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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 5 of 58

Workspace Basics: Editor


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 5 of 58

Workspace Basics: Editor


Lesson Info

Workspace Basics: Editor

Let's talk about how we can get our images cleaned up a little bit. There are several different levels available when it comes to editing our images. So for example, if I find a file, let's see, something like I'll go to our practice files. Something like this, if I wanna take a closer look at this, I'm gonna select this file and double click it and I can see the enlarged version right here. If I think to myself, I want to clean this up, I have a lot of options. The first easiest place to go is this instant fix tab down here, so if I click on that, it's gonna prepare the file for me, and then I see a number of things that I can do over here to this file. I could crop it. Here's one place where I can fix red eye. I can apply some effects, do what's called the smart fix, adjust the lighting, the color or what is referred to as the clarity. So let's take a look at this effects tab, so I'm gonna click on that, and it gives me a number of effects. If I hover over any of them, it will tell m...

e what that effect is called. So for example, this one, Caramel or Caramel, depending on your preference, applies this little color treatment to the file. I can scroll through, there's a number of these things. I can click on another one and it will replace it so they don't add on top of each other, they just replace. So this can be a fun way to just explore some options that are available to you for your files. When you are happy with it, you could go ahead and click done, and it's gonna ask you if you want to save the changes. We will talk about changing, saving our photos in a minute so for right now I'm gonna go ahead and say no. And that's gonna bring us back to the single view in our Organizer. Let's go back for a moment to this quick fix. So again, those are just the options that are available. You'll also notice there's this option to flip the photo which is kind of fun. So if for some reason, like if you're taking a selfie and it's backwards and you wanna flip it, this is a great way that you can do that. So pretty simple stuff. Again, I'm gonna go ahead and click done or if we just wanna go back you can hit back but you're gonna get the same message, and again, I'm not gonna save it. So that's just a super quick collection of things that you can do without having to leave the Organizer workspace. To do anything more than that though, we're gonna have to jump into some editing. So with this image selected, I'm gonna go ahead and click this editor button down at the bottom. And this will launch the editor suite, right? So remember that I said that there are two different components to this? The Editor and the Organizer, by clicking on that button, we've now launched the Editor and you'll notice that in this workspace, we have a button that takes us back to the Organizer. So one thing that I find a little bit confusing when I'm working with this is sometimes I just can't tell what workspace I'm in and I'm like am I in the Organizer or the Editor, or where am I? So it can take a minute to get your bearings, but you'll notice if you see the button for the Organizer, that means that you are in the Editor, and if I click back over to the Organizer, now we can see that that's where we are and we can see that Editor button again. You'll also notice that while we are back here in the Organizer, we have this funny little stripe running across our image. So this tells us that this image is locked in the Organizer right now because it is currently open for editing in the Editor. The reason that it does this is so that we don't make changes in two places at once. So if we were able to somehow open both files, open this file in both places then we could be making like one edit over in the Editor and we could be doing something else over here in the Organizer and that would just cause a big problem with Photoshop knowing which is the correct version and what are we trying to do. So when you open an image in the Editor it will be locked for access in the Organizer and that's what this icon means. If I click the grid to go back, we'll see that here too even in grid view. Let's go back to that file. Where did it go? There it is. So even in this grid view, where we can see the thumbnails, we can see that that image is locked for editing. So if we wanna work with it at this point, we have to go over here. If I close this, so I'm gonna come up to file, close, and now we see in the Organizer that it is unlocked, so we're back to normal. So that's just how that works. But let's take this image and go back to the Editor. So I'm just gonna click to select it and then click the Editor button and we'll bring it back over here and we're gonna talk through this workspace a little bit. So this is Photoshop Elements the Editor. And up here at the top you'll notice that there are four workspaces over here as well. So we had five workspaces in the Organizer, and over here we just have four. We still have this eLive workspace which again is that dynamic space where there's all kinds of tutorials and lessons and blog posts and inspirational things, so I definitely recommend checking that out. This right here is the Quick workspace, the Quick Edit workspace. The idea behind the Quick Edit workspace is just like the name implies, it's just to be quick. So if you are really new to Elements and this whole super editing stuff freaks you out, this is just a very unintimidating place to be. There's only a few number of tools over here on the left so nothing to cause too much panic. And each of these tools when you select it, you will notice this option, modifications you can make to that tool down here. So I think technically this is referred to as the modifications panel, I don't know what they're calling it now but previously it was called the options bar so that's what I like to think of it as so sorta like a salad bar only filled with options for your tools instead of salads. So the zoom tool has these various options if I click on the hand tool I get these options, same with each of these tools down here. So how they work can be controlled by selecting the tool and then coming down here to tweak the way that it works. The type tool sometimes takes a minute to load because it's having to pull all of our fonts. And I have a lot of them so it can take a minute. We'll talk through some of these as we move through this course as well. We can zoom on our image, up here we see a slider. That's one way to zoom. You can also click with your zoom tool, but anyone who's ever taken any of my classes knows that that is not what I recommend. When we're working with images it's really best to do as much as we can with the keyboard so I always teach people to zoom in and out by pressing Command or Control on your keyboard and while you hold Command or Control then you can press plus or minus and that will let you scoot in and out with your keyboard. So as we work through a lot of edits you'll see me doing that with my keyboard. And that's how you do it. After the Quick Edit workspace we have Guided Edit. We'll walk through an example over here as well but this just basically is a very step by step you tell Photoshop I wanna do this and you click on it and then it literally, almost literally holds your hand and walks you through the process, so we'll take a look at that shortly and then of course we have Expert mode. Don't let the name freak you out. We're gonna jump into Expert mode like pretty soon in this course because although it's called Expert mode, it's really just like awesome mode. That's where all the super meaty stuff is and we'll be spending a lot of time here. We'll get into layers and layer selections. So just don't let this freak you out. It basically, Expert mode just means that your toolbar has a little bit more stuff in it than it does over here in Quick mode. So this is where we're gonna start. Some other things that I wanna point out, we pop back over to the Organizer, let's say we open more than one image at a time, so maybe I have this image and I want to add this one. To do that, I'm going to hold down the Command or Control key on my keyboard. That allows me to select more than one image at a time, even if it's not in a string. So if I wanted to open this whole string of images, then I would start up here and click this image to select it, and I would hold the Shift key and click the end of the string. Or not. There we go. And that would create this whole series. So Shift allows you to select a series but if I just want a random image, like I want this one and I wanna add this, then I'm gonna hold down the Command or Control key, so I've got that selected, both of those, we'll go back to the Editor. In a minute. Okay, now I've got two images open but we only see one at a time in this area right here by default. The nice thing is we have what's called the photo bin and this is perhaps one of my favorite features of Photoshop Elements, and if anyone from Adobe happens to be watching this broadcast, it would be so cool to have this feature in the full-blown version of Photoshop because quite frankly, it's incredibly useful. And we'll be working with this, we're gonna build some composites and we'll be using this feature a lot. It's just fabulous, so this is the photo bin. So even though I only see one image up here in my workspace, the photo bin down here shows me all of the images that I have open at a given time, so rather than having to look and only see an image called by whatever file name it has, which when you're working with images straight out of your camera, they have goofy file names, don't they? Like DCSF172 or whatever. And when I'm looking in Photoshop, I have no idea what that means, so it's really great to have this photo bin where I don't have to pay attention to the file name, I can just see a preview right here. I can switch between which image is my active image by double clicking on whatever thumbnail I wanna move to so if I'm looking at this picture right here and I wanna get back to this photo of the Capitol building in Nebraska where I live. I can just double click and now we're there and if I want to pop back to Spain quickly, whoop, I can pop over by just double clicking this. So that's what the photo bin does. The tool options we've already talked about. This is a really important thing to know right down here, these are our undo and redo buttons, so for example, if I have this image active over here, and if I am in my effects panel, which you can access by clicking this button right here, if I wanna apply any of these effects to my image, let's say, ooh, a cross-process effect. I'm going to click on it, there we go. And look at that, it applies this cross-process effect. Now whether I like it or not, who knows, but if I decide I'm not sure, I think, let's try without it again, I can click this undo button and it will just take it right away. Okay, so any time you need to undo something, there's a button right here that makes it easy, and if you decide you want to redo it, you can just click the redo button. Sometimes it can be nice to toggle effects on and off so you can really compare the difference. Another way that you can compare differences is up here with this little view drop-down, I can view if I wanna see just the after, so if I'm just looking basically, if I wanna see just the current state of my image as I'm editing it, then you would select the after only view. This is what's on by default. If I prefer the before only view, I can do that, although that's not terribly helpful while you're actually working 'cause you would just be looking backwards all the time. Be like driving forwards while watching your rear view mirror. Kind of scary. But you could compare before and after in this horizontal format, and that can be really nice, especially when you're retouching stuff, it's easy to go a little heavy handed and it's nice to have a reference point of what you started with. But I'm gonna go back and keep that on after only for right now. Okay, so that's what the undo button does. There's a number of fun effects and we'll take a look at some more in a little bit. There's also some textures that can be kinda fun that you can apply to your images. They don't make a whole lot of sense in this case. For example, if I just click on this texture, it's just gonna apply this to my whole image. And here that may not be something that I necessarily want to add, but this can be great using, if you're doing scrapbooking stuff, you can add these textures to just basically a blank file and then you're creating a new background that you could use for creating collages, doing digital scrapbooking or something like that. There's also a frames feature here, if I wanna add a, let's see, what might look good with this image? Oh, a film strip. You can just click to add something like that to your image, so there's a lot of fun stuff that you can play with over here, and again, if you don't like it, you can just undo step by step until you get back to your original. You can also at any time, if you've done a number of things and you don't wanna hit undo 50 times, at any time you can come up to the edit menu and choose revert and that will just take you straight back to the last saved version that you have.

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.