Zoner Photo Studio X–Practical Guide

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Practical Guide Zoner Photo Studio X September 2021

More than

170 pages full of useful tutorials


Content ​How to Read This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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Before You Start

1.1​ Activating ZPS via Your Zoner Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.2 Getting to Know the Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 1.3​ The Differences Between Develop and the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 1.4 How to Organize Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 1.5​ A Comparison of RAW, JPG, TIFF, and ZPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 1.6 Getting to Know the Histogram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

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Get Your Photos Organized Using the Manager Module

2.1 Setting up the Catalog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 2.2​ Downloading photos from your camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 2.3 RAW + JPG Pairs and Work With Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 2.4​ Sorting, Rotating, and Rating Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 2.5 Organizing Photos by Stacking Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 2.6 Stitching Panoramas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 2.7​How to Create HDR Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 2.8​Correcting Bad Dates and Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 2.9​How to Add Locations on a Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 ​2.10​ Assigning keywords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 ​2.11 Searching in the Catalog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 ​2.12​Backing up Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 2.13 How to Frame and Sign Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 2.14 Sending Photos by Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 ​2.15 Sharing Photos Online . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 2.16 Working With Photos in the Cloud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

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How to Adjust Photos in Develop

3.1​Enhancing Composition with a Crop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 3.2​Straightening Converging Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 3.4​Adjusting Exposure in Color Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 ​3.5​ How to Apply a Gradient Filter to a Photo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

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1.4 How to Organize Your Photos Before you get started with your actual photo management, you’ll need to set up the “rules of the game.” After all, everyone wonders at some point where to save their photos or how to name individual files and folders. Fortunately, simple, time-tested recommendations exist for these questions. Here’s how a well-organized photo archive should look. The “rules” for organizing it can be boiled down into the following principles.

An example of a well-organized Catalog—folders have been added to the Catalog, the folders have a rule-based structure, and the Browser shows well-named files.

Download Your Photos Into One Main Folder Often people find themselves struggling to organize their photos because they’re scattered all over their disk. You know the drill—one time you were in a hurry and put them on the Desktop. Another time, you put them in Downloads. Yet another time, they even stayed on your card. Then you usually don’t even know which photos have been downloaded and which ones haven’t. And you’re left taking up lots of extra disk space for nothing.

Before You Start

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2.3 RAW + JPG Pairs and Work With Them One popular method of working with photos is to shoot to RAW+JPG pairs, because it offers the comforts of both of these formats. The two formats’ advantages were described in Chapter 1. 5. , A Comparison of RAW, JPG, TIFF, and ZPS. Now here’s a look at how shooting to both of these formats at once benefits you and makes your work with photos easier. RAW+JPG photo pairs may at first seem complicated to work with. But ZPS can Group them. This makes them much easier to edit and view. There are two main roads for grouping in ZPS. Prioritizing RAW, or prioritizing JPG. In the Manager, click the arrow next to the Sort By icon, and then use Group RAW and JPG. Then choose which of the two versions (formats) to prioritize. Then for each thumbnail, you can see an icon at the top right with information on format grouping and the file’s preferred version. If for example you choose the JPG preference, that means that everything you see and edit for the grouped photos is the JPG version.

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Use the RAW preference if you’d rather edit your photos in RAW instead. To speed up your photo management with this option turned on, make sure that you also have Fast Preview active. In the Manager and Develop modules, “RAW+JPG” is then shown under the histogram. The format that’s underlined here is the “preferred” one: the one you’re currently working with.

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Get Your Photos Organized Using the Manager Module

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Naturally you can also use another system of your own. But it’s important to stick to one system and have all the photos on your computer marked using the same system if possible. Three categories are usually enough: best, usable, and deletable.

Once your photos are rated, it’s easy to find the good ones fast. Use the greater than condition for ratings in the Quick Search box. In the system above, you’d be filtering for photos with three or more stars. Then check your selection to make sure it doesn’t contain too many pictures. If it does, reduce some of their ratings. If, on the other hand, your strict ratings have cut away certain memories completely, raise the ratings of some of your two-star photos. Then delete the ones with one star.

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What you’ve learned: How to compare and sort photos using batch selections and pinning. How to systematically rate your photos.

Get Your Photos Organized Using the Manager Module

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2.13 How to Frame and Sign Your Photos Adding a frame and a signature is a simple edit that you can even apply to multiple pictures at once. And the Batch Filter is the secret. This is an easy way to give a whole set of photos a unified look. Select a group of pictures, and you can give all of them a signature and a frame using the Batch Filter. You just have to set how they should look and then wait for ZPS to make the edits.

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To apply a batch filter to photos, first select them together in the Manager. Then use the Batch Filter, for example via its shortcut (Ctrl+Q). This opens a window for setting up your batch filter.

Click Add Filter to add each filter. Configure them however you need. The Overlay Image and the Envelopes filter (or in some cases the Canvas and Borders filter) are a good choice for adding a signature and frame.

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You don’t have to worry about the filters’ order for now. You can go back and change their order later based on how you plan to work. To do so, just click the gear icon by any of them and then use Move Up or Move Down.

Get Your Photos Organized Using the Manager Module

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A photo before and after applying Polarization.

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3.11 Color Shifting Color shifting is a very popular type of photo edit. Whether you want to work creatively with colors, enhance skin tones, or deliberately change objects’ colors, the advanced color editing features in Zoner Photo Studio X will definitely come in handy. The Color Shift feature in the Develop module lets you adjust individual colors’ hue, saturation, and luminance. This tool is very comprehensive, and it gives you a choice of Basic and Advanced editing mode. Pick among these two modes based on how precisely you need to set—to “select”—the range of colors to change. In the Basic mode, the fastest way to adjust colors is via the Eyedroppers for Hue, Saturation, or Luminance. Click one of these eyedroppers, click into the photo to select a color, and then drag horizontally to adjust that eyedropper’s parameter.

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How to Adjust Photos in Develop

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To precisely see how much of a photo you are affecting, use display masking. The Inverse mask covers the whole selected area in blue. In Normal mode, the mask covers the parts of the photo that are not selected—this makes it easy to see all the changes you have made even with this mask turned on. The mask is useful when you need to make your selection precisely. Turn it on and then shift the nodes on the color wheel to fine-tune the selection however you need.

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Once you’re satisfied with your color selection, turn off the mask and dive on into editing Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. Use the last setting, Uniformity, to unify the shades of your new replacement color. In practice, Uniformity is useful e.g. for major color shifts—and for skin tone editing. For that kind of editing, it’s often useful to tone down the reddened areas, unify skin tone overall, etc.

What You’ve Learned: How to shift any color’s Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. How to work with colors more precisely in Color Shift’s Advanced mode. How to set colors more precisely in Advanced mode using display masking. For more information on color shifting in ZPS, visit www.zoner.to/color-shift.

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If you have fine-tuned a preset and you want to be able to re-use it later, save it under a new name. To do that, just click + in the Presets. You can also use this button to turn any adjustments you make in Develop into a preset. Additionally, you can export presets to share them with your friends. Just click the Menu icon in the Presets and then use the Export Presets item.

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For some inspiration on color edits and more, we recommend visiting zoner.com/ presets. We regularly add new packs of themed presets to that page.

If you use a preset often, add it to your Favorites. To do that, just click the star next to the preset’s name. A Favorites group with all the presets you have favorited is then added to the presets list.

What you’ve learned: How to apply effects to photos using Presets. How to manually adjust a Preset’s opacity and fine-tune its settings after applying it How to save a Preset for further use

How to Adjust Photos in Develop

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4.1 Basic Work with Layers Layers are fundamental for any kind of truly complex editing. Above all, they let you add objects to a picture and work with them independently. That means more possibilities for montages, posters, collages… anything that uses multiple pictures in one. But it’s also useful for more traditional edits. You can think of a layer as a clear sheet of plastic that you can glue pictures to. Each layer can be edited, duplicated, deleted, or moved up or down in the layer “stack.” To create a new empty layer, click Add Layer. Click the arrow next to this button to choose whether to truly add an empty layer, or instead add a picture from the Clipboard or a file, or text, a shape, etc. Several kinds of “Editing Layers” are available as well.

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You can also duplicate the current layer, give it a mask, add it to a group, or delete it. For these tasks, use the buttons in the toolbar above all of the layers. To hide a layer or show it again, click the eye icon to the left of that layer in the list. When a layer is hidden, it has a gray eye icon.

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When you use Place Text to add a new layer, controls for editing that text are shown automatically. The same applies when you add a symbol or shape layer. After pasting in an image as a new layer, you can edit it like you’d edit a normal picture.


4.3 How to Select Part of a Picture Often you’ll find yourself needing to edit just part of a picture. In these situations, reach for the selection tools. ZPS has a number of these tools. Each one is useful in different situations, so read on to learn which one to choose when and how to use it. Selection tools are very practical. They let you work with only a part of a picture, which you can then separately edit, copy, erase, or for example move around, creating a photo montage.

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Rectangular Selection (M) is ideal for selecting square or rectangular areas. Hold down Shift as you select to force a square shape. This is an easy way to select windows, for example.

Elliptical Selection (O) is useful when you’re working with rounded objects. Hold down Shift as you draw the selection in order to force a circular shape for it. This tool is useful for example when you’re sharpening a car’s wheels or adjusting eye colors.

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4.5 Learn to Create Photo Montages Sometimes you need to manipulate reality a little. To remove something from a photo, move it, straighten it, or transfer it into a different photo. ZPS won’t judge you. The selection tools are the foundation for warping reality in pictures. For a list and for descriptions of them, see chapter 4.3, How to Select Part of a Picture. With the right technique you can, for example, make an antelope walk

beside an elephant— and that’s precisely the example for this chapter. (By the way, when choosing photos for photo montages, keep in mind that lights and shadows are key for believability.)

Photo montage work starts with a selection. Usually this selection will be made with the Magnetic Lasso (A) or Polygonal Lasso (N).

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Once that’s done, merge the layers and continue on to other edits.

What you’ve learned: How to select a part of one picture and transfer it to another picture. How to transform a layer so it has an appropriate size. How to use a layer mask to get more precise results.

Manipulating Reality in the Editor

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When choosing and placing photos, take care not to include any important elements at the canvas edges. These parts of the canvas will be bent over the frame. The pictures’ image quality is important as well. ZPS will thus warn you if their resolution is too low.

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You can also resize the photos you’ve placed, or set where they’re located within their frames. Just click a photo, and then you can rotate it, move it within its frame, or adjust its zoom level.

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After finishing your edits, you can save the canvas print as a project in progress, convert it to PDF, print it out on your own printer, or order a professional-quality print.

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What you’ve learned: How to choose a template for a canvas print. How to set the order and placements of photos in a canvas print. How to save or print a canvas print.

Show Off Your Photos With the Create Module

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5.3 Composing a Photo Book A photo book is a superb way to show off pictures of a vacation, birthday celebration, or, say, a wedding. In Zoner Photo Studio you can not only create and order these books, but customize them too. Photo books are often used as wedding albums, for example. So we’ll be using precisely that example to illustrate work with photo books. First switch to the Manager and open up the folder with the photos from the event, and then click on Create New Project under Photo Book in the Create module.

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We recommend that you name your project. You’ll be glad you did if you have multiple projects in progress and you later return to work you’ve started.

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You have three format types to choose from: A4 portrait, A4 landscape, and square 20 × 20 cm.

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You can choose either the traditional version or an HD version for your photo book. When ordering the HD version, you can look forward to the highest of print quality, as well as a special flat binding. It has the advantage that when printing one photo on a two-page spread, the fold between the pages will not be all that much trouble—a new photo book printing technology has enabled us to make it noticeably flatter, so you can enjoy better-looking pictures in the photo books you order.

Show Off Your Photos With the Create Module

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ZPS offers you a wide range of full-color Project Templates. We’ve designed these for you in colors that work together well, so the result will have tasteful colors. But if you want to fine-tune the colors to match your own taste, go for it; the program lets you do that as well.

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But start by dragging the photos you want on each twopage spread up from the Filmstrip. Our templates and styles will then help you get the perfect look for each of the spreads after that.

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You can work wonders for the look of your final photo book with the right Page Layout. Drag all the photos you want to have in a spread up from the Filmstrip. Pick a suitable Page Layout to get them looking good on the page. ZPS will offer a different selection of templates depending on how many photos you have on a spread. Then just choose the one that suits you the best.

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Take note of the Photo Placement Mode as well. If you use the Fill option, each photo will fill in its whole frame, but this may cause it to be cropped.

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Want to add one more photo and choose its placement, orientation, and size yourself without worrying about the Page Layout? No problem. Double-click a spread, and you can then add a freestanding photo or text using the corresponding buttons on the right.


5. 4. Video Editing Today most cameras can also shoot video, and that’s why Zoner Photo Studio is video-ready. It offers features for cutting a video, adding a soundtrack or text to it, combining video and photos, and more. So in just a few clicks, you can create a video to show off your photos and video clips. You can also add music to create, for example, a short video of your own that perfectly describes your last vacation.

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In the Browser, visit the folder with the photos and videos that you want to put in your video. Then switch to the Create module. Then click Video.

This opens a new window with a simple video editor. At the bottom, it has a Filmstrip with thumbnails of the files in the current folder. A timeline for video cutting is above the Filmstrip. Drag videos up from the Filmstrip and drop them onto the timeline to get started editing.

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Show Off Your Photos With the Create Module

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Most Important Keyboard Shortcuts Global Shortcuts F3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . show in fullscreen viewer F6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . show/hide Navigator F8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . show/hide Side Panel F9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . show/hide Filmstrip Ctrl + M . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preferences window Shift + O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . show blowout (overexposed spots) Ctrl + L/R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rotate left/right Ctrl + E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Resize (Editor/Manager) Ctrl + Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Batch Filter (Editor/Manager) C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crop and Rotate (Editor/Develop) K . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Straighten Lines (Editor/Develop) Shift + Delete . . . . . . . . . . . . Fill With Surroundings Ctrl + C/V . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . copy/paste selection Spacebar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pan display (when zoomed in) Shift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . change brush diameter using the mouse wheel Alt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . switch tools within tool pairs

Develop A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quick Fix Ctrl + C/V . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . copy/paste settings Ctrl+S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . save settings

Editor Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quick Edits J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Retouching Brush T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Place Text (adds a text layer) M . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rectangular Selection L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lasso N . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Polygonal Lasso A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Magnetic Lasso Shift + Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Selection Brush Shift+X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Facial Features

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