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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.
Elements comes with a whole collection of graphic shapes that you can use to build out a Scrapbook page, or to create an invitation, maybe a card or poster, or just to combine your photos with graphics. These shapes are vector graphics, which means that unlike photographic elements, shapes can be resized or distorted without losing quality. To make a shape, I'm going to go to the Shape tools right here in the toolbar. From the Shape tool flyout menu, I could choose various geometric tools like a Rectangle tool, a Rounded Rectangle tool, which is great for making web buttons, an Ellipse tool for making ovals, or circles, a Polygon tool for making triangles, diamonds, or any straight edge shape, Align tool, and the Custom Shape tool, which is my favorite, and which I'm going to show you here.
I'll select the Custom Shape tool from that menu and then I'll come up to the Options bar at the top of the screen. I'll start here by clicking the arrow to the right of the Shape field and that displays some other shapes from which I could choose. But there are lots more than you see here by default. I am going to click the double-pointed arrow on the right side of this menu and that reveals another menu from which I can choose to see other categories of shapes, or All Elements Shapes. That's what I'm going to choose now. I still can't see all the shapes available, because the menu needs to be made longer.
To do that I'll click on the bottom- right corner of the menu and I'll drag down. Here you can see the many shapes that there are to choose from. From solid animal shapes to cartoon- like shapes, arrows, some masks, and more if you scroll down. I am going to scroll down to the bottom of this menu and from here I'm going to choose one of these Talk Bubble shapes. I'll click on the shape to select it and then I'll go up to the X at the top-right of this menu and click to close the menu.
Before I draw out the shape I want to choose a color and style for the shape. So, I'll click the arrow to the right of this Color menu in the Options bar, and that presents some swatches from which I can choose. I can make this menu bigger too by clicking on its bottom-right corner and dragging. I can just click on one of the colors here to select it, or I could click on more colors to open the Color Picker to find a custom color. I'll just choose this Beige right here and then I'll click up in the blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. I also can draw out this shape with a style applied to it.
To do that, I'll click the arrow to the right of the Style menu. In this menu, I can choose from different flavors of Bevel, which will give the shape a little bit of dimension, or I can click the double-pointed arrow on the right-side of the menu to find other kinds of styles to apply to the shape. I'm going to choose Drop Shadows, and then I'm going to click on the Low Drop Shadow, and then I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar to close this menu. Now I'm finally ready to come in and draw out my shape. If I draw it without holding down the shift key, it will distort.
So I'll hold the Shift key and then I'll click-and-drag in the image and that draws a Talk Bubble like that. The line that you see around this shape is the vector outline. If I don't want to see that I can come into the Layers panel where there is now a new Shape 1 layer, and just click on another layer there, and the vector outline will disappear. And now you can see the graphic with its very smooth edge and with the Drop Shadow style that I applied. Because this is a vector graphic, I can move it. I can rotate it.
I can resize it. I can distort the shape, all without affecting the quality of the graphic. To show you that, I'll click back on the Shape 1 layer and then I'm going to go over to the toolbar and click on the Shape Slot and from the flyout menu, I'm going to choose the Shape Selection tool. I'll click inside the shape with that tool and that adds a bounding box with anchor points around the shape as well as some anchor points around the Vector Outline as well. Let's say I want to rotate this shape.
With the same tool, I'll just move mouse over one of the corner points, the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow, and I can click-and-drag to rotate. If I want to change the size of the shape, I'll move my mouse over one of the corner anchor points, I'll hold the Shift key to avoid distorting the shape, and I'll drag in to make the shape little smaller. If I do want to distort the shape a little bit, without holding the Shift key, I'm going to come to any of the anchor points on the bounding box and drag. So I have just made the bubble a little narrower. When I'm all done with my changes, I'll click the green check mark to accept them, or if I want to go back to the way this shape looked before I made those changes, I'll click the Cancel sign.
I'm going to click the green check mark. One of the things I like to use Custom Shapes for is to mask a photograph to give it a more interesting shape. The technique I'm about to show you is very similar to the way I showed you to use a full layer mask, back in the Layers chapter. I'll start by setting up my layers. Going over to the Layers panel, I'm going to double-click on this layer called Background, to make into a regular layer, rather than a special locked background layer. So, I'll double-click right on the layer name Background. I'll type the name Cowboy for this layer and I'll click OK.
Next, I'm going to make a solid color background layer. To do that, I'll click the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. I'll name this layer Color by double- clicking the default layer name and typing 'Color' and pressing Enter and then I'm going to take that Color layer and click and hold and drag it beneath the Cowboy layer in the Layers panel, releasing my mouse when the border under that layer turns dark. And then I'll fill that Color layer with a solid color. I'll go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen. I'll choose Fill Layer and from the Use menu in the Fill Layer dialog box, I'm going to choose Black.
I'll click OK and now I do have a solid black layer under the Cowboy layer. But you don't see it right now because it's completely obscured by the Cowboy layer. I am going to make sure that I have that Color layer selected. And now I'm going to add a shape layer between the Color and the Cowboy layer. So, I'll go back to the Shape tools, I'll select the Custom Shape tool, I'm going to come up to the Shape option in the Options bar, and I'm going to scroll up toward the top of the menu of shapes.
Here I'm going to select one of these mask shapes and then I'll come up to the Options bar and click in a blank area. I'm also going to go to the Color menu and click the arrow there and I'm going to choose Black for the color of this shape. And I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar again to close that. Finally, I'll go to the Style field, and I'm going to click the arrow there. Now, I'd rather not have any style on the shape I'm about to draw. So, I'm going to click the double- pointed arrow on the right side of the Style menu and choose Remove Style.
And then I'll click in the blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. Finally, I'm ready to add another shape here. I'll click near the top-left corner of the image and drag toward the bottom right corner. That adds another Shape layer down here in the Layers panel, Shape 2. I'm going to call this one Mask by double-clicking the Shape 2 name and typing 'Mask' and here's the important step. I'm going to clip the Mask layer to the Cowboy layer. To do that, I'll hold down the Alt key and move my mouse over the border between the Cowboy and the Mask layer.
When I see the cursor change to this double circle icon, I'll click and that clips the two layers together. Now, I'm going to click back on the Color layer just to remove that vector outline from around the mask. And now I've managed to hide the outside of Cowboy layer, masking it with this more interesting shape. Just to give you a better idea of what's happened, I'm going to make the Color layer temporarily invisible by clicking the eye icon next to the Color layer. So, now you can better see the effect of the mask that I created with a shape on the cowboy photograph.
So, those are some ideas for ways to use shapes to your advantage, to embellish photographs like this, or to create some interesting projects like scrapbooks, invitations, or cards.
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