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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Full Edit workspace is about more than just photographs. If you need to make graphics for a scrapbook, for a printed card, or for a web site, you'll be happy to know that you can make shapes here in the Full Edit workspace that are vector graphics which means that unlike photographs, these graphics can be reshaped or distorted or made bigger without losing image quality. Graphics like this are made with the Shape tools which are located here in the toolbar. There are a number of different geometric Shape tools; a Rectangle tool, a Rounded Rectangle tool which is useful for making web buttons, an Ellipse tool for making circular and oval shapes, a Polygon tool that you can use to make straight edge shapes like triangles.
There's a Line and there's a Custom Shape tool, which is my favorite, because with this tool I can make shapes that are objects. I'll select the Custom Shape tool and then I'll go up to the options bar and I click the arrow to the right of the Shape field to open the Shape picker. Here you can see just a few of the custom shapes that come with Elements but there are lots more. If I click the double-pointed arrow on the right side of the Shape picker that opens a menu from which I can choose other categories of shapes. I am going to choose All Elements Shapes so you can see them all here.
Then I'll make the Shape picker longer by clicking on its bottom-right corner and dragging down. Here you can see just some of the many shapes that come with Elements, from caricatures to Chinese characters. I am going to scroll down a bit to find some Sun shapes. I'll click on this Sun shape and then I'll go up to the options bar and I click in a blank area to close the Shape picker. I'm going to choose a color and a style for this Sun shape. I'll go to the arrow to the right of the Color field and click there to open this set of swatches.
I can click on a yellow color here or I can scroll down to see the other colors and if I'm looking for a color that I don't see among these swatches, I can click more colors to open the color picker, but I am going to go with this yellow. So I'll click in a blank area of the options bar to close the Color picker. Next I am going to open the Style picker by clicking the arrow to the right of the Style field. By default, this is showing me some Bevel styles. If I click the double-pointed arrow in the Style picker, I can choose from other categories of styles and these are the same categories that you'll find with layer styles in the Effects panel.
I am going to go down and choose the Photographic Effects category. In this category, I'll click on the Orange Gradient style and then I'll close the Style picker by clicking in a blank area of the options bar. Now I am ready to create a sun shape. So I'll move into the image and I am going to hold down to the Shift key to constrain proportions so I don't get a distorted sun and I'll click and drag and I can make this shape as big as I want it because this is a vector shape and so size doesn't really matter. I release my mouse first and then I'll release the Shift key.
You can see in the layers panel that there is a now a brand-new layer called Shape 1. I am going to name this sunshape by double-clicking the name and typing over that, and then pressing Return or Enter on the keyboard. Notice that when I click directly on the thumbnail on this layer, I can see the outline of the vector shape in the document window. In order to see the shape without that vector outline, I can click off the sunshape layer onto another layer and when I do, you can see how really smooth the edge of this graphic is and it will remain that way even if I reshape or resize the graphic.
To do that I click back on the sunshape layer in the layers panel and then I'll go back to the toolbar and I'll click on the Shape tool slot and from the flyout menu, I will choose the Shape Selection tool. I am going to click on the shape and that brings up this bounding box with anchor points on the sides. I click on any one of the corner anchor points and I can drag out to make the shape bigger without worrying about losing image quality, or in to make the shape smaller. I'll make it bigger and then I'll click this green check mark to accept that change.
I can also distort the shape and not worry about losing image quality. So if I go to the Image menu and I choose Transform Shape in addition to Free Transform, I have the options to Skew, Distort or change Perspective. I'll choose Perspective and then I will come back into the image, and I'll click on the bottom-left anchor point and I'll drag out to add some perspective to this shape. If I click on one of the corner anchor points at the top of this shape and drag in, the top of the shape gets distorted too and then I'll except that change by clicking the green check mark down here.
I'm also going to click the green check mark here in the options bar and that removes the outline from around the shape. So if you need to make some interesting graphics for projects like scrapbook pages or invitations or cards, take a look at all the options available in the Shape picker for the Custom Shape tool and feel free to reshape and resize the shapes that you create with that tool.
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