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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 2 of 58

Understand How Elements Works


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 2 of 58

Understand How Elements Works


Lesson Info

Understand How Elements Works

Let's talk a little about some, a key concept that you really need to understand in order to make all of this work and that is the fact that when we work with our images in Elements, they're not actually stored in Elements. They're stored just on your computer, your hard drive, wherever it is that you normally store your photos but we just work with them in the software. So in that sense, it's like a window to your hard drive allowing us to see and manage our images. But you can rest assured that we're not duplicating files. We are not gobbling up tons of space on your hard drive and we're not moving things all around. So your photos are gonna be safe right where they are and if for some reason, you ever decide that you wanna remove Elements from your computer, you don't have to worry that it's going to take your photos with it because that just doesn't happen. That's not how the software works. So I think the best way to help convey that point is to just dig right in and get started. ...

So let's take a look at what you see when you first open the software. Generally, by default, you're gonna be greeted with a screen similar to this. This is the Welcome Screen and it has some just neat things. If you want to use some video tutorials, there's a link right here that makes that easy and doable. You can check out the new features and whatever version of Elements you happen to be working with. And here we see little buttons that will take you straight to the Photo Editor or the Organizer. This is one thing that I think is really a new concept for people when they're first experiencing Photoshop and Elements is this two programs in one thing. So they really are two separate programs but they're sort of joined or connected at the hip here. So as we work through this, I'll show you how that works but this welcome screen is sort of like a fork in the road. So when you launch the software, it's gonna ask you where do you wanna go. Do you wanna go to the Editor or do you wanna go into the Organizer? So you can choose here one or the other. If you bought your software as a package, it may have come with the Elements version of a product called Adobe Premiere and that is for doing video editing. So if you fancy yourself a video editor and you wanna work with some of that, you'd wanna look into this program. We won't be talking about it in class today but sometimes it does come packaged with the Editor and the Organizer. So you may see that here. We're gonna go ahead and start with the Organizer. In the future at home, when you're working with this, if you are tired of always starting with a welcome screen, you can come up here in the Setting and turn that off by selecting here where it says On Start Always Launch either the Welcome Screen or if you always like to start with your Organizer or the Photo Editor, you can pick whichever one works for you. And then you won't have to see the screen again. I'm gonna go ahead and click the Organizer button to open that. If for some reason at any time you wanna get that Welcome Screen back, you can find it from the Help menu by choosing Welcome Screen. So that's gonna be right there. Okay. So here we are in our workspace which is currently empty. So the way that the Organizer works is it keeps track of all of our images in what Photoshop calls a Catalog. And basically, the catalog is just another word for database. So if you think of storing information, that's what this catalog is. When we get our images loaded into the catalog, we'll see them here. So we'll see the thumbnails but remember that the images are not inside the software, they're just on your hard drive. So the catalog is really just a database that is keeping a record of three things. It's keeping a record of all kinds of information about the photo. So it'll be keeping track of the name of the file, when it was created, and a number of other attributes. It will be keeping track of and displaying a thumbnail preview for each of the photos that are on the system as well as linking to the original file that's on the disc. So it's keeping track of the location. So it's just a huge data manager really for your files. Okay so that's what we when we talk about Catalog. Kind of like it's a library when you used to go and visit in the old days of where it was computerized and there was the old card catalog that kept track of everything and you would open those drawers and it was filled with all the cards that represented the different books on the shelf in the library. That's how this works. So the cards are not the books themselves, they just reference the books that are on the shelf. So your photos are like those books on the shelf of your hard drive and this your card catalog. So that said, generally speaking you're only gonna have one catalog when you work with Elements. And you wanna keep everything pretty much in that one catalog. The more catalogs you have, the more potential you have for a mess. So that's nice, we only have to worry about one catalog.

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.