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Using the Smart Brush tool

From: Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training

Video: Using the Smart Brush tool

There are a couple of new tools in Elements 8 for Mac located down here in the toolbar. One of those is the Smart Brush tool, which I'll cover in this movie, and the other is the Detail Smart Brush tool, which I'll cover in the next movie. I'm going to select the Smart Brush tool, which I can use to select an area of the image and apply an effect to that area, all in one quick step. First, I'm going to select the effect that I want to apply, by going up to the Options bar for the Smart Brush tool, and clicking on this thumbnail to open a menu of Preset Effects.

Using the Smart Brush tool

There are a couple of new tools in Elements 8 for Mac located down here in the toolbar. One of those is the Smart Brush tool, which I'll cover in this movie, and the other is the Detail Smart Brush tool, which I'll cover in the next movie. I'm going to select the Smart Brush tool, which I can use to select an area of the image and apply an effect to that area, all in one quick step. First, I'm going to select the effect that I want to apply, by going up to the Options bar for the Smart Brush tool, and clicking on this thumbnail to open a menu of Preset Effects.

There is a submenu here with categories of effects, black and white effects, color effects, lighting effects and more. I'm going to choose Color Effects, and then I see a menu of lots of different color effects that I could apply. I'll choose Going Green, and to apply that effect, I'll move into the image, by pressing the left bracket key on my keyboard, and then, I'm going to click-and-drag over the cloak, and it immediately is selected and changes color. Notice that I went a little bit too far here, I actually did that on purpose, so that I could show you that if you select too much with this tool, you can always go up to the Options bar, and choose the minus icon here, and then drag over that extra bit to remove it from the selection, and to remove the effect that's been applied there.

Now take a look over at the Layers Panel, and you can see what's happening under this scene. The Smart Brush tool has added this Adjustment layer to the Layers Panel. Like any Adjustment layer, this one has two thumbnails. The one on the left represents the green color. The one on the right is a layer mask that contains some black paint and some white paint. The black areas of this layer mask are hiding this green effect from parts of the image, which appears only where there's white or gray in the layer mask. I'm going to click off this layer onto the Background layer to hide the marching ants around the cloak.

One nice thing about some of the adjustments made with the Smart Brush tool is that they're editable. So if I were to close and save this image in a format that retains layers, it would retain this Adjustment layer, and I could come back in and make a change to it. I can select that Adjustment layer by clicking on this little icon right here in the image. That brings back the selection, and then with the Smart Brush tool still selected, I could go back up to the Options bar, click on the Preset Picker icon, and choose a different preset, maybe this pink one.

That immediately changes the adjustment. I'll click the X on the right side of the Preset Picker to close it. Another thing I can do to an adjustment is to modify the layer mask. So, let's say that I wanted to soften the edge of the mask, so that there was a softer transition between this pink cloak, and the background. With the Smart Brush tool still selected in the toolbar, and the Adjustment layer selected in the Layers Panel, I can go to the Options bar and click Refine Edge. That opens a Refine Mask dialog box, which is similar to the Refine dialog box that I showed you in the movies about selections.

There are two ways to preview the selected area, one with marching ants, and another as a red mask like this. I have a few sliders I can use to refine the mask, one that will smooth its edges, one that will soften the edges, and one that will either contract or expand the edge. I'm going to click OK to apply that, and then I'll click on a different layer, and I've managed to change the way that the edge looks. It's a little bit softer than it was a moment ago. Now I could apply more than one Preset Adjustment to this image using the Smart Brush.

The trick here is to first make sure that I've selected a layer other than one of the adjustment layers. So I do have the Background layer that contains the photo selected right now. With the Smart Brush tool still selected in the toolbar, I can go up to the icon for the Preset Picker and click, and I could choose a different effect, maybe this Chocoholic Color Effect. Then I'll come into the image, and I'll click-and-drag over the hat, applying that effect to the hat. Notice in the Layers Panel, there's now a new Adjustment layer for the Chocoholic Effect, with its own layer mask limiting that effect to just the hat.

I'll click off that layer, and down on the Background layer, to remove this selection around the hat. Now some of these adjustments, not all, but some, can be customized. The Color Adjustments are among those. So let's say that I want to change the color of the hat, but I don't see the particular color that I want, here in the Preset Picker. I'll close the Preset Picker, and I'm going to go to the Layers Panel and select the Chocoholic layer that controls this effect. I'll double-click on the thumbnail on the left side of the Chocoholic layer, and that opens the Adjustments panel to the Gradient Map Controls, because this particular color is being applied by a Gradient Map Adjustment.

I can customize the gradient that's being applied, by clicking the arrow to the right of the gradient to open the Gradient Picker. From this Gradient Picker, I could choose a different gradient, maybe purpled orange. Keep your eye on the hat as I do this, and you'll see that it changes color right away. And I'll close this Gradient Picker, and you can see that I've changed the Gradient Map Control here in the Adjustments panel. Again, I'm going to click on the Background layer in the Layers Panel to remove the selection. So that's a quick look at the Smart Brush tool in Elements 8 for Mac.

I think this is one of the most exciting new features in Elements 8, and I urge you to give it a try on your own images.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training

81 video lessons · 7184 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 17s
  2. 13m 0s
    1. Touring Elements
      7m 24s
    2. Starting from the Welcome screen
      5m 36s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Importing photos from a camera
      8m 48s
    2. Dividing scanned photos
      3m 52s
    3. Capturing frames from video
      3m 31s
  4. 23m 13s
    1. Touring Bridge CS4
      7m 44s
    2. Opening files from Bridge into Elements
      5m 1s
    3. Rotating photos
      1m 17s
    4. Moving, deleting, and hiding photos
      4m 11s
    5. Renaming photos
      5m 0s
  5. 29m 16s
    1. Tagging photos with keywords
      6m 28s
    2. Rating and labeling photos
      5m 55s
    3. Sorting photos by filter
      6m 23s
    4. Finding photos
      4m 33s
    5. Organizing photos in Collections
      5m 57s
  6. 52m 52s
    1. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      8m 34s
    2. Applying Quick Fix lighting controls
      3m 33s
    3. Applying Quick Fix color controls
      6m 30s
    4. Applying Quick Fix sharpening
      3m 44s
    5. Using Quick Fix touchup tools
      7m 43s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      6m 25s
    7. Merging multiple exposures in Guided Edit
      7m 24s
    8. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      6m 31s
    9. Running Automated Actions in Guided Edit
      2m 28s
  7. 30m 57s
    1. Touring the Full Edit workspace
      6m 5s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 28s
    3. Arranging panels
      4m 14s
    4. Using tools
      8m 15s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      3m 8s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 47s
  8. 46m 0s
    1. Using Undo History
      6m 6s
    2. Zooming and navigating
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a blank file
      5m 43s
    4. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 21s
    5. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 10s
    6. Cropping and straightening an image
      3m 12s
    7. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 23s
    8. Processing multiple files
      6m 16s
    9. Saving and formats
      4m 11s
  9. 23m 25s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 30s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      8m 53s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      11m 2s
  10. 22m 24s
    1. Understanding selections
      3m 39s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 36s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      3m 9s
    4. Refining a selection
      3m 59s
    5. Modifying and saving selections
      4m 1s
  11. 55m 51s
    1. Using adjustment layers
      9m 21s
    2. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 49s
    3. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      3m 24s
    4. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 30s
    5. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 3s
    6. Removing a color cast
      3m 55s
    7. Correcting skin tone
      2m 10s
    8. Reducing digital noise
      3m 44s
    9. Sharpening photos
      9m 42s
    10. Working with raw photos
      9m 13s
  12. 18m 58s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      5m 20s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      3m 30s
    3. Dodging and burning
      1m 49s
    4. Healing blemishes
      3m 51s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 15s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 13s
  13. 26m 26s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 6s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 0s
    3. Using layer styles
      3m 36s
    4. Using shapes
      8m 25s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 54s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 25s
  14. 7m 35s
    1. Creating text
      4m 7s
    2. Editing text
      3m 28s
  15. 27m 26s
    1. Making a photo collage
      7m 15s
    2. Stitching a photo panorama
      3m 43s
    3. Saving for the web
      6m 40s
    4. Creating web galleries in Bridge
      6m 47s
    5. Creating a PDF slideshow
      3m 1s
  16. 4m 34s
    1. Printing photos and contact sheets
      2m 49s
    2. Sending photos by mail
      1m 45s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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