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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 Full Edit workspace is the full -featured editing workspace that's the heart of Elements and the area in which you'll ultimately do the bulk of your work in Elements 8 for Mac. In this and the following chapters, I'll be covering the Full Edit workspace in detail, but first I would like to familiarize you with the interface of this workspace, which has changed in Elements 8 for Mac. The new user interface in Photoshop Elements takes many of its features from its big brother, Adobe Photoshop CS4. The Full Edit workspace is composed of just a few different kinds of items.
I'll be covering much of the following in more depth in other movies, but for now an overview of that interface. On the left here is the toolbar, which contains the tools that you'll use to edit your images. Above that is the tool Options bar that contains all the options for whatever tool happens to be selected in the toolbar at the moment. One of the new interface Elements is this bar here, the application bar. It contains shortcuts to commonly used controls like the Save command, the Help content, a shortcut for launching Bridge, and for creating a new document from scratch as well as the new Arrange Documents window that you'll use when you want to see multiple open documents at once and I'll cover that in another movie.
At the very top is the traditional menu bar with dropdown menus of commands. On the right of the screen are that panels like the Effects panel here, and the layers panel down here. The panels are full of commands for working with images and I'll be covering those in more detail later in this chapter too. This is the document window, a window that displays an open document. By default document windows are free- floating, but in Elements 8 the document windows can be docked into non-free- floating tabs another thing that I'll cover in another movie in this chapter.
At the top of each document window you'll find information about the opened document. The name of the file, the current zoom level, the color mode, in most cases RGB, and the bit depth, which means the amount of color information in the file, in most cases this will be 8 bit, but in some cases it may be 16 bit. I can stretch the document window out from the bottom-right corner by clicking and dragging, and this gray area that you see is not part of the photo. It's just the background of the document window. When I do that, down here I can find information about the document, and I can switch the information that's showing here.
Right now, my document window is showing the color profile of this document, but if I click this arrow here, I can choose instead to see the document sizes, in other words the amount of space that the file will take up on my hard drive with and without layers, I can click that arrow again, and I could see the document dimensions, in this case, the width and height in inches and the resolution, and I'll be talking about the important topics of resizing and resolution in a separate movie later. Another new interface element is the Application Frame, which makes Elements 8 for Mac behave more like Elements for Windows.
When the Application Frame is enabled, as it is by default, the area here behind the document windows is solid gray and that obscures my desktop or any applications I may have open in addition to Elements and it keeps me from inadvertently clicking out of Elements by clicking in this area, which has been a problem in the past, particularly for beginning users. With the application frame enabled, I can move the entire Elements interface as one unit by clicking and holding on this title bar up here and dragging.
I can also resize the entire interface as a unit by moving my mouse over any one of the borders like the left border over here and dragging, and this would come in handy if I wanted to see another program that I had open behind Elements. To make Elements take up my full screen again, I'm going to go up to the green button at the top left of the interface and click to maximize. Now if you don't like having the Application Frame on because you're an old Mac user and you're not used to it, you can always disable the Application Frame by going to the Window menu and choosing Application Frame.
With the Application Frame disabled, I do run the risk of clicking inadvertently outside of the document window like this and that takes me back to my desktop. If that does happen to you, just click back anywhere in the document window to bring Elements back. So that's one of the reasons that I recommend leaving the Application Frame on, and I'm going to do that for the rest of this course, going up the Window menu and choosing Application Frame. Now before I end this tour of Elements interface I want to address a question that students often ask me. Should I use Photoshop Elements or should I use Photoshop proper? My answer is that if you're a professional photographer, a professional designer, or someone else who makes your living with photography or digital imaging, then, yes, go ahead and invest in Photoshop proper.
But if you're someone who just loves photography or likes to do scrap booking as a hobby or delights in posting images online for friends and family to see, then there is more than enough here in Elements Full Edit Workspace to do the job that you need. So what is the difference between Elements for Mac, and Adobe Photoshop for Mac? Well, Elements offers some more discoverable features like the Quick Fix workspace and the Guided Edit workspace that I showed you earlier, and at least theoretically, Element is easier to learn and use.
On the other hand, the full-fledged Photoshop offers some more advanced features like CMYK color, access to image channels, a direct way to apply layer masks, and more. But in most cases you're not going to need those advanced features, if you are a hobbyist. So in that case, Elements is great. So that's an overview of the Full Edit workspace in a nutshell. The new interface that I have showed you brings Elements into line with the interface of other Adobe applications and I think it makes it more user-friendly.
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