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Photo Effect Tool Tips


Increasing contrast will sometimes reveal hidden features in your image. If your image is a little dark, you may need to increase both contrast and brightness to correct it.

Technical: The contrast algorithm finds the median color pixel value between (0 to 255) and then shifts values up that are above the median and shifts values down that are below the median.


Shifts all pixels lighter or darker (up or down) using a flat scale.

Color Saturation:

Increasing color saturation increases color intensity.
It makes blues a little bluer, reds more red, etc.
Decreasing color saturation tends to flatten the image or wash it out.
Decreasing color all the way to the left, will produce a black & white picture.


Think of hue as a color wheel laying on top of your image. This color wheel has 360 degrees of rotation. As you rotate the wheel, the colors in your image will shift toward their complementing color.

A 180-degree rotation, in either direction, changes each color to its complement. Positive rotation takes: green toward red, blue toward green and red toward blue. Negative rotation has the opposite effect.

Fast Fix - Gamma:

This features gives you a quick way to fix a picture. Nine thumbnail images are presented and a preview window. Click a thumbnail that looks good, until you like the result. Then click OK and the image will be fixed.

This feature uses the gamma intensity progression algorithm to fix your picture, which adjusts the intensity of colors in the bitmap by changing the gamma constant that is used to map these intensity values.


Sharpness uses a filter which detects edges or intense changes in contrast and either emphasizes or de-emphasizes these edges. Basically, it softens or sharpens edges.


DeSpeckle removes noise. Especially useful on scanned images that end up with the salt and pepper speckles.

Technical: DeSpeckle uses a median filter which changes the color of each pixel in the bitmap to the median color of pixels in its surrounding neighborhood. The neighborhood size of pixels that is used for this calculation may be changed in preferences. Read: Fine Tuning.

Fine Tuning:

If you find that clicking sharpness or despeckle either creates too much or too little change for your taste, you may fine tune each button.

Click the hammer on the Image Editor toolbar (Preferences), and you may fine tune these two special effects.


You may increase the number of undos available in the Image Editor's Preferences. Three to 30 undo levels are possible. The limiting factor is the amount of memory you have in your computer.

Black & White (GreyScale Images)

At the bottom of the tool panel, next to the Tip button is the Greyscale button. This is not a toggle. Once you change the image to greyscale, the image's color palette is gone. The only way to get it back is by clicking the undo button.

Special Note about GreyScale Images and Color Palettes:
(a must read)

Imagine having a black & white photo of a single red rose. Everything in the image is black & white, except the rose, which is in color.

Keep reading to learn how to accomplish this:

Every image has a palette embedded in the image file. This palette tells the device that is displaying or printing it which colors to use to generate the image.

Color images are 24-bit
GreyScale images are 8-bit

If you convert an image to greyscale by clicking the Greyscale button, you are changing its current palette. If you then switched to the red-eye paint tools and tried to paint the image, you would find that the colors no longer painted in color - because the palette has been changed to greyscale.

However, when you save the image file to your hard-drive, if you do not save it specifically as an 8-bit image file, it will save it with a color palette, not a greyscale palette. The image will still appear to be black & white, but it has a color palette.

The ELF's JPG saver allows you to save images as either 24-Bit or 8-Bit images. Click the JPG button on the toolbar and look in the advanced settings.

Why is this important?

Several reasons:

  1. If you are trying to conserve file size, an 8-bit file is smaller than a 24-bit file. If it is a greyscale image, you may as well save it as an 8-bit image.

  2. If you want your device to display or print the image properly, you should save it with the correct palette. 24-Bit = color, 8-bit = greyscale

  3. If you want to have some fun, you can change an image to greyscale by clicking the Greyscale button and then save it as a 24-bit color image. Close the Editor and then re-load the image. It appears in greyscale, but has a color palette. Now you can switch to the painting tools and make a rose be the only item with color in the image. Or make someone's eyes be in color and everything else in greyscale.

Fun Effects:

The remaining effects: Emboss, Foil, Neon etc. are a lot of fun. There are no other adjustments, just that which is displayed.

The only serious effect listed is the Half-Tone effect.


A half-toned bitmap is a 1-bit bitmap that has been dithered for black and white printing or display.

This is the type of image newspapers use to print pictures.

Viewing half-tones on a computer monitor will not do the image justice. They are best appreciated when printed. Do not dismiss half-tone until you have printed one.

The best way to appreciate the results, without printing, is to click the 100% button on the toolbar or to zoom in.

There are three option buttons next to the half-tone option, which have three different depth levels that you may use to experiment.

Increasing half-tone, continues to flatten the effect.

Increasing or decreasing contrast prior to using half-tone will also change the end result.

The best way to create a half-tone image, is to use the Advanced Save As routine found in the File menu. Save the image as a 1-bit image and then go view it at 100%.
Have Fun!

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