Beginners guide to the basics of photo manipulation using Photoshop Elements 13, organising images for easy retrieval and the do's and don'ts of using third party images including the basics of Creative Commons licencing.
The training was given to staff from the Mauritian Forestry Services (Forestry) and the National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS) who are the main government bodies responsible for protected area management in Mauritius. The training was organised under the UNDP/GEF Protected Area Network (PAN) Project (Expanding coverage and strengthening management effectiveness of the protected area network on the island of Mauritius) the objective of which is to expand and ensure effective management of the Mauritian protected area network to safeguard threatened biodiversity. In order to achieve this objective the project’s intervention has been organised into three outcomes: Outcome 1: Systemic framework for PA expansion improved; Outcome 2: PA institutional framework strengthened; Outcome 3: Operational know-how in place to contain threats.
A training programme is being organised for PA staff to contribute to Outcome 2. This workshop is part of this training programme.
The old adage states that “a picture is worth a thousand words” but it has to be the right picture, of the required quality and you must have the appropriate usage rights. If the picture is wrong it will confuse rather than enlighten your audience; if the quality is poor your audience is likely to focus on its technical imperfections; and if you do not have the usage rights or incorrectly acknowledge the copyright holder your credibility can be damaged (at best) and you could be subject to legal action (at worst). This set of PowerPoint slides was used in a training workshop held in Mauritius on 11 September 2015 to introduce participants to basic image manipulation techniques, image archiving and the use of third party images in communications products such as reports, presentations and posters.
The picture superiority effect is jargon for the cliché “a picture tells an thousand words”. People have known this for at least as long as our stone age ancestors were painting on the walls of caves so the fact that pictures are a highly effective form of communication is hardly news. However, it is becoming increasingly appreciated for several reasons.
Firstly, cognitive science is uncovering a great deal of evidence to back up the claim. Studies estimate that 50-80% or our brain is designed for some form of visual processing – vision, visual memory, colours, shapes, movement, patterns and spatial awareness. In terms of memory retention people will on average remember only 10% of information they receive only in text and/or auditory form but 65% if they receive the same information in in text and/or auditory and pictorial form (see this slide for the information in words and the next slide for the same information in words and pictures).
Image: From Randy Krum (2014) Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design
The famous US army recruitment poster is an example of the power of an image and text in perfect alignment.
We should not assume that we can use any images we find on the Internet. The image copyright belongs to the photographer unless stated otherwise. In such cases the photographer must be asked whether they are agreeable or not for you to use the image and if so how would they like to be acknowledged. The result of such an inquiry is not usually positive, as this excerpt from an email I received in response to such a request demonstrates.
Here are the different types of creative commons licences. In addition there is public domain. For more details see the document Licencing & Marketing Your Content with Creative Commons (https://wiki.creativecommons.org/images/6/61/Creativecommons-licensing-and-marking-your-content_eng.pdf).
I make all my images available under a CC licence (CC BY-NC-SA) but this does mean that the image can be used in ways that you would not necessarily endorse. An example of this is the photo of my dog Rosie which has been used by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to urge people to keep their pets indoors in the cold. This is total misrepresentation as Rosie loves the cold, especially snow!!! But I figure it is a small price to pay for the contribution of some images and I keep making my photos available as it adds to the reservoir of available images and is payback for all the freely available images I use.
In this section I explain the use of Google to find images that can be used by clicking on the search button in Google’s images tab and clicking on Usage rights which gives you the options: Not filtered by licence, Labeled for reuse with modification, Labeled for reuse, Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification, and Labeled for noncommercial reuse. I also outline a number of sites where you can download copyright free or Creative Commons licenced images such as pixabay (https://pixabay.com/) and Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/).
More on royalty-free images
The best images in the world are of no value if you cannot find them. In this section I outline the simple file structure I use to store my images. I create one folder per year which is divided into 12 sub-folders (one for each month of the year) and images are stored according to the date on which they were taken – it is important to ensure that your camera’s date settings are accurate. To ease searching it is then useful to tag your photos. The tag will be stored in the images exif file in which metadata is stored. This means that this information is maintained even if you use a variety of software to organise your photos. I demonstrated the use of Picasa to autotag large numbers of photos.
I also outlined the value of having a built in GPS in your camera and using this function. However, the GPS can be greedy on batteries so make sure that you have lots of spares!
Introduction to the hands-on photo manipulations we would practice in Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 during the session.
The blemishes can be removed by using the spot healing brush: see the YouTube video on How to use the Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 Healing Brush - a Photoshop Elements 13 Tutorial by How to Gurus (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzSU-0mED30).
You can straighten the image in various ways including using the straighten tool. see the YouTube video: Photoshop Elements 13 Tutorial The Straighten Tool Adobe Training (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLbpVs-w6Qg).
You can remove red eye by using the redeye removal tool. See the YouTube video: Photoshop Elements 13 Tutorial The Red Eye Removal Tool Adobe Training (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9GOpnobKRg).
Cropping can be done by using the crop tool. See the YouTube video: Cropping photos | Photoshop Elements 13 | lynda.com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q89gLazznVI).
A really neat tool for getting rid of distractions such as airplane wings and window edges is content aware fill which is a new addition to Photoshop Elements 13. See the YouTube video: Photoshop Elements Version 13 Content Aware Fill (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H021sLMoKRc).
The distracting tree can be removed in various ways. In this case the tree was “painted over” using the clone stamp.
See the YouTube video: How to Use the Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 Clone Stamp Tool - a Photoshop Elements 13 Tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqmynjyujxw).
This can be done by deleting the white background to turn it transparent and saving the new image as a .png file. If you save it as a jpeg the transparent part of the image will be saved as white.
Removing a white background can be done by using the quick select tool. See the YouTube video: Learn How to Remove Backgrounds in Photoshop Elements 13 With Bob Gager (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JTwIV4NZO8).
See the YouTube video: Remove Haze in Photoshop Elements by Bob Gager of Photoshop Elements (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPmKSJTGEAg).
To blur the background I selected the area around the bird using the magnetic lasso tool and refined my selection using the lasso tool. I then created a new layer from the selection and blurred it using Gaussian blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur).
To use the lasso tool see the YouTube video: Adobe Photoshop Tutorial - Elements 9 - Lasso Tool - Beginner Tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngJ1WgF0RPs).
To blur a layer using Gaussian blur see the YouTube video: Photoshop Elements 10: Blur The Background Of A Photo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y18KPLTzha0).
Photoshop Elements 13 has a variety of effects in Guided edit mode (selective colour).
See the YouTube video: Color Pop Your Photos in Photoshop Elements 13 by Bob Gager of Photoshop Elements (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MshIayVZTKA).
To make your edges a little more interesting you can use the custom shapes cookie cutter tool to cut using a variety of templates.
See the YouTube video: Photoshop Elements 13 -- Custom shapes cookie cutter loading tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYNyMWvlQ-Q).
It is quite a lot to absorb in one day so the next step is consolidation of what you have learned through practice. Remember to make a background layer copy before starting so you will never lose your original and if you run into any problems consult YouTube. Somebody will be able to resolve your problem.
Image Manipulation and Organisation for Beginners
IMAGE MANIPULATION AND ORGANISATION
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. (PAN PROJECT CHIEF TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
A Picture is
PowerPoint Slides used for a training workshop for
Forestry and National Parks and Conservation Service Staff
(Curepipe, Mauritius | 11 September 2015)
Under the UNDP/GEF Protected Area
Network (PAN) Project:
Expanding coverage and strengthening
management effectiveness of the protected
area network on the island of Mauritius
Images for reports, presentations,
infographics, posters, etc.
To introduce participants from Forestry and NPCS to:
• Some do’s and don’ts of using third party images
• Simple image organisation principles to ease retrieval of photos
• The use of photo manipulation and organisation software
(Photoshop Elements 13)
The use of third party images
Just because something can be downloaded it does not mean that
we are free to use it!
I warn you that you have NOT my agreement to use my
photographs for your website or for any other work, including
nonprofit works. And if, despite of my refusal, you decide to
use my photos, then I'll be forced to take legal actions to
prevent you keep using those images, on which I have
Copy Right and Copy Wrong
Whenever you snap a
photograph, record a song,
publish an article, or put your
original writing online, that
work is automatically
considered “all rights reserved”
in the eyes of copyright law. In
many cases, that means that
other people can’t reuse or
remix your work without asking
for your permission first.
If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build
upon a work you’ve created, consider publishing under a Creative
A CC license lets you decide which rights you’d like to keep, and it
clearly conveys to those using your work how they’re permitted to
use it without asking you in advance.
Sander van der Wel
The six Creative Commons licences
Plus public domain
The pitfalls of a CC licence
How to licence your photos under a CC licence
Sources of third party images
Using the following search tools will ensure that you will find nearly all images available for download (with various
degrees of restriction on their usage).
Google images – Search for images > search tools > Usage rights. Labelled for reuse with modification is the most
inclusive form of licence.
Pixabay – Free Images (https://pixabay.com/): Over 450,000 high quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics.
Free for commercial use. No attribution required.
Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/). Everyone has heard of Flickr and with over 5 billion images online, they certainly
have a good collection of free images available. Search for the Creative Commons Attribution.
Everystockphoto (http://www.everystockphoto.com/) - This search engine indexes images from all the major free
sites. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo's license by clicking on the
license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on
Freeimages (http://www.freeimages.com/) - Freeimages have one of the most sophisticated websites of the stock
agencies offering free images. They also have a substantial collection of stock photos that must be purchased.
MorgueFile (http://www.morguefile.com/) - A sizeable collection of images which are all very straightforward to
search and download.
RGB Stock (http://www.rgbstock.com/) - A pretty decent collection of free stock images which are all available to
use free of charge provided they are being used...
Stock Vault (http://www.stockvault.net/) - A fairly small collection of free imagery, clip art, logo templates &
textures which isn't available in lots of different sizes.
ArKive (http://www.arkive.org/) - The ultimate multimedia guide to the world's endangered species. Includes
endangered species videos, photos, facts & education resources. Most of the photos are copyrighted. You can
contact the copyright holder to ask them if you can use the photos.