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Introduction > Introducing Photoshop Elements

Introducing Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements makes it easy to retouch your digital photos; apply special effects, filters, and styles; prepare images for the Web; even create wide-screen panoramas from a series of individual photos. And Photoshop Elements provides several features geared specifically to the beginner. Of particular note are a comprehensive Help system featuring a glossary of common digital image-editing terms; and a unique, engaging palette that helps guide you step by step through a variety of fun and useful tasks: from basic photo retouching to creating special digital effects.

The Glossary, accessible from the Help menu, provides easy-to-understand definitions of nearly 200 terms. Although this glossary is specifically written for use with Photoshop Elements, it also serves as a good general digital photography and image-editing resource. Alongside the software-specific topics like brush type and canvas size, you’ll find excellent working definitions of concepts as diverse as bit depth, PostScript, and RGB color.

The How To palette features collections of activities designed to take you through tasks from basic photo retouching to creating special digital effects. At the same time, these activities are designed as a reference, so that over time you’ll learn how to perform these tasks on your own. The How To palette provides a great way to quickly learn sophisticated image editing techniques while completing your own projects.

What’s new in version 3.0

If you’ve worked with Photoshop Elements in the past, you should feel right at home in version 3.0. While you’ll notice some subtle (and not so subtle) aesthetic changes as you scan the interface, most of the tools, palettes, and menus remain in easy to locate areas of the desktop. The toolbox, palette bin (formerly the palette well), and options bar still figure prominently, and have been augmented by a handy, new photo bin. Probably most conspicuous, are the addition of two very cool specialty work environments: available for now (I’m sorry to say) only on Windows.

The photo bin

The photo bin is a convenient holding area for all of your images. From the photo bin you can open and close images, choose which ones you want to display in the work area, and even change their stacking order. In addition, you can view embedded file information like digital camera settings, create duplicates, and rotate images in 90 degree increments.

The Healing Brush tools

Photo correction and retouching are raised to a new level with two new Healing Brush tools. Though both will work well to correct problem spots in your digital photos, they especially shine in the area of saving and restoring old, scanned photos. The Spot Healing Brush is designed to remove small imperfections like dust specs or hairline scratches, while the Healing Brush works much the same way to cover larger problems like water stains or deep creases. Both work on a principal similar to the Clone Stamp tool, to sample (copy) one area of an image to use as a patch somewhere else. While the Clone Stamp tool is most effective in areas with even color and tonal values, the Healing Brush tools excel in places that are heavily textured and unevenly lit. That’s because the Healing Brush tools don’t just cover over flaws, they create “patches” that blend and transition seamlessly with the area that you apply them to.

The Red Eye Removal tool

Adobe took a good idea and made it even better with the introduction of the Red Eye Removal tool. It replaces the effective, if somewhat awkwardly complex Red Eye Brush tool from version 2.0. Whereas the Red Eye Brush required you to enter a number of settings and adjustments for brush size, color, and tolerance values, the Red Eye Removal tool is literally as easy to use as click and drag. It’s a simple, elegant little tool to help you quickly get through a rather mundane task.

Photo Creations (Windows only)

Photo Creations are a collection of self-contained projects you assemble with your own photos and images. Clear, simple instructions guide you step by step as you design and construct a variety of pieces, both for print and for sharing online. From the Creation Setup window, you can make anything from an online slide show, to a printed greeting card or wall calendar, to an interactive gallery of photos you can post to the Web.

The Photo Organizer (Windows only)

The Photo Organizer is a powerful application within an application, designed—as its name implies—to help you organize, catalog, and keep track of your digital photos and projects. Within its visual, intuitive workspace you can rename photos, add captions and notes, assign tags to help with sorting and cataloging, assemble photos into collections, and even view digital video files. We’ll look at facets of both the Creations and Organizer workspaces throughout the course of the book, but Chapter 13, “The Windows Photo Organizer,” is solely devoted to exploring the Organizer’s special set of tools and features.

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