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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.
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.
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