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Using Undo History

From: Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Using Undo History

Not everything that you try to do on a photo in Elements is going to be something that you want to keep. Editing photographs involves lots of trial and error. So knowing how to undo things that you've tried is a really important skill in Elements. So let's say that I want to try to eliminate this black dog from the snow. I might try to use one of the Healing Brushes for that, like the Spot Healing Brush, which is here in the toolbox. Now I can tell you in advance I already know that this isn't going to work, but that's the point. I want to show you how to undo something that doesn't work.

Using Undo History

Not everything that you try to do on a photo in Elements is going to be something that you want to keep. Editing photographs involves lots of trial and error. So knowing how to undo things that you've tried is a really important skill in Elements. So let's say that I want to try to eliminate this black dog from the snow. I might try to use one of the Healing Brushes for that, like the Spot Healing Brush, which is here in the toolbox. Now I can tell you in advance I already know that this isn't going to work, but that's the point. I want to show you how to undo something that doesn't work.

So I'm going to come in with the Spot Healing Brush, and I'll make the brush a little bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key. So it's bigger than the dog's leg and then I'm going to start clicking a few times over the dog's leg, trying to get the brush to cover the leg with snow that it copies from elsewhere in the image. After I've made just a few clicks, I can see that it's really not working and so I want to undo this. My first reaction might be well gee! I better try to erase what I've done, but that's not the right reaction. Let me show you what the Eraser tool does when you're working on a single layer in a photograph which is usually a special layer called Background.

You can see that here in the Layers panel, and I'll explain more about that in the chapter on layers. But for now, if I were to set my background color by clicking on the Background Color in the toolbox, and choosing a color in the Color Picker that opens, and then clicking OK, and then I went and got the Eraser tool, and I came into the image and try to erase what I've done, what happens is that the Eraser tool just paints with the background color. So using the Eraser tool is not the answer to undoing.

There are several ways to actually undo and one of those is to go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Undo, and the Undo command there will actually say what the last step that you performed was. So if I click Undo Eraser that gets rid of that red eraser mark. Now if I want to undo those Spot Healing Brush marks that I made, I can go back to Edit and now it says Undo Spot Healing Brush and I'll just keep going back there, Undo Spot Healing Brush a few more times, and each time I do, one more of my Spot Healing Brush marks goes away, but that's not very efficient, particularly, if I had made lots and lots of marks.

To make that undo go faster, I could use the shortcut for undo, which as you can see here on the Edit menu is Ctrl+Z. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z on my keyboard a few more times in order to bring back my dog's leg. So that's not a bad way to work if you just have a few brush strokes or Spot Healing Marks to undo. But what if I had made 20, 30 or 40 such marks? Then it could be really tedious to try to undo them with either the Undo command or using the shortcut Ctrl+Z. A better way to work is to use the Undo History panel to fix mistakes.

The Undo History panel is accessible from the Window menu at the top of the screen. So I'm going to go there and choose Undo History. Notice that the Undo History panel is now here in this column of panels, and it's really hard to see there. So I'm going to take it by its tab and drag it out, as I showed you how to do earlier in the course. And then I'm going to go to the bottom right-hand corner of this panel and drag down to extend it vertically, so that you can see everything that's in here now. In the Undo History panel there is now one bar for each of the actions that I took on this image.

Starting furthest back in time at the top when I open the image and then I made all the Spot Healing Brush marks, and then I use the Eraser. I'm going to make some more marks so that you can see how the Undo History panel works from scratch. I'll come in again with the Spot Healing Brush, which I'll select in the toolbar, and this time I'll start clicking on the front leg of my dog. Trying to cover him up, but not doing a very good job. Now I've made a real mess of the dog, but over in the Undo History panel there is an easy way to fix that mess.

I could just start clicking up these bars each of which represents one of the marks I made with the Spot Healing Brush, and as I do parts of the dog are coming back. Alternatively, I could take this slider on the left-side of the Undo History panel, and click-and-hold and drag it up to earlier states, like this, and when I release my mouse, the image will appear as it did back when I made that second mark with the Spot Healing Brush or I could just go to the very top of this list where it says Open, which is the first act that I performed on this image and click there to bring the image back to the way it looked after I opened it.

The really nice thing about the Undo History panel is that I can go back down in the other direction. So if I want to bring back all of those Spot Healing Brush marks that I made, I can come down and click on any one of these states, I'll just click on the last state to get back to where I was at that point of my editing. In other words, I can go up this list of states or down this list of states, and all of the states remain there. But watch what happens if I click somewhere in the middle of this list of states and then I do something else to the image. For example, if I get the Eraser tool again and I start trying to erase here, then all of the states after that disappear.

So that's one circumstance in which I'm not going to be able to rely on the Undo History panel to go backward and forward through my editing states. However, I can always go back to my original image, no matter what I do by going back to the top of the Undo History panel and clicking on the name of the image there, and that brings back the original photograph. The last thing to keep in mind about the Undo History panel is that whatever it offers while you're working on the image, will disappear once you close and reopen the image, then you'll get a fresh Undo History panel with no states in it and you won't be able to return to any of the versions of the image from the last time you were working on it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

106 video lessons · 8498 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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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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