The last couple of tutorials have been about creating exact effects with photo editing software. However, one of the great things about most editing software is it can be a lot of fun to play around with. In fact, if you have children who complain about getting bored, fire up the editing software select a photo and let them play with it for a while. This will not only keep them entertained but also help them learn about how to use the software. Before you let the kids go wild, make sure to save the original image or you might have problems later.

For this tutorial we will be using an image of some grass and trees in the background. Don’t worry about what you work with, just pick a picture you like.

Perhaps the funnest tools to play with can be found under the filter’s section of most photo editing programs. For example under the filters tab you will see a light and shadow tab. Select this then select gradient flare. Use the various x and y axis to place the flare where you want it. After you have the type of flare and where you want it selected again choose the filters tab.

This time go to artistic and select photocopy. As you can see you now have an interesting black and white picture. From here you can select various paint tools and color it up, or you can print it off and let the kids use it like a coloring book page.

Now close the new image after saving and pull up the original image. Because we are working with a picture that has a lot of green let’s see just how green we can make it look. On the tool bar select the color tab, then click on color balance. Once you have the sliders up, slide the Magenta color all the way to the left. You should now have a very green picture.

The neat thing about editing nature shots is you can play with light a lot. Again select the filters tab on the tool bar, slide down to lighting and shadow, then select lighting effects. This will bring up a dialog box. Take time to play around with not only the type of light, but also various directions and colors.

As you can see from the photo it looks like a comet streaking into a field of grass. This is not the only affect you can get from the lighting effects tool.

In the end, there is so much you can do with image editing software that a single tutorial could not possibly cover it all. However, if you spend some time playing around with images you will get a good idea of what you can do. After a while you will become very good at playing with images. The key to keep in mind as you play around with various images is to not get frustrated. Don’t worry if things are not perfect at first, even the best photo editors in the world have bad days. Just keep playing around, get the feel of the program and pretty soon you will be editing like a pro.

Posted by Mash Bonigala

Mash is a Brand Differentiator & Strategist, Film Maker, Traveller, Author and Zen Practitioner. He loves mindfulness, branding, online marketing and startup business challenges.

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