Creatively Use Brushes


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements


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 2015.5.1


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