Using Photoshop Filters & Plug-ins in Photoshop Elements

Thereare several Photoshop CS# tools hidden away in Photoshop Elements, and many of them (including Layer Masks, Channel Mixer, Black & White Adjustments & Curves) are unlocked by the actions available in Handy Actions and Handy Actions Lite. But that's really just a small sampling of the things the Adobe folks have hidden away within the consumer version of their industry standard....


How do you get these filters installed into Photoshop Elements? It's pretty simple: Download the trial version of Photoshop CS#, install it, and navigate to \Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS#\Plug-Ins\Filters.

Find and copy Lens blur.8bf to Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements #.#\Plug-Ins\Filters - TA-DA! That's it. Start Photoshop Elements, and you'll find it in the Filters>Blur menu.

ILens Blur The Lens Blur filter is one of the most effective filters available in Photoshop that's not present in the standard version of Elements. This filter appears in your Filters>Blur menu right along with Gaussian Blur, Radial Blur, and Motion Blur, etc.

Lens Blur allows you to add a degree of depth to your photos based on several criteria - a layer mask, the layer's transparency , a desired iris shape, add noise to make it all more real looking, and several other user options. It's an extremely powerful filter.

starting image using the Lens Blur filter Output of the Lens Blur FilterI started with the image to the left (taken at some small amusement park in central Florida), duplicated the layer, and painted a layer mask on just the castle.

Then I fired up the Lens Blur filter, told it to use the Layer Mask as a source, and made my settings to create the image to the right.

Another powerful tool that actually is present in Photoshop Elements (although with a much reduced capacity) is the Lens Correction filter. You can grab it from the same folder mentioned above, but first copy it to your desktop so you can rename it.

Here's the deal: copy Lens Correction.8BF from the Photoshop CS3\Plug-ins\Filters directory to your desktop, rename it Lens Correction2.8BF, and move it from your desktop to the Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements x.0\Plug-Ins\Filters

In Photoshop Elements, by default, the filter appears in Filters>Correct Camera Distortion... The filter hijacked from CS3 will appear in Filters>Distort>Correct Camera Distortion...

Compare the two dialog boxes that open with each version (the Photoshop CS# version is on the left; the Photoshop Elements version is on the right).

The Photoshop version offers a few extra options, notably the Chromatic Aberration options, which remove "fringing" from the edges of the image. Also in the Phtoshop version is the ability to save & load earlier settings, so if you have a whole batch of images that need the same adjustments, you can save these settings for future use each time you load images from your camera with the same lens distortion. Sounds like a small detail, but it's a huge timesaver when you don't have to adjust each and every time you have a bunch of images to fix.

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