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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 20 of 58

Make Selections with Layers


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 20 of 58

Make Selections with Layers


Lesson Info

Make Selections with Layers

Let's pop over to our Organizer one more time. Let's go back to the grid view so we can see our, I just want our practice files, here we go. Our practice files, and we are going to do some work on this tulip image. So we'll double click, and we see we've just got these, a few tulips here, we'll bring this into the editor. And this is gonna be another practice in making selections. So you already saw how we used the quick brush selection tool to select those shells. Now we're gonna use it to select something a little more complicated, which are these tulips and these variations of these tulips. So we'll start with this one here. I'm gonna zoom in so I can see better, so I'm gonna do this by pressing and holding command, or control, and space bar. And I'm holding that down, which temporarily gives me this zoom tool, and then I can click and draw a box around the area I want to zoom to. And when I let go, it takes me there. It's kind of a nice thing. So, I've got my brush here. We'll make...

it a little bit bigger. And I'm gonna click and drag to put some ants around the top of this tulip. So that's pretty good so far. I'll space bar drag to readjust my image in the frame here. And now I need to select this stem, and my brush is clearly too big. So I'm gonna press the left bracket key to make it smaller. And we're gonna start going down the stem. And this is tricky, because it's tiny, and we're selecting a green stem on a green background. So, we gotta tread lightly. But look at that. Photoshop did any incredible job getting that selected. Let's add this leaf as well. When you notice it, Photoshop already knows what I'm trying to do. So it put Add for me down here, so I don't have to do anything differently. I can just keep painting. Now here is where we can run into some problems. The way this tool works is as you click and drag with it, it's reading, and analyzing all the image information. And it decides, based on what, where you're clicking, and what your image has, it's deciding what to include or not. And here, it. It decided that I wanted all this green stuff. And I don't. So I'm gonna hold down the alter option key. And then I'm just going to tuck in through here, and trim that out. And I went a little too far. So it can be a bit of a game sometimes. I found that if you're in an area where you're having trouble, it can help to make your brush smaller. And I think that allows elements to process less information at a time, and then sometimes I think it makes better decisions. So, I think this looks good. I'm totally okay with this selection. So, in our previous example, we made these selections of these seashells. And then we used remove tool, and we took them out of their original image, and we moved them somewhere else. In this example, I'm gonna take this tulip, and I'm gonna keep it right here in this image. But I'm gonna make a copy of it, okay? So if I just tried to move it without making a copy, we would get this hole in our photo paper that we saw earlier. So that's not what we want. So I'm gonna press undo down here to undo that. And, what I want to do before I move it is I want to make a copy. And one way to do that is to come into the layers panel, and choose the Layer menu up here, Layer New. Layer Via Copy. That means we're going to copy the contents of our selection into a whole new layer. So I'll click there. And, it's done. Now we don't see anything happen here, but we can see in our Layers panel that we do have a new layer. We have another layer which has this tulip on it. Another way to do that. I'm gonna undo. So we are back here. Another way to do that is of course with your keyboard. And I'm just going to press command, or control, J. And it accomplishes the same thing. So, that makes the copy of the tulip right up here. The keyboard is nice because then you don't have to come up and choose Layer, New, Layer Via. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, Layer Via Copy. It's just messy and clumsy and time consuming. And if it helps to help you remember this keyboard shortcut, I like to think of it as when you jack up your car, you raise it up above. And that's what we're doing when we have this selection. We're making a copy of it up above. So the keyboard shortcut is command, or control, J, to jack up a copy in the Layers panel. So now that we have this, we don't see it here, and that's because it's directly on top of itself. But the minute that I use my Move tool to click and drag, ahh, look at that. Now we have two tulips. So, let's drag this over here. And maybe we'll position this something like this. One thing I should show you actually before we do this. Let me just undo the Move really quickly. Let's talk about how we can save selections. So, I'm gonna go backwards til I have this selection back here. And I want to save this maybe for later. I'm going to go to the Select menu. And choose Save Selection. And we'll call it tulip one, I guess. Alright, and then we hit okay, and that's it. And we'll come back to that in a minute. So we'll command, or control, J. Make that tulip. And I'm gonna drag this over and tuck it. Tuck it in down here. So we're going to make it look like we have even more tulips. Now, now that we have this separated, we can do some interesting things to it. We can change the colors of this tulip. So let's, let's explore that. Up here under the Enhance menu, we saw before that we have all these options for different enhancements we can do to our image. Up here, we have a lot of automated enhancements. And down here, we can control things ourselves. So I'm going to go into the Adjust Color, and I'm going to go to Adjust Hues/Saturation. And we saw this before in the Quick Edit view where we had sliders for hue and saturation. These are the same sliders. They're just packaged in a different box. So if I take this hue slider, and I start dragging it around, it's gonna change the hue of my tulip. So the original one is here with a hue shift set to zero. But if I just want to push this ever so slightly, I can make that tulip turn orange. And I think I like how that looks. Now, of course, this is effecting the, not only the blossom of the tulip, it is effecting the stem, too. But it's just not showing up. It's not as noticeable down here. So we're gonna change the colors of all these different tulips, and we'll learn a few new things with each one. But, in some cases, we may have to alter our selection to not include the stem. So we'll see how that plays out. So now we have this yellow tulip, or orangey I guess. We'll go ahead and click okay. Then let's go back and load the selection that we made here, and let's edit this original tulip that we started with. So to call that selection back, I'm going to come up to the Select menu, and this time instead of Save Selection, I'm gonna say Load Selection. And here is where, from the drop down menu, I'm gonna choose the selection I made. We called tulip one. I'll go ahead and hit okay, and now the selection just popped right back. So that's one thing we can do, a selection. Now to keep the selection even later, so maybe you know, even tomorrow if I want to come back, and work on the same document, and I still want that selection to be there, that's an example of where I'd need to save this as a psd, or photoshop document, not jpeg. Cause a jpeg doesn't have room, doesn't have place to put extra information like selections. So, if you go to save a file that has selections, photoshop's gonna suggest a photoshop document for you, and that is the reason why. Alright, so we have this selected. Now let's see what happens if we go up to Enhance, and we go back to Adjust Color, and we go to Adjust Hue/Saturation. We are going to get this warning that says it can't. I can't complete our request because no pixels are selected. Well how can that be? We have marching ants right here. Let's take a look in our Layers panel, and I can see the problem. For those of you watching at home, you may be on to this, too. But what is happening is that our active layer is this layer one with that tulip that you, this orangey yellow tulip down here. And we've got these, this selection here that's in the shape of this tulip, but the layer that we're on is actually just empty right here. So if we hide this background, that's what we're really working with. We selected nothing. And the selection happens to be in the shape of a tulip, and that's great, but there's not actually information, or content here that we can adjust. So what we need to do if we want to adjust this, is we need to go back to our background layer. Because that's where the tulip lives. That's where it resides. It's actually on this background. And now if we come up to Enhance, Adjust Color, Adjust Hue/Saturation. And I move this over here. Now, I can go in. And you see, it is effecting the stem. So I'm gonna show you how we're gonna fix that, too. But now we can go in and change it. And now it's gonna cooperate.

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.