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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 29 of 58

Creatively Use Brushes


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 29 of 58

Creatively Use Brushes


Lesson Info

Creatively Use Brushes

But we also have some options when it comes to our brush and brush settings. So let's talk about our other options for brushes. If we click next to this little preview button that shows the stroke for the particular brush we're using, if we click this dropdown arrow, you will see that we have a lot of other brushes available to us. So if I grab this little slider, I can scroll through. Look at all these different brushes. Now, these ones are all very obviously the same. The number that you see here refers to the initial pixel diameter of that brush. So whether it's at the 17-pixel brush or a 13-pixel brush, obviously you can change the size once you pick up that brush. So don't feel, like, limited necessarily by those. But if we scroll a little further, you'll notice we get some different types of effects with our brushes. Brushes that fade in more and fade out. If we keep scrolling, we see brushes with different shapes. So if I wanna select this brush, if I hover over it, we can see, ...

I think this is a spatter brush? All right, well, it doesn't wanna tell us what it is. There it is, it's a spatter 27-pixel brush. If I want this brush, I'm just gonna double-click it to pick it up and to close that box. And then, with my cursor in the workspace here, you can see I don't have that nice, round cursor anymore. Like, now I have this weird-looking blob. And that's how this cursor looks. And the result, when I click and drag with it, is that I get this more paintbrush look, so it has, like, bristles sort of edges, it looks like. And I can either click and drag with it to create those kinds of marks or if I click and hold, I can create something that looks like this. So there's all kinds of different ways that you can use these brushes. Some of my favorite brushes are a little bit further down. This is one of my favorites. I'm gonna just grab this one really quick and I just feel like I have to show you how this works, because it's so, it's so fun. So I'm messing with the size to get something. There we go. And I'm gonna make a new blank layer, because this one's getting messy, so let's just make it. I hid that layer by clicking the eyeball to make it so we don't have to look at it. And then, I'm gonna click up here to add a new blank layer. And if we look at the cursor for this brush. This is called the dune grass, I believe, dune grass brush. And the cursor looks like a blade of grass. And this brush has some built-in, extra behaviors, I guess. It's sort of a special brush. And to show you how special it is, I'm gonna change my colors. We'll just pick, actually, I'll cancel that. Let's pick from here. I'm gonna pick a couple of colors out of my swatches panel. So maybe a dark color here for my foreground and then, I'm gonna pick this lighter green for my background. So I click once on the dark green that I want and then, I hold down Command or Ctrl and click on this light green and that will put the light green in my background swatch. So I'm combining these two colors and watch what happens when I now paint with this brush. I'm basically carpeting my image with grass. Don't you wish it was this easy to put it in your yard? Our yard just got all torn up by some work we were having done and I guess now we have the opportunity for new grass, but it won't be this easy. That's so cool and if we zoom in on this so you can see, you can tell that there's actually texture and a look of some depth here, because we were able to use two different colors and they were blended in such a way that we can a much more realistic grass effect than if we tried to just paint it with a flat color. So it gives us a lot more realism than we would've had otherwise. All right. Let me back out of there. All right, undoing those little extra strokes. My tablet's a little bit stick or my mouse seems like today, so I'm getting some extra stuff on the screen. Okay. So that's one particular brush that I like a lot. If we come down even a little further, there's this maple leaf brush. So this is actually in the shape of maple leaves. And that is making me excited about fall. I'm gonna get my swatches panel open one more time. And this time, I'm gonna pick another couple of colors. Let's say, maybe this orange color and then, maybe this... maybe this kind of orange color and maybe this yellow. We'll see how that works. So I'm gonna Command or Ctrl-click that second color to load that in the background here. And I'll make my brush a little bigger. And you might be limited, some of these brushes, with their size, because of just the way that they were created. So I'm gonna make another new layer over here. And let's see how this is gonna look with this brush. Whoa, that was really big. Think I need that much smaller, we'll try it again. This brush is another special brush that behaves a little bit differently. Somewhat unexpectedly. There we go. So look at that. With one brush stroke, I was able to create all these different leaves. And you'll notice that they are shaped like leaves. They are not only orange and they're not only yellow, but there are shades in between. And they also are rotated different directions. So some of them are upside down, some of them are right side up, and every which way in between. They also are what we call scattered. So I draw a line straight just across the screen, like a pretty straight edged line, but the leaves scattered all around along the axis of the line that I drew. So that's another thing that is special about this brush. So you really just have to get in here and play around and see what you can find in terms of your options down here.

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.