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Combining photos using the Place command

From: Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

Video: Combining photos using the Place command

Making composites using multiple photos is one of the things that scrapbookers, designers or anyone who is an artist at heart loves to do in Elements. You can make a collage semi-automatically in Element's Create mode, but I like the flexibility and control of compositing images myself here in the Full Photo Edit workspace, and that's what I'm going to show you how to do throughout this chapter. The skills that we'll use in this chapter build on layering and layer masking skills that covered earlier in the course. So if you're really interested in compositing you may want to go back and make sure you've watched the layers and selections chapters of his course.

Combining photos using the Place command

Making composites using multiple photos is one of the things that scrapbookers, designers or anyone who is an artist at heart loves to do in Elements. You can make a collage semi-automatically in Element's Create mode, but I like the flexibility and control of compositing images myself here in the Full Photo Edit workspace, and that's what I'm going to show you how to do throughout this chapter. The skills that we'll use in this chapter build on layering and layer masking skills that covered earlier in the course. So if you're really interested in compositing you may want to go back and make sure you've watched the layers and selections chapters of his course.

Here is an example of the kind of composite that you might make putting together photos, text, and even graphic shapes. I'm going to close this finished example now and show you how I would start bringing one photo into another to create a composite like this. So I'll click the X to close this photo, and I'm starting here with the base layer that contains a single photo, I'm going to bring in another photo, but first I want to say that in terms of preparation don't worry about trying to resize photos to match one another before you combine them, that's easier to do once you've brought images into each other as you see in this movie.

There are several ways to get one photo into another. The way that I'm going to recommend is to use the Place Command, because when you use that command after you bring a source photo into a destination photo like this, you can resize the source photo over and over without degrading its image quality, and that's not the case if you use other methods you may have heard of, of bringing one photo into another, like copying and pasting, or dragging with the Move tool, so let's see how to use the Place command. I'll go to the File menu and I'll go down to Place. I'll navigate to the photo I want to bring in, this purple flower photo, and I'll click the Place button.

The purple flower comes into the base image with this X over it indicating that it's floating here, waiting for me to accept it at this size, or to resize it first. I want the purple flower to be smaller than this, so I'm going to resize it. To do that I'll just move my mouse over any of the corner anchor points and drag toward the center. I don't have to select any special tool in the toolbox first and I don't have to worry about distorting the image, because by default Constrain Proportions is checked up here in the Options bar.

So I'll get the photo just about the size I think I might want it, and I don't have to be too careful about this size, because I'll be able to tweak the size many times without harming this photo. I'll click the green checkbox and the X on the photo goes away. Now if I look at the Layers panel I can see that the purple flower has come in on its own layer, and because it's on its own layer I can resize it again or I could move it around without affecting the base image, which is on its own layer too. To move the purple flower into place, I will make sure the Move tool is selected in the toolbar and then with that tool I'll click inside the bounding box that surrounds the purple flower and I'll drag it where I want it in the image.

Now here's the really good part, notice in the Layers panel that the purple flower layer has a small icon at the bottom right of its layer thumbnail. That icon means that this is a special resizable layer, so that means I can resize its contents at any time, making the purple flower tiny by clicking on one of its corner anchor points with the Move tool, and dragging in, and then clicking the green checkbox. Or stretching it out to anywhere up to its original size, like this, without making it pixelated or blurry as it would be if it were on a regular layer.

Well you may be saying it looks pretty pixelated now, and that's true, but as soon as I finish resizing it and click the green check mark, right away it looks good again. So that's the big advantage of using the Place command to get one image into another. One caveat about using this method is that the special resizable layer that I brought in acts slightly differently than other layers. I can't do many pixel level edits on it, so that means that I can't paint on it or fill it with color or add effects to it without simplifying this layer, and once I do simplify it, at that point it stops being a special resizable layer, but that's okay because once I've got it the size and position that I wanted I don't mind simplifying it.

So let's say I'm happy with this size and position, and I go to get my paintbrush over here and I try to paint on this layer, I get a warning that I have to simplify the layer before it can be edited. I can do that either by clicking OK here or if I Cancel out of here I can go over to the Layers panel at any time right-click or Ctrl+Click on the purple layer and choose Simplify Layer. And now if I get my paintbrush and I try to paint on the layer or I try to add an effect to the layer I can do all of that, but if I do make it small and then big again it will look at least blurry and perhaps pixelated.

There are other methods of combining images other than the Place command, like copying and pasting or dragging one open image into another with the Move tool, but neither of those methods gives you the ability to resize a photo multiple times which is so important when you're trying out layouts and arrangements of different photo and pieces of art in a composite.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

140 video lessons · 9221 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 23m 48s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Getting around Elements
      6m 9s
    3. Exploring the differences in Mac versions of Elements
      5m 41s
    4. Working with Organizer catalogs
      6m 16s
    5. Using the exercise files
      4m 44s
  2. 21m 39s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      5m 35s
    2. Importing photos from a camera
      4m 44s
    3. Importing photos from a computer
      3m 1s
    4. Importing photos from an iPhoto library
      5m 27s
    5. Importing photos from external drives
      2m 52s
  3. 31m 24s
    1. Working in Thumbnail view
      4m 10s
    2. Working in Folder Location view
      4m 33s
    3. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      4m 55s
    4. Editing and organizing in Full Screen view
      7m 20s
    5. Comparing photos in Side by Side view
      4m 10s
    6. Displaying photos in Date view
      2m 40s
    7. Viewing photo information
      3m 36s
  4. 47m 47s
    1. Using keyword tags to categorize photos
      6m 42s
    2. Organizing keyword tags
      4m 25s
    3. Finding photos by keyword tag
      3m 39s
    4. Automatically tagging people
      8m 21s
    5. Using automatic smart tagging
      5m 36s
    6. Assigning ratings to photos
      4m 9s
    7. Creating albums to organize photos
      5m 7s
    8. Creating smart albums
      5m 52s
    9. Stacking photos to reduce thumbnail clutter
      3m 56s
  5. 24m 35s
    1. Finding photos that are visually similar to each other
      4m 3s
    2. Searching for an object in a photo
      3m 45s
    3. Finding duplicate photos
      4m 50s
    4. Searching by text
      5m 59s
    5. Exploring the Find menu
      4m 27s
    6. Finding photos in the Timeline
      1m 31s
  6. 22m 41s
    1. Deleting photos
      4m 30s
    2. Renaming photos
      2m 24s
    3. Moving photos
      3m 58s
    4. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 37s
    5. Changing photo dates
      4m 29s
    6. Backing up
      2m 43s
  7. 16m 14s
    1. Choosing an editing workspace
      4m 37s
    2. Autocorrecting with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      3m 47s
    3. Photo finishing with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      4m 2s
    4. Changing a Photo Fix adjustment
      3m 48s
  8. 22m 10s
    1. Editing with assistance: the Guided Edit workspace
      6m 27s
    2. Retouching a photo the step-by-step way
      7m 55s
    3. Creating a dreamlike Orton effect
      1m 8s
    4. Simulating shallow depth of field
      4m 11s
    5. Creating a collage using Picture Stack
      2m 29s
  9. 29m 26s
    1. Quick improvements: introducing the Quick Edit workspace
      3m 28s
    2. Applying Quick Edit corrections
      4m 8s
    3. Adjusting lighting
      4m 0s
    4. Correcting color
      4m 20s
    5. Fixing red-eye, improving skies, and touching up photos
      6m 28s
    6. Sharpening images
      3m 10s
    7. Saving in Quick Edit
      3m 52s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Full control: introducing the Full Edit workspace
      5m 19s
    2. Tips for using the editing tools
      3m 50s
    3. Customizing panels
      5m 10s
    4. Undoing your work
      6m 22s
    5. Zooming and navigating
      4m 41s
    6. Saving images and examining file formats
      4m 50s
    7. Working with multiple documents
      4m 0s
    8. Creating a file from scratch
      2m 57s
    9. Customizing Editor preferences
      4m 7s
  11. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 3s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      7m 19s
    3. Tips for working with layers
      4m 25s
    4. Understanding layer masks
      6m 55s
  12. 29m 59s
    1. Understanding selections
      6m 49s
    2. Using manual selection tools
      4m 42s
    3. Modifying selections
      4m 20s
    4. Using the automatic selection tools
      7m 11s
    5. Refining selections
      4m 50s
    6. Saving selections
      2m 7s
  13. 23m 52s
    1. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush tool
      2m 50s
    2. Retouching skin with the Healing Brush tool
      6m 7s
    3. Retouching with the Clone Stamp tool
      1m 58s
    4. Using the Content-Aware option in the Spot Healing Brush to remove content
      3m 13s
    5. Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools
      7m 22s
    6. Using the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools
      2m 22s
  14. 1h 0m
    1. Understanding color management
      7m 23s
    2. Understanding adjustment layers
      6m 49s
    3. Adjusting part of a photo
      6m 16s
    4. Correcting contrast and brightness using Levels controls
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation
      4m 32s
    6. Improving shadow and highlights using Shadow/Highlight
      2m 36s
    7. Adjusting lighting and color using Color Curves
      3m 53s
    8. Removing a color cast
      2m 11s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
    10. Reducing noise
      3m 53s
    11. Sharpening images
      6m 43s
    12. Processing multiple photos
      8m 19s
  15. 23m 6s
    1. Resizing and changing photo resolution
      7m 1s
    2. Cropping photos
      5m 35s
    3. Straightening photos
      2m 35s
    4. Adding canvas around photos
      2m 43s
    5. Changing a photos orientation using the Recompose tool
      5m 12s
  16. 23m 50s
    1. Combining photos using the Place command
      5m 21s
    2. Using a layer mask to hide a background
      6m 26s
    3. Blending images using a gradient
      8m 18s
    4. Blending images using Blend modes
      3m 45s
  17. 24m 2s
    1. Creating text
      6m 22s
    2. Editing text
      3m 49s
    3. Creating text on a selection
      6m 1s
    4. Creating text around a shape
      3m 51s
    5. Creating text on a custom path
      3m 59s
  18. 22m 43s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 24s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 6s
    3. Adding layer styles
      7m 38s
    4. Making shapes
      5m 17s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 18s
  19. 42m 14s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      3m 35s
    2. The Camera Raw interface
      5m 16s
    3. Adjusting color using the white balance controls
      4m 41s
    4. Controlling lighting and contrast
      6m 26s
    5. Enhancing photos with the Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation controls
      2m 39s
    6. Cropping and straightening
      2m 12s
    7. Reducing Noise
      2m 24s
    8. Sharpening
      6m 46s
    9. Outputting from Camera Raw
      4m 43s
    10. Processing multiple photos in Camera Raw
      3m 32s
  20. 56m 43s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 50s
    2. Completing the photo book
      10m 5s
    3. Creating a photo calendar
      8m 19s
    4. Creating a photo greeting card
      5m 17s
    5. Making other photo creations in the Create workspace
      2m 8s
    6. Outputting photo creations from the Create workspace
      2m 50s
    7. Creating a photo slideshow in Windows
      8m 45s
    8. Completing the photo slideshow
      3m 31s
    9. Making a scrapbook page from scratch in Full Edit
      8m 58s
  21. 41m 34s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 30s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages in Windows
      5m 23s
    3. Printing contact sheets and picture packages on a Mac
      8m 33s
    4. Ordering prints from the Organizer
      4m 22s
    5. Sharing photos by email from the Organizer
      3m 46s
    6. Sharing photos with Photo Mail in Windows
      5m 3s
    7. Sharing photos on Facebook from the Organizer
      3m 42s
    8. Sharing photos on Flickr from the Organizer
      2m 15s
  22. 7m 34s
    1. Signing up for an Adobe ID
      2m 20s
    2. Sharing online albums from the Organizer to Photoshop.com
      5m 14s
  23. 40s
    1. Goodbye
      40s

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