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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
We've covered lots of ground in the last few chapters. So I'd like to step back a minute, and give you a chance to use some of the skills that you've picked up along the way to make something, and that's something is going to be this scrapbook page. I know that many Elements users are scrapbook fans. It's a great way to show off your photos, your artistic skills, and to preserve your memories. As we make this scrapbook page together, it'll give me an opportunity to show you two panels that we haven't seen yet. The Content panel that contains all kinds of little bits and pieces that you can use in your scrapbooking work, and in your other creative projects, and its cousin, the Favorites panel.
So this is what we're going to be making. Let's get started with a new blank file. I'll go to the File menu here in the Full Edit workspace and I'll choose New, and Blank File. In the New dialog box, I'll set the dimensions of my new page by going to the Width and Height fields making sure they are set to inches and I'm going to type-in a Width of 11 inches, and a Height of 8.5, and I'm going to leave everything else as you see it here. I'll click OK and that gives me a new blank file with a single layer that you can see over here in the layers panel.
If your layers panel isn't open, I suggest that you'll open it, so that you can keep an eye on it as you build the scrapbook page. I'll recommend that separate pieces of artwork go on separate layers, so that you can work on each object, or background, or photo, without affecting the rest of the page. The first thing that I'm going to do is to add a couple pieces of content. I'd like to add a different background than this white background. I'd also like to add an object. This is the Content panel. If yours isn't open, you can open it from the Window menu. The Content panel has lots of pieces of artwork.
Frames, and backgrounds, and objects, and type styles, and more that you can use to spruce up your projects. There is so much here that it's difficult to find by just scrolling around. So Elements gives you two menus at the top to try to help you find the kind of content that you're looking for. From the first menu, I can choose the way that I'm going to search. I can search By Type, By Color, By Object, and so on. I'll leave this set to Type and when I do, the second menu shows me a list of different types of artwork.
I'm looking for a background so I'll leave this set to Backgrounds. And then I'm going to scroll down through these thumbnails of available backgrounds, until I see one that I like. Here is one that looks promising. This light blue one called scrapbook_06. To apply a piece of content from the Content panel, I can either double-click it here in the Content panel, or I can drag it onto the image. I'll just double-click this thumbnail, and there it is in the image. In the layers panel, you can see that it's replaced that plain white background.
When I use a background from the Content panel, it comes into the layers panel as what's called a Smart Object. Smart Objects have lots of advantages. One of them is that behind the scenes, Elements can swap out one smart object for another. So it's easy to try different pieces of content without building up unwanted layers. Now I'm going to go back to the Content panel to find another kind of content, an object. I could try searching by object setting this first menu to By Object. But I've already tried that and I didn't see anything I liked.
So I'm going to try searching by a more esoteric category, By Mood. And that changes the second menu to show a list of moods. I'll choose Reflective. And then I can scroll through these icons that are in the category of Reflective mood. I am going to scroll down, until I see this thumbnail of a postcard. I'll double-click that thumbnail and that brings the postcard into the image, and it creates a brand-new layer that contains the postcard against a gray and white checkerboard that represents transparency around the postcard.
A new layer has been made automatically, which is nice, and that layer is a smart object layer as you can see by the icon at the bottom-right of its thumbnail. Another quality of Smart Objects is that you can resize them multiple times, and not have to worry about losing image quality as you would if this was a regular pixel-based layer. So knowing that, I can come into the image and I can click on a corner anchor point of the bounded box around the small postcard, and I can drag out to make the postcard bigger. I don't even have to worry about constraining proportions, because by default, Constrain Proportions is checked up here in the options bar.
Then I'm going to click inside the bounding box and I'm going to move the postcard approximately where I wanted on the scrapbook page. I'll move my mouse outside of one of its anchor points, until the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow and I'm going to drag to rotate. When I'm done with all that, I'll click the green check mark that appears, and that accepts all those changes. As I was looking for the postcard in the Content panel, I noticed another piece of artwork that I think I might use later. So I'd like to hang on to it, so I don't have to go scrolling around to find it, when and if I do want to use it.
To do that, I'm going to save that piece of artwork as a favorite. I'll scroll up, and find the piece of art, which is this little brass butterfly. And then I'm going to open the Favorites panel by going up to the Window menu, and choosing Favorites. If your Favorites panel opens in the column on the right, you may want to click on its tab and drag it out, so that you have more room to see its content. In my Favorites panel, I have a number of thumbnails that I've already made into favorites. It's pretty easy to do that.
All I have to do is go over to the Content panel, find the thumbnail that I want to remember. Click on it, and drag it into the Favorites panel, and release my mouse. It's still there in the Content panel, but there is also a copy of it here in the Favorites panel, so it will be easier to find later. I want to have to look through all of that content. I can just look through my Favorites here. I'm going to collapse the Favorites panel to get it out of the way by double-clicking its tab, but I'll leave it open on the screen, so I can access it later. I'm also going to double-click the Hand tool to fit the entire page on my screen, so I can see it more closely.
Now it's time to add some photographs to this scrapbook page. I have three JPEGs opened that I'd like to add. You can see their tabs up here at the top of the Document Window. One way to add opened photographs to another opened image is to drag them from the Project Bin into the image. I'll go down to the Project Bin and I'll expand it. I'll click on each one of these thumbnails, and drag it up into the image. Each one will land right in the middle of the scrapbook page one on top of the other. Now I'm going to collapse the Project Bin, so there is more room to work by double-clicking its tab.
In the layers panel, you can see that I now have each of those three JPEGs on a separate layer. So I can move each one separately. I'll get the Move tool in the toolbox and I'll move the top image over. I'll move the next image over, and then I can resize each one and rotate each one, just like I did with the postcard. So if you're following along, go ahead and do that in whatever arrangement it looks good to you. Now I'd like to add one more photograph. This is a photograph that I haven't opened in advance.
If I want to add a photo that isn't opened, I'd like to do that by using the Place command, because that will bring the photo in as a smart object, so that I can resize it as many times as I want without worrying about losing photo quality. So I'll go up to the File menu and I'm going to choose Place. I'll navigate to the Exercise Files folder on my desktop, and there I'll go into the chapter14 Projects folder, and into the 14_11 folder, and there is the photo that I want, underwater.jpg, and I'll click the Place button.
The object comes into the image, ready to be resized and that's what the cross means. So I'll click on it and I'm going to drag it up here. Then I'll move my mouse over one of the side anchor points and I'll turn it. I can click and drag, and make it a little smaller if I want to. When I am done repositioning and resizing it to taste, I'll click the green check mark. Now I've got the basics of my collage all set up and I'm ready to begin fine-tuning, which we'll start doing in the very next movie.
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