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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan 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.
One of the nice things that you can do for your family and friends is to use the retouching tools in Elements, to make their portraits look better. Here in the toolbar, there is a Spot Healing Brush tool and the Healing Brush tool that you can use to remove blemishes, wrinkles, facial hair, scars, bags under the eyes, and in general, to retouch your portraits so that your subjects look better. I am going to start by selecting the Spot Healing Brush tool, and I'm going to come into this image, and I am actually going to zoom in, so you can see the blemishes on the face better, by pressing Command, and then tapping the plus key Plus a few times.
Then I'm going to hold the spacebar down and pan down on this image. I see that the model has a few blemishes including this little freckle here and a scar over here. The Spot Healing Brush tool comes in really handy for cleaning up areas like this. Before I apply this tool, I like to make a new layer that will contain all the corrections that I make with the tool, and that way I can eliminate those corrections easily by throwing away the new layer, or it can reduce the opacity of the layer to make the corrections look more realistic.
So I am going to go over to Layers Panel, and I'm going to click the Create New layer button right here, and then I will name the new layer. I'll double-click the default layer name, and I'll call this layer 'retouching', and then I'll press the Return key on my keyboard. I'll make sure I have that retouching layer selected, and then, and this is important, I'm going to go up to the Options bar for the Spot Healing Brush and I'm going to click Sample All layers. This will cause the Spot Healing Brush to sample or use some good pixels from other layers in the image.
In this case from the background layer, but to lay down those sample pixels on the selected Retouching layer. So now, all I have to do to retouch the image is move into the image, place my mouse over one of the blemishes like this scar, use the bracket keys to make the brush tip just a little bit bigger than the area that I want to cover, and click. With just one click that scar goes away. I can do the same thing up here on this freckle, or I can click and drag over some of these scars on the boy's forehead, and like magic they disappear.
I can just quickly go through an entire image cleaning up blemishes like this. Now sometimes I want a little more control over where I'm sampling good pixels from. So let's say that I want to remove some of the hairs in the boy's eyebrow here. If I use the Spot Healing Brush, I'm not getting the best result, because the Spot Healing Brush is picking up some pixels that include some hairs, rather than pixels from the clean skin up here. So I am going to undo a couple of times pressing Command key and Z key together and I am going to go over and get another tool, the Healing Brush tool, which gives me more control over the area from which the good pixels are sampled.
With the Healing Brush tool, I'm going to go up to the Options bar, and again, check Sample All layers. I'm also going to check Aligned, so that the area from which I'm sampling moves with me as I lay down good pixels. Then I'm going to come into the image, and I'm going to hold the Option key down as I click on some clean skin on the boy's forehead. Now I'm going to move over these hairs and drag, and notice that cross that's moving with me, that indicates the location from which the good pixels are being taken. I'll just drag over the hairs, I'll do the same on the other side, and that's a quick way to shape the eyebrows.
I also like to use the Healing Brush tool when I'm trying to remove bags under the eyes like this, or when I'm trying to remove stray hairs, like those along the hairline here. The Healing Brush tool and the Spot Healing Brush tool come in handy for cleaning up lots of areas of portraits, and that will make your subjects feel a lot better about themselves. So I urge you to use these Retouching tools on your own portraits.
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