their default setting.

Then explore the Auto Color and the Auto Saturation. Auto Saturation allows Bias (Less colorful, Normal, More colorful) and Strength (Weak, Normal, Strong). Auto Color changes the Tempature (Warmer or more orange, Cooler or more blue) and Strength of the effect. One could also check "Remove Color Cast".

Version 9 Fixes

PSP version 9 has just a single button found in the menu item 'Adjust' (Adjust || One Step Photo Fix). When comparing the V9 photo with the V8 photo there is very little difference in the results. Thus, version 9 makes the auto fix much easier. However, if other adjustments to the photograph are wanted, one must then use other PSP features (later guides).

Version 10 Fixes

PSP version 10 also has a single button found in the menu item 'Adjust' (Adjust || Smart Photo Fix). The v10 fix is similar as the other version with perhaps just a tad more richness in the colors. The Smart Photo Fix window has a number of options or settings one can vary that will alter the results accordingly. The options include Brightness (Overall, Shadows, Highlights) which can be varied between Darker and Brighter, Saturation (Less or more Colorful), Focus (Original or Sharper), and Color Balance (Blacks and Whites). When activated the Smart Photo Fix sets automatically to Suggested Settings (which the illustration shows). However, one can vary each option by sliding the switch or increasing/decreasing the numberic values using the arrows in their respective boxes.

COMMENTS

As indicated in the previous guide, take time to work with each option on a photograph to see how different values will affect the picture. Start with the default settings but then raise or lower 'Brightness'. And, change the 'Shadows' and 'Highlights' values. Often working these three options will produce a very pleasing result.

The 'Saturation' value will also change the colorfulness of the picture. Often leaving this value at '0' or a low number is a way of obtaining subltle effects. Then working with the 'Color Balance' also will bring about subtle changes that can be very pleasing. As a final step, or last step, work with the 'Focus' value to see if sharpening the picture result helps. Sometimes sharpening does help and sometimes it does not.

Often in my work in fixing photographs I use a different feature that sharpens the picture which I do after I have fixed everything else. However, the Smart Photo Fix is a great feature that works wonders on most photographs.

In subsequent Guides we will work with other PSP features that are able to be used to obtain similar results in a photograph.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • Name or Screen Name.
    • Web Site URL.
    • Version of PSP using.
    • List of Tutorials completed.
  2. Post your Work:
    • List what you did, feature, options used, values.
    • Indicate steps taken and results.
    • Indicate things you found interesting, worthwhile and any other comments.
  3. List some of the similarities you found between the Menu System, Palettes, and Keyboard shortcuts.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.

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