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Photoshop Elements Beginners

Photoshop Elements Beginners

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Published by Julie Thrasher
How to get started with Photoshop Elements (by Dave Cross)
How to get started with Photoshop Elements (by Dave Cross)

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Published by: Julie Thrasher on Nov 15, 2009
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08/30/2011

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PhotoshopElementsTutorials
|
AQuickIntrotoLayers(Part1)

ByDaveCross
Ifyou’veneverusedlayersorhavejustneverquitegotthehangofthem,here’saveryquickoverviewoflayers:whattheyareandwhyyoushouldusethem.LookatthephotoonyourscreeninPhotoshopElementsandimaginethatit’slyingonyourdesk.IfyoutookaSharpie®markeranddrewonyourphoto,youwouldbemakingamajorchangetothatimage.Unlessit’sanerasablemarker,youhaveliterallymadeapermanent(andprettydamaging)changetothephoto.Itwouldhavebeenbettertoplaceasheetofclearplasticacetateoverthephotoandusethemarkerontheplastic—thatwaythephotowouldhavebeenprotected.YoushouldthinkofworkinginPhotoshopElementsinthesameway:Don’tworkdirectlyonthephotoandriskchangingitpermanently;uselayersto“protect”it.InthisfirstexampletheBrushtoolwasusedtopaintdirectlyonthephoto.IntheLayerspalette,thephotoisrepresentedbyalayercalledBackground.Ifwethensavedthedocument,well,thatwouldbecomeourpermanentimage:aphotowithablackpaintedstrokeonit.Instead,weshouldusePhotoshopElements’equivalentofaclearplasticoverlay:anewlayer.ClickontheCreateaNewLayericonintheLayerspaletteandanewblank,see-though(transparent)layerisaddedtothedocument.Bypaintingonthenewlayer,theoriginalphotoisuntouched,eventhoughitlookslikewe’repaintingrightonthebackgroundimage.
 
There’sanimportantdifference,however:Thepaintedstrokeisonaseparatelayer.IfyouclickontheEyeicontotheleftoftheBackgroundlayerintheLayerspalette,thatlayerwillbehidden,leavingonlytheadditionallayervisible(calledLayer1inourexample).Noticethegray-and-whitecheckerboard—that’sElements’wayofindicatingtransparency.Also,sincethepaintedstrokeisonaseparatelayer,youcanusetheLayerspaletteOpacityslidertomakethepaintsemi-see-thoughand/orusetheMovetooltodragthepainttoadifferentpartofthephoto.
 
Plus,youcanclickontheTrashiconatthetopoftheLayerspalette’stodeletethepaintedstrokelayerandreturntotheoriginalimage.Whatifyouwanttoedittheactualpixelsofthephoto,forexampleusingtheCloneStamptool,HealingBrush,orDodgeandBurntools?Onceagain,weneedto“protect”theoriginalphoto,thistimebyduplicatingtheBackgroundlayerandworkingonacopy.Todothis,eitherpressControl-JorfromtheLayerspalette’sMoremenu,chooseDuplicateLayer.You’llcreateacopyoftheBackgroundthatyou’llworkon,whiletheoriginalBackgroundsitsatthebottomoftheLayerspalettesafelystoredawayincaseyouneedit.Soanytimeyou’retemptedtostartworkingdirectlyonthebackgroundimage,pauseforamoment.Ifyouaregoingtoaddpaintedobjects,addanewlayerfirst.Ifyouneedtoworkonthepixelsthemselves,duplicatefirst.(Ifyouaddtype,anewTypelayeriscreatedautomatically

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