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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 22 of 58

Compositing with Multiple Images


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 22 of 58

Compositing with Multiple Images


Lesson Info

Compositing with Multiple Images

Let's keep the fun with layers rolling a little further, and we're going to go back to our organizer, and I'm going to go back to our practice files, and we're going to create another composite using this image right here, these are in the practice files I'm going to select this image of this scene, and let's include file names this is called unsplash sitting area so we're gonna grab that one we're gonna get unsplash dog, I'm gonna Command or Control + Click on unsplash dog back to styles and we also want unsplash wall art and one more, unsplash kitten. I'm holding down the Command key or the Control key and getting the kitten, the wall art, this dog and this scene right here. Now we're gonna pop those over to the editor. And let's make sure they all made it, oh yes, very good. Alright, this is going to be our base image, this is what we're gonna put everything into so we're gonna put a photo frame here, we're going to put a dog in the photo frame, and we're gonna put the kitten in the...

basket because if you had a kitten in the scene, I'm sure it would be in the basket. So let's start by selecting the photo off the wall. This image over here is just a photo of a couple art prints hanging on a wall, framed photos and it's a perfect example to show you how you can do simple selections with the rectangular marquee tool. Before you saw me use this tool in the elliptical flavor when I was selecting that little soccer ball. This time we're going to be using it in the rectangular variety and the way that it works is you just position the cursor where you want the selection to start, you click and hold, and then drag your mouse to the bottom over here. If I need to reposition it, I think I would like to have started this a little more to the left, as long as I haven't let go of the mouse yet, I can add the space bar, and then I can just nudge this so I can nudge it around to get just what I want and when I'm happy with it, I'll let go and we see that that's selected. Okay, we'll get our photo bin active here so we can drag this to the right place. I'm going to get my move tool, then the photo bin and let's click and drag into the scene. I'll hold Shift and then drop it and this is what comes in and I can see if I look on top of this basket I had some selection in there that I didn't mean to include so let's actually undo that and we'll go back and I'll show you how you can transform your selection. I'm sure that that happened because look how zoomed out I was when I tried to make the selection. That is a bad way to do it. Let's clean this up and make it better. I zoomed in so I can see what I'm doing and once you have the selection active, you can't just grab it and move it. I could get rid of it and make a new one, or I could come up to the Select menu and choose Transform Selection and then just like that transform box, I can go ahead and tweak this a little bit. And I'm gonna come in on this frame just a smidge because I would rather cut into the frame than cut out too far and pick up the background area. I'm gonna just leave it like that, we'll call that good and I'll click the commit button right here and now with the move tool, I'll go grab the photo bin and drag this down, shift drop, there we go. So now we have this in place, let's go ahead and scale it down. So we'll press command or control + T to bring up this transform box. We'll drag inward, again no need to press shift and we can decide how big we want this on our wall. I think it should be kinda large because that's fun so we'll make it about this size and when I'm happy with it I'm gonna click the check mark. Now when I look at this image, I think ooh gosh, the color is really bad Let's zoom in a little more so we can see here. So this is a white wall and a white chair and I'm pretty sure that this is supposed to be a white mat but it's not appearing that way. It has a bit of a color cast issue and it also just looks low contrast, like it doesn't have very good contrast. With that layer active in the layers panel, I can come up to the Enhance menu and you'll notice that we have Adjust Color right here, so we could try to remove the color cast this way and we could do any of that, but really this is a good example of a time to try one of these auto corrections, this is a simple little photo frame and it's in here it's got a little problem, but I don't wanna get all deep into it, I just want to do a quick little adjustment, so we can try the Auto Color Correction, let's see how that's gonna work. That actually did a really good job, let's undo it and just for kicks let's go back to Enhance and let's try Auto Smart Fix and see how that does any different. Oh, that was a big difference. The Smart Fix actually toned it down and I think almost worsened the problem So I'm gonna undo that, and we'll go back and stick to the Auto Color Correction. It's worth pointing out that sometimes those auto commands they really work incredibly well, so don't be afraid to give those a whirl. Alright, so that's done, at least it's in the image now. Let's add a shadow to it, so just like we did with the starfish in the other image that we worked on, we added a drop shadow, here we're going to add a shadow as well. I'm going to zoom out so we can look at the shadows in our scene We can see that this chair for example, the shadow's coming out from the chair and it's going to the left, which means that the light source that's creating that is over here and it looks like there is probably a door or something, a big window that's over here. So the light would be coming this way and the shadow should be on this side, so we're gonna add that. Remember that was from the Styles button down here, and there's all kinds of styles we can add, in this case we just want that Drop Shadow. And I'm just gonna click this again so that it's been added and I saw this little gear turn blue when I clicked it so that's a way to let me know also that it's been added. And it's a way that I can get in here and adjust the style that I've just added. Let's drag up the size so we can just see it for one thing we can see what we're working with and we want to adjust this shadow so that it falls this way ever so slightly. That's too big, I think, that size it needs to be softer, soft but not that soft, so we want a smaller size for that light source the distance should also be pretty small because this frame is against the wall, right? So if the shadow is floating down here, that does not compute, that looks weird. So we want the distance to be also fairly low and then the opacity just determines again how faint that shadow is or if it's full force. So we want that pretty, something like this maybe, I feel pretty good about that. So once we're happy with it, we'll go ahead and click okay and if we go back to the layers panel there we can see that effects icon one more time. Now we're going to take things up another notch, because we're going to put another image in this frame. So we're going to replace this picture of a dog with a different picture of a dog. I was trying to be fair to both cat and dog lovers when I created this example. We have the kitten, so I thought well, let's go ahead and put a dog here too. Let's go back to our photo bin and here is the picture of the dog. Now, I'm not gonna select the dog or anything, we're just gonna take this whole picture and put it in. We can drag like we've been doing, I can use my move tool and I can drag down and shift drop There we go. But I can also, just so you know alternatives, we can also just copy and paste, too. So if I want to just copy this, I'm gonna press Command or Control + A to select all, just like you'd do in Microsoft Word, highlight everything, Command or Control + A, copy Command or Control + C and then I'll switch back to this image and I'll hit Command or Control + V and it will just paste it in and it will come in on its own layer the exact same as if you had dragged it as we've been doing so far. So now you know another way to do that. So we've got our dog in here, and how are we going to get it in this frame? Well, the first thing we want to do is zoom in so we can see and then I'm going to get this rectangular marquee selection tool again, and you know what I have to say I think this is one of my favorite selection tools and it's because it's so simple but it's so useful and you might think when you're new to this, how many times will that come in handy? All it does is draw rectangles, but it turns out it's pretty handy. At least for the kind of stuff that I end up doing. I've got that selected and I'm going to click and select the inside of this mat area and that's where we want the new dog picture to be. I've clicked and dragged to make that selection. I'll zoom back out so you can see what's gonna be, what's happening. And with this image, actually you know what? To show it to you really fairly, let me drag this up like this. I'm gonna put this on top of it first so you can really see what's gonna happen. Then I'm gonna hide it, in the layers panel by clicking this eyeball, and I'll select this one more time, because otherwise I think you won't see it as well. So this'll make for more drama, which will be more exciting. I'll select it like that, there we go, now we'll zoom back out, now I'll turn this back on. I wanted it on top of where it's gonna be. We made that selection, I've got the dog layer active. Now to make the dog appear only within the selection that we made, all I have to do is come to the top of the layers panel and this little magical, wondrous button right here that says add a layer mask, all I have to do is click that and boom the dog now only appears within this defined area. That's kind of incredible. Let's talk about what's happening in the layers panel. We see now that this dog layer, the dog is still taking up the whole image, we see that, the whole layer. But we only are seeing over here we're only seeing this little window of the dog, and that's because this layer mask, what it does is it allows us to show or hide parts of a layer, so the whole picture of the dog is here, but because we have this layer mask happening, we are only seeing this part of the dog and once we resize him and everything that's what's gonna make it look like the dog is in the frame even though he is not. We'll work more with layer masks in a minute, but for right now just know that that's what layer masks do. Just like a mask that you would wear at Halloween is going to hide your face, the mask over here in the layer hides the layers so the black area of the mask is what hides the image area of this layer. Now we need to size this dog down because he's huge, maybe you like a close up of the dog like this in your frame, that could be cool and sort of abstract, but let's pretend that we want to actually see the dog. So what we want to do now is transform the dog, just like we've done with all those other objects, we want to transform them down to make them fit in this frame. But before I can do that, I need to do a couple of things. If I just hit transform right now, so I bring up command or control + T, I'm transforming, if I drag inwards, I'm transforming the dog, here you can see this big box around the whole dog, but I'm also transforming the mask, that's masking the layer around this frame. We don't wanna do that, so I'm gonna undo that by pressing escape or you can press Command or Control + Z or in that case I just hit escape to cancel the transformation. So before I do that, I need to separate this mask from the dog, and I can do that by clicking to remove that link between them. Now I'm going to click over on the dog icon, so I've left the mask, I'm double clicking the dog icon so that now I can transform the dog and the mask will just stay where it is. That will look like this, I'll bring up Command or Control + T and we get this big box, and now when I scale him down, we see that he is staying, like a good dog, he is staying right in the frame. I'll zoom in and you can see that. How cool is that? I don't know about you guys but this stuff makes me so excited, it's just so fun, especially when you're new to it, it's just mind blowing. We have the dog, he's just right there, I'm going to go ahead and commit this. Now one last thing that we can do that can up the realism of this is we can add what's called an inner shadow because if this dog was really printed here, we would probably have the tiniest hint of a little shadow going on just like the frame you can see has a shadow right here from the edge of the frame being cast onto the mat, we would have a small, I mean it'd be small, but there'd be a small little shadow here from the mat that's being cast onto the print. If we wanted to go make that happen, we would keep that active in the layers panel, and we would just go back to that style, and this time instead of Drop Shadow, we would choose Inner Shadow, and we would want a low one, because this needs to be small. So we'd add that, there it is, and let's zoom in so we can see really how it's... It's coming over here so we want to change the angle of the lighting because it should be there on this side, see that? Just about like that. We don't get as much control, for whatever reason, elements doesn't give you the same level of control for all of your layer styles. You get the most control for Drop Shadow, Glows, Bevels, and Strokes, but for stuff like this we can only change the lighting angle so I can't change really anything else. So I'll go ahead and click okay, we'll go back to our layers panel. How cool is that?

Class Description

We all have hundreds of images on our smartphones and cameras that we never do anything with. Adobe Photoshop Elements is the perfect tool for beginners to use for organizing and editing those images. Khara Plicanic will show you the practical ways to use this software by using step-by-step projects you can follow along with at home. You’ll get hands-on practice at making selections and working with layers, doing simple retouching, and adding text to your images.

You’ll also learn: 

• Basic adjustments to color and adding contrast to photos 
• Understanding resolution and image resizing and how to use the crop tool 
• Simple retouching and image compositing

No Photoshop Elements class would be complete without shedding light on file saving and organizing your images for a complete workflow! By the time you’re finished with this class, you’ll be creating beautiful images to share with your family and friends.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Understand How Elements Works
  3. Importing Images
  4. Workspace Basics: Organizer
  5. Workspace Basics: Editor
  6. Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
  7. Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
  8. Apply Black & White Filters
  9. Sharpen an Image
  10. Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
  11. Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
  12. Explanation of Photoshop Elements
  13. Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
  14. Guided Edit Overview
  15. Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
  16. Ways to Save Files
  17. Layers & Simple Selections
  18. Combine Images with Layers
  19. How to Use Layer Styles
  20. Make Selections with Layers
  21. Make Selection with Lasso
  22. Compositing with Multiple Images
  23. Refine Edge Selection on Image
  24. Use Refine Edge on Images
  25. Create Gradient in Image
  26. Gradient Map Differences
  27. Options for Saving
  28. Brushes Overview
  29. Creatively Use Brushes
  30. How to Change Brush Settings
  31. Use Shape Tool with Brushes
  32. Work with Multiple Shape Layers
  33. Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
  34. How to Load Brushes into Elements
  35. Add Layer Style to Image
  36. Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
  37. Retouching Overview
  38. How to Use Content-Aware Fill
  39. How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
  40. Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
  41. Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
  42. How to Remove Tattoos
  43. Remove a Gap in Teeth
  44. How to Whiten Teeth
  45. Adjust Facial Features
  46. Working with Type Overview
  47. Match Type for Image
  48. How to Manipulate Type Layers
  49. Create Postcard with Type
  50. Add Type on a Path
  51. Organizing Images in Elements
  52. Add Keywords to Images
  53. Smart Tags Overview
  54. Using Albums in Elements
  55. Places Workspace Overview
  56. Use Event Tags on Images
  57. Timeline for Image Organization
  58. Recommended Workflow


a Creativelive Student

Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.


I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!

Ven S

Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.