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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
If the main thing that you do in Elements is to work with the photographs then most of the time you'll be using existing files, JPEGs or other photographic files into the Editor, but once in a while you may need to start a new file from scratch. You'll need a new blank file if you're creating buttons for a webpage, for example, or if you're making a logo from graphics and text or maybe you're making a scrapbook page. Here's how to create a new blank file from scratch in Full Edit Mode of the Editor. That's done by going to the File menu, choosing New and choosing Blank File or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N . That opens the New dialog box.
In the Name field the default name Untitled is highlighted, so I'm just going to type over that with the more meaningful name. I'll call this mynewfile. I don't have to bother typing a file extension because later, after I create and maybe work in the file I'll save it in a particular format like JPEG or PSD and the file format extension will be added automatically at that time. Next I'll set the dimensions of the file. One way to do that is to go to the Width and Height fields here. The fields to the right of Width and Height, control the unit of measurement.
If I'm creating something for print, I'll leave these set to the default of Inches. But if I were making something for the web or to be displayed on the screen, I would change that unit of measurement to pixels. By clicking on either one of these unit of measurement fields and choosing Pixels. And that sets the other field to pixels as well. I am going to go back and set that to Inches for now and then I'll go over to the Width field, and I'll type in the dimension that I want. I'm going to choose 8 inches in Width and then I'll type in 10 inches for Height.
Another quicker way to set image size is to use one of the presets that comes with Elements. To see those I'll click here on the Preset menu. Here I can choose the kind of document that I'm making. So if I'm making a printed page for a scrapbook, I'll choose Scrapbooking. That automatically sets the Dimensions to 12 inches x 12 inches and it sets the Resolution, which I'll explain in a moment, to 300, meaning 300 pixels per inch which is compatible with most inkjet printers.
What if I were making an image for the web rather than for print, I'll go back to the Preset menu and I'll choose Web and then I'll come to the Size menu which offer several different common sizes for webpage layouts here and for graphics that you might put on a website down here. Let's say I'm making a webpage layout and I wanted to fill a viewer screen that set to 1024x768 pixels. I'll choose 1024x768 from this Preset menu and that fills in the Width and Height fields here and sets the units of measurement to Pixels.
It also sets the Resolution field to 72 pixels per inch. I'm going to go back to the Preset menu and I'm going to choose the Default Photoshop Elements Size. The default is 6 inches wide by 4 inches high at 300 pixels per inch, which is one typical size for a photographic print. Now you may be wondering, what Resolution means here in this field? In this dialog box, Resolution means the number of pixels that would be assigned to every inch of a file if and when the file was printed.
Every file as you see it on your screen is composed of pixels, which are tiny squares of color information. When you go to print a document, you have to translate that number of pixels in to inches, so that the printer knows how big to make the document. Most often you'll be printing to an inkjet printer on your desktop and as a generalization inkjet printers need somewhere around 300 pixels per inch to produce a print that looks good. So this default here of 300 pixels per inch is a safe number to put in the Resolution field, when you're creating an image for print.
When you're creating an image for the web or on screen, you're safe with 72 as the Resolution, but it really doesn't matter because if you set the size of an image in pixels, resolution really isn't an issue because it refers to the number of pixels per printed inch. There are a couple of more file characteristics to choose when I'm creating a new document. One is Color Mode. Color Mode is a description of the color model that the file will use, and there are just three choices in this menu: Bitmap, which you're likely never to use, Grayscale and RGB Color.
I recommend that in almost all cases you leave Color Mode set to its default of RGB Color, even if I'm creating a document that ultimately is going to look like it's grayscaled or black-and-white. I'll use RGB Color Mode because RGB Color will give me more tonal information to work within the image than Grayscale will. Notice that there is no choice for CMYK Color Mode, which is the color mode used most often in commercial printing and graphic design. That's just not an option in Photoshop Elements, probably because this application is designed for consumers rather than for professional graphic designers.
So I'm going to choose RGB Color, the default Color Mode. The last field here is the Background Contents and that means what color the single background layer of the new blank file is going to be. It could be White, it could be Background Color, which means whatever color happens to be in the Background Color box in the toolbar at the moment, or it could be Transparent. When I'm preparing a document for print, I'll almost always want the background contents to be either White or Background Color.
If I'm making a graphic for the web or for screen, and I want that graphic to have a see-through area surrounding the graphic, I can choose Transparent. I'm going to leave Background set to White for now. Now I'm all done, setting up my new blank document so I'll click OK, and there it is, a brand new blank file ready for me to start creating content.
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