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Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Very often our photos are just not quite as perfect as we would like them to be. Maybe too dark, too much background, a telegraph pole in view, the horizon is crooked and many other imperfections. Or it may be that you would like to make changes to your photo, for example to color those flowers orange instead of yellow.

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer includes very fast photo editing tools that offer all the common photo editing features and many sophisticated and powerful features such as a ‘Magic’ Photo Erase feature which makes it easy to seamlessly remove unwanted objects from your photo, Content Aware Scaling and Zooming which allows images to be stretched or squashed while retaining the proportions of important parts of the picture, and a Color Select and Erase Tool to re-color selected areas or remove colored backgrounds.

Download the trial version of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and try it!

See Photo Editing Basics Part 1 – Formats and Sizing.

Photo Editor 1024x861 Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Common Photo Tools
Photos rarely come out of your camera as perfect as you would like. Many Photo Tools are available to enhance your photos in different ways.

Enhance
The Enhance Tool enables you to manually adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness/blur, color saturation and temperature individually. However, the auto-enhance is a one-click quick way to enhance the photo. See Enhancing your Photos

Photo Tool Bar Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Enhance Photo Tool

Crop
To crop your photo simply select the Photo Tool (or Crop Tool) then click and drag over your photo to define the crop area, which can be subsequently repositioned or resized. If you don’t like it you can adjust the crop later – even after it’s been saved! See Cropping Photos Tutorial

Rotate
Rotating pictures is easy. You can rotate the photo inside its frame, for instance to straighten its horizon or you can rotate the whole photo. Perhaps the easiest way to rotate the whole photo is in the Selector Tool, the same way that you rotate all objects, by moving the mouse pointer just inside a corner handle and dragging it around.

TIP: If you hold the CTRL key down whilst you do this, it will rotate in 45 degree increments.
Or you can enter the number of degrees in the infobar’s ‘angle of selection’.

To rotate (or resize) a photo inside its frame go into the Fill Tool, select the photo and drag on the end of the arrow to adjust the photo.

Red Eye Removal
Red eye removal is a common requirement for photos that have been taken in darker conditions or with a flash. Simply select the red eye tool, place the ‘cross’ in the centre of the red eye and drag it out to the edge of the eye pupil until all the red is removed.

red eye 1024x522 Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Next / Previous
With a photo document open i.e. a photo with no background page, Xara Photo and Graphic Designer enables you to view the photos on your computer using the next and previous buttons, (on the Photo Enhance Tool infobar) just as you would in your Windows Photo Viewer. Select the Enhance Photo Tool to see these arrows.

levels Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect PhotoWhite balance
White Balance is an aspect of photography that many digital camera owners don’t understand and it is frequently the cause of bad photos.

Having the correct white balance will result in the colors in your images being as accurate as possible.

See Photo Editing Basics, Part 3 for a full tutorial on levels, brightness curves and color balance.

Magic Erase
Xara’s Magic Erase feature makes it quick and easy to seamlessly erase an object from your photo. Using the Clone Tool simply draw a freehand line around the area you want to erase, then one click on the ‘magic erase’ button and the object is automatically erased and replaced with a section sampled from other parts of the photo. If you don’t like this replacement, just click the Magic erase button again to see another replacement. You can then ‘feather’ the edges so that it blends in more seamlessly.
See – Magic Erase Tutorial and Removing Unwanted Objects from your Photo Tutorial

Color Select & Erase
You can easily adjust the brightness of the blue sky in your photo or remove it completely, or change the color of a flower, without affecting other parts of the picture. The Color Select/Erase tool serves two purposes; to erase (make transparent) parts of photos based on colors, and secondly, to allow only those color-selected areas to be adjusted using the Photo Tool Enhance operations (such as Brightness, Blur, Hue Adjustment, etc).

Color select and erase Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Easily change the colors of objects in your photos

Content-aware Photo Resize
This Photo Tool includes innovative intelligent image scaling technology that allows ‘content aware scaling and zoom’, enabling images to be stretched or squashed while retaining the proportions of important parts of the picture.

Content aware Photo Resize Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

The Torii gate proportions are intact, even at this extreme stretch, which is
twice as wide as the original. The stretched coast line remains looking natural.

Perspective correction
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer has a simple one-click way to automatically correct common perspective effects. The image on the left, taken inside a very large Basilica building in Rome, shows the common perspective effects of photos taken with a camera close to the ground. To get a ‘straight on’ photo would require it to be taken from a height of probably 30 feet. The perspective correction tool can create a similar effect automatically (right example). Simply select the photo, and then the Perspective Correction tool and the process will start (it can take some time, depending on the resolution of the image).

Perspective Correction Tool Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

It’s easy to create stunning panoramas by stitching photos together so that none of the joins show. Just take your photos with an overlap, drag them into Xara Designer Pro, select them all, press a button and watch it join them together with seamless blended edges to give you the perfect panorama. See Creating Stunning Panoramic Photos

Panorama 1 1024x308 Photo Editing Basics, Part 2 – Creating the Perfect Photo

Xara’s photo and bitmap handling is faster and more powerful than you’ll find in other photo and document editing programs. Xara’s non-destructive editing techniques mean losslessly edited files can be up to 10 times smaller than alternative solutions, providing enormous benefits for speed and usability. In addition, the unique non-destructive nature maintains the high quality of your original photo regardless of how many times you open-edit-save it. As a result many people use Xara Photo and Graphic Designer as their primary, general purpose image and document composition tool.

Learn about levels, brightness curves and color balance in Photo Editing Basics, Part 3 – Brightness Levels

See Photo Editing Basics Part 1 – Formats and Sizing.

Download Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and try it!