After you've downloaded an image from a camera to your computer, it's a good idea to save a copy of the original image to your hard drive before you start modifying the image. After a file is saved, you can experiment with color correction or filter effects without having to worry about losing or damaging the original.
To save a file, make the file the active window in the work area. Choose Save from the File menu. Then type a name into the Save dialog box. Click on the Format drop-down menu and choose JPEG. Navigate to a folder location on your hard drive in the Save dialog box. Finally, click the Save button to save the image. Photoshop Elements will create a new image file on your hard drive.
Viewing the File Format
If you want to view an image on a camera without downloading it to your hard drive, you can use the File Browser in Photoshop Elements or the custom software that is bundled with the camera to preview thumbnails. Figure 3.12 shows the photo viewer application, Visual Flow, that opens when you insert a Memory Stick into a Sony computer. Each image scrolls up the photo view window as you move your cursor in the main window. Click on a picture to view it in more detail.
Not sure which file format to use when saving your file? Choose the JPEG file format, with the highest level of image preservation (in Photoshop Elements, choose Maximum, or 12).
To find out more about saving files, as well as Photoshop Elementssupported file formats, see Chapter 5, "Saving and Sharing Files."
If you don't want to use an application to access image files, you can use Explorer (Windows) or the Finder (Mac OS) to preview or copy files to your computer. Figure 3.13 shows each image on the Memory Stick card. The camera gives each image a unique filename, along with the .jpg file extension. Simply copy the files from the Memory Stick onto your computer. Then you can use Photoshop Elements to view or modify them as you like.
Figure 3.12 When you insert a Memory Stick into a Sony VAIO laptop, you can navigate through thumbnail images of the files stored on the card. PC Card and USB Memory Stick readers are also available for Mac and Windows computers.
Figure 3.13 Files stored on a media card can be copied to your hard drive just as you copy any other document.
Which File Format Is Best?
Most cameras capture images and then save them as JPEG files. Although some cameras also support TIFF, and multimedia file formats, such as MPEG or AVI, the best file format to use for still image files is JPEG. You'll get the smallest, best-looking file sizes by using the JPEG file format on your camera, your computer, and, in most cases, your Web site, too.
After you've saved or copied a file to your computer, open it to see whether the file was properly saved. Choose Open from the File menu to view the Open dialog box. Select the file you just saved, and then click Open. The image opens in the Photoshop Elements work area.
If the image is larger than your desktop, Photoshop Elements resizes the full image to fit on your screen. The magnification level of the image appears in the title bar of each image window. You can use the Navigator palette to adjust the view of each image window, or select the Zoom Tool from the Toolbox. Click in the image window to increase the magnification level of the image window. Or hold down the [Alt] (Option) key to zoom away from the image. If the image opens and looks as good as the original, close it.
If you're using Windows, you might not see the .jpg extension if Windows is set to hide file extension names in Explorer windows.