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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.
Elements' Preferences offer you ways that you can customize your copy of Elements to suit the way that you work. In the Editor, I am going to go up to Photoshop Elements and down to Preferences, and then I am going to choose General from this list of categories of Preferences. That opens the Preferences dialog box. On the left I see the same categories of Preferences, and as I select different categories here, I will see different Preferences over on the right. There are lots of Preferences that you could tweak in this dialog box, but I recommend that if you are not sure what all the consequences of changing a particular Preference might be, then leave it set to its default.
But I do want to tell you about a couple of Preferences that you may want to change. Here in General Preferences, if you want Bridge to automatically launch when you launch Elements, check Automatically Launch Bridge here. That way if you click the Bridge icon at the top left of Elements, you won't have to wait while Bridge launches. There's also a Show Tool Tips preference here that's checked by default, and when its checked you do see tooltips as you are working in Elements. But as you become more familiar with Elements, if the tooltip is popping up all over the place or bothering you, then you can come in here and uncheck Show Tool Tips, like this.
Next I am going to go over to the left column and click on the Display & Cursors category of Preferences. The Painting Cursors are cursors like the Brush Tip for the Brush tool. By default, the Painting Cursors are set to show Normal Brush Tip, but that doesn't give you a completely accurate idea of the true size of a Brush Tip, especially when you are using a soft-edged brush. So I suggest changing this to Full Size Brush Tip instead, and also clicking in the checkbox to the left of Show Crosshair in Brush Tip, and here you can see a preview of what your Brush Tip is going to look like now.
Another item that you might want to change, depending on what you are working with is here in the Units & Rulers category, which I am going to select now, and that's the Rulers setting up here, which by default is set to Inches. That's great if you are creating something for print, but if you are making something that's going to be displayed on a computer screen, like photos you are going to display on a website, or a blog, or an on-screen slideshow or presentation, then you could come into this setting and change it from Inches to Pixels, so that the Rulers in the document window display Pixels as the default unit of measurement.
But don't worry, even if you do leave this set to Inches, as I am going to do now, you can change Rulers to Pixels on the fly by coming into either of the Rulers when they are displayed in a document window, holding the Ctrl key and clicking in the Ruler and then you will get a contextual menu from which you can choose Pixels or Inches temporarily. Now, if you have made some changes to your preferences and you decide that you want to reset them all to their defaults, you can always come in to this Preferences dialog box and click the Reset button here. But I am not going to do that. Instead, I am going to click OK to accept the changes I just made.
Now you will notice that when I move my mouse over any one of the tools, I don't get the tooltip that used to come up before I disabled the tooltip preference in the Preferences dialog box. So that's a brief look at how to customize your copy of Elements using Preferences.
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