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Lightworks Video Editor Pro. Is a fully professional digital video editing software and is as expected from the title, is up to fully professional standards. The company are very proud of the fact that some very notable movies have been edited by some of the top Oscar winning editors using Lightworks.

More company information available and also it can be downloaded from this link here.

So, how did I find working with Lightworks?

I can say it does stand up to the advertised standards, and is indeed a fully professional video editor.

Due to this and similar to other professional software, there is quite a learning curve involved in being able to get the best out of it. However it is not that difficult to get to grips with at least the basics, meaning that with a few clips to experiment with and following the tutorials, you can soon be doing some good work. I honestly found getting to grips with Photoshop Elements more difficult than learning the basics of Lightworks.

You will find on their website links to Youtube hosted video tutorials, there is a quick start guide for a quick get up and running PDF document, plus also the full user guide also in PDF, available to download along with full guides regarding installation and activation of the software.

There is also a large number of other helpful Video and written guides from other happy users. A written guide regarding initial set up and basic tutorial, along with more in depth help can be found here. A search of YouTube will reveal many other helpful and more advanced tutorials.

I went out with my video camera and took a few shots of some local fountains, on a pretty dull sort of day. Then set to with editing them into something useful. Having not yet finished that, I can only show a couple of intermediary screen shots, however, they will give you an idea of what can be done within each clip during the editing process.

For a rather dull day, as in this screen shot.

Lightworks Screenshot

You can then use colour correction to liven up the colours, here of course well over the top just to demonstrate.

Outdoor Showers Lightworks

Or even go entirely the other way and emphasise the dull day by going to full black and white only.

Outdoor Showers Black and White

There are many other effects can be added to your edit, including the usual fade out to fade in to the next clip when adding more clips.

At the end of it all, I am extremely impressed with this video editing tool and what can be achieved with it.

There is only one minor, and I do mean minor gripe, unlike many other editors that can automatically sense the video’s frame rate in frames per second, (FPS) in Lightworks you do need to know what the frame rate is of all your clips, and set the project to work with that. That does mean all clips have to be the same rate, however if all from the same camera that is not a problem. (There are also various free video converters that can also convert to a standard rate. AVC, or Adapter being two).

To find out what the frame rate is of a clip already downloaded to your hard drive, right click on the file, select “Properties” then the “Details” tab, it should show you there what the frame rate is in FPS.

To conclude, other than the minor gripe about frame rate recognition, it is a superb video editor, and for anyone wishing to do some serious video editing, I can recommend it to any one.


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Animated Snow Christmas Card – by PseFrank




Animated Snow ……

It’s that time of year again, when many of us will be thinking of sending Christmas cards to our friends and family. This tutorial shows how using Adobe Photoshop CS5 we can make animated snow. The tutorial will also work in other versions of Photoshop, although in older versions the user interface may vary.

What we’ll do to produce animated snow …

Choose and resize an image –- Add text to our card –- Add falling snow –- Animate our card
1. Make a copy of your chosen image and open it in the Photoshop Editor.2. Hit Alt + Ctrl + I on your keyboard to open up the Image Size dialogue.
Make sure that Constrain Proportions and Resample Image are both checked. Set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch. Type 1000 pixels into whatever is your images longest edge (Width or Height). Select Bicubic Sharper.Click OK.
Now save your image.

With the image at the correct size, and just the Background layer showing in the Layers palette, we can start adding the snow layers.3. At the bottom of the layers palette click on the Create new layer icon. It’s the small square icon. See below marked in red.
A blank layer will appear above the background layer.4. Hit on your keyboard to get the default colours of Black over White. See bottom of tool bar.Hit Alt + Backspace to fill the new layer with black.From the options bar near the top of your screen go Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Enter a value of 73% and check Gaussian and Monochromatic…..Click OK.Now go Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a value of 1.6 pixels. Click OK.At the top of the layers palette click the down facing arrow beside where it says Normal. From the drop down menu choose Screenfrom the blending options.Hit CTRL + L on your keyboard to open up the levels dialogue. Under Input Levels you will see three boxes. Type in these values from the left…90 – 1.00 – 110. Click OK.5. Repeat steps 3 and 4…Four more times. Ok…just to recap. You should now have a total of 6 layers. Starting at the bottom…The Background layer, plus 5 black layers with white speckles on them. (The top layer should be selected)Adding a little fallen snow at the bottom of the image
6. Click the Create new layer icon. Change the foreground colour to white. (Hit X on keyboard) 
Chose the Brush tool from the tool bar. Make your brush soft and about 100px in size. Move the brush from one side of the image to the other, turning it up a little at each side. If you make a mistake, hit Ctrl + Z to undo the last action. If you want to undo more than one step, then hit Ctrl + Alt + Z.Adding the text layer
You’ll find the text tool in the tool bar on the left of your screen. It’s the icon with a capital T. Font and text size can be chosen from the options bar near the top of the screen. After typing your text there are also options to apply effects.To choose a text effect click Window > Styles. The styles palette will appear above the layers palette. After you have typed your text, click on any one of the styles icons to apply that style. To see more text effects click the small arrow in the top right hand corner of the styles palette.

7. Choose the Text tool from the tool bar. After choosing your font and text size type in your Christmas message. With the message typed, click on the arrow at the right hand end of the options bar to confirm. Add a text effect if you wish.

So now you have 8 layers in the layers palette. Background, 5 snow layers, 1 fallen snow layer, and the text layer.

Animating your card/image
8. Click Window > Animation
Turn off layers 2, 3, 4, and 5 (That’s the layers named Layer 2, Layer 3, etc.)

Note: Clicking the eye icon beside a layer will turn that layer off. Clicking again will turn the layer back on.

Click on the small arrow in the top right hand corner of the animation window. From the menu select New Frame.

Now turn off layer 1 and turn on layer 2.

Click again to open up the animation menu. And once again select New Frame.
Turn off layer 2 and turn on layer 3.

Click yet again to open the animation menu. Select New Frame.
Turn off layer 3 and turn on layer 4.

Click to open the animation menu. Select New Frame.
Turn off layer 4 and turn on layer 5.

Click on the first Frame to highlight it. Now while pressing down the Shift key click on the last Frame. This will select all of the frames.
Click on the small arrow in the bottom right corner of any frame to alter the delay time on all frames. This should be 0.2 seconds.

Ok…you have the 5 frames you need for your animation. If you make a mistake, go to the animation menu and select Delete Frame or delete animation. Then start over.

The big test 
9. Click on the small green arrow in the centre of the animation control bar to play your animation. When you’re totally happy click again to stop the animation.

Saving for the web 
10. At the top of your screen click File > Save for web and devices
Starting from the top of the area to the right.
From the file type menu choose GIF.
Under Image size change the value in the width box to 600 pixels.

At the bottom of the screen you will see a Preview button. Clicking this will open a browser page that shows how your animation will look.
If you choose to use the preview, then you can close it by clicking the X in the top right corner.

11. Now save your animation.
Note: At a size of 600pixels your animation will be too big for most web sites/forums. So this copy is for home, friends and family.

After saving your animation click File > Save for web and devices again.

This time, under Image size type 400 pixels in the width box. This size should be acceptable on most web forums.

Save your animation as before, but this time add “Web” to the file name.


You’re done!
If you need more information about Animated Snow please ask on the Free PC Help website – click here
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Layers Palette – a Photoshop Tutorial by PseFrank





When an image is opened in the Photoshop editing area the layers palette will reflect this by showing a thumbnail. The thumbnail is called the Background Layer. The layers palette is the section on your screen over on the right hand side.

There are many things that can be done to an image via the layers palette, but for now we’ll just concentrate on its basic use.

What’s this then…?

Q) Why do I need to use the Layers Palette?

A) By using the layers palette you are giving yourself lots of choice. These are choices you won’t have if you don’t use layers.


As you can see from the image below the layers are stacked on top of each other with the Background layer always being the bottom of the stack.





Q) Why isn’t there a little eye icon next to the background layer?

A) Clicking on the Eye Icon turns that particular layer off. When a layer is turned off it cannot be seen on your main screen, and cannot be changed in any way. Clicking on the small empty box will turn the layer back on again.

Note: When you open an image, always duplicate the background layer (CTRL + J), and turn the layer off. This will protect your image from accidental damage. Even better still, never work on the original image, always make a copy to work on.

Q) I don’t like that horrible green colour. Is there a way I can easily change it?

A) Yes there is…That’s the beauty of working with layers, you can edit any of the layers at any time.
To change the colour of Layer 1 (The green layer), just click once on the layer to make it the active layer. Change the foreground colour in the toolbar to the one you want, and hit ALT + BACKSPACE on your keyboard…Job done!

Q) How do I make a blank or transparent layer, and then colour some of it in?

A) To make a blank layer…In the layers palette click on the Create a new layer icon. It’s the small square one. Now make a selection the shape you need. Choose your colour and hit ALT + BACKSPACE on your keyboard.


Q) In the layers palette, how do I reposition a layer?

A) There are two ways of moving a layer to a new position. The first method is to click Layer > Arrange > Bring Forward. The shortcut for this is Ctrl + ]. (That’s Ctrl plus the right bracket key) This will move the selected layer Forward/Up one position.

The second method is to click on a layer and either drag it upwards or downwards with the mouse.

 Sometimes it takes a long time to finish an edit. How can I save my work so that when I go back to it on another day I still have all the layers intact?

A) If you want to save an incomplete edit with the layers intact you must save it as a .psd file. At the top of your screen click File > Save. Choose the place where you want to save your image to.
Give your file a name that means something to you. For example: The FPH Edit. Make sure that .PSD is selected as the file type. (.PSD should be selected by default)

Now click Save.

Photoshop will automatically open your .PSD file when you double click on it next time.

If you have any more questions re: The Layers Palette please visit Free PC Help website – click here
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Making Selections – a Photoshop tutorial by PseFrank


making Selections - Photoshop 230

There are many ways of making selections in Photoshop. What we’ll look at here is the most common ways of selecting parts of an image and also how we can change the properties of our selections to suit different situations.


The magic wand tool has got to be one of the easiest ways of making selections in Photoshop. You’ll find it in the tool bar bundled with the QUICK SELECTION TOOL. The magic wand works very well when there is plenty of contrast between the subject you want to select and its background. In the example below I’m going to use the wand to select me and my aeroplane.
making Selections - Photoshop 232
At first glance it looks like we have a plain white background. But on closer inspection you will see that there are traces of a bluey/greeny colour on the background. When there is an inconsistency in a background that stops you from making a clean selection with the wand, it can often be overcome by altering the wands Tolerance. Have a close look at the image below.
making Selections - Photoshop 233
As you can see from the blown up sections of our example image, when the tolerance was set at the photoshop default of 32, it didn’t quite select all of the background. By changing the wands tolerance to 50, everything was selected as desired.Raising the tolerance selects More, and lowering the tolerance will mean that Less is selected. Experiment with this setting on an image of your own. Often, clicking in a different place will alter the result as well.Adding or Subtracting selections
If you look at the image above you will see a set of 4 rectangular icons in the options bar. Each of the icons when selected does something different.
Here’s a blow up:
1) New selection
2) Add to selection (Already selected in the image)
3) Subtract from selection
4) Intersect with selectionExplanation of settings one to four
1) Brand new selection2) Click on this icon when you want to select another area of your image and not lose the first selection.
This is handy when you want for example… to select a persons eyes.3) If you’ve selected too much or you want to subtract from the inside of an existing selection, this is the tool to use.
Example: If you had selected a persons eyes, but wanted to alter just the whites of the eyes. You could select the inner coloured parts, and these areas would not be affected by the alterations made to the whites.4) When you make a selection over the top of part of an already selected area. The only selection you will be left with is the section where the two selections overlap each other.What does Anti-alias do?
When the Anti-alias box is checked/ticked your selection edges will be smoothed/softened. This is usually a good thing. Examples of when not to check this box would be when selecting text or small graphics.What does Contiguous mean?
In its simplest form contiguous means touching or joined. For example, if two people were holding hands, then they would be contiguous. But if they were standing apart, they would not be contiguous.If you look at the plane image you will see that the background is divided into 4 areas. 3 are between the wings of the plane, while the fourth is the outer area surrounding the plane. If Contiguous was left unchecked when using the wand tool…All 4 areas would be selected in one click of the wand. (Everything that is white or nearly white).The down side to this is that if there is any white (Or nearly white) areas on the plane its self, these would be selected as well. So by checking/ticking Contiguous and then making 4 separate selections we can be sure that only the background is selected, and not any areas of the plane its self.Remember…to make multiple selections the second (Add to selection) icon must be checked/selected.
If you need more information on Making Selections please use the Free PC Help website – click here

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PhotoShop – Working with Multiple Images in CS5 –  ( by PseFrank )

Although these instructions are written for Photoshop CS5, they will work for most other versions of CS as well. If you have problems with your version. Please don’t hesitate to ask.


Description: When working in Photoshop there are many times when we need to open two or more images in the editing area. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions along with some helpful tips.


Image 1



How do I…?

Q: I want to be able to have two images in the PhotoShop editing area at the same time?

A: Near the top of your screen click Edit > Preferences > Interface and under Panels and Documents uncheck (No tick) Open Documents as Tabs. Click Ok.

Q: Sometimes when I have more than one image open in the Photoshop editing area at the same time. The one on top covers the others so I can’t see them. How do I work on the ones underneath?

A: There are two ways of getting over this problem. The first is to simply left click on the information bar at the top of your image (Where it shows the file name) and then drag the image to one side.

The second is to change the size that the image is showing on your screen (i.e..from maybe 100% to 50%). To do this press and hold down the Ctrl & Alt keys on your keyboard and then Tap either the Plus or Minus (“+” or “-“) keys to go bigger or smaller.

Note: Clicking anywhere on an image in the editing area, will make that image the Live Image and the one that shows in the layers palette. (And on top in the editing area)

Q: Can I use my mouse to zoom in and out of an image in the Photoshop editing area? And if the image is really blown up big. How do I get to the parts I cannot see?

A: You can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out of an image. You may need to alter your preferences to achieve this. Go Edit > Preferences > General and under Options check mark (Tick) Zoom with Scroll Wheel. Click Ok.

If your image is blown up so large that you cannot see all of it (Sometimes necessary for fine work) you can move to another part of the image by pressing down and holding the space bar on your keyboard and clicking and dragging the image. 

Holding down the space bar will also temporarily disengage whatever tool or brush you are using at the time. The cursor will change into a small hand.

Note: When you release the space bar whichever tool you are using will re-engage in the place where you have your cursor. So when doing this, move your cursor back to where you want it before releasing the space bar.


If you have more questions please use the Free PC Help website – click here



Photoshop OOB Tutorial by PSEFrank

Here’s a basic PhotoShop OOB tutorial (Out Of Bounds). If you’ve not heard of this before, an OOB edit is where at least part of the main subject in a photo protrudes past or outside of the image frame.


The example you see just below was edited in Photoshop Elements 4. And although most OOB tutorials make use of Layer Masks, this tutorial doesn’t use masks at all. Unlike its big brother, Adobe Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements does not have a single click add Layer Mask button. This tutorial will work in any version of Photoshop.


For those that have a go at an OOB and want to post their images on the site. Please post them in the Off Topic Forum.

Please keep the size of your uploaded images to within 100KB in file size. And no more than 600 pixels on their longest edge. Thankyou for complying with this.


1) Open your image in the PhotoShop editor.
2) Hit Ctrl + J on your keyboard to duplicate the background layer.
3) Turn off the visibility on the background layer by clicking the Eye icon.
4) In the Layers Palette click on the Create a new layer icon.
5) From the tool bar select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag a selection that includes most of your main subject….See example below.




6) Select white as your foreground colour (Two small squares at bottom of tool bar)
 Hit on the keyboard for the default Black & White colours. Hit on the keyboard to toggle the colours.

7) Hit Alt + Backspace to fill the selection with white. (You can choose any colour)
8) Click Select > Modify > Contract. In the box provided type in a pixel value and then click OK
On my swan image I typed a value of 25 pixels. This gave me a border that looked ok. The pixel value you use depends on the size of your image. If you’re not happy with the border width, hit Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the last command. Then type in a different pixel value.

9) Now hit the Delete key. This will remove the middle section of the white area. Leaving just a white frame. Now hit Ctrl + D to lose the marching ants (Your selection).




We now need to distort our frame. We’ll do this by using the Free Transform command. This allows you to move and or stretch your frame to pretty much any position you like. Some practice is required to master this. The commands are carried out by using a combination of the ShiftCtrl and Alt keys.

If you hold down all three keys at the same time, and grab a corner handle…by moving your cursor left or right, or up or down. This will move both sides of your frame either inwards or outwards at the same time.
You grab a handle by placing your cursor on one of the tiny squares and then click and drag.

If you just press the Ctrl key. This will allow you to just move one corner of your frame in any direction you choose. By grabbing one of the middle handles and not pressing any keys you will be able to resize your frame one side at a time. Keep practicing and it will all make sense.

10) Hit Ctrl + T to go into Free Transform. Try and distort your frame to suit your image. When you are happy with your frame hit theEnter/Return key to confirm the transformation.Clicking the green tick will do the same.

In my example below I have tried to distort the frame to make it appear as if it is lying flat on the water. That’s what suited the swan image.




We now need to make a selection around the frame, and save the selection. Later on this will help us form a shadow layer.

11) In the layers palette, click the Eye icon on layer 1 to turn off that layer. Choose the Magic Wand tool from the tool bar and make sure that Contiguous is checked.
Now click anywhere outside of the frame. Hit Shift + Ctrl + i on your keyboard to invert the selection. To save the selection click Select > Save Selection and name it Frame. Then click OK

Hit Ctrl + D to lose the marching ants.
Click the small box beside Layer 1 to make that layer visible again (Turn it on).

12) Select the Eraser tool from the tool bar and carefully erase any part of the frame that passes over your subject.

Tip: In the layers palette lower the opacity of the frame layer to about 50%. This will enable you to see how much you have to erase. When you’re happy, go back to full opacity.

Tip: While erasing, blow your image up very large on your screen.




Creating the background layer in Photoshop
I often use a Gradient Layer for my image background, but you can have any background you like, including another image alltogether. Because gradient backgrounds are popular, thats what I’ll use here.

13) In the layers palette click the Create a new layer icon. Reposition your new blank layer to just below Layer 1.Do this by clicking on the layer and dragging it down.

14) Select the Gradient Tool from the tool bar. Now click on the gradient box in the options bar (Top left hand side of screen). From the menus provided choose a gradient. Click OK.

15) Click and drag your cursor across the entire image. I have gone from left to right for my gradient, but you can go in any direction you choose. Experiment with this until you are happy. 
It will look like nothing has happened, but if you look at the thumbnail in the layers palette you will see that you have applied your gradient.

The next step will be to erase everything outside of the image frame with the exception of the part of your subject that protrudes past the frame. To do this we must first select the main image layer. Just clicking once on any layer will make that layer active.

16) Click on the main image layer to make it the active layer (Layer 1). Select the Eraser tool ( Hardish brush ) and begin to erase the background. The gradient will now begin to show through on your main screen.

Tip: When erasing the section around the protruding part of your image, blow up big on your screen. If you make a mistake hit Ctrl + Zto undo the last stroke of your brush.




Ok…you’ve nearly finished your Photoshop OOB. If you’ve followed along so far you should have 4 layers in the layers palette. From the bottom they should be…The background layer, the gradient layer (Layer 3), the main image (Layer 1) and the frame layer (layer 2).

To finish off our OOB we’ll create a Shadow Layer.

17) Click on the Create a new layer icon. Now go Select > Load Selection and choose the frame selection that you saved at step 11.
Make sure that black is your choosen foreground colour. Hit Alt + Backspace to fill the selection with black.

18) In the layers palette, reposition the shadow layer to just above the gradient layer. (Click and drag). Select the Move tool from the tool bar. Now using the directional Arrows on your keyboard move the shadow layer until you can see a small section of it on two sides of your image.

Tip: Pay close attention to which direction the light was coming from in the original photo. This should help you decide which direction to move the shadow layer.

19) Hit Ctrl + D to lose the marching ants. From the Options bar go Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. In the box provided select a radius of 20 to 25 pixels and click OK.

20) Using the slider in the layers palette, lower the opacity of the shadow layer to about 60%.

Give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve just completed an OOB edit without using layer masks…..Don’t forget to save your work.

Have fun!



You can also ask for further PhotoShop advice on the Free PC Help website – click here

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