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Getting Help

The tools in Photoshop Elements are designed to make you feel as though you’re dealing with the real thing, whenever possible. For instance, the paintbrush tools become pressure sensitive when you use a graphics tablet such as the Wacom Intuos2. Dodging and burning, which you might do in a real darkroom to lighten or darken parts of an image, are done in Photoshop Elements with tools that not only work the same way, but whose icons even look like their real-world counterparts. The Photoshop Elements desktop, which is far less cluttered than my own, has a toolbox, the usual menu bar, and a bar of shortcut buttons for actions, such as opening a new page, saving, and printing. The Shortcuts bar also has what Adobe calls a palette well.

When you first open Elements, you will probably notice several windows arranged along the right side of the screen. These are palettes. Each one has a particular function. Hints and How To are information palettes. The Layers and History palettes hold lists. History has a palette entry for each step you take in correcting your picture. It lets you choose an earlier step and revert to it, effectively giving you the ability to undo multiple changes. The Layers palette keeps track of whether each layer in a file contains type or an image, and in what order the layers should be displayed. The Color Swatches palette is a paint box. All of these are carefully designed to be user-friendly. You can generally guess what they do by looking at them, and if not, help is at hand.


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