Teach Yourself Visually Photoshop® Elements 9

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Introducing Photoshop Elements 9

Understanding Digital Images

Start Photoshop Elements

Explore the Editor Workspace

Tour the Organizer Workspace

Switch Between the Editor and the Organizer

Anatomy of the Photoshop Elements Toolbox

Work with Toolbox Tools

Work with Panels

Set Program Preferences

View Rulers and Guides

Chapter 2: Importing and Opening Digital Images

Get Photos for Your Projects

Import Photos from a Digital Camera or Card Reader

Import Photos from a Scanner

Import Photos from a Folder

Watch a Folder for New Images

Open a Photo

Create a Blank Image

Save a Photo

Duplicate a Photo

Close a Photo

Chapter 3: Organizing Your Photos

Introducing the Organizer

Open the Organizer

Create a Catalog

View Photos in the Media Browser

View Photos in Full Screen

Display a Slide Show in Full Screen

View Photo Properties

Add a Caption

Work with Albums

View Photos by Date

Find Photos

Rate Photos

Chapter 4: Using Advanced Organizing Tools

Create a Smart Album

Work with Keyword Tags

View a Tag Cloud

Tag Faces

Map a Photo

Apply Photo Fixes in Full Screen

Stack Photos

Chapter 5: Applying Basic Image Edits

Manage Open Images

Magnify with the Zoom Tool

Adjust the Image View

Change the On-Screen Image Size

Change the Image Print Size

Change the Image Resolution

Change the Image Canvas Size

Crop an Image

Rotate an Image

Undo Changes to an Image

Revert an Image

Chapter 6: Making Selections

Select an Area with the Marquee

Select an Area with the Lasso

Select an Area with the Magic Wand

Select an Area with the Quick Selection Tool

Select an Area with the Selection Brush

Save and Load a Selection

Invert a Selection

Deselect a Selection

Chapter 7: Manipulating Selections

Add to or Subtract from a Selection

Move a Selection

Duplicate a Selection

Delete a Selection

Rotate a Selection

Scale a Selection

Skew or Distort a Selection

Feather the Border of a Selection

Chapter 8: Working with Layers

Introducing Layers

Create and Add to a Layer

Hide a Layer

Move a Layer

Duplicate a Layer

Delete a Layer

Reorder Layers

Change the Opacity of a Layer

Link Layers

Merge Layers

Rename a Layer

Create a Fill Layer

Create an Adjustment Layer

Blend Layers

Add a Layer Mask

Edit a Layer Mask

Chapter 9: Enhancing and Retouching Photos

Retouch with Guided Edit

Quick Fix a Photo

Improve Colors with Quick Fix

Remove Red Eye

Retouch with the Clone Stamp Tool

Remove a Spot

Sharpen an Image

Extract an Object from a Background

Merge Group Shots

Combine Faces

Recompose a Photo

Fix Keystone Distortion

Chapter 10: Improving Lighting and Exposure

Enhance Lighting with Guided Edit

Adjust Levels

Adjust Shadows and Highlights

Change Brightness and Contrast

Lighten Areas with the Dodge Tool

Darken Areas with the Burn Tool

Add a Spotlight

Fix Exposure

Using the Blur and Sharpen Tools

Chapter 11: Enhancing Colors

Enhance Colors with Guided Edit

Adjust Skin Color

Adjust Color with the Sponge Tool

Correct Color with Color Variations

Replace a Color

Turn a Color Photo into Black and White

Add Color to a Black-and-White Photo

Adjust Color by Using Color Curves

Chapter 12: Painting and Drawing on Photos

Set the Foreground and Background Colors

Add Color with the Brush Tool

Change Brush Styles

Add Color with the Paint Bucket Tool

Using a Brush to Replace a Color

Adjust Colors with the Smart Brush

Draw a Shape

Draw a Line

Apply the Eraser

Apply a Gradient

Chapter 13: Applying Filters

Blur an Image

Distort an Image

Turn an Image into a Painting

Turn an Image into a Sketch

Add Noise to an Image

Pixelate an Image

Emboss an Image

Apply Multiple Filters

Chapter 14: Adding Text Elements

Add Text

Change the Formatting of Text

Change the Color of Text

Create Warped Text

Create Beveled Text

Add a Shadow to Text

Chapter 15: Applying Styles and Effects

Frame a Photo with a Drop Shadow

Add a Drop Shadow to a Layer

Create a Vintage Photo

Add a Fancy Background

Add an Outline to a Layer

Add an Outer Glow to a Layer

Add a Fancy Covering to a Layer

Add a Watermark

Apply a Photomerge Style

Chapter 16: Presenting Photos Creatively

Create a Slide Show

Create a Photo Book

Create a Flipbook

Create PhotoStamps

Create a Photo Panorama

Chapter 17: Saving and Sharing Your Work

Save a JPEG for the Web

Save a GIF for the Web

Save a PNG for the Web

Convert File Types

E-Mail Images with Photo Mail

Print Photos

Export Photos

Back Up Photos

Sign Up for Online Services

Share a Photo Album Online

Back Up and Synchronize Photos Online

Teach Yourself Visually™ Photoshop® Elements 9

Trademark Acknowledgments

Contact Us


Executive Editor

Jody Lefevere

Project Editor

Jade L. Williams

Technical Editor

David Huss

Copy Editor

Scott Tullis

Editorial Director

Robyn Siesky

Editorial Manager

Rosemarie Graham

Business Manager

Amy Knies

Senior Marketing Manager

Sandy Smith

Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Richard Swadley

Vice President and Executive Publisher

Barry Pruett

Project Coordinator

Sheree Montgomery

Graphics and Production Specialists

Andrea Hornberger
Jennifer Mayberry

Quality Control Technician

Laura Albert


Susan Hobbs


BIM Indexing & Proofreading Services

Screen Artists

Ana Carrillo
Mark Pinto
Jill A. Proll
Ron Terry


Ronda David-Burroughs
Cheryl Grubbs

About the Author

Mike Wooldridge teaches computers and develops Web sites from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Author’s Acknowledgments

Mike thanks Brianna Stuart and Dave Huss for the use of their beautiful photographs in the examples for the book. He also thanks Brianna for her help in preparing the hundreds of screenshots. He thanks Jade Williams for her project management, Scott Tullis for his copy editing, and Dave Huss for his technical editing. Mike dedicates the book to his ten-year-old son.

How to Use This Book

Who This Book Is For

This book is for the reader who has never used this particular technology or software application. It is also for readers who want to expand their knowledge.

The Conventions in This Book

001 Steps

This book uses a step-by-step format to guide you easily through each task. Numbered steps are actions you must do; bulleted steps clarify a point, step, or optional feature; and indented steps give you the result.

002 Notes

Notes give additional information — special conditions that may occur during an operation, a situation that you want to avoid, or a cross reference to a related area of the book.

003 Icons and Buttons

Icons and buttons show you exactly what you need to click to perform a step.

004 Tips

Tips offer additional information, including warnings and shortcuts.

005 Bold

Bold type shows command names, options, and text or numbers you must type.

006 Italics

Italic type introduces and defines a new term.

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Are you interested in working with digital images on your computer? This chapter introduces you to Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, a popular software application for editing and creating digital images. Photoshop Elements also enables you to organize your collection of digital images so you can easily find what you are looking for.



Introducing Photoshop Elements 9

Understanding Digital Images

Start Photoshop Elements

Explore the Editor Workspace

Tour the Organizer Workspace

Switch Between the Editor and the Organizer

Anatomy of the Photoshop Elements Toolbox

Work with Toolbox Tools

Work with Panels

Set Program Preferences

View Rulers and Guides

Introducing Photoshop Elements 9

Photoshop Elements is a popular photo-editing program you can use to modify, optimize, and organize digital images. You can use the program’s Editor to make imperfect snapshots clearer and more colorful as well as retouch and restore older photos. With layers, you can isolate objects in your images and apply special effects just to those objects or combine multiple images into a collage. You can also use the program’s Organizer to group your photos into albums, assign descriptive keyword tags, and create slide shows, online galleries, and more. When you are done with your images, you can use Photoshop Elements to save them for posting on the Web or print them out.

Manipulate Photos

As its name suggests, Photoshop Elements excels at enabling you to edit elements in your digital photographs. The program includes numerous image-editing tools and commands you can apply to manipulate the look of your photos. Whether you import photos from a digital camera or a scanner, you can apply a wide variety of editing techniques to your images, from subtle adjustments in color to elaborate filters that make your snapshots look like paintings. See Chapter 7 for more on manipulating selected parts of your photos. See Chapter 12 for more on painting and drawing, and see Chapter 13 for more on using filters.


Retouch and Repair

You can use Photoshop Elements to edit new photos to make them look their best as well as retouch and repair older photos that suffer from aging problems. For example, you can restore a faded photo by using saturation controls to make it more vibrant, or you can use the Clone Stamp tool to repair a tear or stain. You can also use the program’s exposure commands to fix lighting problems as well as edit out unwanted objects with the Healing Brush. See Chapter 9 for more on retouching your photos.


Add Decoration

The painting tools in Photoshop Elements make the program a formidable illustration tool as well as a photo editor. You can apply colors or patterns to your images with a variety of brush styles. See Chapter 12 to discover how to paint and draw on your photos. In addition, you can use the application’s typographic tools to integrate stylized letters and words into your images; see Chapter 14 for more on adding text elements.


Create a Digital Collage

You can combine parts of different images in Photoshop Elements to create a collage. Your compositions can include photos, scanned art, text, and anything else you can save on your computer as a digital image. By placing elements on separate layers, you can move, transform, and customize them independently of one another. See Chapter 8 for more on layers. You can also merge several side-by-side scenes into a seamless panorama, which is covered in Chapter 16.


Organize and Catalog

As you bring photos into Photoshop Elements, the program keeps track of them in the Organizer. In the Organizer, you can place groups of photos into theme-specific albums, tag your photos with keywords that describe where they were taken or who is in them, and search for specific photos based on a variety of criteria. See Chapters 3 and 4 for more on the Organizer.


Put Your Photos to Work

After you edit your photographs, you can use them in a variety of ways. Photoshop Elements enables you to print your images, save them for the Web, or bring them together in a slide show. You can e-mail your photos with the Photo Mail feature. You can also create greeting cards, calendars, and other projects. For more on creating and printing your photo projects, see Chapters 16 and 17.


Understanding Digital Images

To work with photos in Photoshop Elements, you must first turn them into a digital format. When a computer saves a photographic file, it turns the image content into lots of tiny squares called pixels. Editing a digital image is mostly about recoloring and rearranging pixels, at least on a small scale. Using Photoshop Elements can be a little easier when you remember this. This section introduces you to some important basics about how computers store images in digital form.

Acquire Photos

You can acquire photographic images to use in Photoshop Elements from a number of sources. You can download photos to Photoshop Elements from a digital camera, memory card, or photo CD. You can scan photographs, slides, or artwork and then import the images directly into the program. You can also bring in photos that you have downloaded from the Web. For more on importing photos, see Chapter 2.


Understanding Pixels

Digital images that you download from a camera consist of millions of tiny squares called pixels, each composed of a single color. Photoshop Elements works its magic by rearranging and recoloring these squares. You can edit specific pixels or groups of pixels by selecting the area of the photo you want to edit. If you zoom in close, you can see the pixels that make up your image. Chapter 5 covers the Zoom tool.


Bitmap Images

Images composed of pixels are known as bitmap images or raster images. The pixels are arranged in a rectangular grid, and each pixel includes information about its color and position. Most of the time when you are working in Photoshop Elements, you are working with bitmap content.


Vector Graphics

The other common way of displaying pictures on your computer is with vector graphics. Vector graphics encode image information by using mathematical equations rather than pixels. Unlike raster images, vector graphics can change size without a loss of quality. When you add shapes or text to your photos in Elements, you are working with vector graphics.


Supported File Formats

Photoshop Elements supports a variety of file types you can both import and export. Popular file formats include BMP, PICT, TIFF, EPS, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document. Files that you save in the PSD and TIFF formats can include layers and other information that cannot be saved with the other formats.

For images published on the Internet, JPEG, GIF, and PNG are the most common formats.


File Size

An important way file formats differ from one another is the amount of storage they take up on your computer. File formats such as PSD and TIFF tend to take up more space because they faithfully save all the information that your camera or other device originally captured. Those formats can also include multiple layers. JPEG, GIF, and PNG files, on the other hand, are built to be sent over the Internet and usually sacrifice some quality for the sake of compactness.


Start Photoshop Elements

After you install Photoshop Elements, you can start it to begin creating and editing digital images. Common ways of obtaining and installing the program include from DVD disc or by downloading it from Adobe over the Internet. On a PC, you can access Photoshop Elements as you do other programs — through the Start menu. On a Mac, you can access it through the Finder in the Applications folder.

Start Photoshop Elements


001 Click Start.

002 Type Elements in the search box.

Windows displays a list of search results.

003 Click Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.

The Photoshop Elements welcome screen opens.

The welcome screen displays clickable icons that take you to different workspaces in Photoshop Elements.


004 Click Edit.

The Photoshop Elements Editor opens.

You can click Organize to open the Organizer.

You can also log in to or sign up for Adobe’s photo-sharing and backup services. See Chapter 17 for more.

Explore the Editor Workspace

In the Photoshop Elements Editor, you can use a combination of tools, menu commands, and panel-based features to open and edit your digital photos. The main Editor pane displays the photos that you are currently modifying. To open the Editor, click Edit on the welcome screen.


Image Window

Displays each photo you open in Photoshop Elements

Layout Button

Opens a menu that lets you select how open images are arranged in the workspace

Image Tabs

Clickable tabs for switching between open images in the Editor Links

Clickable links for signing in to for managing your photos online

Organizer Button

Clickable button for switching to the Organizer interface, where you can catalog your photos

Task Tabs

Clickable tabs for switching between workflows in the Editor

Panel Bin

A storage area for panels, which are the resizable windows that hold related commands, settings, and other information

Project Bin

Enables you to open and work with multiple photos


Displays a variety of icons, each representing an image-editing tool

Options Bar

Displays controls that let you customize the selected tool in the Toolbox

Tour the Organizer Workspace

In the Photoshop Elements Organizer, you can catalog, view, and sort your growing library of digital photos. The main Organizer pane, called the Media Browser, shows miniature versions of the photos in your catalog. To open the Organizer, click Organize on the welcome screen.


Photo Browser

Displays miniature versions, or thumbnails, of the photos in your catalog


Displays buttons and other options for modifying and sorting photos in the Photo Browser Links

Clickable links for signing in to for managing your photos online

Display Menu

Contains commands for switching to different views in the Organizer

Task Tabs

Clickable tabs for switching between workflows in the Organizer

Panel Bin

A storage area for panels, which are the resizable windows that hold related commands, settings, and other information

Tag Icon

Shows which tags have been applied to a photo

Status Bar

Displays the name of the currently open catalog, how many photos the catalog contains, and other summary information

Switch Between the Editor and the Organizer

Photoshop Elements has two main workspaces: the Organizer and the Editor. The Organizer lets you browse, sort, share, and categorize photos in your collection, and the Editor enables you to modify, combine, and optimize your photos. You can easily switch between the two views.

You can use the Organizer to scan through your photo collection to find just the right images for your projects. After you select your photos in the Organizer, you can open the Editor to make changes to the colors, lighting, and other characteristics of the photos. You can switch back to the Organizer to continue browsing your collection or to choose more photos to edit.

Switch Between the Editor and the Organizer

001 Start Photoshop Elements in the Organizer view.

Note: See the section “Start Photoshop Elements” for more on starting the program.

You can browse and sort your photos in the Organizer.

Note: For more about using the Organizer, see Chapters 3 and 4.


002 Click a photo to select it.

003 Click Fix.

004 Click Full Photo Edit.

The photo opens in the Editor. It may take a few moments for the Editor to launch if it is not already running.


You can click the Organizer icon (919613-ma707.tif) to return to the Editor.

Anatomy of the Photoshop Elements Toolbox

Photoshop Elements offers a variety of specialized tools that enable you to edit your image. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the Toolbox tools. You can select tools by clicking buttons in the Toolbox or by typing a keyboard shortcut key. Keyboard shortcut keys are shown in parentheses.


Move (V)

Moves selected areas of an image

Zoom (Z)

Zooms your view of an image in or out

Hand (H)

Moves the image to reveal portions of the image that are off screen

Eyedropper (I)

Samples color from an area of an image

Marquee (M)

Defines an area of an image by drawing a box or ellipse around the area you want to edit

Lasso (L)

Selects pixels by drawing a free-form shape around the area you want to edit

Magic Wand (W)

Selects pixels based on their color similarity

Quick Selection Brush (A)

Selects pixels like a Magic Wand on a brush by using brush shapes

Type (T)

Adds text to an image

Crop (C)

Trims or expands an image to improve composition

Cookie Cutter (Q)

Masks an image so only the image under the selected shape is available

Straighten (P)

Straightens out crooked image or changes the orientation of an image for artistic purposes


Red-Eye Removal (Y)

Corrects red-eye problems

Spot-Healing Brush (J)

Repairs imperfections by copying nearby pixels

Clone Stamp (S)

Paints pixels from one part of an image to another part

Eraser (E)

Erases pixels by replacing them with background color or making them transparent layers

Brush (B)

Paints strokes of color

Smart Brush (F)

Simultaneously selects and applies a wide variety of different effects

Paint Bucket (K)

Fills a selected area with a single color

Gradient (G)

Fills areas with blended color effects

Custom Shape (U)

Draws predefined shapes

Blur (R)

Blurs selected portions of your image

Sponge (O)

Increases or decreases color saturation or intensity

Foreground and Background Color

Sets foreground and background colors to use with tools

Work with Toolbox Tools

You can use the tools in the Photoshop Elements Toolbox to make changes to an image. After you click to select a tool, the Options bar displays controls for customizing how the tool works. For example, after you select the Rectangular Marquee tool, you can adjust the Options bar settings to determine the height and width of the tool.

Some tools include a tiny triangle in the bottom-right corner indicating hidden tools you can select. For example, the Marquee tool includes two variations: Rectangular and Elliptical.

Work with Toolbox Tools

Select a Tool


001 Position the mouse pointer over a tool.

A screen tip displays the tool name and shortcut key. You can click the tool name to access help information about the tool.

002 Click a tool to select it.

The Options bar displays customizing options for the selected tool.

003 Specify any options you want for the tool.

Select a Hidden Tool


001 Click a tool that has a triangle in its corner.

002 Press and hold the mouse button.

A menu of hidden tools appears.

You can also right-click a tool to show hidden tools.

003 Click the tool you want to use.

Float the Toolbox


001 At the top of the Toolbox, click and drag into the center workspace.

The Toolbox detaches from the side of the workspace.


When the Toolbox is floating, you can click 919613-ma705.tif to toggle between one- and two-column configurations.

You can click and drag the Toolbox back to the side to unfloat it.


Work with Panels

In the Photoshop Elements Editor, you can open resizable windows called panels to access different Photoshop Elements commands and features. By default, most panels open in the Panel Bin located on the right side of the Photoshop Elements workspace. You can float panels over the program workspace to give yourself easy access to commands.

The Layers panel gives you access to the one or more layers present in your image. Each layer can contain image content that can be moved and adjusted independent of the content in other layers. The Effects panel includes dozens of special effects that you can apply to your image to transform its appearance.

Work with Panels

Open and Close a Panel

001 Open the Photoshop Elements Editor.

Note: For more on opening the Editor, see the section “Start Photoshop Elements.”


002 Click Window.

003 Click a panel name.

A check mark (919613-ma223.tif) next to the panel name indicates that the panel is already open.

The panel opens.


You can hide or show a panel by double-clicking the panel’s title tab.

004 Click the panel menu.

A menu with panel commands opens.

005 Click Close.

The panel closes.

Float a Panel


001 Click and drag the title tab of a panel to the work area.

002 Release the mouse.


The panel opens as a free-floating window.

You can resize a floating panel by clicking and dragging its corner (919613-ma706.tif).

To close a floating panel, click the Close button (919613-ma041.tif).

To reset the Photoshop Elements panels to their default arrangement, click Reset Panels.


Set Program Preferences

The Photoshop Elements Preferences dialog box enables you to change default settings and modify how the program looks. You can set preferences in both the Editor and Organizer workspaces to customize the program to match how you like to work.

When you make changes to the program in the preferences, the changes remain after you exit the program and then open it again. In the Organizer, you can restore all preferences to their original state by clicking the Restore Default Settings button in the General preferences.

Set Program Preferences

In the Editor


001 In the Editor, click Edit.

Note: For more on opening the Editor, see the section “Explore the Editor Workspace.”

002 Click Preferences.

003 Click General.

As an alternative, you can press ctrl.eps+k.eps.

The Preferences dialog box opens and displays General options.

004 Select any settings you want to change.


For example, you can specify the shortcut keys for stepping backward and forward through your commands.

You can click the down arrow (919613-ma020.tif) to open images in floating windows instead of tabbed windows.

005 Click a different preference category.

You can also click Prev and Next to move back and forth between categories.

In this example, the Preferences dialog box displays Units & Rulers options.

006 Select any settings you want to change.


For example, you can specify the default units for various aspects of the program.

007 Click OK.

Photoshop Elements sets the preferences.

In the Organizer

001 In the Organizer, click Edit, Preferences, and then General.

Note: For more on opening the Organizer, see the section “Tour the Organizer Workspace.”

The Preferences dialog box opens.

002 Select any settings you want to change.


For example, you can specify date ordering and formatting preferences.

003 Click OK to close the dialog box.

Photoshop Elements sets the preferences.


View Rulers and Guides

You can turn on rulers and guides in Photoshop Elements to help place objects accurately in your image. Rulers appear at the top and left sides of the image window and enable you to measure distances within your image. To change the units of measurement associated with the rulers, see “Set Program Preferences.”

Guides are the lines that help you position different elements in your image horizontally or vertically. These lines do not appear on your image when you save the image for the Web or print it.

View Rulers and Guides

Show Rulers


001 Click View.

002 Click Rulers.

You can also press shift.eps+ctrl.eps+r.eps.

Create a Guide


Photoshop Elements adds rulers to the top and left edges of the image window.

003 Click one of the rulers and drag the cursor into the window (919613-ma015.eps changes to 919613-ma225.eps).

Drag the top ruler down to create a horizontal guide.

Drag the left ruler to the right to create a vertical guide.


A thin, colored line called a guide appears.

You can also click View and then New Guide to add a guide.

You can use guides to align objects in the different layers of an image.

Note: See Chapter 8 for more about layers.

Move a Guide


001 Click the Move tool (919613-ma005.tif).

002 Position the mouse cursor over a guide (919613-ma015.eps changes to 919613-ma225.eps) and then click and drag.

You can also press ctrl.eps+quaph.eps to display a grid on your image. The lines of the grid can help you align objects in your image.