Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Elements packs lots of tools into its Toolbox. Knowing how to use tools wisely will help you be more productive. Let's talk briefly about some of the productivity enhancing features around Elements' tools. But don't worry I'm not going to take you through the tools one-by-one explaining what they mean. The better way to learn individual tools is to use them in context, as we will do in the other movies in this course, but I do want to show you how to use tools more efficiently. The first thing I would like to tell you is that the Toolbox is not showing all the tools that are available. There are so many, that some of them have been tucked behind the tools that are currently visible. Whenever you see a tool with the black triangle in the bottom right, that means the tool has some other related tools hiding behind it.
So, for example, if I were to click here on this Eraser tool, which has a black triangle on it, I get this flyout menu which shows me related tools, the Background Eraser tool and the Magic Eraser tool. And if I wanted to select one of those tools instead of the plain Eraser tool, I would just move my mouse over it in this flyout menu and release. And now the Magic Eraser tool is showing in that tool slot. The other thing I wanted to tell you about tools is that you don't have to memorize the names or locations of any tool. Instead you can take advantage of tool tips. Tool tips work like this. If I see a tool like this band-aid and I have no idea what it is, I'll just move my mouse over it and in a moment the name of the tool appears. This is the Spot Healing Brush tool, which I'll show you how to use in a minute.
Here is the Straighten tool and notice the letter to the right of the tool name, in this case a P. Those letters are shortcuts and if you become more familiar with Elements, you will start to use those shortcuts to select a tool. So, for example, let me click on a tool. I'm going to click here on the Crop tool and say I was working with the Crop tool and when I was done, I wanted to move an item. Then all I would do is press the shortcut for the Move tool on my keyboard. All of the enough, that shortcut happens to be the letter V. Now, watch the Toolbox, as soon as I press the Letter V, the focus went to this tool up here which is the Move tool. tools shortcuts will really save you a lot of time.
Another thing I would like to show you is in this bar called the Options bar. As you know, when you select different tools in the Toolbox, the Options bar changes because it's context sensitive. If I were to select the tool like the Crop tool in the Options bar, I see only options related to cropping. Some of the options here are what we call sticky. So that if I were to type a width and a height here into the Options bar for the Crop tool, and then I use the Crop tool, and then I went on to do some other things, maybe typing or using the Red Eye tool or the Paint Brush tool and then I decided I wanted to crop again and I went back to the Crop tool, I may not remember that I had put those options in the Crop tool and I would be surprised to find that I was unable to use the Crop tool as I wanted it to work, that it kept going to 6x4 inches.
So here is the productivity tip to solve the problem. Every once in a while, I do this every time I launch the program, go to this tiny arrow at the top left of the Options bar and click there and you will see a menu that gives you the option to reset this particular tool, in this case the Crop tool or all tools. I'm going to choose the Reset All tools and say OK in this dialog box and sure enough, the width and height that were populating this fields for the Crop tool are now gone and in fact, all of the options for all tools have now been set back to their defaults.
One more thing I would like to show you about the Toolbox is that, at the bottom of the Toolbox we have two color boxes. Whatever color is showing in this Foreground color box is the color that will be used by any of the tools in Elements Editor that use color. For example, we have a Brush tool here that paints the color and under that we have a Pencil tool that also uses color, we have a Gradient tool that uses both, what's in the Foreground color box and the color in the Background color box and we have Type tools that use color and so on.
So, I want to quickly show you a couple of ways to change the color in the Foreground color box. The first and easiest way is to click on the Eyedropper tool here and then if you have an image opened, to click in the image on the color that you would like to use, so I'll click on this yellow and you can see the Foreground color box picked up that color. And now if I were to select the tool like the Paint Brush and paint something here on the wall, it would use that color, yellow. Another way to change the foreground color is to click on the Foreground color box and that opens the Color Picker. Here in the Color Picker, I can move the slider in the middle to a different Hue, perhaps Blue and then in this large field on the left, I'll pick a blue shade this or this or this. And as I choose different shades they appear here in this square box. I'll click OK and notice that the Foreground color box is now blue and if I were to draw in this image, I would now be drawing with blue.
Notice that the Paint Brush has a brush tip. You see it here as a circle with a cross in the center. In fact, many of the tools in the Toolbox have brush tips. Everything from the Eraser tool to the Clone Stamp tool which is used to hide content in your photos, to the Smart Brush tool, a new interesting tool that we will explore in another movie, to the Healing and Spot Healing Brush tools here and other tools as well have a brush tip size. I would like to show you how you can change the size of the brush tip in the most efficient way. And to do that, I'm going to select another tool, one that you will often use as photographers and that is the Spot Healing Brush tool right here. What the Spot Healing Brush tool does is cover up unwanted elements in a photo by copying and pasting pixels from nearby in the photo and blending those pixels into the area that you are trying to cover up.
Let me show you how it works. I'm going to try to get rid of this thermostat on the wall here. In order to do so, I have to change my brush tip so that it's big enough to cover this entire thermostat, and right now it isn't. So, you might think that the best way to change this brush size would be to go up to the Options bar and look for an option about brush size and indeed there is one here. You can see this particular brush is 13 pixels and you might click here and try to move this slider and pick some other number but the problem with doing that is, you have no idea how big a brush tip your choice is going to give you. So, you are kind of working blind when you do this.
Another possible way might be to click on this field to the left of the size field which shows some preset brushes and their sizes and you could try to select something here but again these are meaningless sizes until you get the brush tip back down into the image. So, let me show you a better way to do this. I'm actually going to choose a small brush tip here and I'll come in and I think my brush tip now is way too small to cover that thermostat, so here is what I'm going to do and this is the talcum point. I'm going to press the right bracket key on my keyboard which is two keys away from the P key and as I press that right bracket key, you can see my brush tip getting bigger until it's big enough to cover that thermostat.
And now, when I click on the thermostat, like magic it disappears. If you want to make your brush tip smaller then, you click the left bracket key on your keyboard right next to the P key. So, those are some productivity enhancing tips for using tools in Photoshop Elements and there is no need to memorize all your tools, but it is important to know how to make your tools work efficiently because that will save your time and effort as you work on your photos in Full Edit mode of the Editor.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 69474 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 91674 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 60044 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 28698 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.