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Using Quick, Guided, and Expert Editing in Photoshop Elements 11

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Learn about the different editing modes in Photoshop Elements 11 and which one may be right for you.
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Photo by Matt Kloskowski Exposure: 4 sec | Focal Length: 16 mm | Aperture Value: f/22

Man, did I luck out on the name of this chapter: edIT. It’s actually named after the popular DJ, producer, and musician, and that right there is enough for me, especially since he gets to work with hip-hop artists and rappers. I love rappers, because they use such colorful phrases—stuff you usually only hear from fans at a Redskins football game when a receiver is wide open in the flat and drops a ball thrown right into his hands. But when the fans say it, they’re yelling, which can really get on your nerves. In a rap song, even though they’re saying the same things, since it’s set to music, it just floats by. In fact, a lot of times, when you’re listening to rap, they’ll say something and you stop and think, “Did he really just say what I thought he said?” but you try to convince yourself that’s not what you heard because nobody dropped an easy pass. I always wonder what rappers have to be so angry about. They’re rich, successful entrepreneurs, and everybody obviously wants to hang out with them and go to “da club” and drink Cristal and look thoroughly bored at all the women gesticulating around them. They should be really happy, one would think, but often they sound very grumpy, which always strikes me as odd for millionaire celebrity rappers, which I assume DJ edIT produces or mixes. By the way, a “mix,” I believe, is what you add to gin (like juice) when you’re chillin’ with your posse in your crib (which must mean you have small children sleeping in your home). Anyway, I thought I would help out by writing some positive, non-angry, upbeat lyrics that edIT can show to his rapper friends so they’ll sound more like the happy millionaire celebrities that they are. Please don’t laugh—this is my first rap for my peeps and my crew, so I’m just rappin’ lyricial for me, and one for my homies. (See, that’s rap talk, right?) Okay, here goes: “I was having lots of fun at Busch Gardens today. I rode an awesome roller coaster and didn’t have to pay. I drove there in my new limo and the driver’s real nice. And we’re listening to some snappy tunes from cool Vanilla Ice.” See? Rap can be happy and super-edgy, too! Peace out. Word. Wikki-wikki.

Which Editing Mode Do I Use: Quick, Guided, or Expert?

Before we jump into using the different editing modes in Elements, I wanted to give you a quick overview of what those modes are and which one may be right for you. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that you may actually use multiple editing modes. If you’re just starting out, then Quick mode is a great place to begin. But, even beginners may need to jump to Expert mode for some things (trust me, you don’t have to be an expert either) in the end. So keep an open mind and just know that although you may like one editing mode best, the others are at least worth looking at.

Quick Mode:

If you’re a beginner and just starting out, then I think Quick edit mode is a great place to start (click on Quick at the top of the Editor window). Ever hear the saying: You don’t know what you don’t know? To me, that’s why Quick mode is there. It not only nicely lays out which things you’ll most likely do to your photos (in the Palette Bin on the right side of the window), but it provides them in a good order, too. There are also some tools in the Toolbox on the left side of the window, but I stay away from these most of the time because, well, they kinda take away from the point of Quick edit mode. If you’re in Quick mode, then try to forget about the tools—just keep it simple and work with the options provided on the right (we’ll take a look at Quick mode in the next tutorial).

Guided Mode:

Guided edit mode (click on Guided at the top of the Editor window) is for applying special effects (for me, at least). They appear under Photo Effects and Photo Play on the right. There’s also a Touchups section at the top right, and they’re kinda like built-in tutorials—Elements walks you through the steps involved. But if you’re reading this book, isn’t that kinda the reason why you bought it? Guided mode is really just a place between Quick mode and Expert mode. So, if you’ve moved past Quick mode, then your best bet is to jump straight to Expert mode (it’s really not that hard), unless you want to do one of the special effects (like turning your photo into a line drawing) in Guided mode. We’ll take a quick look at Guided mode later in this chapter, and for some other Guided mode special effects, check out Chapter 10.

Expert Mode:

Expert mode (click on Expert at the top of the window) is the traditional Elements Editor. It’s been around since the beginning and looks a lot like Elements’ big brother, Photoshop. Here, you can use layers, all the tools, lots of menus, adjustments, layer masks, etc. It’s what most of this book is based on. Don’t let the name fool you—once you’ve moved past Quick mode, Expert mode is really the place you need to be. Quick mode is great for global changes to a photo (like if the whole photo is too dark), but once you get to the point where you want to start changing only parts of a photo, making selections, retouching, and working non-destructively, then Expert mode is the place to be. We’ll look a little more at Expert mode at the end of this chapter, and throughout the book.

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