Learn Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 with this comprehensive course from TeachUcomp, Inc. Mastering Photoshop Elements Made Easy features 183 video lessons and over 6.5 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.
Adobe Photoshop Elements is one of the most popular image creation and editing software applications available today. Photoshop Elements derives its name from the fact that it contains many of the essential elements of the full 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. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you first launch Photoshop Elements, you will see the “Welcome Screen,” which contains links to the different major parts of the application. Clicking the “Organizer” in the “Welcome Screen” opens the Organizer window. The Organizer allows you to import, view and arrange pictures, so your image library stays as efficient and organized as possible. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If you don’t want to see the “Welcome Screen” each time you launch the Photoshop Elements application, you can change the start-up mode setting. Doing this then lets Photoshop Elements display either the “Organizer” or “Photo Editor” window at start-up. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In either the “Organizer” or “Photo Editor” windows, you can click the “eLive” shortcut in the Shortcuts Bar at the top of the program window to view the “eLive” page. eLive stands for “Elements Live.” It is a page that gives you access to news, ideas, and tutorials about Photoshop Elements. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The picture below shows the Photoshop Elements Organizer window. The first step in learning to use this window is to learn the names and locations of the tools available in the Organizer window. If you are used to a typical Windows environment, you will have some familiar tools available. Take a moment to acquaint yourself with the various parts of the Organizer window, and what you can do within the various parts of the window. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can import photos that have been saved to the hard drive of your computer into Photoshop Elements. Another way to import photos into Photoshop Elements is to import the photos directly from a camera or card reader. In this chapter, you will examine the many ways that you can import photos into Photoshop Elements. However, before importing photos into Photoshop Elements, you should learn about the types of photo files you can import into Photoshop Elements. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In this lecture, you will learn how to import photos saved to the hard drive of your computer into the Organizer in Photoshop Elements. To import photos from your hard drive, open the Organizer window and choose “File| Get Photos and Videos| From Files and Folders…” from the Menu Bar. Alternately, click the “Import” drop-down button at the left end of the Shortcuts Bar. Then select the “From Files and Folders…” command from the menu that appears. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can import photos directly into theOrganizer in Photoshop Elements from a camera or card reader. To do this, first connect your camera or card reader to your computer. In the Photoshop Elements Organizer window, select “File| Get Photos and Videos| From Camera or Card Reader…” from the Menu Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also import files from a scanner directly into the Organizer in Photoshop Elements. To do this, first ensure that your scanner is correctly connected and configured to work with your computer. This often involves downloading the most recent scanner driver available for your particular type of scanner. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also import files into the Organizer in Photoshop Elements in bulk by selecting folders that contain photos or videos to import. To do this, open the Photoshop Elements Organizer window and select “File| Get Photos and Videos| In Bulk…” from the Menu Bar or click the “Import” dropdown button at the left end of the Shortcuts Bar and select the “In Bulk…” command to open the “Import Media” dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If using Windows, you can specify folders that the Organizer in Photoshop Elements should watch to look for new media that is added to the folders. By default the “Pictures” folder is set as the default “watch” folder, but you can specify additional folders to watch, if desired. When new photos or videos are added to a folder that is being watched, the Organizer can notify you of that fact or it can automatically import the newly added media, instead. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To view the photos and videos you have added to the Organizer, click the “Media” button in the middle of the Shortcuts Bar. Thumbnail pictures of the media within the Organizer window will appear in a “Grid” layout. To adjust the size of the thumbnail images shown onscreen, drag the “Zoom” slider in the Taskbar in the lower-right part of the window to the left or right to change the magnification. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After importing images into the Organizer, you can group them into albums based on whatever criteria you want. Elements provides you with the Albums and Folders panel at the left side of the Organizer window to help you create and manage your albums and better organize your photos. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Photoshop Elements lets you share your media online using various online resources. When you select a media item within the Organizer window and then click the “Share” dropdown button in the Shortcuts Bar, you will see your sharing choices in the dropdown menu that appears. The choices are “Facebook,” “Email,” “Flickr,” “Twitter,” “SmugMug Gallery,” “Vimeo,” “YouTube,” “Burn Video DVD / Blu-Ray” and “PDF Slideshow.” This lesson shows you how to share media to other online sites. Learn this and more during this lecture.
One way to manage albums in the Organizer window is to click the black drop-down arrow to the right of the “Create new album or album category” button, which looks like a green “plus” sign within the Albums and Folders panel, to display a drop-down menu of choices from which you can select. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Taskbar at the bottom of the Organizer window contains many functions. To both hide and show the Albums and Folders panel at the left side of the Organizer window, click the “Hide/Show Panel” toggle button at the left end of the Taskbar. To undo the last action you performed in the Organizer window, click the “Undo” button in the Taskbar. To redo an action that was undone, click the drop-down arrow at the right side of the “Undo” button and then click the “Redo” button in the pop-up menu that appears. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you open files in the Organizer, links to those files are stored in a catalog which points to the place on your computer’s hard drive where the files are saved. The catalog also stores other information you have entered about those images. Most people use this single catalog to store all of their images within the Organizer. However, Elements also lets you create multiple catalogs, if needed. Learn this and more during this lecture.
An important part of organizing your media files is giving the files names that allow you to easily locate them when needed. To rename an image you have imported into the Organizer, select the media file to rename within the Organizer window and then select “File| Rename…” from the Menu Bar. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Keyword tags are identifiers you can assign to selected images to help you organize the images by categorizing them with keywords. Tags create subcategories within an album, as shown in the diagram below. Tags are categorized in the form of people, places, events, or any other custom tag category you want to create. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To create a new tag category for your tags, click the drop-down arrow at the right side of the “New” button, which looks like a green plus sign, to the right of the “Keywords” label within the panel and then select “New Category…” from the drop-down menu that appears to open the “Create Category” dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After you have created any new tag categories or sub-categories you want, you can then assign those tags to your images. To assign a tag to an image, click and drag the images you want to tag from the Organizer window onto the desired tag, tag category, or tag sub-category by which you want to categorize the images. Alternately, you can click and drag a tag from the “Tags” panel and drop it onto an image in the Organizer window to tag the image with the selected tag. Both actions have the same effect. 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 “Show File Info” to display the “Information” panel. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can sort your images within the Organizer by using the “Sort By” drop-down just above 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 the checkbox that appears to the left of the tag in the “Tags” panel. The files matching that tag will appear in the Organizer window. In addition, the related keyword tags will appear in a thin bar above the Organizer window. You can further filter the search results by clicking any of the available options shown when you click the “Options” drop-down at the right end of the thin bar. 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 “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. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In this chapter, you will learn how to import and process camera raw images within Photoshop Elements. As mentioned earlier in this course, a camera raw image is the unprocessed image data from your camera’s image sensor. You can use the camera raw feature of Photoshop Elements to open the camera raw file and process it, instead of relying on the camera itself to do this. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can open a camera raw image that you have imported into the Organizer within the Photo Editor in Photoshop Elements for processing. Note that you can import a camera raw image file into the Organizer using any of the many methods of importing that were mentioned in Section 2. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also directly open a camera raw image from within the Photo Editor in Photoshop Elements for processing. To do this, open the “Photo Editor” within Photoshop Elements. Select “File| Open in Camera Raw…” from the Menu Bar to launch an “Open” dialog box. Use this dialog box to navigate to, and select, the camera raw file you want to open for processing. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After you have opened a camera raw file for processing in the Photo Editor in Photoshop Elements, it will open within the “Camera Raw” dialog box. This dialog box contains the tools and processing settings used to import and process the camera raw data. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can use the tools located within the “Tools” bar at the top of the “Camera Raw” dialog box to manipulate your selected camera raw image. In this lecture, you will examine which tools are available and how to use them to manipulate the preview image shown in this dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To determine how Photoshop Elements translates your camera raw file format, you can select the “Camera Calibration” tab in the settings panel at the right side of the “Camera Raw” dialog box. The current process version used for the selected camera raw file is shown within the “Process” drop-down. The default value is to use the “2012 (Current)” setting. A process version is a method of translating the camera raw data so that you can access the tools and settings available for that process version of camera raw within this dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you initially open a camera raw file in Photoshop Elements, it notes the model of camera that was used to take the image and adjusts its settings accordingly. If you find that you are always making the same adjustments to your camera raw images, you can adjust the settings for a single camera raw image and then save those settings as the new defaults for that camera model. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The white balance of a camera raw image is recorded by the camera as metadata when the image is taken. This metadata is read by Photoshop Elements when you open the camera raw image and will often result in the correct color temperature for the image. However, you can adjust the white balance for images that display a color cast due to an imbalance in the white balance. There are three ways to adjust the white balance in an image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After setting the correct white balance in an image, you can proceed to make additional tonal adjustments to the camera raw image, if needed. To do this, use the sliders shown below the “White Balance” section on the “Basic” tab in the settings panel at the right side of the “Camera Raw” dialog box. Note that the specific sliders that appear within this section depend on which process you selected from the “Process” drop-down on the “Camera Calibration” tab. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After making the basic tonal adjustments to an image, you can proceed to make image detail adjustments to the camera raw image, if needed. To do this, use the sliders shown within the “Detail” tab in the settings panel at the right side of the “Camera Raw” dialog box. As noted at the bottom of this panel, you should change the magnification level of the preview image to 100% or greater to accurately preview the changes you make to the settings within this panel. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After making your desired adjustments to the camera raw image, you can choose to open a copy of the camera raw file in the Photo Editor of Photoshop Elements with the selected camera raw settings applied. You can then adjust the copy within Photoshop Elements, just as you would any other image. Note that the original camera raw file will remain, unaltered, in its original location. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After making your desired adjustments to the camera raw image, you can save a copy of the camera raw file, including any adjustments, as a DNG file. A DNG file, or digital negative file, is Adobe’s proposed standard format for camera raw files. A DNG file contains both the camera raw data and the adjustments that determine how it should look. You can save camera raw files as DNG files, instead of saving the adjustments in a separate XMP file or within the camera raw database. 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. Quick Edit mode is used when you need to make just a few small modifications to your image. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The picture on the next page is of the initial screen when you enter Expert Edit mode. If you are used to a typical Windows environment, you will have some familiar tools available to you. First, you should acquaint yourself with the names and locations of the tools, panels and other objects in the environment. Then you can investigate the functions of the various tools, panels and objects within the environment. Learn this and more during this lecture.
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 let you select which layer of a photo to edit, apply effects, and perform other activities 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 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, if needed. To view the Photo Bin if it isn’t displayed, click the Photo Bin button at the far-left end 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. Pressing the “Ctrl” + “Z” keys on your computer will undo your last command. If you continue pressing those buttons, you will keep undoing your last few commands, in reverse order. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To view an image, you must first open the photo or image you want to view. To do this, select “File| Open…” from the Menu Bar. That will launch the “Open” dialog box, which is a system dialog box that you use to navigate to the folder in your computer’s file system within which you want to look for image files. Once you are looking inside the folder that contains the image to open, you should see the name and icon of the image in the list window. 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 you must master to work effectively in Elements. When you open an image, the current magnification level appears in the lower left corner of the Status Bar. Elements opens images at one of the preset magnification levels. You can change this magnification level by typing a new number into this box and then pressing “Enter” on your keyboard. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To view different image specs, such as the document size and color profile, click the small, black, right-pointing arrow in the Elements Status Bar to see a pop-up menu of the various types of document information you can view. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can reposition the image within the window if you can’t see all of the image at the current magnification level. To do this, 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. 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 of the window frame when you are zoomed in very close. 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 preference categories displayed in a side menu. You can select any of these preference category choices to view the “Preferences” dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As discussed earlier, the Quick Edit mode has far fewer features than Expert Edit mode. There are notable differences between the two modes. In Quick Edit mode, the Toolbox disappears. The only tools provided are the Zoom Tool, the Hand Tool, the Selection Tools, the Red Eye Removal Tool, the Whiten Teeth Tool, the Straighten Tool, the Text Tools, the Healing Brush Tools, the Crop Tool and the Move Tool. These tools, however, work the same way in both edit modes when performing manual fixes. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Photoshop Elements comes with a robust “Guided Edit” mode that allows you to make basic choices and have the program do the work for you. To use “Guided Edit” mode, click “Guided” in the Shortcuts Bar. 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. 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. 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 by 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 command will appear “grayed-out” or unavailable. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After opening an image file, you can place additional images into their own separate layers on top of the original image layer. 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 canvas, or background, layer. You place additional images and other items into their own separate layers on top of the original image layer so 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 that exist within other layers at risk. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can display drawing guides to assist you in making basic changes to the image document. To toggle the display of a ruler along the top and left sides of the document window on or off, just select “View| Rulers” from the Menu Bar. You can use the rulers to make measurements. 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. 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. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Elements uses the foreground color to paint, stroke and fill image selections. It uses 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. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The color picker is one of several tools you can use to select colors in Elements. To view the color picker, click the foreground or background color selection boxes in the Toolbox. You can visually select a color using the color field and color slider in this dialog box or you can type numeric values for each color component into the fields provided if you know the desired color values. 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. To use the Color Picker tool, select it from the Toolbox. Then click and hold down the mouse over the area within your computer screen from which you want to sample the color. As you drag the Color Picker tool around the screen, the foreground color changes to the color that is directly underneath the tool. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another place where 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 Elements file. 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 tool. 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 can specify the blending mode in the Tool Options Bar. A blending mode is a setting that lets you choose how colors will blend when they overlap. You can set color blending modes in several places in Elements. This is the first time it appears in this course, although it will also appear in later lectures. 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 tool options as the Brush Tool. However, by clicking the “Advanced” button in the Tool Options Bar, you can also change the brush’s style, area and tolerance. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Pencil Tool draws hard-edged lines in photos. Click the Pencil Tool button in the Toolbox to use it. Then click and drag in your image to create lines and apply color to the pixels in the selected layer. 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.
The Color Replacement Tool replaces an original color in an image with the foreground color. It also 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 applies the background color to an image. Contrary to what its name implies, this tool does not make pixels transparent, but rather applies the background color versus the foreground color. To use the eraser tool, click the “Eraser Tool” button in the Toolbox and, if necessary, the Tool Options Bar. Set the color to apply as the “Background” color in the Toolbox. Ensure you select the correct layer to which you want to apply the selected color in the “Layers” panel. 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 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. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The “Smart Brush” tools let you apply a wide range of effects selectively by brushing across your image. There are 50 preset effects from which to choose for adjusting color and tone, creating effects, and touching up details. These effects include lipstick, suntan, cloud contrast, infrared, impressionist, several color tints, film negative, florescent glow, and bright eyes. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You use the Brush Preset Picker to select preset brushes and 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 you purchased from a third-party sources, such as TeachUcomp, Inc.’s “Photoshop Brush Bonanza,” you can load them into your brush library for easy access. To do this, click the Brush Preset Picker pop-up 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 a custom brush preset to save the brush settings you frequently use as a preset that you can select from the Brush Preset Picker to quickly apply your saved brush settings. To create a custom brush preset, select the “Brush Tool” button in the Toolbox and, if necessary, the Tool Options Bar. 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 the appearance of brush strokes you apply. 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 selecting the Brush Tool from the Toolbox. Generally speaking, the term “shape dynamics” refers to the settings that control the variance of brush marks within a brush stroke. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To remove all of the settings for the currently selected tool and set the tool back to its default settings, select the desired tool to reset from the Toolbox, click the “Options” button on the far right end of the Tool Options Bar and then select the “Reset Tool” command from the drop-down menu that appears. Learn this and more during this lecture.
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