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Thread: Photoshop Elements

  1. #1

    Default Photoshop Elements

    So after getting rave reviews from many people that I talked to about paint programs for the Mac, I purchased a copy of Photoshop Elements.

    Now, is it just me, or is there no way to edit the individual color channels? Specifically, alpha? If I can't edit the alpha channel, I don't see how it's a useful program for creating game graphics.

    Please tell me I'm just missing something obvious.

  2. #2

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    Is Photoshop Elements like Photoshop, but with half the features randomly hacked out?
    Anthony
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  3. #3




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    I'd be surprised if you couldn't. I'm a PhotoImpact user, so I don't know... but...

    Stupid question- Have you checked the manual?

  4. #4

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    I've never used Elements either, but in Photoshop proper, you can edit them in the channels tab (found by default next to the layers tab - or if not, you might want to try window>show channels)
    Anthony
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  5. #5

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    Unfortunately, PhotoShop Elements does not allow manipulation of individual channels. That is a full PhotoShop feature.
    Tom Cain :: Smallware

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    In my experince, just because you can't edit an alpha directly doesn't mean the program is a wash-out for creating game graphics. In PhotoImpact, you just use the lowest (transparent) layer as the alpha channel and work around that. I've never had a problem, and I can't edit RGBA separately.

  7. #7

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    yep, even though elements is a nice program, they have strategicly left out some stuff like that.

    If you are gonna learn a paint program, Gimp is getting pretty good. Since I have Photoshop proper, Its hard for me to enjoy the GIMP, but it is makeing progress, and I'm sure you can edit each channel

    http://www.gimp.org/

    for mac: http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/

    It's free and opensource.

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    Heh... I can't stand Gimp. Oh well, each to his own

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    I never said I LIKE gimp Infact I don't, I'm a Photoshop guy myself, just offering help

    For the money ($0) it's not so bad and it can deal with alpha channels. Sheeh!
    Last edited by Jonas; 12-15-2004 at 02:26 AM.

  10. #10

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    Unfortunately, PhotoShop Elements does not allow manipulation of individual channels. That is a full PhotoShop feature.
    Thus, making it basically useless. F**k. Oh well... Guess I'll try and get a full version then.

    I don't even need individual channels, I really just need alpha. But I guess that's not going to happen. I wish they would, you know, SAY THAT on the damn product page.

    "BTW, if you were thinking of using this program for anything outside of removing red-eye from photos, think again!"


    And for the smart arses above, yes, I read the manual. I also searched the help files. I'm not THAT useless.

  11. #11

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    So what are people using for graphics on Mac then?

    GraphicConverter kind of sucks (IMO), and I hear that I should try GIMP.

    Any other suggestions of programs that don't cost $600?

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    Uh, Epicboy... did you read the manual and discover what it *can* do with alphas? I don't have the ability to edit an alpha with PhotoImpact, but I just sort it out when I save the image. Or, I draw the alpha I want and then save the image with that as the alpha. It's as easy as can be. It may not be as amazing as Photoshop, but I find it hard to imagine a situation where that wouldn't give me what I want. More than likely PS Elements has something similar. Check it out before giving up on it altogether.

  13. #13

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    You can often find cheap, older PhotoShop versions on eBay that are legal and unregistered. I've found them still factory sealed before, which is what I prefer. Just make sure it isn't an academic version.

    Version 7 will run on Mac OS X. Version 6 will run on OS X in an OS 9 window, which still works but isn't as clean. I don't recommend PhotoShop below version 6.
    Tom Cain :: Smallware

  14. #14

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    Thanks Tom! I'll take a look around. I guess I don't need the absolute latest version, that's true...

  15. #15

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    Photoshop 6 is excellent. I don't see anything in PS7 that would really induce me to upgrade (and inevitably have some of my keyboard shortcuts messed with). EDIT: oops, the mac situation is possibly different, with that whole os-change business, ahh...

    But apart from that, I'm sure there are plenty of ways to get elements to do what you want. Dipping into the channels tab isn't something I find myself doing all that often. It does support layers, right? What is it you want to do with the alpha channel?
    Last edited by Anthony Flack; 12-15-2004 at 07:41 AM.
    Anthony
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  16. #16

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    What is it you want to do with the alpha channel?
    Edit it.

    You can't see or edit the alpha channel in Elements.

    There are some interesting alternatives though that I've seen mentioned in a few places. Things like hiding the background layer and doing "save for web" produces a PNG with a proper alpha channel. I'll check them out tonight and see if some of those hacks would be good enough for now...

  17. #17

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    Personally I've always found that the alpha channel stuff in PS is very difficult to get to grips with anyway. I've had trouble with having edited the alpha channel, and saving out the bitmap as some format or other, and it not appearing because when PS saves out the bitmap it just takes the transparent pixels as alpha instead. Stuff like that, I'm sure it's all fine and dandy if you know what you're doing and such-like, but I'll bet there are miles cheaper and easier packages out there than PS for doing things like this.

  18. #18

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    Yeah, edit it, sure. But you don't have to seperate out the alpha channel to edit it.

    I mean (unless Elements is far more pared down than I would think possible), all the layers except the background layer have transparency. And the tools work on it. If you delete a selection, or use the eraser, or anything like that, you're editing the alpha channel.

    Just get rid of that background layer right off the bat - it's useless. Duplicate it and then delete the original (weird photoshop workaround). Now you can get at the alpha.

    All your pngs will be saved with alpha, if Elements isn't completely crap.
    Anthony
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  19. #19

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    Is it possible to do gradients with the transparency stuff. I mean, I know masking would be easy enough, but I wonder how difficult working with shades of alpha will be.

    Guess I'll try it out tonight...

  20. #20

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    Default Off Topic PhotoShop Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Flack
    Just get rid of that background layer right off the bat - it's useless. Duplicate it and then delete the original (weird photoshop workaround).
    Alternatively, double-click the Background swatch in the layers palette; that converts it into a proper layer.

  21. #21

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    Well not exactly sure what you're trying to do, but If ya got a layer and you use the eraser tool, you are editing the alpha for that layer.

    Then do your output to PNG.

    In photoshop there is the "layers" and a "Channels" area.

    Each layer is RGBA. And if you think of the channels other than RGB as selections you might use. You can then load up that channel as a selection and say "mask" a layer if you don't want to bake it into that layer.

    But basicly like Anthony said, nix the background layer, make a new layers, and what you see is what you get. It's an RGBA right there. Just got to render it to PNG or some format that supports the alpha values.

  22. #22

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    Wayward, thats a nice tip there onthe double click. Have you found a way to make is start out clear? Not thats is a monumental task to select it and delete all the white, still it would be handy.

    Edit: Doh, looks like there is an option for setting the BG transparent when creating a new file and it starts out as a layer instead of a BG layer. I don't know why I never noticed that before.
    Last edited by Jonas; 12-15-2004 at 01:49 PM.

  23. #23

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    Yeah, I think I'm seeing the light on the transparency method guys, thanks! I was just so used to doing my alpha channel via the channels tab that it never occured to me that there might be other ways...

  24. #24

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    Epic, in Photoshop there is a handy tool you'll probably enjoy.

    it's called "quick mask mode" (press Q to toggle)this takes the current selection, and renders it as a bit map. you can draw, erase, paste, cut, etc etc, then when your done modifying it, you can flip it back to a selection.

    It's a powerful tool. So say you want a gradient alpha for a layer, you could flip into Quick mask mode, do a gradient fill with black and white, then flip back.

    now that selelction you have is gradient, so you can forinstance press "delelte" so apply the alpha to the current layer. However a MUCH better idea is to apply the selection as a "layer mask" which is in the "layer" menu in PhotoshopCS. It might not be in elements.

  25. #25

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    Epic, you might want to check your alpha-masked sprite in your game engine to make sure it looks the way you want. While you can do alpha-masking using only the layer transparency and saving as PNG, that method may not look the way you want in the game engine if you are trying to alpha-blend using the alpha channel.
    Tom Cain :: Smallware

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