Enhance Menu


ElementsXXL adds 11 menu items to the Enhance Menu of Photoshop Elements.


Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights

Supported by Photoshop Elements 3 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Shadows/Highlights filter enables you to adjust the brightness of the darkest and brightest areas of an image independently. ElementsXXL lets you run this filter with the new Ctrl + H key shortcut and replaces the standard Shadows/Highlights dialog with its own dialog. The new dialog looks similar to the old one until you activate the Show More Options check box at the bottom. Then you get all the features that Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights filter offers.

With Show More Options activated, you receive three sliders instead of one for correcting the shadows as well as highlights. And you get three more adjustment options.

The Lighten Shadows and Darken Highlights sliders of the unexpanded dialog are now called Amount. The Tonal Width sliders define the range of tonal values that will be affected. At the lowest value only the darkest or brightest areas of the image will be changed. Higher slider values also include the midtones.

The Radius sliders determine the softness of the transition between the adjusted areas and the rest of the image. A low Radius value makes the adjustment look flat and creates harsh transitions. On the other hand a too high Radius may weaken the adjustment, because the transition areas can replace the adjusted areas.

The Color Correction slider basically adjusts the saturation of the image. Strong corrections may increase or decrease the saturation, so this slider lets you handle such problems. The Black Clip and White Clip text boxes are for entering a percentage value that influences how many tonal values are cut off at both ends of the tonal scale. These two options are similar to the black and white slider knobs of the Levels filter. A higher Black Clip value, e.g. 5.0%, usually produces stronger shadows. But increasing the White Clip value can quickly remove details from the brightest image areas, so it should be handled with more care.

If you hold down the Alt key, the Cancel button is renamed to Reset and you can click on it to recreate the default settings for all controls. To switch to the standard Shadows/Highlights dialog of Photoshop Elements click on the Classic button in the bottom right corner. To get the classical dialog from the start, activate the check box Show classic Shadows/Highlights dialog under Edit >Preferences > ElementsXXL > General.


Adjust Lighting > Curves

Supported by Photoshop Elements 1-3, 5 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Curves filter lets you change and improve the brightness and contrast of digital images by remapping the brightness values of the image. By default the "curve" is displayed as a diagonal line in the diagram, which means that the input and output values are the same and no adjustment is applied.

The curve can be adjusted with the help of points. To create a new point click somewhere in the diagram and drag. After releasing the mouse button a curve is drawn through the new point. You can adjust your point or add new points until you get the desired result. You can also adjust curve points by entering numbers in the Input and Output boxes. Alternatively draw your individual curve with the Pen tool and click the Smooth button to improve it. The Auto button automatically corrects the brightness, contrast and color of the image according to the settings displayed by the Options button.

The curve in the following screenshot shows a typical contrast adjustment with the help of an S curve consisting of three added points:

There are eye dropper tools for picking a black and white point (the darkest and brightest pixels) from the preview. Additionally the gray eye dropper performs a color correction when you click on a slightly colorized gray area in the preview. The hand tool lets you create and adjust a curve point by clicking and dragging on the preview. The Show Clipping check box visualizes image areas where the tonal values are cut off.

The screenshot below shows a typical curve for increasing brightness:

When clicking on the double arrow button at the bottom, more controls show up: Light is the default setting whereas Pigment/Ink simply inverts the values of both axes of the diagram, which makes the colors run from white to black and rotates the curve by 180 degrees. The two diagram icons change the number of lines in the diagram. The Channel Overlays check box shows the adjustments that were done with the three eyedropper tools. The Baseline check box removes or adds the diagonal line in the diagram. The Intersection Line check box displays crossing lines when you move a curve point. The Histogram check box only shows a clearly visible histogram in Photoshop Elements 6 to 10. In Photoshop Elements 11 and 12 the histogram is almost invisible.


Adjust Lighting > Exposure

Supported by Photoshop Elements 6 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Exposure filter changes the brightness of the image with three different methods. It is easier to use, but offers less control than the Curve filter.

The Exposure slider adjusts the brightness of the image similar to the photographic exposure. The Offset slider moves the brightness values into a certain direction without taking shadow or highlight rescue measures. The Gamma Correction slider applies a brightness correction that is known from computer monitors and is similar to the middle slider of the Levels adjustment.

Again you have three eyedroppers for picking a black, gray and white point. They directly adjust the value of the Exposure or Offset slider.


Adjust Color > Channel Mixer

Supported by Photoshop Elements 1-3, 5 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Channel Mixer recomposes each color channel of an RGB image by blending the three RGB channels according to certain percentage values, which produces color effects. Additionally if the Monochrome check box is activated, you are able to create a black & white effect that is defined by a mix of the three color channels.

The Output Channel combo box selects the color channel that is affected by the four sliders. Each output channel option owns different slider values, so there are actually 12 slider values in total. The Red, Green and Blue sliders define the color mix that is used for the selected output channel. As long as the Total value of all three sliders is 100%, the brightness of the image is not affected. The Constant slider adjusts the brightness of the current output channel. To reset all values hold down the Alt key and click on the Cancel button, which is now named Reset.


Adjust Color > Vibrance

Supported by Photoshop Elements 8 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Vibrance filter changes the saturation of the image. Whereas the Saturation slider produces a more or less standard saturation adjustment, the Vibrance slider additionally protects skin tones from getting too saturated.


Adjust Color > Color Balance

Supported by Photoshop Elements 1-3, 11 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Color Balance filter allows you to adjust the color of shadow, midtone and highlight areas separately.

To select a certain tonal range click either the Shadows, Midtones or Highlights radio button. Each of these options allows different values for the three color sliders. The Preserve Luminosity check box keeps the brightness of the image unchanged while it is colorized.


Adjust Color > Selective Color

Supported by Photoshop Elements 1-3, 11 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

The Selective Color filter lets you independently adjust certain color and gray areas of the image. It is similar to the Adjust Hue/Saturation filter, but uses the CMYK color model instead of the HSL one, as you can see from the names of the sliders. Additionally it also allows adjusting white, neutral and black areas. On the other hand the adjustments of the Selective Color filter are less precise, because there is no feature for editing the color ranges.

Select the target color from the Colors combo box and use the sliders to change it. Each combo box option uses different slider values, so there are a total of 9 * 4 = 36 slider values. The two Method radio buttons at the bottom switch between different color adjustment methods. To reset all values hold down the Alt key and click on the Cancel button, which is now named Reset.


Adjust Color > Match Color

Supported by Photoshop Elements 3 and higher
Requirements: Two 8-bit images need to be opened.

The Match Color filter lets you grab colors from another image and apply them to the current one in order to equalize the color mood of both images. This way you can make sure that two images have the same overall color. The image from which the color are grabbed is defined by the Source combo box. There you can select any other document that was opened in Photoshop Elements.

There are two effects selectable from the Mode combo box. The Global Light effect takes the average color of the other image to uniformly colorize the current image. The Local Range effect grabs colors from various areas of the other image thus colorizing the current image differently in various places. The Desaturate check box makes sure that the current image is only adjusted in brightness and not color.

The Intensity slider controls the saturation of the color effect. The Radius slider determines the size of the areas from which colors are grabbed by the local effect.


Black & White

Supported by Photoshop Elements 6 and higher
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

Similar to the Monochrome option of the Channel Mixer filter, the Black & White filter turns a color image into a grayscaled one. With six instead of three sliders for adjusting the black & white effect, you have more control, but it also gets more complicated. Additionally you can colorize the black & white image with the help of a color box and two color sliders.


The six top sliders define the black & white effect of the filter by mixing six different color channels, which are based on the RGB and CMY color models. To colorize the black and white effect activate the Tint check box. Now you can click on the color box to choose another color from a color dialog or use the Hue and Saturation sliders to adjust the color. The Auto button tries to find a balanced black & white mix by evaluating the image.


Sharpen, Sharpen More, Sharpen Edges

Supported by all versions of Photoshop Elements
Requirements: An image needs to be opened.

These three simple sharpening filters apply the effect without showing a dialog. Sharpen More applies a stronger sharpening than the Sharpen filter. Sharpen Edges only sharpens the edges in the images. To reduce the effect of these filters either apply them to a layer and adjust their opacity or use the Edit > Fade command.