Photoshop Elements Beginner: Top Ten Things to Know Photoshop Elements for Beginners

Photoshop Elements Beginner: Top Ten Things to Know Photoshop Elements for Beginners

August 11, 2019 24 By Peter Engel


Hi I’m George Peirson and in this Photoshop Elements beginner tutorial we’ll be looking at the top 10 things that beginners should learn first in order to get the most out of my YouTube videos for Photoshop Elements. Now if you enjoyed this video make sure you click that Like button and also Subscribe to my channel. If you want to learn everything about Photoshop Elements then I’d suggest taking a look at my complete training and you’ll find links for that in the description and up in the upper right hand corner up there with the YouTube cards. Okay let’s get to it. Okay, the first things that beginners need to learn about Photoshop Elements is how do you want the program to start. Now when you install Photoshop Elements it’s going to first open up with a welcome screen and you then have an option of where you want to go at that point now if you want to you don’t have to have the program open up with that welcome screen you can go right to the organizer or right to the editor I have mine set to go automatically to the editor let me show you how that’s done click here to the help file and I’ll bring that up that welcome screen there we go and little slideshow on there you can see I’m in Photoshop Elements 15 right now but this little trick works on all versions of Photoshop Elements of II know the welcoming screen looks different in each program they kind of redo this each time but on all of them there’s a little link someplace normally upper right hand corner which allows you to choose how you want to have the program open up either with the welcome screen it’s not bad when you’re just starting out or with the organizer if you always are working with your organizer images or what I always do I start right with the photo editor you can always go back to anyplace else once you’re inside the editor if you want to or desire to so put them a little gear icon right there and this little drop down link set that to photo editor and then click done you’re all finished you can then just close down the welcome screen like that next time you open up Photoshop Elements it’ll open up in the editor directly it’ll skip that welcome screen if you want that welcome screen back again real easy just go back up to the help menu and come down to welcome screen right there and then you can change that setting there it is okay that’s my first tip is to set your program to open up where you want it to open and I like mine opening up in the editor the second thing to understand about Photoshop Elements is this area right down here below the picture right now I have mine showing the tool options you can unclick that it gives you more room in here to work if you want to but whenever you go to a tool that’s going to pop back up again so this is the tool options now you can also minimize right there a little arrow right there again just choose any old tool and it comes back up again but you can also if you want to do a quick look at any images you have open you can have more than one image open at a time right now I have just this one but just to the left of the tool options button down here is the photo bin you can have this shown instead I had several images open it all show up down here let me to show you that real quickly I’m just going to open up just a couple of previous ones in here but a little neon text thing I used in a previous video there we go so it’s a second image is now open as you can see I now have two images open inside of my photo bin you can go back and forth to the tool options and the photo bin just like that you want to open up one of these images just double click on it and it sets it up right now I have this thing floating and I’ll talk about that in the next video hi could float or unload your windows so there’s the dog image and there’s that neon text sign so there it is that’s the bottom section right down here and either use it as your photo bin or as tool options normally having it set at tool options is your best option when you’re working inside of Photoshop Elements one more little thing you go up here to the window menu at the bottom you’ll find both of your images right there any open images will be shown at the bottom of the window menu as well so you really don’t need to have or use the photo but if you don’t want to but you know either way it’s just an easy way to see what you have currently open when you’re working in Photoshop Elements across the top up here you have these four tabs eel I’ve quick guided and expert right now I’m in Photoshop Elements 15 Elife came in just a couple of versions previously couple three versions previously if you’re working with an older version of Photoshop Elements you may not see that but you will see the quick guided and expert for all of my videos on YouTube I always work in the expert mode quick is real nice if you just bring something very very fast and also if you’re just learning how to use the program same thing with guided get it as an easy way to learn the program there are a few things in here you can only get from the guided section such as panoramas but most everything that we done here can also be done in expert mode and even the quick stuff communal just as fast in expert mode once you learn how to use a program much become familiar with it so I recommend just staying in expert mode when you’re working here inside of Photoshop Elements to get the most out of the program with expert mode you have all of your options you have all your tools everything is available to you right there so the most power is there with the expert mode when you first install Photoshop Elements it’s setup to always work in tabs so I have right up here so you have these different tabs and I can go back and forth between my images now it’s very useful at times to be able to float a window just like this inside of your program I can now see both of my images if I was working back and forth between the two mix it’s very very easy I also can take something from this file and drag it over to this flap so you actually transfer layers from one file to another as long as it’s floating so it’s easy to see what you’re doing now to set this up let me just show you this I’m going to close this one out it is out of the way for us there go up here to the Edit menu come down to preferences and general right there you know you need to do right here it says allow floating documents in expert mode make sure that is checked just go ahead and check that and with that box checked you’ll then be able to grab the tab of your image pull it away from the rulers like that it then becomes a floating window if you want to dock it again just drag it up and it docks again I notice as I drag that up get a little kind of a light blue outline up there you can kind of see it right there when you see that and also when the image goes kind of transparent that lets you know you can let go at that point and it’s then docked into place also notice the rulers in here I have my rulers displayed you can show or how your rulers from the view menu right there if your rulers are displayed and you drag this down notice how the rulers go with the image so each image has its own set of rulers okay so there we go that’s how to dock or float your windows and again very very useful if you’re working in more advanced images to be able to float your windows just like that or get them dot again and one last time that’s edit preferences general and the one right there it says allow floating documents in expert mode over on the right-hand side of the workspace right here we have several different panels here’s an effects panel here’s a filters panel styles panel graphics panel and there’s some more thing coming here is a whole bunch of these things navigator a lot of stuff you can come in here and open up as a write panel if you want to I recommend leaving this on the layers panel most of the time that’s the furthest to the left option right down here at the bottom if you don’t see that if you can’t see this in here just go to up to the window menu and you’ll find layers right there or hit the f11 key to open up that panel it’s that easy now using layers very very powerful when you’re working in images and the more complex your image the more important your layers are for instance in here mist close down I’ll just right-click and say that layer mask there we go in this I have a background picture here in a foreground picture the foreground picture I’ve removed the background using a layer mask we’ll talk about this in just a little bit and what that allows me to do is to put another layer on the another image rather on a layer underneath this image there’s the original picture right there – we’re looking at the background here in the foreground dog there but that’s the original picture and by stacking the image elements into layers it allows you to choose to show or hide whatever it is you want me to hide the background so here’s our dog with a transparent background that’s on this top layer beneath him is another layer here or have a nice landscape just like that so I’m actually merging these two pictures visually by using layers very very important of course our layer masks are available here as well we’re able to use blending modes from the layers panel we can change the opacity of a layer over here with the opacity setting across the topic make new layers you can make new layer groups if you’re working in version 15 or better of Photoshop Elements right now 15 is the newest version but they’ll have a new one soon so you can use groups great tool we can make new fill or adjustment layers right here I can create layer masks with that button that’s a layer mask right here you can lock layers or transparencies you can delete layers and layer masks there’s a lot you can do right here from the layers panel very very important but this really is one of the most basic elements of working with more complex images and having a lot of power inside of Photoshop Elements is to make good use of your layers don’t worry if you get a lot of layers doesn’t matter you know you can show high layers as you need to there’s the dog in and out and you can move letters around you can change their order is a lot you can do with layers and I’ll be doing a video just about layers coming up just a couple of days after I first posted this video so coming up real soon here but very very powerful and you need to become familiar with working with layers to get the most out of photoshop elements one of the most basic techniques that I use in almost every single project I do is making selections lots of ways of making selections that’s this whole bit over here it says select on a tools panel we have our marquee selections rectangular and elliptical we have our different lasso tools e regular lasso the polygonal lasso and a magnetic lasso and we have the magic wand tools in here which also include the quick selection tool in the selection brush tool and also the refine selection brush tool if you’re working in version 15 or better so a lot of selection tools and I have whole videos about how to do that actually this dog video is specifically about using selections to cut the dog out of its existing background which is that one and give it a new background I’ll put a link to this dog video in the description if you want to go ahead and take a look at that and see how that project is done it’s pretty easy straightforward but it’s a very good project on how to do one type of selection also how to use a refine edge tool on that selection but whenever you need to overlap layers like this and show parts of one layer under a different layer you’re going to have to make a selection so it’s a very very important technique to learn how to do so take a look at the video for this one I have a lot of my videos or B most of my videos even use making selections as part of the video process so you’ll as you watch my YouTube videos you’ll get a good handle on how to make selections with pick the close attention to that again it’s one of the most important basic techniques to learn if you want to do really nice quality work here inside of Photoshop Elements another basic that you need to learn if you really want to harness the full power of Photoshop Elements is right here little tab it says normal at the top of the layers these are your blend modes and these allow you to blend one layer with layers underneath so if I click on the dog layer up here I can choose how this dog layer blends in with layer underneath the normal mode is it just sits on top there’s no actual blending it’s just sitting on top I can control the opacity over here you can kind of see through it or not if you want to is real basic see-through picture there you go but you can also blend using these different blend modes and they do different things normal is as it is said dissolve kind of puts kind of weird specular things sometimes you can’t really see it on this one depends upon your image and your background how they can see that this section darkens your colors down this section lightens your colors up this has different lighting effect blends instance special effects stuff now the easy way to use this is just to click on the first one like that and then use the wheel on your mouse to just roll through the different effects for instance here is lighten and see that it’s only lightening up the image where the image is darker than the part of the duck so the light parts of the dog are showing through the darker parts are not because we’re only lightening the image based upon that dog image they get interesting kind of goes the effect it’s a screen effect there’s lots of different effects is the overlay effect different lighting effects this means a real harsh there you go kind of hard mix some are strange there’s this a color shift saturation luminosity effect basically taking the dog as a black-and-white image and using the values to change the background based upon the values of the dog or changing your luminosity but very very powerful tool it’s kind of weird looking here but it’s a real powerful tool and I use these blend modes all the time in my projects so as you watch my YouTube projects you’ll see this consistently I’ll be using these blend modes for different effects very very powerful real basic tool to learn how to use let’s switch over to the enhance menu up here all of your stuff for adjusting your values doing your photo retouching stuff all that is here under the enhanced menu at the top there all of these auto settings up here below that we have the settings adjust color settings are in here your adjust lighting settings are right there there is an adjusting some control over this option up here it’s kinda like this option with a slider control on it and your convert to black and here’s fancier stuff right down there now my recommendation is to learn how to use these tools down here don’t rely on this stuff up here I almost never use these instead I go for the tools that have more control that’s because these have controls and these don’t these just set the setting at one default setting and whatever it is what it works or not that’s what you get with your controls down here you actually have adjustment settings energy control how this works for instance let’s take a look at the contrast to your brightness and contrast here’s auto contrast you click on it and there it is it’s already a good picture so you know it’s fine to turn a need anything but no so there was nothing that you could even see happening he had no chance to make any adjustments on that let me just undo the auto contrast there we go and let’s now compare that to under lighting brightness and contrast here I have a contrast control I can actually choose how much contrast I want right from this slider control so I have all kinds of control here that I didn’t have with these auto options so recommend staying away from these auto options except for that one right there Auto redeye fix that actually works it’s actually good so aside from that I ignore all the rest of these and my recommendation is coming down here and learn how to use the regular controls we actually can do some control and make a decision not how you want things to look is where your real power is if you’re in a real fast hurry you only have two minutes then use one of those you have more than two minutes come down here and use the proper control let’s move back over here to our layers panel and look at these boxes on the right hand side these are layer masks and this is the best way if you are trying get something transparent on a layer this is all his daughter’s hide these two so you want to get the background transparent there are two ways of going about doing that one is to erase the background leaving the part you want to keep that’s the easy way that’s the the basic way to do that but if you erased it you can’t ever get it back if you make a mistake on an edge it’s real hard to fix because you’ve erased you’ve gotten rid of it but if you use a layer mask so I have over here the layer mask will show where it’s white and it will hide where it’s black so by doing that Bizzy and effect cuts out the background but if I disable this I’ll just right-click on the layer mask disable layer mask the background is actually still here inside of the picture I never touched this this is what’s called non-destructive editing I don’t actually damage this layer all I’m doing is hiding a part of it so let me just enable this again unable their mask there we go so I’ve hidden that background I haven’t erased it or deleted it and that allows me to go back in and make adjustments if I need to fix something on an edge I can fix it over here on the layer mask without touching the original image so it protects the original image keeps it clean keeps it safe and that’s why you have the power of layer masks plus they’ll do neat things you can’t do with the erasing tool for instance I can put in a gradient in here black to white gradient and it will give me a transparent gradient where I can fade a background out so I could have it you know the dog right to here and then kind of repeat with his background and fading out to a different background you can’t do those kinds of things by erasing and deleting you don’t have that power so again one of those things that you need to really understand how to use and to learn and practice is working with these layer masks and you’ll see how this one was done if you watch the video on this dog and again the link for that is in the description at this point had a lot of options to choose what I want to have as my number 10 tip a number 10 thing to learn there’s lots of things we haven’t touched on or discussed here of course I haven’t looked at the tool for instance a lot of things that we can do but I wanted to talk about something which I use all the time and most people completely ignore because they don’t know how to use that and that’s over here is the graphics right there graphics and then specifically the shapes what you get for all these black and white shapes and edges kind of black shapes these are really powerful if you know how to use them and I use these all the time in my graphics projects a lot of my greeting cards will be based on shapes working with shapes one way or another let me show you a real fast technique on how these things can be used let us come down here and I’ll grab a heart which is pretty easy to use just come down little ways further I’m using the wheel on my mouse right now to scroll up and down you just grab this kind of riff on right there let’s double click on that that brings that shape up it’s coming in just as a white fill right now you can change the fill with a Paint Bucket I’ll just change this to a black fill there we go just a black fill on that now to show you the power of these things if you just have them just as a shape like this it’s not that exciting but you can use these to either put images inside of a shape or you can colorize these and make them look like real nice 3d artwork you show you the first one first I’m going to take this I’m going to grab the corner here in this cup make this big enough to contain the dog picture it looks pretty good right there click on the green check mark because there’s my lair let’s go over here I’m going to disable my layer mask just like that let’s put this shape underneath the dog there we go so shape below dog on top right click on the name of the layer and create clipping mask and that puts your dog picture inside of that shape there you go you have a nice mask shape in our master picture inside of that nice little shape you can see real easy to do just a couple of clicks and there you go an image inside of one of these custom shapes that’s just one thing what you can do just now get rid of that I’ll just release that clipping mask let’s put the shape up on top and I’ll hide everything else for the moment let’s now do something different with this shape I’ll come down to the fix down here let’s just go to our styles and since even better go to our styles and I’m going to choose the glass button styles and I’ll drag one of these onto the shape and it applies that style onto the graphic all of a sudden what I have is a three-dimensional graphic image you know real nice full-color image here instead of that black and white shape just by grabbing one of these different styles here and dragging it now let’s do a couple more of these let’s come down and do a wow neon I’ll do this one in blues kinda nice we have added this blue to this thing got weird outline effect so real easy to make full-color artwork based upon these different graphic shapes or you can uses as masks and put pictures inside of these there’s just loads and loads of uses that can be made out of these no see these all the time in my graphics projects for instance I used this paint splash right here in my graffiti wall art tutorial I’ve used this in other tutorials I’ve used a lot of these shapes in different ways in other tutorials these flowers in different tutorials these that flower are actually in the graffiti art picture as well so very powerful you need to take a look at these and learn how to use these basic shapes and how you can modify these shapes either by coloring them giving them different looks or using them as masks for your photographs select our layers can help us hide that one and bring these back up again notice also this kind of interesting thing that it still is a black and white shape over here all this stuff are effects all those styles are effects applied on to that shape if I double-click or says effects on the layer here I can come into my style settings and actually adjust the quality of those different shapes this here’s the drop shadow effect in there I can adjust that look a little bit I have it enter an outer glow effect I can come in here and adjust working on that last application LS that we just put on there little bevel effect in here there we go so again that gives you even more control by using these layer styles with your effects okay and a little bonus 11 tip here if you really want to learn how to use Photoshop Elements the best way to do that is to use my complete training you can you’ll find a link for that in the description and up in the upper right hand corner that little button for the YouTube cards use that to learn how the program works where I demonstrate every single tool every single menu item every single panel so you understand how the program works and once you know the program then use my YouTube training projects as practice to really learn and become an expert in working with Photoshop Elements ok so there you go that’s my top 10 plus 1 things for beginners to learn on how to use Photoshop Elements thank you for watching my video I hope you found it useful if you like this video click on the like button below to let others know you can click the subscribe button so you don’t miss any of my videos in the future and frequently uploading new training videos don’t forget to check out my website at houck aguru Zeng com