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Photoshop Elements 7 is packed with features to help amateur photographers with every stage of digital photo processing, from getting organized to sharing projects with family and friends. In Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training, Jan Kabili shares workflow techniques for organizing, editing, creating projects, and sharing. She also demonstrates how to enhance photos with this budget-friendly software. Jan explains the latest updates to the Organizer and Editor workspaces, and also covers new features like the Smart Brush tool and Photoshop.com integration. Elements is very well known for its project features, and Jan shows how to create books, collages, panoramas, and more. Example files accompany the course.
If you were a scrapbooker or if you like to combine your photos with graphics to make invitations or cards or posters, you will love the Shape tool. Elements come with lots of fun shapes embellishing your images. These shapes are vector graphics, which means that they can be resized or distorted without losing quality. To make a shape you will come to the bottom of the Toolbox here to the Shape tool and click and hold to see all the different flavors of shapes that there are. There are different geometric shapes like rectangle and rounded rectangle and so on, but the really fun one is this one, the Custom Shape tool.
I'm going to select Custom Shape tool and then go up to the Options bar, I'll click the arrow to the left of the Shape field and there I can see one group of shapes. You can choose from any of these animals and make a shape like that one, but if you want to see all the shapes go to the bottom right of this dropdown menu and drag down and you can see some more of the shapes from which you can choose. I'm going to scroll down to give you a sense of what else is here. You have flowers and people's faces, you have fruits and frames and music notes and more. If you just want to see a few of these, you can go to the arrow at the side of this dropdown menu and choose the category that you want. I'm going to choose Talk Bubbles and I'll make this menu shorter by clicking and dragging from the bottom right corner. I would like to have a talk bubble here right next to Scott since he is talking on the phone.
I'll choose the very first one in the menu and then I'm going to click in a blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. Before I create this talk bubble shape, I'm going to pick a color for it. So I click on the icon here to the left of Style and that gives me a lot of colors from which I can choose, I could choose even more colors from this button. This is plenty I'm just going to get this white color right here and I'll click again in the Options bar in a blank area to close that menu. I also could come to the Styles field and I could choose to draw this talk bubble with one of the Layer Styles that shipped with Elements. Now I can choose from these Bevel styles, but if I wanted more other choice I could come to this double pointed arrow on the right side of this menu, click and choose from any of these categories, Drop Shadow, Inner Glows, etcetera.
I'm going to choose a Drop Shadow, so I'll select the Drop Shadow category and then here in the menu, I'll click on Low Drop Shadow and then I'm going to click on the blank area of the Options bar to close the menu. To create the shape with this Drop Shadow, all I have to do is click and drag in the image. I'm going to hold down the Shift key as I do that to constrain proportion so that the shape is not distorted. So I'll drag out a talk bubble. If you look at the Layers palette you can see that this automatically created a new layer. This is a special kind of layer called a shape layer. It has two parts. Behind the scenes there is a color fill, in this case white, and you can see the thumbnail that represents a vector mask that creates this vector shape and all that means is that the shape is being described by instructions rather than by pixels so that I could make a bigger or smaller or distorted and it would not lose quality.
Let us see how that is done. I'm going to go back to the Shape tool, click and hold and from the flyout menu, I'm going to select the Shape Selection tool and then I'll click on this shape. A bounding box automatically appears, I can click and drag inside the shape to move it and then I can click on anyone of the anchor points to make the shape bigger or smaller. I'll choose one of the corner anchor points and I'm going to hold the Shift key as I drag to constrain proportions to make the talk bubble a little bit bigger and again I can move it to put into place.
I could also move my mouse over any of the corners when the mouse changes to a curved double pointed arrow I can click and rotate the shape a little. When I'm all done I can click the green check mark to commit these changes and I'll go to the layers palette and I'm going to click on another layer so I don't have to see bounding boxes and you can see how very smooth this shape is like all other shapes because it is a vector graphic. One more thing I can do to the shape is change its color. To do that I'll go to the shape layer in the Layers palette and I'll double-click the thumbnail on that layer. That opens the Color Picker and I could pick another color. Maybe I'll make this shape a little grayer and I'll click OK. Again I'll click off that layer so that I can see the nice smooth talk bubble. Later in the course I'll show you how to add text on top of a shape layer like this one, but for now go ahead and explore some of the many shapes that come with Photoshop Elements. You can have multiple shapes on one image so if, for example, you are designing a scrapbook page in Elements you can have shapes scattered all around the page. Adding shapes will make your designs really unique.
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