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Importing Images from Cameras and Scanners

Digital cameras have revolutionized photography and are one of the main forces driving the need for products like Photoshop Elements. Over the past couple of years, the prices have dropped, while quality (as measured by higher resolution) has risen dramatically. Typically, these cameras come with their own software to help you browse and manage photos. You can choose to download these photos to your hard disk and then open them in Photoshop Elements, or you can connect directly to the camera from within Photoshop Elements and then select individual images for downloading.

Photoshop Elements even lets you capture frames from digital videos, with the new Frame From Video command. In order to capture video frames, you'll need to make sure your video is in a format that can be recognized. Supported Windows formats include .avi, .mpg, and .mpeg, and Macintosh formats include QuickTime and .mpeg.

Similar to digital cameras, scanners offer another way to get images into Photoshop Elements. They're ideal for getting family photos and other paper documents into the computer. You're not limited to photos, either. As long as you can fit it onto your flatbed scanner, you can scan almost anything your heart desires: letters, buttons, fabric, leaves, or clip art. You can also scan an image from within Elements itself, as long as your scanner's appropriate plug-in is located inside the Import/Export folder; this folder is inside the Plug-ins folder, which is located within the Photoshop Elements application folder on your hard drive

To import images from a digital camera:

  1. Connect your digital camera to your computer using the instructions provided by the camera manufacturer.

  2. To import images from a digital camera, click Connect to Camera or Scanner on the Welcome screen, or do one of the following:

    • On the shortcuts bar, click the Import icon (Figure 2.9).

      Figure 2.9Figure 2.9 The Import icon on the Shortcuts bar provides quick access to your digital camera.

    • From the File menu, choose Import.

    If you choose Connect to Camera or Scanner from the Welcome screen or use the shortcuts bar, you'll see a Select Import Source menu, and if you go to the File menu, the Import menu appears. Both work the same way.

  3. Select your digital camera software from the menu list (Figure 2.10).

    Figure 2.10Figure 2.10 Choosing File > Import is another way for you to download photos from your camera.

    Depending on your individual digital camera software and plug-ins, you may see a different menu choice here. Your camera software launches, displaying your photos (Figure 2.11).

    Figure 2.11Figure 2.11 Digital cameras usually include software to browse and select images, as with the Canon Image Browser shown here.

  4. Following your camera software directions, import and then open the digital images in Photoshop Elements.

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    If your camera software is not visible from the File > Import menu, check to make sure that your digital camera's plug-in is located in the Photoshop Elements Plug-ins folder.

    When shooting pictures with your digital camera, it's always better to shoot it at the highest resolution possible. That way, you always start out with a high-quality original file, and you can always reduce the image resolution and file size later for output to the Web or a printer.

Compact Storage Cards

Almost all digital cameras ship with some sort of compact storage card—it's a thin, plastic card that stores your camera's digital data. The most common variety is the CompactFlash card; other compact storage cards include SmartMedia, Secure Digital Card (SD), and the MultiMedia Card (MMC). Sony uses its own proprietary storage format, called a Memory Stick.

As you snap photos, your digital camera's compact storage card acts as a virtual holding space for all your images. When you delete (or transfer and then delete) images from your camera, Importing Images from Cameras and Scanners that memory space is freed up on your storage card, giving you more room for additional photos.

Most digital cameras include a cable that connects your camera to your computer for easy photo transferring. An alternate way to get photos into your computer is via a storage card reader, which you connect to your PC or Macintosh via a USB cable. Once you've installed the card reader software on your computer, just insert your compact storage card into the card reader to import your photos from your camera to your computer with a minimum of fuss.

To capture frames from video footage:

  1. To capture still video frames, click Connect to Camera or Scanner on the Welcome screen, or do one of the following:

    • On the shortcuts bar, click the Import icon and select Frame From Video.

    • From the File menu, choose Import > Frame From Video (Figure 2.12).

      Figure 2.12Figure 2.12 Choose the Import > Frame From Video command to convert movie footage into Photoshop Elements image files.

    The Frame From Video dialog box appears (Figure 2.13).

    Figure 2.13Figure 2.13 The Frame From Video dialog box lets you browse for and play movie files.

  2. Click the Browse button to locate the file you want, and then click Open to see the video footage (Figure 2.14).

    Figure 2.14Figure 2.14 You can open any supported movie file format. Supported Windows formats include .avi, .mpg, and .mpeg, and Mac formats include QuickTime and mpeg.

    The video clip appears in the Frame From Video dialog box (Figure 2.15).

    Figure 2.15Figure 2.15 After you open a movie file, it appears in the Frame From Video dialog box, where you can play, pause, and grab movie frames.

  3. To view your footage, click the Play button. When you see the frame you want, click the Grab Frame button.

    In order the grab the frame you want, you can also use the Pause button to stop the video at the desired frame. Another useful option is to simply move the slider to the correct frame in the video.

  4. Grab as many video frames as you want, one by one, then click Done.

  5. As you click the Grab Frame button, you will see the images appear as Photoshop Elements files in your work area (Figure 2.16).

    Figure 2.16Figure 2.16 Captured frames automatically appear as Photoshop Elements images in your work area.

  6. Once you've captured the frames, you can save and edit them just like any other images.

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    You'll likely have a greater variety of exposure problems with video frames than with the still shots you take with a digital camera. You can easily fix bad contrast and dark tones with a few of Photoshop Elements' correction tools, which we'll explore more in Chapter 3, "Changing and Adjusting Colors" and Chapter 6, "Fixing and Retouching Photos."

To scan an image into Photoshop Elements:

  1. Connect the scanner to your computer using the instructions provided by the scanner manufacturer.

  2. To scan the image, click Connect to Camera or Scanner on the Welcome screen, or do one of the following:

    • On the shortcuts bar, click the Import icon.

    • From the File menu, choose Import (Figure 2.17).

      Figure 2.17Figure 2.17 Choose File > Import to connect to your scanner.

  3. Select your scanner software from the menu list, and then follow your scanner's directions to complete the scan.

  4. Import and open the digital images within Photoshop Elements.

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    If you're planning to use only part of an image, you'll save yourself a lot of time if you use your scanning software to crop your image before importing it into Photoshop Elements (Figure 2.18).

    Figure 2.18Figure 2.18 Most scanning software allows you to choose a specific area of an image to crop to (left), so that your scan is already cropped when you open it in Photoshop Elements (right).

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