Creating an Elements hi-key image requires
technique than with the full version of Photoshop because Elements does
not have as many ways to adjust an
That's probably the number one reason Elements costs so
much less than Photoshop, right?
- what you are doing here is lightening the overall image so that only
the most important features are retained and even that part is much
lighter than normal.
Elements hi-key images are dramatic and seem to
resonate at some basic level with most people. Expect comments like,
"Wow!" and "that's beautiful!" and "how did you do that?" on your
The set-up for an Elements hi-key conversion is easy and
of the technique is Dodge Tool intensive. Because of the
amount of dodging you will find this a much easier technique to
successfully complete with a Bamboo or Intuos
No matter what the digital editing goal, there are dozens of different
ways to arrive at any
final image with both Photoshop and Elements and this one is no
version of Photoshop Elements that I am using does not
have some of the
options I used in the full version of Photoshop so we have to find a
This means it is good that there are so many different
paths to arrive at a finished product.
Convert The Image
To Black and White
Open your file and make a copy of it. This will preserve the original
and the original color can be used later.
Convert the image to Black and White Image > Mode
> Grayscale or Enhance
> Convert To Black and White ...
and White Conversion
||Black and White
There are more options available with the second
conversion method so that is probaly the best choice. The
ideal starting point is with a black and white image with a high
contrast (a lot of white and a lot of black and not much in the
Now we are going to lighten the overall picture using Levels.
Select Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Levels
to bring up the Layers Dialogue box.
The trick now is to lighten the overall picture using
the small adjusters immediately below the Histogram.
To achieve the effect in the sample I moved the right
the left and then moved the middle one to the left as well. I didn't
want to completely blow out all the texture on her face but you may
want to go further with yours - or you may not go as far.
When you are satisfied click OK.
When compared to the black and white image it is
easy to see that
this one is starting to approach something like hi key with just the
What is need now is a lot of dodging ...
- on the background
- on her shoulders
- some work in the darker areas of her
- and the shadows of her face.
The thing about hi-key images is that everyone has their own idea of
how a hi-key image should look.
Some like it washed out while others like to keep the important things
like eyes stand out - it is up to you how the end image should look.
Now for some dodging ...
Dodge, Dodge, Dodge
This is the Dodge Tool Options bar. This is where you adjust
the way the Dodge Tool works. You can change
The instructions for this part of the Elements hi-key conversion are
few - just dodge until you are happy with the result. It may
be a good idea to start at the edges and slowly work into the center of
- Brush Tip (with a Wacom Tablet - which is much easier
to use than a mouse)
- Brush Size
- Range - for Shadows, Mid-tones and Highlights
- Exposure - how much dodging is done on each pass
As you work the image change the ranges because it may make a big
Here is the final image the way I like it ...
Some additional Elements hi-key modifications ...
The image still has the original color as the background layer and now
that layer can be put to good use. If you play with the Blend
Modes you will create some interesting results.
This is the result of changing the Blend Mode to Hard Light.
Photoshop Elements includes a lot of really neat effects (Window > Effects
or Filters > Filter
Gallery ...) that can be added to an image.
This image has Texture > Canvas added and it is quite effective.
Play about with your image to see what you can come up with.
There are some wonderful effects in Elements.
And that is how to create an Elements hi-key image. Its fun
and its effective.