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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.
The Organizer's Star Rating System is a simple way to quickly organize your photos. It's the first organizing feature that I apply to my photos after I bring them into the Organizer. I use star ratings as a quick way to separate the very best photos in a shoot and the very worst photos. First, I'll check that there is a line of light gray stars under each photo thumbnail. If there isn't, that means that I don't have my Details turned on, and I can turn those on from the View menu at the top of the screen, by toggling on Details here. I usually start by marking the photos that I think are rejects, to which I give one star.
To give a photo some number of stars, I just move over this line of stars under the photo and click on the number of stars that I want to apply. So, I'm going to click one star here and one start there, because those are two photos I really don't care for. And now, let's say I really like the next photo and I want to mark that as one of my best photos, I'll click on the fifth star to give that one a five star rating. If I have a lot of photos to which I want to apply the same rating, rather than rating them one by one, I'll select them all. So, I'll click on this one for example, and then hold down the Shift key and click on this one, and then, I'll come up to the Edit menu and go down to the Ratings menu there and choose a number of stars to apply to all of the selected photos at once.
So, I'll give all three of those 5 stars. Now, I often have a lot of photos that fall somewhere in the middle. They're not complete rejects, but they're not my best photos either. What I do with those is to give them no star rating, as I'll do for this photo here. I find that a simple system like that, five stars for my best photos, one star for my rejects, and no stars at all for everything in between is more efficient and more meaningful for me than trying to assign one, two, three, four, or five stars to each photo. After my first pass where I mark my rejects and my picks, I'll go through my thumbnails again, exercising my photographer's prerogative to change my mind.
So, how can I change a star rating? All I have to do is click on a different number of stars. So, let's say I decide that this one isn't really one of my best photos; it's somewhere in between. I'll click on the first star and that sets it to a one star rating, and then if I click on that single star again, that removes all the stars. So that's how I apply stars. Now, how do I use them? Well, let's say that down the road, I want to see only my very best photos. I can quickly find them by moving up to the Star Filter field right here.
I'll just click on the fifth star and in a moment, Elements filters the photo thumbnails, showing me only those in the 03_01 folder that have five stars. Notice that there's a menu here that by default is set to and higher. But I could choose to see those with five stars and lower, and I'd get a different selection. Well, let's say I want to see only those thumbnails with one star. I could set this to only and then click one star here in the Filter. So now that I've filtered the thumbnails I can see to just the rejects, what will I do with them? Well, I could hide them, I could delete them from the catalog, or I could even delete them from the hard drive.
All this I've shown you how to do in an earlier movie. And there are other ways to use star ratings too. I could use my star ratings to set up a Smart Album in the Albums panel that automatically collects photos with five stars and a particular keyword, and that's something we'll talk more about later in this chapter. Now, one more thing, I'd like to go back to see all of the photos in the 03_01 folder, regardless of how many stars they have. And so, I'm going to go back to this menu and I'm going to choose and higher which is the default, and then I'll click on that single star to remove all the stars from the Filter.
So, as you've seen, applying and making use of star ratings is pretty straightforward. The real trick is coming up with a rating system that makes sense to you and that you're likely to stick to, like the simple three category system that I showed you here. My picks get five stars, my rejects get one star, and everything in the middle gets no stars. Give that a try and see if it works for you.
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