2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #18 Photo Effects
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For the most part we have now explored the various ways to enhance or fix photographs so they are more presentable. PSP, however, has many additional features that will allow very creative results to photographs and images. These features are found in PSP's 'EFFECTS'.

There are eleven (11) categories of possible 'Effects' (3D, Art Media, Artistic, Distortion, Edge, Geometric, Illumination, Image, Photo, Reflection, Texture). Within each category there are a number of possible effects that one can select. And within each selected Effect there are a number of options that one can set.

In general, Effects alter the image in some way, dependent upon the photograph used, the effect and options selected. Thus, from a single photograph there are thousands of possible results that can be created. There is no particular way to use effects except to try them out, experiment with them, explore and just have fun.


To learn how the 'Effects' work one just needs to explore, experiment and try them out, one at a time and play with the Presets and the Option values. The following tips are ones which I have discovered over the years in using PSP.
  • Plan to spend lots and lots of time exploring the Effects. Over time one will gain a general understanding of what each category of Effects and its listing of effect/options will do. However, this learning pattern will take months and perhaps years to fully explore all effects and their options. And, taking the time is well worth the time and effort as some effects are spectacular.
  • Take each Effect Category and select an Effect within that category.
  • Start with the Presets to just get an idea of what a particular effect and preset produces.
  • In time, notice the particular options available in an effect and notice how the values change in context with a preset selected.
  • Change values in options one at a time and learn how large values and low values alter the results.
  • Not all effects will be artful. Some will be awful results while some will be very artful. The result is in fact contingent upon the photograph used and the values of the effect's options.
  • When an effect is one you like, use another photograph or so with the same effect and values to see how the photograph itself might cause the effect to be different.
  • Each effect, in addition to presets and the ability to manually change the values of options has a randomizing button. Try using this button and you will find some fantastic results occurring at different times, while other times the result is not worth exploring. However, try to learn the values in the options that produce an interesting result as you will then get a very good idea of how to manually change values to produce a particular result.
  • Learn how to save a preset so that when you develop or discover an effect that you like, you can then save it to reproduce it again and again.
  • Most importantly, just have fun exploring. You will discover some fantastic results that are truly very artful.


In the table below are some illustrations using various effects. Because there are so many possibilities with any one effect only a very few are presented for your viewing. You are welcome to use the original and to then attempt to create a similar result or create your own result. The comments will be just some general thoughts as related to the presented effect. Each photograph can best be viewed by clicking on the thumbnail.

Original: This picture is of my wife. She grew an amorillus flower and we took a picture of it. I chose this photograph to use for the various illustrations. As I explored the 'Effects' I would duplicate the original and just work on that layer with effects I selected. For each effect I tried out I often spent much time, as much as up to 1 hour just exploring the presets and then manually the option values.
Art Media - Oil: Art Media Effect has a number of options to create different effects. This illustration uses the Brush Strokes to create an oil-like painting. The Presets offer a wide range of possible results, well worth exploring. I tweaked the option values and then finished it with a slight tweaking of the Smart Photo Fix.
Art Media - Pencil: There are two pencil effects one can use. One is 'black pencil' and the other is 'pencil' which is more accurately a colored pencil. Both effects create a pencil drawing. One tip is that one can lower the 'Opacity' of the layer to allow more of the color from the lower (original) layer. There are various results with this effect that can produce some unique results.
Edge - Find All: This particular effect produces a result that looks like a black pencil outline of the photograph. One also can lower the opacity of the layer to allow the colors to weep through to produce some very nice results. One could also use this effect and then use the Brush Tool or Art Media Tools to paint on a separate layer to create their own painting.
Edge - High Pass: Another edge effect is the High Pass filter which produces a lighter yet attractive result.
Artistic - Lens Magnify: There are many interesting and fascinating Artistic Effects, each with various options one can play with. All which produce some very interesting results. In this illustration I used the Lens Magnify and tweaked the values including the focus value (to blur the photo except for the flowers). Take time to explore all the different Artistic Effects one can use.
Distortion - Displacement Map: Among the various possible distortion effects, the Displacement Map creates what appears as looking through water, ice or sculptured glass. In this illustration, I drew a selection around the flowers and inverted it and then applied the displacement map. One can use any pattern as the map to use. This effect is most interesting. It is well worth the time to explore the various possible distortion effects as each one is quite interesting.
Image - Curl: The Curl effect is an interesting one as it can create a neat looking photograph that has a curl or curls to its edge(s). One can enhance it in different ways such as I did by copying the flowers and pasting them in the curl corner and enhancing them some. One can change the curl colors, can remove the corner triangle and use other backgrounds. Try it out.
Reflection - Rotating Mirror: This reflection effect is a very interesting one. One can balance out a photograph if they want symmetrical presentations. As I was exploring this effect I cam upon one result that intrigued me which was to rotate only once. If one rotates more than once, just set each rotation and then try again on the same layer.
Reflection - Kaleidoscope: This reflection effect creates a kaleidescope result. Take time to really explore the various option values as one can create some very unique results. Also, try out the pattern effect as well. These two effects can be used to create backgrounds for your web pages particularly if you pay attention to the repeating patterns. One might even use the Rotating Mirror effect to accomplish such a background that repeats well on a web page.
Reflection - Pattern: This illustration is of the Pattern reflection effect and is balanced by adjusting the horizontal and vertical settings after producing the pattern I liked. I have not tested it out but I believe it would be able to be used as a web page background image.

The 'Texture' Effects have many different filters (effects) to choose from. Each effect can produce some very unique and interesting results. Take lots of time to explore each possible texture effects and you will definitely find various effects to use to enhance photographs and/or images you create. The table below just illustrates some of the many possible results which also have had their values tweaked.

Texture - Canvas


As stated above, one can spend hours exploring and having fun with Effects. The illustrations in this guide have only been a few and have only been predominantly effects that show the main photograph without much change of the basic characteristics of the flower or my wife. However, one can create some very different results dependent upon the effect and values used.

Again, do not plan on learning about effects in just one sitting. Just explore them at different times by trying out an effect and playing with its options and values. And, most importantly have fun.


  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. Comment on any particular techniques you used or discovered, any particular results you found perhaps by accident and any ideas you have for creating a particular result.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.

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