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Editing photos in Elements can involve lots of trial and error. So, knowing how to undo what you have tried is one of the most important things that you can know about using the program. I'm going to try to eliminate this black dog from the white snow. To do that, I am going to select this tool, the Spot Healing Brush and I'll 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 with the Spot Healing Brush, I am going to move over the dog and I'm going to start clicking and what the Spot Healing Brush does is sample pixels from nearby and try to cover the dog by blending those sample pixels with the pixels of the dog.
But as you can see, it's not working very well. So, the question is how would I fix this? Well, one way, if you have just made a couple of clicks, is to use the undo command located under the Edit menu. So, here when I go to the Edit menu, I find Undo Spot Healing Brush, I can select that command and then I could go back and do that again or I could come over to the Undo button here on the right side of the screen and click that several times and that's a little more efficient, or I could use the shortcut for Undo, which is Command+Z. So, I'll hold the Command key and press Z, Z, Z, Z and each time I do, I'm going back one step.
So, the Undo Command or the Undo button or Command+Z, the shortcut for undo work fine if you have just made a few marks. But what if I had made 20, 30 or 40 marks with various tools. It could be really tedious and confusing to try to back up using the Undo command. In that case, a better way to work is to use the Undo History panel. To show you that, I'm going to make some more marks on his image. Again, with the Spot Healing Brush I will make some marks, trying to cover up the dog and when I see that doesn't work , I will try another method, I am going to choose the Healing Brush tool from the same slot in the toolbox.
The Healing Brush tool works a lot like the Spot Healing Brush, except that I get to decide where I'm going to sample the good pixels from. So, I will go to this clean area of snow, I will hold down the Option key to change the cursor to this target and I will click to sample from there and then I'll try to cover the dog with pixels from the clean part of the snow. But it's still not doing a very good job, Elements is trying the blend the cover-up pixels with the pixels that are already there and it was kind of making a blurry mess. So, I will try yet another tool, the Clone Stamp tool, which is here in the toolbar.
The Clone Stamp tool works a lot like the Healing Brush tool, except that it doesn't try to blend the cover-up pixels. So again, I'll go to a clean area of snow, I will hold down the Option key and I'll click to sample, some pixels from there and then I will come in and start trying to cover up the dog. But that's not doing a very good job either. I need to go back and Undo, but I've made so many different marks that it would be difficult to keep track of where I was using the Undo command or it's shortcut or the Undo button.
So instead I'm going to open the Undo History panel. To do that, I will go up to the Window menu and choose Undo History. There's the Undo History panel down here. I am going to drag it out of this column, so that you can see it better and place it right up here and then I'm going to make this panel longer by clicking on its bottom-right corner and dragging down. And you can see all of the many marks that I have made in his image. Each of the rows in the Undo History panel represents a mark that I made, starting with the most recent at the bottom and moving back up to the furthest away in time.
So, if I want to back up, I can just click on different rows here and keep your eye on the image as I do and you can see there's marks going away. And I don't have to click here row by row. If I wanted to go all the way back to before I had tried the Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp, I could just come back up here and click on the Spot Healing Brush row here. Another nice thing about the Undo History panel is that if I want to go all the way back to the original image, I can do that at any time by going up to the very top and clicking on the name of the file.
That takes me back to the original dog, before I had done anything to it. Another really great thing about Undo History is that I can go forward in time too. So, now if I change my mind and say that I do want to see again, how the image looks with the Spot Healing Brush marks and the Healing Brush marks, I could come down to this row and click and that takes me back to that point in time. Now there are some limitations to using the Undo History panel that you need to know about. One thing is that if I were to close the image and then reopen it, there would be nothing here in the Undo History panel.
These states only stay here while I am working on an image. Secondly, if I take any other action after the row that I am on, the more recent rows, the ones below the row I am on, will disappear. So, let's say that I am on this Healing Brush row and I decide that I'm going to try crop the image. So, I select the Crop tool in the toolbar and I come in and drag a Crop boundary like this and then I accept the crop by clicking this green checkmark. Notice that there is now a Crop state beneath the Healing Brush state that I had selected, but all of the Clone Stamp states that had occurred after the Healing Brush state have now disappeared.
And finally, another limitation to using the History panel and using the Undo command is that by default, there are only 50 states in the Undo History panel and you can only undo 50 times. Now, I can increase that number by going to Photoshop Elements and Preferences and choosing Performance and here is where the number of History States is set at 50. But if I do increase that number, like this, I run the risk of slowing down the processing on my computer depending how powerful a Computer I have.
So, I am going to reset and click OK. So, if you have multiple steps to Undo, do try using the Undo History panel or if you have just a couple of things to eliminate, use the Undo button, the Edit>Undo Command or the shortcut, Command+Z a couple of times.
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