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In this course, photographer and author Jan Kabili explores what you need to know to start using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 to edit, organize, and share your photos.
The course begins with a look at how to import your photos into Elements, and then dives right into editing photos with the Photo Fix, Quick Edit, and Guided Edit workspaces. Jan also introduces the Expert Edit workspace, which provides tools for making selections, retouching, compositing, adding text, and more. Finally, the course reviews the Elements 11 sharing features, including crafting photo creations like greeting cards, emailing photos, and sharing photos on Facebook.
Elements Editor is the place to go when you really want to improve your photos. Of the three workspaces in the Editor, Quick Edit is the one to go to to make common photo adjustments quickly. It offers more control than the Organizer's Photo Fix options and more simplicity than the Editor's Expert Edit mode. You can open images into the Quick Edit workspace either from the Organizer or from the Editor. Here in the Organizer, I will select a couple of images to open, clicking on one and then holding the Ctrl key on the PC, the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on another.
And then I will go to the bottom of the Organizer and click the Editor icon in the Task pane. If your Editor doesn't look line mine, then go to the buttons at the top of the Editor and click Quick. Now, I mentioned that you could open images into the Quick Edit workspace either from the Organizer or from the Editor. So if you're not using the Organizer to manage your photos, although I recommend you do, you could launch the Editor directly and then go to the File menu, choose Open, and navigate to images to open here; and the same is true of the other Editor workspaces as well.
Let's take a quick tour of the Quick Edit workspace. Down at the bottom is the Photo Bin. This shows thumbnails of all of the images that I've opened into the Quick Edit workspace. Up here in the document window, I can see a preview of the image that's selected in the Photo Bin. If I want to work on a different open image, I will double-click it down here in the Photo Bin. I will go back to the first one. On the left side of the workspace is an abbreviated toolbar that contains tools you'll use as you edit images here in the document window.
Keep your eye on the Photo Bin as I select a different tool in the toolbar, and you'll see that the Photo Bin was automatically replaced by a set of options. This is the context-sensitive tool options bar that displays tool options for whichever tool you've selected at the moment. Try clicking on some other tools here and you will see the tool options change. If you want more room to work on an image in the document window, then you can click this down-facing arrow on the right side of the Tool Options Bar. And now when I zoom in, I have more room to display my image as I am working on it.
But if I come over and select another tool, the Tool Options bar pops up again and takes up some of that space. The heart of the Quick Edit workspace is over here in the column on the right, which house the adjustments. The controls for each adjustment are tucked up under this arrow. If I click the down-facing arrow next to an adjustment, you can see those controls. Here, for the Smart Fix adjustment, you can see the three kinds of controls that you'll find in other Quick Edit adjustments too: a slider, some preset buttons, and in some cases an Auto button.
Each adjustment has a slider that you can use to set the strength of the adjustment. So if I drag the slider, that applies Smart Fix at different amounts with a live preview here in the document window. By the way, Smart Fix tries to correct both color and lighting in a photo all at once, so sometimes a good Smart Fix adjustment is all you'll need. Each adjustment also has preset buttons like these. These presets give you a live preview of how the adjustment will look at different strengths.
To see a live preview, just hover over any of the preset buttons. When you hover over one of these buttons, it's outlined in white. If you see a result that you like, then click on that preset button and that will apply the preset to the image, and at that point the button gets a blue outline. If you want to fine-tune a preset, you can click and drag on the preset and that will increase if I drag to the right in small increments or decrease the preset in small increments if I drag to the left. But I think it's a lot easier to just select a preset and then if I want to fine-tune the result, I come up to the slider here and I drag that.
It's just easier to drag. If you change your mind and you want to reset a photo to its original appearance after applying a preset or after dragging the slider manually, then go to the presets and look for the one with a curved arrow like this and click that preset. The preset with the curved arrow isn't always the first one, as it happens to be in the case of Smart Fix. Some but not all of the adjustments have a third kind of Quick Edit control, an Auto button. When I click an Auto button like this one, Elements applies its best guess about the amount of the correction.
I don't use the Auto button as often myself, because I prefer more control over the result, but sometimes Auto can be an okay place to start a correction, which you can then fine-tune with the other controls. If you change your mind about an auto correction, then go straight down to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, and if you find the Undo button lit up, you can click that to undo the auto correction. That also closes the adjustment. I am going to open the Smart Fix adjustments again by clicking the down-facing arrow to the right of Smart Fix.
I want to show you that you can make multiple Quick Edit adjustments that are cumulative. Let's say I apply a Smart Fix adjustment by clicking one of these presets and then I go down to another kind of adjustment, maybe Color Balance, and I will click something really obvious here. So now I've got two different adjustments on this image. If I want to get back to the original appearance of the image without any of these multiple Quick Edits, then I will go up to the top of the column on the right and I will click this button, the Reset Panel button, and that removes all of the Quick Fix adjustments.
I am going to open Smart Fix one more time and apply a preset, because I want to show you the before and after views, which often come in handy. The views are over here at the top-left of the workspace. I will click that menu, and if I want to compare how the image looks with my correction to the way it looked before the original view, I will select Before & After - Horizontal or Vertical. I will go with Horizontal this time. And now you can really see how different the image looks with that Smart Fix adjustment from the way it looked at the beginning.
If I'm satisfied with the After view, I will close and save the corrected image. I will cover saving in more detail at the end of this chapter.
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