Learn Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 with this comprehensive course from TeachUcomp, Inc. Mastering Photoshop Elements Made Easy features 143 video lessons and over 8 hours of introductory through advanced instruction. Watch, listen and learn as your expert instructor guides you through each lesson step-by-step. During this media-rich learning experience, you will see each function performed just as if your instructor were there with you. Reinforce your learning with the text of our two printable classroom instruction manuals (Introductory and Advanced), additional images and practice exercises. You will learn how to use all of the various tools, advanced layer techniques, manipulating images and much more.
Whether you are completely new to Photoshop Elements or upgrading from an older version, this course will empower you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a proficient user. We have incorporated years of classroom training experience and teaching techniques to develop an easy-to-use course that you can customize to meet your personal learning needs. Simply launch the easy-to-use interface, click to start a video lesson or open one of the manuals and you are on your way to mastering Elements.
This lecture provides a brief summary of the topics covered throughout the course and offers suggestions for further reading and learning materials.
Adobe Photoshop Elements is one of the most popular image creation and editing software applications available today. Sometimes referred to as “Photoshop Junior,” Photoshop Elements contains just what it sounds like – many of the essential elements of the Adobe Photoshop application. While it is true that Photoshop contains many additional features, Photoshop Elements has grown into a robust editing program in its own right. Now, you can create, edit and organize your digital images in ways you might never have imagined. You can remove flaws, add text and make any other changes to your images to produce startling, professional final products. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you first launch Photoshop Elements, you will see the “Welcome Screen,” which contains links to different parts of the application. Clicking the “Organizer” button in the upper-left corner of the “Welcome Screen” opens the Organizer window. The Organizer allows you to import, view and arrange your pictures so that you can stay as efficient and organized as possible. Clicking the “Photo Editor” button in the upper-right corner of the “Welcome Screen” will launch the Editor window of the full Photoshop Elements application, where you will find all of the features available in creating and editing your images. The various edit modes available will be discussed in an upcoming lecture. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If you don’t wish to see the Welcome Screen each time you launch the Photoshop Elements application, you can change the settings to start in either the Editor or the Organizer window. Click the “cog wheel” icon in the upper-right corner of the Welcome Screen to display the start-up options. Click the “On Start Always Launch” drop-down and select either “Organizer” or “Photo Editor” and then click “Done.” After closing out the application, the next time you launch Photoshop Elements, you will be taken directly to whichever section you chose, by-passing the Welcome Screen completely. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The picture below is of the initial screen when you open the Photoshop Elements Organizer. If you are used to a typical Windows environment, you will have some familiar tools available to you. Let’s take a moment to acquaint ourselves with the various parts of the environment, and what you can do through those objects. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In order to start working with your pictures in Elements, you will need to be sure to copy them to your hard drive of your computer. If you are retrieving pictures from your digital camera, follow the instructions for your particular model, and copy the photos to the folder of your choice on your hard drive. Depending on your camera, you will have the choice to take your photos in one of two file formats – JPEG or Camera Raw. In general, most lower-cost cameras only allow for JPEG files, while more expensive models offer both JPEG and Camera Raw. You choose which file type you want your photos to be in before you take your pictures. Learn this and more during this lecture.
By default, the photos you add to the Organizer will open in Thumbnail view. You can easily adjust the size of the thumbnails by using the slider in the Taskbar (located in the lower-right portion of the screen). You can also switch to Single Photo View by double-clicking on a photo. To switch back to Thumbnail View, click the “Grid” button that appears in the upper-left corner of the Organizer Window. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you first launch Full Screen viewing, the “Full Screen View Toolbar” displays automatically. This gives you control over your slideshow. Rolling your mouse over the tools will display their names. The toolbar will disappear after a few seconds. To bring it back, simply move your mouse. You can expand the toolbar to display all of the options by clicking the right-pointing arrow at the right end of the toolbar. Clicking the arrow again collapses the toolbar back to the smaller version. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another way of viewing images is to compare two images side-by-side or above-and-below. This can come in handy if you are looking at two different versions of a file and want to easily compare and contrast them. To accomplish this, select two images and click the “Slide Show” button in the Taskbar. Click the “View” button in the Full Screen toolbar that appears and choose either side-by-side or above and below. You can use the various commands in the toolbar and panels to manipulate the media, if you wish. Learn this and more during this lecture.
It’s important to keep your files organized so that you can easily locate them when you need to. Elements gives you an easy way to keep your images organized by using Albums. Once you get your images into the Organizer, you can group them into Albums based on whatever criteria you wish such as the date they were taken, a particular subject, or anything else you choose. Elements provides you with two panels to help you keep your images organized – the “Organize” panel and the “Tags” panel. Learn this and more during this lecture.
There are many options for sharing your photos. By selecting the “Share” drop-down in the Shortcuts Bar, you will be given a menu that will allow you to create an online “Private Web,” album, e-mail attachments, send picture mail, burn DVDs or explore other exporting options. To create a “Private Web Album” simply create an album, name it, and select the photos that you would like to share by clicking on them and dragging them into the folder or album. Learn this and more during this lecture.
By clicking the “Create New Album or Album Category” button within the “Organize” panel, which is shown as a green “Plus” sign, you can group albums into a larger group (called a category), import a saved album from a file, and save any of your albums to a file in a location of your choosing. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Taskbar at the bottom of the Elements application window contains various functions within the Organizer. The “Hide Panel” button is a toggle button that will both hide (collapse) and show “expand” the Organize panel on the left-side of the organizer. You can use this to create more viewing space in the Organizer Window, if needed. The “Undo” button allows you to undo your last action with one simple click. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you open files in the Organizer, links to those files are stored in a catalog, pointing to the place on your computer hard drive where they are located, as well as other information you have entered about those images. Most people use this single catalog for all of their images they open in the Organizer. However, as you add more and more files to your catalog, you may find this cumbersome and harder to manage. Luckily, Elements gives you a way to further refine your file organization, by allowing you to create multiple catalogs. You can organize your images into any types of categories you wish such as dates and occasions. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Part of good organization with your files is making sure your images are named so you can easily locate them later. If you find that you want to change the name of an image, this can be done rather easily. Learn this and more during this lecture.
“Keyword Tags” are identifiers that you assign to further help you organize your images. Tags create subcategories within an album, as shown below. Tags are categorized in the form of people, places, events or any other custom category you wish to create. Creating additional tag categories will be discussed in the next lecture. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To create a new, custom tag category, select “New Category…” from the “New” drop-down next to the “Keywords” section in the “Tags” panel. You can assign a color to your new tag category by clicking the “Choose Color” button and selecting a color from the Color Picker. Type a name for your new tag category in the “Category Name” text box. Choose an icon in the “Category Icon” list by clicking on it, and click “OK.” Learn this and more during this lecture.
Once you have created any new tag categories or sub-categories you want, it’s time to assign tags to your images. To assign tags, click and drag your images from the Organizer window onto the tag, tag category, or tag sub-category. You can also do the opposite by clicking and dragging a tag from the “Tags” panel and dropping it onto a file in the Organizer window. Both actions have the same effect. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Smart Tags allow you to easily find files by quality and content using the Organizer’s “Auto-Analyzer.” Auto-Analyzer automatically detects and tags media files with tags such as “Faces,” “High Quality” and “Shaky.” Once smart tags are applied, you can then filter for the files with those tags applied. To do so, click on the arrow that appears to the right of the smart tag in the “Tags” panel when you roll your mouse over the tag names. The files matching that tag will appear in the Organizer window. In addition, the various groups of keyword tags will appear above the Organizer window. You can further filter the search results by clicking any of the available options. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Stacks are another organizational tool that Elements provides. When you assign images to a stack, only the top image is displayed in the Organizer window, while all of the other associated images are kept behind it (similar to a stack of playing cards). Stacks are helpful in organizing images that are different variations of the same photo. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another way to add information to your images is to assign digital captions and notes. To add notes, select an image and then right-click to open the contextual menu. Click on “Show File Info” to display the “Information” panel. Expand the “General” section if it isn’t already displayed by clicking the small black triangle on the left. Enter your desired caption and any notes. Your changes will be saved automatically. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can sort your images with the Organizer by using the “Sort By” drop-down just above the Organizer window. You can choose to sort by date (newest or oldest first) or by the date you imported a batch of photos. Remember that you can help refine your search and sorting by clicking on the “Media,” “People,” “Places” and “Events” groups at the top of the Organizer window. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Items that you have tagged (as described earlier) can be easily located by the tag. Click on the arrow that appears to the right of the tag in the “Tags” panel when you roll your mouse over the tag names. The files matching that tag will appear in the Organizer window. In addition, the various groups of keyword tags will appear above the Organizer window. You can further filter the search results by clicking any of the available options. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can display images according to their date. To do so, click “View” from the Menu Bar and then click on “Set Date Range…” from the list of choices. In the “Set Date Range” dialog box that appears, select a date range by entering a “Start” and “End” date for the filter. Then click “OK” to view the matching media. You can then select “View” from the Menu Bar again and “Clear Date Range” to clear the filter and view all of the media. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Elements gives you three workspaces for editing your images. Expert Edit mode gives you the full range of tools offered by Elements including text and painting tools. Quick Edit mode gives you only a few of the tools offered in Expert Edit mode, and is used for just what it sounds like- times when you need to make just a small modification or two to your image. The Toolbox in Quick Edit mode is replaced by a handful of tools- Zoom, Hand, the Selection Brush Tools, Crop, Red Eye Remover, Whiten Teeth, the Type Tools and the Healing Brush tools. These tools work with the “Quick Selection” tool or the “Selection Brush”, which is covered in upcoming lectures. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The picture on the next page is of the initial screen when you enter Expert Edit mode. As discussed when looking at the Organizer environment, if you are used to a typical Windows environment, you will have some familiar tools available to you. Let’s take a moment to acquaint ourselves with the various parts of the environment, and what you can do through those objects. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When in Expert Edit Mode, you have access to various panels. Panels can appear in tabbed groups or independently, floating over the image area. They can also appear at the right side of the application window in an area known as the Panel Bin. Panels contain features and functions grouped for easy access. Panels allow you to select which layer of a photo to edit, apply effects, and other activities that you would otherwise have to perform through the Menu Bar, Tool Options Bar or Toolbox. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Photo Bin shows thumbnail images of all of the images you have open in Elements. This can be a handy feature if you are working with multiple files simultaneously. You can also display different views of the same image. To view the Photo Bin (if it isn’t already displayed), click the Photo Bin button at the far-left of the Taskbar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As you are editing images, there will come times when you will make a mistake or simply don’t like a change you’ve made. The Undo command is an easy way to trace your steps backwards. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To view an image, you must first open the photo or image that you want to view. To do this, select “File| Open…” from the Menu Bar. That will launch the “Open” dialog box, where you can use the “Look in:” drop-down at the top of the dialog box to select which folder within your computer’s file system you wish to look for your image files. After selecting a folder, the contents of that folder will display in the large list window at the bottom of the dialog box. You can double-click on folders in this window to open them up and see their contents in the list window. Learn this and more during this lecture.
A common setting on many digital cameras, RAW is a file type option many professional photographers prefer over JPG. On a digital camera, when shooting in JPG, a combination of you and your camera make decisions about the kind of information captured and stored in the digital file. The files are compressed with the limitations that exist in JPG files. RAW files are uncompressed and capture a larger range of color, and provide minimal in-camera processing. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Once you have an image open in Elements, you will need to zoom in and out to precisely edit it. This is one technique that you’ll have to master in order to work effectively in Elements. When you open an image, the current magnification level is displayed in the lower left corner of the Status Bar in the Elements application. Elements opens images at one of the preset magnification levels. You can change this by typing a new number into this box and then pressing “Enter” on your keyboard. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can view different specs of the image such as the document size and color profile. In the Elements Status Bar, there is a small black right-pointing arrow. If you click the arrow, you will see a pop-up menu appear of the various types of document information that you can view. Select the one that you want from the pop-up menu. The selected information will display to the left of that arrow in the Status Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can reposition the image within the window assuming that you can’t see all of the image in the current magnification level. To do this, just click the Hand Tool in the Toolbox. When you roll your mouse pointer back over the magnified image, you will see it turn into a hand icon. Then just click and drag to move the image around within the picture frame. This is a very handy tool to use when you must select something off to the side when you are zoomed in very close. You can also use it when you have another tool selected, like the Paintbrush Tool. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can set the default preferences of Elements by selecting “Edit| Preferences” from the Menu Bar. Here you will see the default preferences displayed in a side menu. You can select any of these choices to view the “Preferences” dialog box. Notice that the Preferences menu on the side of the “Preferences” dialog box contains the same choices that you can see in the side menu, so that you can switch which preferences you are viewing without having to leave the dialog box. The selection that you make from this menu will determine which preferences appear in the dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As discussed earlier, the Quick Photo Edit mode has far less features available than Expert Edit mode. You will see in the picture below that there are notable differences between the two modes. The Toolbox disappears in Quick Photo Edit mode. The only tools provided are Zoom, Hand, Quick Selection, Selection Brush, Red Eye Removal, Whiten Teeth, Text Tools, Healing Brush Tools, Crop and Move. These tools work the same way in both edit modes when performing manual fixes. Several commands that are not available in Quick Photo Edit are grayed out within the menus shown when you click the Menu Bar commands. The Panel Bin contains different panels to change elements such as lighting, color and sharpness. The other panels from Expert Edit mode are not available. Learn this and more during this lecture.
There are two general types of computer graphics- bitmap images and vector images. These, however, are not mutually exclusive. A single image file may contain both vector and bitmap data within it. In order to use Elements effectively, you must understand the basic differences between these two types of files. Bitmap images, or raster images as they are technically known, use pixels to represent image data. Each pixel in the image is assigned a color and a position in the graphic. When you are working with bitmap images, you are editing the individual pixels that make up a larger image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Vector graphics are made up of lines (vectors) defined by mathematical algorithms. Vectors describe an image based on its geometric characteristics. Learn this and more during this lecture.
On a monitor, all images must be displayed in pixels onscreen. So before you can manipulate the images, you must learn more about how pixels are displayed and measured. When an image is displayed on your monitor, it is rendered according to the pixel dimensions of the graphic and the display settings and size of your monitor. The image’s pixel dimensions are the width and height of the image in pixels. The number of pixels displayed in an image is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). Generally speaking, the higher the higher the ppi, the higher the quality of the image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can create a blank canvas in Elements by selecting “File| New| Blank File…” from the Menu Bar. To create a new image using the Elements clipboard contents, instead select “File| New| Image from Clipboard” from the Menu Bar. If there isn’t anything on the Clipboard, then the image dimensions and resolution will be based on the last image that you made. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Once you have an image file open, you can place additional images on top of the original image in their own separate layers. An image file in Elements can consist of multiple layers. A layer is like a transparent sheet which is placed on top of the original file. You can place additional images and other items into their own separate layers on top of the original image layer. This way you can select a certain layer and then make changes to only the items in that particular layer without placing the parts of the image in other layers at any risk. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can display drawing guides that can assist you in making basic changes to the image document. To display a ruler along the top and left sides of the document window, just select “View| Rulers” from the Menu Bar. You can use the rulers to make measurements. To change the origin point (0) and where it is at on the rulers, just click and drag from the upper left corner of the ruler down and to the right. Wherever you release the mouse pointer is where the origin point of the ruler will be located. To reset the origin point back to its original location, just double-click the upper left corner of the ruler. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Before you can discuss color, you have to understand that there are many ways of describing, or measuring, colors. Each one of these is described in a color model. The most commonly used models are HSB, RGB and CMYK, although there are several others that can also be used. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can convert an image from one color mode to another, if necessary. However, since Elements does not offer CMYK color modes, you will have to convert your image in a different application. For example, you can convert an image from the RGB display that is used for design on most monitors to a CMYK color mode for commercial printing purposes. When you select a different color mode for an image you will permanently alter the color values in the image. So if you convert an RGB color mode image to a CMYK color mode image, any RGB color values outside of the CMYK color gamut will be adjusted to fall within the CMYK color gamut. Learn this and more during this lecture.
It’s important that color is consistent in your images as they are processed. Color management refers to the system of attempting to keep the colors in your images as consistent as possible from the screen (monitor) display to the final printed product. This can be a complex task because each machine (printer, computer, scanner, etc.) takes the raw color values and interprets them differently. In this section, you will focus on a few tips that you can use to try and keep your color as consistent as possible. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Elements uses the foreground color to paint, stroke and fill image selections. It will use the background color to make gradient fills and fill in the erased areas of images. You can set the color choices in Elements using any of several tools available to you. The default foreground color is black and the default background color is white. The current selections appear towards the bottom of the Toolbox. Note that you can click on either the foreground or background color squares in the Toolbox to select them. Then you can use some of the tools that you will look at next to change the selected color. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The color picker is one of several tools that you can use to select colors in Elements. If you want to view the color picker, click on the foreground or background colors selection boxes in the Toolbox. You can select a color visually using the color field and color slider in this dialog box, or you can type the numeric values for each color component into the text boxes provided, if you know them. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Color Picker tool selects color from an image displayed in Elements or anyplace else on your computer screen for that matter! You use the Color Picker tool by selecting it from the Toolbox. Then click and hold down the mouse over the area on your computer screen from which you wish to sample the color. As you drag the Color Picker tool around the screen, the foreground color changes to the color that is underneath the tool. If you hold down the “Alt” key as you are doing this you will set the background color versus setting the foreground color. When you have the desired color selected, just release the mouse button to select the displayed color. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another place that you can select color is the Swatches panel. Using the Swatches panel is like using a traditional color palette when painting. You can load a set of colors that you want to use in an image file into the Swatches panel. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Elements has several useful tools that allow you to paint lines and color areas of the images and layers in an Elementsfile. You can use the Brush Tools and the Pencil Tool to paint and draw pixels in an image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To use the Brush Tool, select it from the Toolbox and make sure that the color that you want to apply to the image is selected as the foreground color. The Brush Tool shares a spot in the Toolbox with the Impressionist Brush and the Color Replacement tools. The Toolbox will display the last tool you used. The button appears above the Paint Bucket tool, by default. Click the button and then make sure you have the Brush Tool selected in the Tool Options Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you use the Brush Tool in Elements, you have a choice to specify the blending mode from the Tool Options Bar. What is a blending mode? Well, a blending mode is a setting that allows you to dictate how colors will blend when they overlap. You can set color blending modes in several places in Elements, but this is the first time that you have seen it, although it will come up in later lessons. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Impressionist Brush Tool is designed to simulate the brush strokes of a fine art painting. The Impressionist Brush gives you the same options as the Brush Tool. However, by clicking the “Advanced” button you can change style, area and tolerance. “Style” provides brush styles related to an impressionist style of painting, including “Loose Curl” and “Dab.” “Area” determines the size of your brush stroke. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You use the Pencil Tool to draw hard-edged lines in Elements images. You can access the Pencil Tool button in the Toolbox to enable it. Then you simply click and drag in your image to create lines and apply color to the pixels in the image. The Pencil Tool has many of the same options as the Brush Tool, but cannot be used as an airbrush. Learn this and more during this lecture.
With the Color Replacement Tool, you can replace an original color in an image with the foreground color. The Color Replacement Tool provides an artistic advantage in that it preserves all the tones in the image. You can change the sampling methods, limits and tolerance settings to control the range of colors that Elements changes in your image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Eraser tool to applies the background color to an image. Contrary to what its name may seem to imply, this tool doesn’t make the pixels transparent but just applies the background color versus the foreground color. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can use the Magic Eraser Tool to change similar pixels throughout an image. If you use this tool in the background layer or in a layer with locked transparency where you cannot edit the transparent pixels, the pixels will change to the background color. Otherwise, the pixels will be erased to transparency. You can use this tool to only erase contiguous (touching) pixels, or all pixels that are similar in color. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Background Eraser Tool lets you erase pixels on a layer to transparency as you drag. This allows you to erase the background while maintaining the edges of an object in the foreground. You can use the settings of this tool to adjust the range of transparency and the sharpness of the boundaries. This tool will sample the color in the center of the brush (the “hot spot”) and then erase that color wherever else it may appear within the brush. It also performs color extraction at the edges of any foreground objects so that color halos aren’t visible if the foreground object is later pasted into another image. It is important to note that this tool will override the “lock transparency” settings of a layer. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The “Smart Brush” tools allow you to apply a wide range of effects selectively by brushing across your image. There are 50 preset effects to choose from for adjusting color and tone, creating effects, and touching up details – including lipstick, suntan, cloud contrast, infrared, impressionist, several color tints, film negative, florescent glow, and bright eyes. These effects are applied non-destructively, using adjustment layers and masks. The regular mode of the Smart Brush tries to make an automatic selection using edge detection, like the Quick Selection tool. The Detail Smart Brush lets you paint on the adjustment, giving you more control over the selection. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You use the Brush Preset Picker to select preset brushes and to create your own custom brushes. You can access the Brush Preset Picker by selecting the Brushes Presets drop-down that appears in the Tool Options Bar after you have selected the Brush Tool in the Toolbox. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If you have additional brush sets that you purchased from a different source (such as TeachUcomp, Inc.’s “Photoshop Brush Bonanza”) you can load them into your library for easy access. To do this, click the Brush Preset Picker’s “Brush” drop-down menu and then click the “Brush Options” button in the upper-right corner of the pop-up menu that appears to display a drop-down menu of choices. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can create your own brush tips in Elements to create customized tips with their own set shape, diameter, texture and other options. The tip of your brush determines how the brush strokes that you apply will appear. You can create a custom brush by either sampling pixels in an image, or by specifying your own settings. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can access the shape dynamics settings by clicking the “Brush Settings” button in the Tool Options Bar after you have selected the Brush Tool from the Toolbox. Generally speaking, the term “shape dynamics” is used to refer to the settings that control the variance of brush marks within a brush stroke. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If you wish to remove all of the settings for a brush tool and set brushes back to their default setting, click the “Options” button on the far right end of the Tool Options Bar, after selecting the Brush Tool from the Toolbox. Click the button and select “Reset Tool.” You can also reset all of your tools in this manner by selecting “Reset All Tools” and select “OK” when prompted. Be careful if you use this function, as you will lose any changes you have made to your brushes and other tools. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you wish to edit part of an image file in Elements, you must first select the region that you wish to change. When you select a part of an image the selected area will be indicated by a dashed selection border called a “selection marquee.” Learn this and more during this lecture.
There are many ways that you can make pixel-based selections in an image file. Elements provides you with several tools that you can use to select pixels in an image. You have a set of marquee selection tools, a set of lasso tools, the Select Brush tool, the Quick Selection tool and the Magic Wand tool. There are also a few commands that you can select from the Menu Bar that will also allow you to make pixel-based selections. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Marquee Tools allow you to select basic shapes. You can create a selection that is a rectangle or an oval. To make a selection using one of these tools, first select the Marquee Tools button in the Toolbox and then either the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tool from the Tool Options Bar. Then you just click and drag from one corner of the selection area to the other, releasing the mouse button when you are finished. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Lasso Tools let you draw either free-form selections with curves or straight-edged selections for irregular polygonal selection shapes. The Magnetic Lasso Tool is a really neat selection tool that allows the selection’s border to “snap” to the pixilated edges of an element in the image that you trace. This can be very useful for selecting objects with complex, irregular edges set against a high-contrast background. Because each tool behaves differently, you will have to look at how you can use each tool in the set on an individual basis. Let’s start by examining the Lasso Tool. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Magic Wand Tool allows you to select a consistently colored area or region in the image without having to manually trace its outline by hand. To use this tool, click the “Magic Wand Tool” button in the Toolbox. It shares a spot under the Marquee Tools with the Selection Brush and the Quick Selection Tool. Make sure to select the Magic Wand tool from the Tool Options Bar. In the Tool Options Bar, set the standard selection options as you desire. However, this tool has some new options after the selection type options that are unique to this tool. Learn this and more during this lecture.
A selection tool that gives a more natural feel of painting on a canvas is the Selection Brush Tool. With this tool, you can either paint pixels you want to select, or pixels you don’t want to select. Choose the Selection Brush Tool from the Toolbox and Tool Options Bar. In the Tool Options Bar, you can select your brush from the Brush Presets Picker, choose your brush size and adjust the hardness. Just above the Brush Presets Picker, you can use the “Mode” drop-down to choose “Selection” to paint pixels you want to select or “Mask” to paint pixels you don’t want to select. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another tool Elements provides for selection is the Quick Selection Tool. It shares the same button as the Selection Brush Tool on the Toolbox. The idea behind this tool is that it makes a selection based on the color and texture similarity when you click and drag in an image. This tool can sometimes prove difficult to get a precise selection, depending on the image you are working with. Generally, the more information you give Elements, the more likely your selection will be accurate. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can adjust the selections that you make using some commands in the Menu Bar. You can take a selection and expand it to select all pixels of a similar color that are adjacent to the selection by selecting “Select| Grow” from the Menu Bar. You can also select to expand the selection to all pixels of a similar color anywhere in the image by selecting the “Select| Similar” command from the Menu Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can copy a selection to another place in the image or to another image completely. To do this, first make the selection that you want to copy. Then select “Edit| Copy” from the Menu Bar. This will copy the selection in the selected layer. If you want to copy the pixels in the selection through all of the layers, you can select “Edit| Copy Merged” from the Menu Bar instead. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can save a selection and then reuse it in the future. To do this, first make the selection that you want to save. Then choose “Select| Save Selection…” from the Menu Bar. That will launch the “Save Selection” dialog box. Here you can select the type of selection to save. Select the “New” choice to save a new selection. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can fill-in the selections and layers that you create with colors, gradients and patterns. You can also “stroke” the selections that you make, which applies a colored border to the edge of the selection. One of the most common fills that you can perform is a fill of the currently selected background or foreground color into the selection. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Paint Bucket Tool fills adjacent pixels that are similar in color value to the pixels that you select with either the selected foreground color or with a pattern. To use this tool, click the “Paint Bucket Tool” in the Toolbox. Then look in the Tool Options Bar. The fill defaults to the foreground color. If you select the “Pattern Fill” button, then use the “Pattern” drop-down to select which pattern you will be using for the fill. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You use the Gradient Tool to create a gradient fill, which is a gradual blend between multiple colors. There are a few preset gradients that ship with Elements and you can also create your own gradients. You create a gradient in an image by clicking and dragging in a selection or a layer. The starting and ending points of the place over which you drag your mouse will impact the gradient appearance, depending on which gradient style you select. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can use the “Gradient Editor” to create a new gradient, edit a preset gradient, or delete a gradient. You can also modify the existing gradients, blending more colors that you like into the existing gradients. You can click the gradient sample that appears in the Tool Options Bar after selecting the “Gradient Tool” in the Toolbox to launch the “Gradient Editor” dialog box or click “Edit” in the Tool Options Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also apply a pattern as a fill to a layer or a selection. You can apply a pattern when you select “Edit| Fill Selection…” from the Menu Bar. Earlier, you looked at applying a fill color using the technique. Now you will look at using it to apply a pattern. First, make the selection that you want to fill with the pattern. Then select “Edit| Fill Selection…” from the Menu Bar. For the “Use” drop-down, select “Pattern.” Below the “Use” drop-down, you’ll see a sample of the pattern that will be used. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The “Stroke” command allows you to paint a colored border around a selection or layer in Elements. To perform this command, you can first make a selection to stroke in the image. If you want to stroke an entire layer, you can just select the layer to stroke in the Layers panel. Then select “Edit| Stroke (Outline) Selection…” from the Menu Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
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