43. About the Editor
1 About the Organizer
45 About Editing Images
As you probably know by now, Photoshop Elements is made up of two components: the Editor and the Organizer. The Editor window is similar to other Windows applications, containing familiar elements such as the menu bar, work area, and Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons. Still, no matter how many automobiles you've driven, there's always some new feature in the next car you buy. Windows programs are like that, too; each program comes with its own set of unique controls designed to implement the functionality unique to that program. In the case of the Editor, you'll find a set of unique controls designed to help you edit your graphics with ease. It's these controls I want to introduce you to.
At the right end of the menu bar, you'll find a Search box; type a word or phrase in this box and press Enter or click the Help Contents button (the question mark icon) to the left of the Search box to search the program's Help system. If you don't type anything in the Search box and press Enter or click the Help Contents button, you'll go directly to the home page in Help.
Open images are displayed in the work area in the middle of the window. You can have as many open images as you like; the maximum number is theoretically limited by the memory of your computer. Typically, each image is initially displayed in a manageable size within its own window. This image window contains its own Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons.
Parts of the Editor work area.
To the right of the Search box, you'll find some buttons that control how images are displayed. When you see two buttons here, you're in what Adobe calls Multi-window mode, which enables you to display multiple image in the work area. In this mode, the first button, Automatically Tile Windows, causes newly opened images to be automatically arranged with already open images in a tiled formation. With this button engaged, if you open a new image, it is automatically tiled with other open images. To have Adobe stop tiling image windows, resize any window to some other size, click the Automatically Tile Windows button again to turn the option off, or change to Maximize mode by clicking the second button to the right of the Search box. You can cascade open windows rather than tiling them by choosing Window, Images, Cascade.
When you click the Maximize Mode button, four buttons appear to the right of the Search box: Automatically Tile Windows, Minimize, Multi-window Mode, and Close. When you open an image while in Maximize mode, the Editor displays that image as fully as possible within the limits of the work area. If an image is open when you change to Maximize mode, its size is not changed, but you can resize it to take up more space in the work area if you want. While in Maximize mode, you can display only one image in the work area at a time. Change from one open image to another by clicking its thumbnail in the Photo Bin at the bottom of the work area. You can minimize the image window (returning it to the Photo Bin) by clicking its Minimize button. This, in turn, maximizes the previously active image window, or clears the work area if no other images are open. Close the image window by clicking its Close button. Return to Multi-window mode by clicking the Multi-window Mode button; click Automatically Tile Windows button to return to Multi-window mode, but with automatic tiling active.
There are other ways to adjust your view of an image. For example, you can zoom in or out, and display an image onscreen in the same size it will appear when printed. See 55 Zoom In and Out with the Zoom Tool and 56 Zoom In and Out with the Navigator Palette for help. You can zoom all images to the same level as the active image (regardless of whether you're in Multi-window mode or Maximize mode) by choosing Window, Images, Match Zoom. To have all images match the area you're zoomed in on in the active image window, choose Window, Images, Match Location. These modes are helpful if you have several open photos that were taken at close to the same timesuch as several portraits of the same family memberwhere you need to compare the same detail in each image side-by-side.
Use the Shortcuts Bar
Below the menu bar is the Shortcuts bar, which contains buttons for the most common commands such as opening, saving, and printing an image. Buttons with a sweeping right arrow on the left, such as the Create, Photo Browser, and Date View buttons, will launch the Organizer so that you can complete the selected action, such as locating an image based on the date on which it was taken. To identify a particular button, hover the mouse pointer over the button and a tooltip appears, displaying the button's name. At the right end of the Shortcuts bar, you'll find a pair of buttons that change the Editor from a full-featured graphics editor into a quick touch-up program, and back again. See 109 Apply a Quick Fix for more information.
The Shortcuts bar provides fast access to common commands.
Use the Toolbox and Options Bar
The Toolbox, located along the left side of the window, is the Editor's equivalent of a caddy on your desk where you keep all your brushes, pens, erasers, and scissors. To select a tool, click its button; the currently selected tool is highlighted. Some tools with similar purposes are located in the same slot on the Toolbox, with one in front and the others hidden behind it. To access a hidden tool, hold the mouse down on a button to make a menu full of additional tools appear. Click one of the tools in the menu to make it active and display it in the Toolbox.
You can move the Toolbox into the work area if that makes it more convenient; just drag it by the top bar. You can't resize the floating Toolbox, but you can hide it quickly to get it out of the way of your workjust press Tab as you might do to hide all free-floating palettes (you'll learn more about palettes in the next section). Press Tab again to restore the Toolbox and your free-floating palettes. To restore the Toolbox to its original position on the left of the window, drag it by the blue title bar.
The Toolbox contains tools you can use to edit images.
After you select a tool, its available options appear on the Options bar, located just under the Shortcuts bar. You'll learn how to use the tools in the Toolbox and to set options in upcoming tasks.
On the right side of the Editor window, you'll see the Palette Bin, which contains a collection of palettes. By default, three palettes are displayed in the Palette Bin: the How To palette (which contains step-by-step instructions for completing common image modifications), the Styles and Effects palette (which displays thumbnails representing special modifications you can apply to an image), and the Layers palette (which provides access to the multiple layers an image contains). The Palette Bin helps you corral the palettes you currently want to use. You can add or remove palettes from the Palette Bin as desired, or you can display palettes in the work area. These palettes are called floating palettes. You can place several floating palettes together, forming a group (where only the tab of the active palette shows) or a dock (where palettes are stacked vertically).
Palettes provide valuable information and tools for modifying images.
The More button provides access to commands other than Place in Palette Bin. Click the More button and select XXX Help (where XXX is the name of the palette) to get help working with a particular palette. Choose Help Contents to display the Help Contents page instead. Other commands on the More menu enable you to set options related to that particular palette.
You can group palettes together in a sort of tabbed dialog box so that the palettes are easily accessible and yet take up little room. To group one palette within another, drag a palette by its tab (and not its title bar) and drop it on top of the target palette. The palettes are grouped, and a tab appears for each palette. Only one palette in the group is fully visible at any one time. To switch to a different palette, click its tab. To remove a palette from a group, drag it by its tab outside the group to return the palette to a free-floating state.
You can dock multiple palettes together, creating mini-Palette Bins. These docked palettes can be moved, hidden, redisplayed, and closed with a single click. To dock a palette with another, drag the palette by its tab to the bottom edge of another palette. A double line appears along this bottom edge; release the mouse button to dock the palette. Click the Minimize button to roll up this floating bin, or click the Close button to remove it from the screen.
You'll learn more about the individual palettes throughout this book. For now, here is a brief description of the remaining palettes: Color Swatches (displays various collections of colors, patterns, and textures you can use with the painting tools); Histogram (a graph depicting the distribution of the brightness in an image); Info (displays information about the pixel under the cursor, and about the size of any shape, selection, or cropping border you're currently drawing); Navigator (provides an alternative method for zooming and scrolling an image); and Undo History (displays a list of actions you can undo).
Use the Photo Bin
Under the work area you'll find the Photo Bin. This bin displays a thumbnail for every open image. You can use the bin to switch from one image to another quickly: Just click the thumbnail of the image you want to work on. You'll find this method of switching from one image to another especially useful when you are displaying images in Maximize mode, where the active image is automatically maximized, hiding any other open images. You can also click the left and right arrows next to the Photo Bin button on the left side of the status bar to change from one image to the next. Next to these arrows is a notation that tells you how many images you currently have open. When you have more images in the Photo Bin than it has room to show, use the vertical scrollbar to browse through the thumbnails or resize the bin by dragging its top border upwards. Of course, making the Photo Bin taller makes the work area smaller.
The Photo Bin provides quick access to open images.
To see the filename for a single thumbnail in the Photo Bin, hold the pointer over that thumbnail; the tooltip shows the filename. To display a filename under each thumbnail, right-click an empty space in the Photo Bin and select Show Filenames from the context menu.
If you want to maximize your work area, you can hide the Photo Bin when not in use by clicking the Close Photo Bin button, located at the left end of the status bar. Redisplay the bin by clicking this button again. To hide the bin automatically when not in use, right-click an empty space in the Photo Bin and select Auto Hide from the context menu. As soon as you activate an image window or if nothing happens in the work area for a few seconds, the bin automatically disappears; to redisplay it, simply move the mouse pointer towards the bottom of the work area.
Use the Rulers and Grid
Occasionally, you might want to turn on several tools to guide you as you make precise adjustments to an image. For example, when drawing objects of a specific size, you might want to display the ruler (choose View, Rulers). A vertical ruler appears along the left edge of each image window, and a horizontal ruler appears along the top edge. Using the ruler, you can make more precise selections with any of the Selection tools, create objects of an exact size and position, and position type more exactly. As you move the mouse pointer over the image, hash marks appear on the rulers to indicate the pointer's exact position.
Use the rulers and the grid to help you make precise changes to an image.
If you want to measure from some point on an image, you can adjust the zero origin. Normally, zero is located in the upper-left corner of an image; to move the zero origin, click at the intersection of the two rulers (in the upper-left corner of the image window) and drag downwards and to the right, to the point on the image from which you want to measure. Cross-hairs appear as you drag to help you precisely position the zero origin. Release the mouse button to set the zero origin. To reset the rulers so that the zero origin is once again in the upper-left corner, double-click the intersection of the two rulers.
Another useful tool for aligning objects perfectly is the grid, a set of vertical and horizontal lines that cross all over the image forming, well, a grid. You can automatically align objects to the gridlines by turning on the View, Snap to Grid option. You can see the gridlines by choosing View, Grid, although the grid does tend to obstruct your image; if you chose not to display the grid, you can still snap objects to the (invisible) gridlines by choosing only the Snap to Grid option. When the gridlines are invisible, you still "feel" them (almost like they are magnetized) as you draw or move objects because the gridlines pull the edges of objects towards them.
Use the How To Palette
The How To palette guides you step by step through some of the more common image editing tasks, such as cropping photos and removing dust and scratches. To display the How To palette, choose Window, How To. The How To palette works like a small Web page, complete with hyperlinks to different sections and browser-like buttons that enable you to go back to the page you just read or to the Home page. Start by selecting a task from the Home page. The steps you must follow to complete that task appear. Sometimes, the hyperlink Do this step for me is included with a step to help you complete it properly.
The How To palette guides you through common tasks.