How to Improve a Dull Photo with Paint Shop Pro

Improving a dull photo with Paint Shop Pro is not difficult. However, it does require you to use a few different tools that the software provides. This how to guide will walk you through the best way to brighten a photo that is dull due to age or the different effects involved in taking the original photograph.


Step 1: Make A Copy

You should always make a copy of the original photograph. Right click on the photo and click on copy. At this point you can rename the photo or just leave it as saying "copy of" and the name of the original photo. Always work with a copy so that if your changes do not go as planned you can start from scratch for a better outcome. You also have the option of copying and pasting the image into Paint Shop Pro to work on it that way.

Step 2: Multiply And Layer

You now need to click on the duplicate layer option, and then ensure the layer blend mode is set to multiply. The whole photo should turn very dark at this point. Now we need to add a new layer to the photo called a mask layer. Click on the new layer icon. It looks like a piece of paper being lifted. Then click on new mask layer and show all.


Step 3: More Layers And Gradient

While viewing the Mask Layer pop up you will have the choice of different filling tools. You should choose the flood filler tool. This is the icon that looks like paint being poured out of a cup or paint can. When the materials window is visible, change the foreground and background to black and white. Then use the menu arrow to change the foreground to the gradient option. Ensure that the gradient preview shows the fade from black on top to white on the bottom. If it is incorrect you will need to view all gradient style options then select the correct style of black and white with the correct fade pattern as well. Ensure that the Flood Fill Tool is still selected, then click on the mask layer icon once to enhance the photo.  


Step 4: Improving The Dark Areas

You will find that in fixing many of the dull areas that other parts of your photo have suffered by becoming too dark. You can improve this. Start by using the lasso tool to create a "lasso" around the areas that you feel are too dark and need adjusting. Then, select the brush tool. Choose a small, soft edged brush. Choose the layers palette again and click on Edit Selection. The rubylith which is a red toned overlay will take place of the outlined image. Use your paint brush tool and choose paint with white, you will now smooth the area and ensure that there are no sharp edges. If you mistakenly select an area, then instead of doing it over, use the paint with black option to remove the unwanted selection. When complete, click again on the edit selection icon to return to the photo with the outlined image.


Step 5: Using The Duplicate Layer

You created a duplicate layer in Step Two that will allow you to replace the areas of the photo that are too dark with the lighter areas. Click on the layers palette and activate the duplicate layer by clicking on it. Next you will be deleting the lassoed area by hitting the delete key on your keyboard. This will allow the image underneath to show through.


Step 6: Merge The Layers

Now you need to merge the layers by clicking on the layers palette and selecting the merge all selection. This step serves to merge the layers together and save the new image in the improved form. You are now ready to save, print and share your photo.

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