Learning to enhance your photo's can be a time consuming job. The industry leading image editors Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro will let you edit to your hearts content. Media professionals spend hours tweaking magazine images to perfection using manual techniques. You could spend £££'s buying Photoshop magazines to recreate the techniques or you could take the easy option and use one of the many built in filters that do all the hard work for you. There's a snag though, Photoshop costs over £600.00 to buy, and even the cut down Elements version is £70.00-£80.00. It also has a steep learning curve. Windows Live Gallery editor only has B/W filters in it, but there are several freeware editors available that come with a plethora of built in filters. One such editor is Photoscape. It has plenty of useable filters that will transform your images in seconds and is really easy to use. Beginners will be able to use it instantly. I'll use three different filters in this tutorial.

Point your browser to www.photoscape.net. Don't click the big blue 'Download' button as it's an advertisement for a third party file manager. Instead, hover your mouse over the row of grey tabs above it, and click on the 'Free Download' tab. It should turn green when you hover over it. Choose a link, and click it. www.point-n-shoot reccomends Cnet, but you can choose your favourite. Download the software to your hard drive, and then scanit  for viruses and run the setup file. Once it's loaded, double click the Photoscape icon on your desktop. When it opens, you'll see a circle with options around it. Click the 'Edit' option. This loads the editor. It's empty, so use the built in file manager at the left of the screen to browse to the photo you want to add a filter to. I've opened a nice picture of some Yellow Daisies.
Click the 'Filters' button at the bottom of the screen, and select a filter. I've selected 'Antique Photo'. You'll see a list of seven filters. Each number is a different style. My favourite is '07', which gives an effect like the image below. Click it to apply the filter. If you don't like it, click the 'Undo' button in the bottom right hand corner to remove it .If you like the effect, click 'Save'.
Turning a photograph into a painting or drawing is a popular filter. Click the 'Filters' button, then 'Pictoralization'. There are lots of styles to try, and I've selected 'Impressionistic to turn it into an 'Impressionist painting'. The filter will be added at the default setting (which is 24 in this case). Our image looks a little over the top like a Monet, so I'll reduce the strength to 14 so you can see what it is. Experiment with different strengths until you find one you like and then click 'Save.'
Let's try Glasstile. This simulates looking at your image through glass tiles. You can choose from 'Double Sided', 'Vertical', or 'Horizontal' Glasstiles. As usual, use the sliders to attain your desired effect. I've added two filters to show you the different effects this can achieve.
There are over 50 different filters. Each is contained in it's own section or subsection of the 'Filters' menu. For example, Fake tilt shift has it's own section, wheras Pictoralisation has 11 different filters for different painting & drawing styles. All are easy to use. Have fun experimenting with the different filters, and see how easy it is for you to transform your photo's with just a few simple mouse clicks! If you use Photoshop Elements or The Gimp, they too have easy to use filters. Don't forget to post your best efforts on our Facebook page.
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