If after reviewing your downloaded digital images you find that images aren't exactly what you wanted, you can alter the images using one of many photo-editing applications that are available.
These applications let you change the images in a number of different ways. The results of the image-editing process depend on the skill of the person doing the edits, but several editing techniques are simple enough for any user with even the simplest available application.
The features available in image editing packages vary greatly. Some applications, such as Windows Paint, provide only a basic set of fundamental features, while higher-end applications such as Adobe Photoshop provide complete control over editing all aspects of the image. The following applications are popular choices for editing digital images:
Windows Paint: Even though this provides only a rudimentary set of features, this package still lets you crop, rotate images, and add captions to images.
Adobe Photoshop: This is a professional-level tool that lets you control all aspects of a digital image including the exposure levels and color depth. Photoshop also lets you seamlessly remove or add objects to images.
Adobe Photoshop Elements: If you don't need all the advanced level features of Photoshop, then Photoshop Elements may be just the ticket. Elements includes features for organizing pictures and basic editing.
Corel Paint Shop Pro: This is a popular, easy-to-use editing application.
When using a digital camera, you can rotate the camera so the image is vertical, but when the images download to your hard drive, they appear rotated. Although the Scanner and Camera Wizard includes a feature to rotate the downloading images, you can also rotate images using an editing application such as Windows Paint.
You can access Windows Paint using the Start All Programs Accessories Paint menu. Paint can open images using the File Open menu or you could simply drag and drop images from Windows Explorer. To rotate the current image, simply select the image and choose the Image Flip/Rotate menu command. This opens a dialog box where you can Flip horizontal, Flip vertical, or Rotate by 90, 180, or 270 degrees. Figure 38.11 shows an image in Windows Paint that has been rotated to stand upright.
Figure 38.11: You can use Windows Paint to rotate images.
Cropping simply means to cut away all the areas of the image that you don't want to keep. By cropping images, you can cut down on the size of the images and subsequently the file size.
To crop an image in Paint Shop Pro, follow these steps:
Open the image that you want to crop in Paint Shop Pro by dragging it from Windows Explorer or by selecting the File Open command.
From the toolbar located under the menus, select the Rectangular Select tool. Drag it over the area of the image that you want to keep, as shown in Figure 38.12.
Figure 38.12: You can use the Select tool to choose the area that you want to keep.
Choose the Image Crop menu command. The image is cropped to include only the selected portion, as shown in Figure 38.13.
Figure 38.13: All the unnecessary parts of the image are removed by cropping.
Select the File Save menu to save the cropped image. Use the File Save As command if you want to save the original file.
If you travel all the way to Hawaii on vacation and return to find that the flash on your digital camera didn't work most of the time, you may be frustrated at the pictures you've lost. But, with an image-editing application like Photoshop, you can readjust the brightness and contrast levels to recover the images taken with inadequate lighting.
All the editing software in the world can't bring back detail that just wasn't captured to begin with. Try to get your photos right as you take them, as there are limits to what even the best programs can do.
Figure 38.14 shows a digital image that is too dark. Using Photoshop, you can lighten this image while maintaining a strong enough contrast.
Figure 38.14: With inadequate lighting, digital images can end up too dark.
Figure 38.15 shows the image after the exposure levels in Photoshop have been adjusted. The adjustment features are found in the Image Adjustments Brightness/Contrast menu.
Figure 38.15: By adjusting brightness and contrast levels in Photoshop, you can restore the image's clarity.
Have you ever looked directly at the flash when someone has taken your picture? Not only do you end up seeing dots for the next little while, but when you look at the picture, you notice that your eyes appear an unsightly bright red.
This red-eye phenomenon occurs when the light from the flash bounces off the back of the eye's retina. Although you cannot change this problem on the digital image, you can fix it during the editing process. Photoshop includes a new feature that automatically removes red eyes from characters in a digital image. To use this tool in Photoshop, simply select the Red Eye tool and drag it over the problem area. Photoshop automatically detects the problem area and removes the exposed red color.
Photoshop also includes many specialized tools that remove unwanted sections from an image by covering them up with other sections. This technique works especially well when the areas you're copying are similar in color and texture such as a blue sky or part of a forest.
Using the Clone tool, you can select a point within the image to copy over the area under your brush. The brush then transfers the area you've selected to the area where you're brushing. The results can save a picture from ending up in the trash or being cropped so much it loses its details.
Figure 38.16 shows an excellent picture of a beach, but the shot of the foot in the picture ruins the picturesque beauty.
Figure 38.16: Unwanted objects can ruin a good digital picture.
Using Photoshop's Clone brush, you can select an area in the image where the sand is similar to the area where the foot is located. Then by brushing over the foot, you can slowly remove it from the image by replacing it with the sand. Figure 38.17 shows the results after the image of the foot is removed.
Figure 38.17: By removing objects, the beauty of the image can be saved.