Adobe Lesson 2
by Hacrafter on HGTV’s Holiday message board
Photo Elements give you 3 ways to select colors. You have the:
The eyedropper tool is on your tool bar and looks like an eyedropper. If you hold your cursor over it, it will tell you what the tool is. The eyedropper lets you sample colors from images in your workspace. The Color picker and swatches let you pick your own colors in two different ways which I will explain later. You are allowed two color selections at a time. They are referred to as the forground color (yellow square in front) and background color (square in back). The color you paint with or your new text will be is always the forground color. Some other tools and options ask you if you want to use the forground or background color or give you some other standard choices. You can switch the forground and background colors by clicking the arrow above and between them on the right. Pic 1
When I do my card projects I usually start my color selections with the eyedropper to pick out colors from the photo I'm working with. This way I know they will work with my photo because they are in my photo. To use the eyedropper select it from the tool bar and click on the color you want. You can see your result in the forground color box. Click until you find a color you like. You will note that if you click in what looks like the same spot you may get a different color. The color picker uses the pixel selected and averages a few around it. See how many diffent colors are in the close up. Sometimes I zoom up close if I'm going for a specific color tone. Pic 2
The next tool is the color picker. To bring up the color picker, double click on the forground color. It will also come up when prompted to choose a new color. I have 4 numbers here. 1) The white circle shows my cursor. I can move this around the colored square to pick out the exact shade of red I want.2) If I don't want red I can move the white triangular sliders up and down or use my cursor to click in the bar for the color range I want.3)This is the current color selection. As you move around the colors this box will change to show you how your new color selection compares to your old color selection with brings us to 4.4)This is the current forground color.The color picker always comes up showing you your current forground color. I like the color picker because it makes it very easy to pick out specific color tints, tones, or shades that are related. If I want to pick out mulitple colors in the same range I can see how much variation I'm getting between them. This is a good way to refine color choices made by the eyedropper.Now, what do you do if you want to save these colors for furture use after all you can only have two selected at a time. If you pick a new color what happens to your current selection if you want to go back to it? That brings us to tool number 3, the swatches. You can save colors in the swatch pallet. Pic 3
To select the color swatches select Window-->Color Swatches. Any color you click on in this window will become your current forground color. If you look at the bottom of the swatch pallet, you will see two familure symbols (or they will become so in time). The first symbol is looks like a papper tablet with a rolled up corner. Click here to save your color swatch. It will appear at the end fo the selection. To discard a color swatch you don't want, click on it and drag it to the second icon of the trash can. You can create your own pallet but there is a quirk with this. Once you creat a new pallet it will not show up on the list until you exit and re-enter elements so if you switch between swatch pallets you won't be able to get back to your new one without leaving.It is a great program but it does have it's quirks. Pic 4
When using layers the "background" layer is always protected but not completely. If you erase part of your background layer you will always erase down to your background color. When you erase from any other layer you erase to empty pixles.Now that you understand all about selection your colors here is an assignment for you.Select File-->New-->Blank file for background select white. You now have a blank canvas to play with. Experiment with the brush tools and see what they do. Try coloring in custom shapes. Here is a link to some pictures I "painted" using photoshop in a class I took at the college last summer. You can do the same thing with elements but there are few brushes to choose from. The first one is a recreation of a masters work. This took me many, many hours to do but I learned a lot about the brushes. The next two were from my photos and the last was a class project. It was the warm up for doing the reproduction. Your lesson on selecting colors is now complete. Comments welcome. I know people are looking at these, but is anyone using them. Is anyone using the free tool from this site? If so, is it easy to figure out from what I'm showing here? Please feel free to point out differences here to help others. If you want to post screen shots from your tool but don't know how I can tell you how I do it.We are getting close to being ready for the card tutorial. I'd like to cover one more topic on cropping so you can create the card the size you want. I think those who do glass blocks and scrappers will be interested in that one.
When I get to my class on making the cards and class on twirls you will need to understand layers. There is a lesson on layers is great so I won't be covering that in my own tutorial.