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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 packs lots of tools into its toolbox. I'm not going to explain to you what every tool is. I think the best way to learn about tools is to use them in context, as you do throughout this course. But there are some things you can know about the tools that will help you use them more efficiently. The first thing is that not all the tools are visible in the toolbox at any one time. There are just too many tools. So some of them are tucked away behind related tools. Whenever you see a tool that has a small black triangle in the bottom-right corner of the tool slot, that means that that tool has some other tools hiding behind.
So, for example here's a black triangle on the Eraser tool, if I click and hold the Eraser tool for a second, and then I can release my mouse, a flyout menu appears with the Eraser tool, and some other tools hidden behind it, the Background Eraser and the Magic Eraser tool. If I click on one of those then, that tool becomes the active tool. Another thing to know about the tools is that you don't have to memorize all their names and locations. Instead, you can take advantage of tool tips to find a tool. So, if I see a tool icon and I don't remember exactly what it is, like this band-aid here, I can just move my mouse over it, and in a second, a tool tip pops up telling me that this is the Spot Healing Brush tool.
One way to access a tool is to click on it here in the Toolbox. But a quicker way to access a tool is by using its keyboard shortcut. To find out the keyboard shortcut for any tool, I'll move my mouse over that tool. So, if I come up to the Move tool, and keep my mouse there for a second, I learned that V is the shortcut for the Move tool. So, now no matter what tool I'm working with at the moment, if I need to move a layer, I can just press the V key on my keyboard, and that automatically selects the Move tool. In a earlier movie, I explained that the Tool Options bar up here is context-sensitive, which means that as I select different tools the options in the Tool Options bar changed to display only options that are relevant to the selected tool.
If you change some of the settings for tools in the Options Bar, your settings may stick with the tool. So, that the next time you use it you have the same settings. So, I suggest that every time you start a new project in Photoshop or if you sit down at a strange computer, say a computer in a lab, that you reset the tools. And the way that you do that is to go to the arrow that's on the left-side of the Tool Options bar click there, and you can choose to reset only the active tool, or all tools. So I'll choose Reset All Tools, and then I'll click OK.
And now the options for the selected tool as well as all the other tools have been put back to their defaults. One more thing to know about the toolbox is that at the bottom of the toolbox are the foreground and background color boxes right here. Whatever color is showing in the Foreground Color Box at any time is the color that will be used by any of the tools, and features in Elements Editor that make use of color. For example, here is the Brush tool that paints with Foreground Color, under Brush tool, there is a Pencil tool, and that also uses the Foreground Color.
Here is the Gradient tool and this tool is one of the few that uses both whatever color is in the Foreground Color Box, and whatever color is in the Background Color Box here. The Type tool is default to using the Foreground Color as well. So I'd like to show you a couple of ways to change the color in the Foreground Color Box. The easiest way is to select the Eyedropper tool here in the toolbox, and then if an image is open to click in the image on the color that you want to use. So, I'm going to click on this red here in this image, and that samples that red color and sets it as the foreground color.
Now, if I were to select a tool like the Brush tool from here behind the Pencil tool, and paint here in the image, I'm painting with foreground color. Another way to change the foreground color is to click on the Foreground Color Box, and that opens the Color Picker. Here in a Color Picker, I can move the slider to get into another hue, for example, blue and then in his large field on the left, I'll click on the Blue Shade to select just the blue that I want.
The selected color appears here in this square as the new color. I'll click OK in the Color Picker to close it, and notice that the Foreground Color Box is now that particular shade of blue. I'm going to move my cursor over the image, and notice the icon that represents the Brush Tip of the Paintbrush. Many of the tools in the toolbox have Brush Tips like this. Everything from the Eraser tool to the Clone Stamp tool, which is used to hide content in the photo to the Smart Brush tool, to the Healing and Spot Healing Brush tools, all of which we'll explore in later movies have a Brush Tip.
So I'd like to show you how you can change the size of the Brush Tip in an efficient way. To do that, I'm going to select another tool. I'll select the Spot Healing Brush, which is a tool that photographers often used, when they are retouching a photo. What the Spot Healing Brush does is cover up unwanted elements in a photo by copying and pasting pixels from nearby, and blending those pixels into the area you're trying to cover up. So, let's say that I want to cover up some of the black paint on this sign. I want to make my Brush Tip big enough to cover the black paint.
So, I'm going to press the Right Bracket key on my keyboard a couple of times to make that Brush Tip a little bit bigger. I think that's a much better way to change the size of a brush than what most people do, which is to go up to the Options Bar for the selected tool and then find a Size menu like this and drag the slider, because if you do it this way, you have no idea how big to make the brush. I am going to click here in a blank area of the Options bar to close that slider and then I'm going to go back in with this tool, and I'll click on some of this black paint to cover it up.
The same way if I wanted to make my Brush Tip smaller, I would click the Left Bracket key on the keyboard a couple of times. So, those are some productivity enhancing tips for using tools in Photoshop Elements. Knowing how to make the tools work efficiently will save you time and effort, as you work on your photos in the Full Edit Mode of the Editor.
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