Category: Photoshop Elements Tips
Operating System: Windows 8
Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
There are so very many tools in Photoshop Elements (PSE) that I have never opened, much less attempted to use. To be honest, they intimidate me. I have a habit of getting comfortable with what I know and forgetting about the rest. By doing that, however, I have overlooked many opportunities to improve both my photos and my scrapbooking layouts. So, I set out to conquer my fears and delve more deeply into my PSE and learn something new.
One of the neatest tools I found during my investigation was the Sponge tool. The Sponge tool in PSE works much like the sponge sitting on your kitchen sink. It can be used to soak up color (desaturate) or wring it out (saturate). The Sponge tool is located on the left side of your screen in the “Enhance” area of your tool bar. Once you click on the sponge, a new menu opens at the bottom of the screen. Be sure the Sponge Tool is chosen and an options menu appears.
The options available for editing are:
Which brush you want to use (I stuck with a soft round brush)
Flow is how fast or slow the sponge picks up or deposits color. The beauty of this tool is that you can change the size of your brush and speed of flow to get the specific results you want on only the areas you want it.
On the following photo, I desaturated the blue in the chair and the wall, then upped the saturation on the crown, cake, and shirt to make the pinks pop. Previously, to get the same effect I would have duplicated the layer, saturated the whole thing, then erased the parts I didn’t want saturated. Another option would have been to use the Magic Lasso tool to carefully outline the parts of the photo I wanted to edit and go from there. This Sponge tool saves so many steps! Now I just have to choose the tool and set my preferences and brush where I want to edit.
I found it easiest to start with the flow slider set fairly low and keep brushing over the same area and building the effect. If you know that you want a specific area strongly saturated or desaturated, you can start with the slider set higher and it won’t take as long to work on your photo.
This tool can also be used on papers and embellishments, a great option when the colors are just too bright or you want to emphasize one color over another.
Getting to know your editing program opens up so many options for simplifying and improving your work flow. What new techniques have you learned lately? Come share your tips and layouts in the Scrap Girls Gallery today.
Digital scrapbooking products used:
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Digital Layout Album Templates: 12×12 By the Numbers, ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Foil Pink 11001 and Font: Sweetie Pie are also available.