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In this course, author Jan Kabili introduces the photo organizing, editing, and sharing features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, the less expensive version of Photoshop that’s ideal for casual photographers who want to achieve professional results. The course covers importing, organizing, and finding photos with the Organizer. It explains how and when to use each of the editing workspaces—from the simple Quick Fix and Guided Edit workspaces to the Full Edit workspace for enhancing your photos—including making photo corrections, retouching, compositing images, and adding text. The final chapter offers creative ways to share photos with Elements, including print projects like greeting cards, calendars, and books, emailing photos, and posting them on Facebook and Flickr.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you're working with layers. The first tip concerns the Background layer which you see down here at the bottom of the Layers panel. When you first open a photo in the Full Photo Edit workspace, it usually has one layer which is a special background layer and you can tell that it is a special background layer because it's named Background and it has a Lock icon on it. A background layer acts different than other layers. Because it's locked, you can't move it with the Move tool like you can other layers.
So I have the Move tool selected in the toolbar, and with the Background layer selected in the Layers panel, I will click and drag and nothing happens. You also can't change its stacking order, the Background layer insists on being at the bottom of the layer stack. So if I click on the background layer and try to move it up, I just get this cancel signal, and it acts differently in other ways too. So if you want your background layer to act like a regular layer, you have to turn it into a regular layer. How do you do that? Make sure the Background layer is selected in the Layers panel, and then go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen, and choose New > Layer from Background.
In this dialog box, you can give it a regular name. I will call this layer green plant because it contains a photo of a green plant, and I'll click OK. So now, that background layer has been converted into a regular layer, and with the Move tool I can click on it and move it, I will undo that, and I can change the stacking order of this layer like that, or like that, and otherwise treat it like any layer. Another tip is not to overlook the creative fields at the top of the Layers panel; the Opacity slider and the Blend mode menu.
You can use these features to get some interesting creative effects in a layered image. The Opacity slider makes the content of a selected layer more or less transparent. So let's say that I want this purple flower center to be more see-through, so we can partially see the green plant behind it. I will go to the Layers panel and select the purple center layer, and then I will go up to the Opacity field, I will move my mouse over the label Opacity, and drag to the left. And as I do, that purple center is becoming more and more translucent, less opaque.
Now I am going to select the purple center copy layer to show you what the Blend mode menu does. If I click on the Blend mode menu, which by default is set to Normal, I get this long list of different Blend modes for blending the color and tone of the selected layer with that of the layers below, each of these does a different thing and will look different depending on the layers involved. So rather than try to figure out what each one does, I suggest that you just try them out and choose one that you think looks good.
For example, if I click on the Screen Blend mode, you can see that the content of the selected layer here gets lighter, or if I go back and click on the Color Burn mode, that content gets darker. Once you've made a choice in that menu, you can actually cycle through all of the items in the menu, using the Up and Down Arrow keys on the keyboard, and that's a quick way to cycle through them all until you see a result that you like. I have one more layers tip for you, and that is, to consider turning off the Auto Select option of the Move tool.
When I have the Move tool selected here in the toolbar, up in the Tool Options bar, Auto Select layer is checked. With this option enabled, when I click on any content in the image, say on this orange flower, its layer will automatically be selected over here in the Layers panel. That sounds like a good idea, and sometimes it can be a useful way to select an item to work on. But just as often, it can cause you to select a layer that you didn't mean to select, because it does work automatically.
So I've found that it's better to uncheck Auto Select layer. And now when I click on particular content in the image, that doesn't automatically change which layer is selected. Having said that, I want to remind you that one of the easiest mistakes to make when you're working on an image in the Full Photo Edit workspace is to forget to select the layer that you mean to work on. So if you are working on your image, and you get a result that you hadn't counted on, one of the first things to check is whether you've selected the proper layer over here in the Layers panel.
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