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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Using the Smart Brush tool


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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Using the Smart Brush tool

The Smart Brush tool is the most direct way to apply an adjustment to just a selected area of an image. This tool both selects an area and applies an adjustment to that selection all in one step. Elements 8 comes with a collection of adjustments that work with this tool and they cover the gamut from practical photo adjustments to fun graphic adjustments. Before I show you this, I'd like to close my Effects panel over here so there is more room for the panels that I want to use. So I'm going to click the panel menu icon at the right of the Effects panel and choose Close.
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  1. 10m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 35s
    3. Launching the Welcome screen
      3m 12s
    4. Touring Elements
      4m 20s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. Working with catalogs
      3m 16s
    2. Getting photos from your hard drive
      2m 49s
    3. Changing thumbnail display options
      4m 35s
    4. Getting photos from a camera or card
      9m 43s
    5. Getting photos from a CD/DVD or an external drive
      4m 46s
    6. Getting photos from a scanner
      4m 36s
  3. 43m 15s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 44s
    2. Viewing photos
      5m 11s
    3. Selecting photos
      2m 58s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 39s
    5. Renaming photos
      2m 7s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      2m 0s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      5m 24s
    8. Stacking photos
      8m 9s
    9. Moving files
      4m 43s
    10. Backing up catalogs
      4m 20s
  4. 52m 4s
    1. Applying keyword tags
      8m 33s
    2. Finding photos by keyword tags
      3m 41s
    3. Finding photos with the Keyword Tag Cloud
      1m 56s
    4. Applying Smart Tags
      4m 29s
    5. Automatically tagging people in photos
      7m 54s
    6. Applying star ratings
      2m 48s
    7. Organizing photos in albums
      4m 10s
    8. Organizing photos in Smart Albums
      6m 44s
    9. Finding photos with Text Search
      4m 31s
    10. Finding photos from the Find menu
      5m 10s
    11. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 8s
  5. 29m 18s
    1. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      11m 12s
    2. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 10s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 22s
    4. Using Date View
      3m 41s
    5. Mapping photos
      4m 53s
  6. 56m 46s
    1. Applying Photo Fix options in the Organizer
      8m 22s
    2. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      6m 12s
    3. Applying Quick Fix controls
      11m 10s
    4. Using Quick Fix tools
      11m 2s
    5. Working in Guided Edit in the Editor
      4m 45s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      9m 18s
  7. 1h 12m
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      5m 5s
    2. Opening files in Full Edit
      2m 13s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 57s
    4. Using tools
      6m 11s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      4m 22s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 18s
    7. Using Undo History
      5m 56s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 30s
    9. Creating a blank file
      5m 58s
    10. Photo resizing and resolution
      9m 59s
    11. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 8s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 49s
    13. Saving files
      7m 47s
  8. 17m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 28s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      4m 51s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      9m 17s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Understanding selections
      2m 27s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 6s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 27s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 54s
  10. 1h 0m
    1. Cropping and straightening
      3m 49s
    2. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      2m 54s
    3. Applying adjustment layers
      7m 53s
    4. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    5. Merging multiple exposures
      6m 33s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 54s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      3m 39s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 21s
    9. Correcting skin tone
      2m 34s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      4m 4s
    11. Sharpening photos
      7m 42s
    12. Working with raw photos
      9m 52s
  11. 24m 50s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      7m 52s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      4m 26s
    3. Dodging and burning
      2m 18s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      5m 17s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 41s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 16s
  12. 31m 3s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 8s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 16s
    3. Running automated actions
      1m 51s
    4. Using layer styles
      6m 6s
    5. Using shapes
      8m 12s
    6. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      3m 13s
    7. Converting color to black and white
      3m 17s
  13. 9m 29s
    1. Creating text
      5m 8s
    2. Editing text
      2m 59s
    3. Warping text
      1m 22s
  14. 38m 50s
    1. Making a photo book
      8m 26s
    2. Making a photo collage
      9m 0s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      11m 25s
    4. Stitching a photo panorama
      4m 3s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      5m 56s
  15. 33m 54s
    1. Printing photos
      2m 58s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages
      4m 58s
    3. Sending photos by email and Photo Mail
      5m 57s
    4. Burning photos to CD/DVD
      1m 17s
    5. Ordering prints and books
      1m 59s
    6. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 15s
    7. Sharing photos online at Photoshop.com
      7m 40s
    8. Backing up and synchronizing online
      3m 40s
    9. Getting inspiration from Adobe.com
      2m 10s
  16. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
8h 50m Beginner Sep 23, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also 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.

Topics include:
  • Finding photos by keywords, tags, and ratings
  • Mapping photos
  • Applying Photomerge Exposure in Guided Edit
  • Adding adjustment layers to correct a photo's tone and color
  • Reducing digital noise in photos
  • Creating a photo slideshow with audio and transitions
  • Preparing photos for the web
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Using the Smart Brush tool

The Smart Brush tool is the most direct way to apply an adjustment to just a selected area of an image. This tool both selects an area and applies an adjustment to that selection all in one step. Elements 8 comes with a collection of adjustments that work with this tool and they cover the gamut from practical photo adjustments to fun graphic adjustments. Before I show you this, I'd like to close my Effects panel over here so there is more room for the panels that I want to use. So I'm going to click the panel menu icon at the right of the Effects panel and choose Close.

And now I have just my Layers panel open. I'll select the Smart Brush tool from the toolbar by clicking on it right here. And I want to be sure to get the Smart Brush tool, not the Detail Smart Brush tool for this particular lesson. When I select that tool, the Options bar changes to show me the options for the Smart Brush tool. One of those options is this menu that has a small thumbnail on it. I'm going to click the arrow on the right of that menu and here I see some of the adjustments that are available in Elements 8. I'm going to click this menu currently labeled All Purpose to see a list of categories of adjustments that are available, everything from Black and White conversions to Color adjustments, Lighting adjustments, some Special Effects, and more.

I'm going to choose Color adjustments, and then in this drop-down menu with thumbnails I can see all of the Color adjustments that are available. What these adjustments do is to change the color of a selected area, but to keep its photographic quality by allowing the tonality to show through. So for example, let's say that I want to change the color of this cloak to green. I'll choose Going Green here and then I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. Now I'll come into this image and I'll just click-and-drag and as I do, the Smart Brush tool selects the cloak on the basis of its color and tone and what the tool detects is edges.

And it colors it using the Green adjustment retaining the photographic quality. So it doesn't look just like a solid color graphic. Notice that by mistake I selected a little more than the cloak. I've also selected these cards over here and they been turned to green as well. I can fix that by using an option in the Smart Brush Tool Options bar up here. I'm going to click on the minus icon and then I'm going to come back down into the image and I'm going to click-and- drag over the area that I don't want to include in the adjustment and that subtracts that area from the selection and from the green adjustment.

Now take a look at the Layers panel. Notice that the Smart Brush tool has created a new layer. This layer is a fill layer very similar to an adjustment layer, which I covered earlier. It has two thumbnails. The one on the left representing the adjustment, the green tint. And the one on the right, a layer mask that automatically comes with this adjustment that defines the area to which the adjustment is being applied. The black in this layer mask is hiding the adjustment and the white is revealing the adjustment just in the area of the cloak. One of the nice things about making an adjustment with this Smart Brush tool is that I can come back later and change my mind and change that adjustment.

So for example, let's say that I was working here on the Background layer and I decided that green wasn't really the color that I want for the cloak. It's too similar to the background. All I have to do is click again on that Going Green 1 layer, and that brings back the selection that the Smart Brush tool made. And with the Smart Brush tool selected in the toolbar I can go up to the Options bar, click on the arrow to the right of this menu, and I could choose a different option, either a different adjustment or from the Color menu I could just go down and choose a different color.

I'll choose this pink. And then I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. And as you can see that automatically changed the adjustment to the pink color adjustment. Another thing that I can do with the Smart Brush tool is to control the edge of the selection that it makes, either making that edge softer or maybe contracting it or expanding it. I can do all of that by making sure I still have the Smart Brush tool selected, and then going to its Options bar and clicking the Refine Edge button. That opens the Refine Mask dialog box here.

The first thing I'll do here is decide how I want to preview the settings that I make. Right now I have the regular marching ants preview selected, but if I click the red icon I can see the selection without the marching ants and instead with this red overlay. Then I can use the sliders here to smooth the edge a little. Maybe to blur it slightly so that it's a little softer, and I can contract and expand that edge. I'll take this way over so that you can see where the red overlay is infringing on the pink cloak.

I'm going to actually reset these in this case by holding down the Alt key on the keyboard, which changes the Cancel button to a Reset button, and clicking that button. And then I'll click OK and I'll click back in the Options bar to close that menu. I can have more than one adjustment on the same image. To do that I first have to go to the Layers panel and click on the layer other than the layer that contains the current adjustment. So I'll click on this Background layer, and then with the Smart Brush tool still selected, I'll come back up to the Options bar, I'll click the arrow to the right of that menu and I'm going to choose a different color.

Or I could choose a completely different kind of adjustment. But I'm just going to choose the Chocoholic color and then click in the Options bar to close the menu. I'll use this adjustment flavor to change the color of this hat, coming in and dragging over the hat, and it immediately changes from blue to brown. And in the Layers panel you can see that there is now another adjustment style layer, the Chocoholic 1 layer. It comes with its own layer mask and its own adjustment icon. One of the nice things about Smart Brush adjustments is that many of them, but not all, remain editable so that I can modify the adjustment at any time.

For example, let's say that I decide I want to change the color of the hat, but I didn't see the color that I want in the Color menu up here. I can just go over to the Chocoholic layer and double-click the left-hand icon on that layer, the one that represents the adjustment. That opens the Adjustments panel with controls for that adjustment. This happens to be a Gradient Map adjustment, which I can customize. To customize this Gradient Map I'll click in this Gradient bar and that opens the Gradient Editor. And here, there are some Presets for different color gradients.

I'll choose a different Preset, this purple to orange preset, and I'll click OK. And that immediately changes the color of the hat so the shadow areas are purple and the lighter areas are orange. And then I'll click in the Options bar again to close that menu. Now not all adjustments are editable. So for example, I'm going to apply another adjustment. I'm going to click down on the Background layer and then with the Smart Brush tool still selected, I'll come up to this menu and click the arrow to the right of it again. And then I'm going to click the Category menu that currently says Color and I'm going to choose from the Black and White category.

I'll select that very first adjustment, the Blue Filter adjustment, which will convert the selected area from color to black and white. I'll close this menu and then I'll come into the image and I'm going to click-and-drag over the cloak, converting it to black and white. I got a little bit extra but I'll just leave that for now, because what I want to show you is that this particular adjustment is not editable. Notice that there is now a Blue Filter layer in the Layers panel, and when that layer is selected down here in the Adjustments panel, there's a message that explains that this particular adjustment layer can't be edited.

Your message may have a little different wording than mine but the issue is the same. Some but not all of these adjustments can be changed. So that's a look at the Smart Brush tool, which is a flexible way for you to paint in all kinds of different adjustments. It makes applying an adjustment a one step efficient operation.

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