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Using tools

From: Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Using tools

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.

Using tools

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training

94 video lessons · 9101 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 9m 23s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      6m 59s
    3. Using the example files
      1m 30s
  2. 22m 34s
    1. Understanding the Organizer's catalog system
      3m 17s
    2. Getting photos from files and folders
      5m 41s
    3. Getting photos from a digital camera
      7m 27s
    4. Getting photos from offline media
      3m 7s
    5. Getting photos from a scanner
      3m 2s
  3. 35m 0s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 30s
    2. Viewing photos
      2m 19s
    3. Selecting photos
      1m 52s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 7s
    5. Renaming photos
      1m 57s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      1m 56s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 50s
    8. Stacking photos
      7m 33s
    9. Moving files
      4m 1s
    10. Backing up
      2m 55s
  4. 31m 50s
    1. Tagging photos
      8m 38s
    2. Finding photos by tags
      3m 57s
    3. Tagging face photos
      3m 1s
    4. Using albums and Smart Albums
      7m 43s
    5. Finding photos with Text Search
      3m 34s
    6. Finding photos from the Find menu
      2m 57s
    7. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 0s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      5m 28s
    2. Comparing photos
      4m 9s
    3. Using Date view
      2m 54s
    4. Using Map view
      3m 56s
  6. 33m 3s
    1. Automatically fixing photos in the Organizer
      7m 58s
    2. Semi-automatically fixing photos with Quick Fix
      10m 39s
    3. Using the Guided Edit mode
      4m 33s
    4. Fixing group shots automatically
      3m 44s
    5. Removing stray content with the Scene Cleaner
      6m 9s
  7. 57m 41s
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      4m 46s
    2. Opening a file
      2m 6s
    3. Creating a blank file
      4m 36s
    4. Using tools
      8m 5s
    5. Setting Edit preferences
      4m 31s
    6. Adjusting Color settings
      5m 18s
    7. Using the Undo History command
      3m 48s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 7s
    9. Resizing photos and adjusting resolution
      8m 23s
    10. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 24s
    11. Saving files
      6m 37s
  8. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      4m 38s
    2. Working in the Layers palette
      4m 4s
    3. Using layer masks
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 50s
    1. Understanding selections
      1m 15s
    2. Manual selection tools
      6m 20s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 25s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 50s
  10. 40m 53s
    1. Straightening and cropping
      2m 46s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment
      2m 41s
    3. Adjusting with Levels
      5m 0s
    4. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 14s
    5. Using Color Curves
      4m 44s
    6. Removing a color cast
      4m 9s
    7. Correcting skin tone
      2m 20s
    8. Reducing digital noise
      2m 47s
    9. Sharpening photos
      6m 27s
    10. Editing raw photos
      6m 45s
  11. 25m 21s
    1. Using the new Smart Brush tool
      5m 50s
    2. Using the Smart Brush Detail tool
      3m 13s
    3. Dodging and burning
      1m 58s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      3m 51s
    5. Removing content
      2m 9s
    6. Using the Red Eye tool
      1m 11s
    7. Using the Whiten Teeth tool
      1m 48s
    8. Using the Blue Skies Tool
      1m 28s
    9. Using the Black/White tool
      1m 13s
    10. Converting color to black and white
      2m 40s
  12. 22m 10s
    1. Applying filters
      6m 21s
    2. Applying effects
      3m 53s
    3. Using layer styles
      5m 13s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 49s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      1m 54s
  13. 7m 34s
    1. Creating text
      4m 6s
    2. Editing text
      1m 58s
    3. Warping text
      1m 30s
  14. 38m 38s
    1. Making a photo book
      10m 0s
    2. Making a photo collage
      8m 10s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      10m 11s
    4. Making a panorama
      3m 50s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      4m 6s
    6. Using automated actions
      2m 21s
  15. 9m 50s
    1. Using email and Photo Mail
      4m 42s
    2. Printing your photos
      2m 55s
    3. Using Quick Share
      2m 13s
  16. 19m 17s
    1. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 33s
    2. Viewing and sharing your photos online
      6m 0s
    3. Backing up and synchronizing albums online
      6m 28s
    4. Accessing ongoing inspiration from Adobe.com
      3m 16s
  17. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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