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Learning Effects – Part 4

Learning Effects

Step back in your History palette to before the Brushed Metal effect. Clear your history, too, if you like. You can also delete your type layer, though it’s not necessary.
     The next effect we’re going to use, Bricks, is unique in that it creates, and then deletes a new document in order to make a new pattern. Since the new document is not saved, and its history lives and dies with it, we can’t get a look at the history states associated with it. You’ll have to watch closely to see what happens.
     Make sure the center of your screen is not covered by any of your palettes. The new document will appear there, and you’ll want to see it, for the brief moment that it exists. Also, make sure you can see your History palette. You’ll catch a glimpse of the states that go into creating the pattern, and then that document’s history will be gone.

When you’re ready, apply the effect. The history states that you will end up with are only those that took place in your test document.
Did you see what happened? Back up, and run it again, if you like. I did, many times, as you’ll see in a minute.
    The history states that you do end up with are as follows. Having created, and saved a new pattern in the temporary document, the effect then adds a new layer to your image, and fills it with the pattern (Edit > Fill, choose Pattern from the menu).
     The Craquelure texture filter is then applied twice, followed by the Add Noise filter. Here, I’d like to show you a little trick. Press Ctrl-Alt-F to bring up the dialog box of the last filter applied. You can see what filter settings the effect used.
      This only works for the last filter applied by an effect, and, if the filter doesn’t have a dialog box (some are simply applied, on click), pressing Ctrl-Alt-F will simply reapply the filter.

When the effect created the new pattern in that temporary document, it saved the pattern into your patterns palette. You may want to go in and remove it, especially if you applied the effect repeatedly in trying to see what was going on.
     The easiest way to access your patterns palette is to go to Edit > Preset Manager and choose Patterns from the menu. You can also find the patterns palette on the options bar of the pattern stamp.
     As you can see, below, the effect adds a copy of the brick pattern to your patterns palette each time you apply it. I had a lot of bricks to get rid of.
Preset Manager

You can proceed on your own from here. Remember to go back before the last effect in the History palette before you apply a new one. I think you can really learn a lot, and get some good ideas for things you’d like to try by dissecting effects.
     Note that if the effect name has (selection) next to it, you need to drag a selection somewhere in your image before clicking the Apply button. I used the marquee tool to drag a simple circle each time it was required.
     Some of the effects names have (layer) next to them. I have no idea what that indicates. If you figure it out, let me know.
     Also note that states called Blending Options may refer to the Layer palette Blend Mode, the Layer palette Opacity setting, or to a kind of blending that is in Photoshop, but not in Elements. Keep your eye on the Layers palette Blend Mode, and Opacity settings, in any case, because I noticed changes there that did not show up as history states.
     Whenever you can’t figure out what a state is, use the Appendix to find out. And, when you’re all finished, don’t forget to set your history states back to 20 in Edit > Preferences > General (or whatever you had them set to when we started).
     If you’re wondering why I asked you to set the history states all the way up to 40, there are two effects that have 32 states, or 33 if your image needs to be flattened. For example, the Brushed Aluminum effect, shown below.
     All that Duplicate Channel, Free Transform stuff followed by four Load Selections is taking place in channels, which you don’t have access to. If you watch your screen while that’s going on, you’ll see that it’s a rather kludgy way to resize the canvas. It turns up in most (all?) of the Frames effects.
     You could do it a lot more easily, by hand, or using the technique I show in the Playing With Styles tutorial.

Brushed Aluminum effect
Many of the effects end, as this one does, by flattening the image. I would suggest that you make it a habit to always step back in history to the one step before that, after applying an effect.
     Flattening the image loses all your layers, and all your ability to edit those layers. By keeping them intact, you will have many more options to customize the effect, later. You can always flatten the image yourself by choosing Layer > Flatten Image.

If you find any part of an effect that you can’t understand, don’t worry about it. There were several that I couldn’t figure out, either. For example, layers were sometimes added, with no content, and then deleted or merged down.