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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.
The Layers panel contains important features for managing the layers in your file. First, let's talk about selecting a layer in the Layers panel. I think the number one thing that slips people up when they're editing is that they try to do something to the content of a layer without selecting the right layer. If I want to move a layer or paint on a layer or add some graphics to a layer, I have to first click on that layer here in the Layers panel to select it. And I want to be sure to click on the blank area of the layer, not on the name of the layer or the thumbnail of the layer, like this.
There is one other way to select layers in the Layers panel and that's when I'm using the Move tool in the toolbox. If I select the Move tool by clicking on it here in the toolbox and then I click on some content in the image, say this flag. Now keep your eye on the Layers panel, as I click. You'll notice that the focus in the Layers panel went from the palm tree layer right up to the sign layer, which is the layer on which the flag on which I clicked is located. That's because there is an option that's turned on by default with the Move tool, and that option is up here in the Move Tool Options bar.
It's the Auto Select Layer option. The Move tool is the only tool that has this sort of Auto Layer Selection feature. Another thing to know about layers is that the stacking order of layers in the Layers panel is important. If I change the order in which the layers are stacked in the Layers panel, the content of the image will change. So for example, if I click on the palm tree layer and then I click-and-hold on that layer and drag it above the sign layer, notice that the palm tree is now showing in front of these rocks down here.
The rocks around the sign layer, the trunk of the palm tree is on the palm tree layer, and because the palm tree layer is now above the sign layer you can see the entire trunk of the palm tree. But if I go back over to the Layers panel and click-and-hold-and-drag the palm tree layer down beneath the sign layer, and I'll release when I see the border beneath the palm tree layer get dark. The bottom of the trunk of the palm tree is now hidden by the rocks on the sign layer. Another thing to keep in mind about layers is that if you have a lot of layers it can be hard to distinguish one from the other unless you've given them meaningful names.
So I'm a real stickler for naming layers, so they're easier to find later. In order to name or rename a layer, I'll double click on the name of the layer like the name sign on this layer, and I can change its name. Maybe I'll type flag. And then I'll press the Enter or Return key on my keyboard to close that Editing window. How do you make a new layer? Well, the first thing you do is go to the Layers panel and think about where you want the new layer to be in the stacking order. I'm going to make a new layer and I'm going to draw an arrow on it and I want that arrow to appear here in the image on top of the sign.
I know this sign is on the flag layer, so I'm going to make my new layer come into the Layers panel above the flag layer. To do that, I want to make sure to have the flag layer selected in the Layers panel and then I'll go to the bottom of the Layers panel and I'll click on this Create New Layer icon, the first one on the left side at the bottom of the Layers panel. That creates a brand new layer, Layer 1. I'll name this layer by double- clicking its default name, I'll call this one arrow, and I'll press Return or Enter on the keyboard.
Now I want to make sure that the arrow layer is selected as I create some content that will be located on just that layer. To do that, I'm going to go over to the toolbox and I'm going to select the Brush tool, right here. Then I'm going to set the foreground color in the toolbox here to red. To do that, I'm going to click on the Eyedropper tool here in the toolbar and I'll come into the image and I'm going to click on the red that's already on the sign to sample the same color. And that color now appears here in the foreground color box. I'll go back to the Brush tool and now I'll come into the image and I'm going to make my brush tip smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key several times on the keyboard.
That looks about right. Now, I'm just going to draw a freehand arrow here on this side of the Surf and Sail sign. That arrow is located on the arrow layer because I had the arrow layer selected when I made that drawing. To show you that, I'll hold down the Alt key on my keyboard and I'll click on the eye icon to the left of the arrow layer. And you can see that the layer has nothing on it but that red arrow surrounded by transparency. I'll hold the Alt key down again and click on that same eye icon to make the other layers visible. Now, that's not the only way to make a new layer.
For example, if you select the Type tool here and you start typing in the image, then a new layer will be automatically made for you so you don't have to create a new layer from scratch. And I'll cover that more in the chapter on type. Another way to make a new layer is to drag in an image from another document. And I'm going to show you how to do that in the very next movie.
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