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Making Quick Fixes to Images in Adobe Photoshop Elements 6

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Kate Binder explains how Photoshop Elements Quick Fixes, which you can perform in either the Organizer or the Editor, give you a lot of bang for your single click. Most of the time, you'll find that a Quick Fix makes a marked improvement in an image.
This chapter is from the book

What You'll Learn in This Hour:

  • When to use Quick Fix—and when not to
  • How Photoshop Elements uses the Auto Quick Fixes to fix your images
  • How to make your own fixes using the Quick Fix controls

Click. Oh my, look how sharp my picture is now! Click. Hey, the colors are all bright now, too! As the late, great magician Doug Henning used to say, "It's magic!"

Well, perhaps not literally. But Photoshop Elements Quick Fixes, which you can perform in either the Organizer or the Editor, certainly give you a lot of bang for your single click. Most of the time, you'll find that a Quick Fix makes a marked improvement in an image. When you're in a hurry or just don't have the patience to mess around with a picture, Quick Fix is where you want to go.

When Is Quick Fix the Right Tool?

As you know, the Editor has three modes: Guided Edit, Quick Fix, and Full Edit. If you're feeling frisky and ready to really get your hands dirty, you'll want to take the time to work on your photos in Full Edit mode. This is where you have the most control over what you do and how much of it you do. On the other hand, when you want to do the work yourself, but you want a little hand-holding, Guided Edit is for you. You'll use the same tools and commands as you would in Full Edit mode, but you won't have to locate them in the toolbox or the menus, and Photoshop Elements will offer you helpful instructions as you work.

But if you really don't know how to accomplish your desired result (perhaps you haven't finished reading this book yet), or if you're just in a hurry, you need Quick Fix. In the Editor, the Quick Fixes are grouped into four categories, each with one or more sliders you can use to make your own changes to the picture, accompanied by an Auto button you can click to have Photoshop Elements do the work for you (see Figure 6.1). In the Organizer, the Fix tab contains six buttons that correspond to the six Auto buttons in the Editor; if you're too pressed for time even to switch to the Editor, you can just click and go.

Figure 6.1

Figure 6.1 Click Auto or drag the slider—that's all there is to a Quick Fix.

Before we go over what each Quick Fix is and when you should use it, here's the basic workflow for using any Quick Fix:

  1. Choose a photo or photos in the Organizer. If you're working with more than one picture, the extras are popped into the Project Bin so you can work on one at a time. (When you double-click an image in the Bin to work on it, the current image drops back into the Bin.)
  2. Switch to Quick Fix mode in the Editor, either by choosing Editor, Quick Fix or by clicking the Edit tab in the Task pane and then clicking the Quick Fix button.
  3. Choose an option from the View menu below the image preview (see Figure 6.2). I usually use either Before & After—Horizontal or Before & After—Vertical, depending on whether the photo I'm editing is vertically or horizontally oriented.
    Figure 6.2

    Figure 6.2 After choosing a View option, you can click Fit Screen to make sure the Before and After views both show the entire image.

  4. In the After view, rotate and crop the image into its final form. (There's no point in applying fixes to parts of the image you're just going to delete anyway.)
  5. Try one of the Quick Fixes by clicking the Auto button or dragging the slider. When you use the slider, if you like the results, click Commit (the green check mark); if you don't, click Cancel (the red universal "no" symbol).
  6. Choose File, Close or press Ctrl+W; when prompted, save the file, either with the same name or with a different one (if you want to preserve the original version).

Try to use only one or two of the Auto fixes on any given image because they overlap somewhat. Using more than one can "fix" an image too much and actually create problems that didn't exist before, such as too-bright highlights. And always save Sharpen for last so that you don't undo its work by modifying the picture's highlights and shadows.

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