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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.
Of all the features in the Full Edit workspace, you will probably use the toolbar the most. So I would like to share with you some tips for using the toolbar and its tools more efficiently. The toolbar is this double- columned item over here on the left. If you are working on a small monitor and you need more space, you can change it from two columns into one. To do that, you have to move it out of the snapped position over here on the left side of the screen. I will click on these two thin bars at the top of the toolbar and drag over to the right and that gives me access to this double-pointed arrow.
If I click that, it changes the toolbar into a single column. If you happened to click this X by mistake, that dismisses the toolbar altogether from the screen. I think it's a good idea to always have it showing. So if that happens, here is how you can reopen the toolbar by going up to the Window menu and choosing tools. I am going to put this back to two columns by clicking that double-pointed arrow again, and then I will snap the toolbar back to the left side of the screen by clicking on its title bar, this black bar, and dragging back over to the left until I see a light blue line on the left side of the screen, and then I will release my mouse.
Notice that many of the tools have a black rectangle on the bottom right. That black rectangle indicates that there is more than one tool in that tool slot. There are just so many tools that they all can't be showing at the same time. To access related tools, click and hold on the tool that's showing and this flyout menu will appear and then you can move your mouse over to the side and select a different tool. Then that tool takes the slot in the toolbar. You maybe thinking that there are so many tools, you will never remember them all.
Well, you don't have to, because there are tooltips. So if I move my mouse over any one of the tools, and just hover there, in a moment a yellow box pops up with the name of the tool and a shortcut for selecting that tool if I want to use it. Normally, to select a tool I will click on it here in the toolbar. But another way to select a tool is to use its keyboard shortcut. If you don't remember the shortcut for a tool, you can just hover over the tool, and you will see the shortcut in that tooltip. So for example, if I wanted to access the Zoom tool and I was doing something else in the image, I don't have to come all the way over to the toolbox to get the Zoom tool, I can just press the Z key on my keyboard, because that tooltip told me and that changes me to the Zoom tool.
You can see that the Zoom tool is now darker than the other tools in the toolbox, because it's the selected tool. Another useful thing to know about tools is how to reset their options to the defaults. You remember from an earlier movie that when you select a tool in the toolbar, the options bar, this horizontal bar right here changes to display options that are specific to the selected tool. So if I select say the Brush tool here in the toolbar, keep your eye on the options bar and you will see it change, or if I select the Crop tool, the options in the options bar change again.
The fields for some of the tools in the options bar are what are called sticky. That means that if I enter something in those fields, like the Width and Height field here in the Crop tool options, those entries will remain there even after I am done using the Crop tool. So that the next time I come along and use the Crop tool, it's going to use the same dimensions. Sometimes that can trip you up, because I don't know why something is happening. So I recommend that when you begin a Photoshop session, you reset all of the tools to their defaults and that will eliminate anything in any of the fields of the tool options.
To do that, click the arrow at the far left of the options bar and there you can choose to reset the current tool or reset all tools. I will reset all of my tools and then I will click OK in this alert. As you can see, these fields are now clear. One more thing to know about the toolbar is that it contains the foreground and background color boxes. The foreground color box is the most important because whatever color is in that box will be the color that all of the tools and features that apply color will default to.
So that means that the Brush tool, and the Pencil tool, and the Type tool, and under the Edit menu, the Fill layer feature and a number of other features will all default to using whatever color is here in this box. So it's important to know how to set that color. One way to do that to take a color right out of an open image. To do that, I will select the eye- dropper tool in the toolbox and then I will move into the image and I will click on a color and that color appears here in the foreground color box.
Another way to select a foreground color is to click in the foreground color box to open this color picker. To intelligently choose a color in the color picker, you should know that color has three properties in Elements. It has hue, which is the color. saturation, which is how gray or intense the color, and brightness which is how light or dark the color is. By default, the hue button is selected. That sets the slider here to displaying hue. So if I want to select a color, I will usually start with this slider, dragging it to select a hue, in this case, green.
Then I will move over into this larger area which is setup to show the brightness of this hue from top to bottom and the saturation of the hue from right to left. So if I click anywhere in this large box, I am selecting a particular saturation and brightness of this hue. In this box, I can see the last color I was using and the new color I just selected. I will click OK and that closes the color picker and that color shows up here in the foreground color box. There is one more way to select color and that is to go the Window menu and open the Color Swatches panel from there.
The Color Swatches are some default colors and I can just click on one of those to put that color in the foreground color box. To apply a color, I will use one of the Brush tools. I am going to select the Brush tool here in the toolbox and then move into the image, because I want to show you how to make the brush-tip bigger and smaller on the fly. I like to do this from right here in the image so that I can continue to work with the tool rather than going up to the options bar and looking for a Size slider and just guessing at the size of brush-tip.
So when I am in the image, you can see that small circle there on the cloud. I can make the brush tip bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key on my keyboard several times and if I want to make the brush-tip smaller, I will press the Left Bracket key on my keyboard several times. Those keys are located just to the right of the P key. I also can vary the softness of the brush from here by holding the Shift key as I press the Left Bracket key, that makes a brush softer. If I hold the Shift key and press the Right Bracket key, that makes the brush harder.
So now that my brush is hard, if I make a mark with it, that mark has solid edges. But if I make the brush soft again by holding the Shift key and pressing the Left Bracket key, the same size brush makes a mark with the softer edge. Keep in mind that it's not only the drawing tools that use brush-tips, it's also photographic tools like those located here; the Blur tool, the Sharpen tool, and the Smudge tool. So this tip about changing the size and the hardness of the brush-tip from inside the image is an important one for everybody, photographers included.
So those are some tips that should help you work efficiently with the tools and other features here in the Full Edit toolbar. And don't worry about becoming familiar with all of the tools that will happen automatically as you use the tools in context throughout this course.
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