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This chapter is from the book

A Quick Look at Expert Mode (It’s Not Just for Experts!)

Okay, I know the third editing mode is called “Expert” mode, but don’t let the name fool you—it’s not just for experts. In fact, most of what you’ll do in this book is done in Expert mode because, let’s face it, that’s where all the cool stuff is. You go into Expert mode when you want to do things like retouching photos, or adding text, or modifying just a specific portion of a photo, because it’s got a ton of features like layers, layer masks (which are covered in Chapter 5), and much more. So, get it out of your mind that Expert mode is just for experts. It’s for you, even if you’re not a seasoned pro at Elements.

Step One:

Open an image and then click on Expert at the top of the Editor window, which will take you into the full Elements Editor (if you’re not already there) with all the bells and whistles. By the way, if you were to go into Expert mode after applying a Guided edit, you’d actually see all the layers and effects that Elements has applied.

Step Two:

Over on the left side of the window, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there are a bunch of tools in the Toolbox. These tools are broken up into categories: View, Select, Enhance, Draw, Modify, and Color. As a photographer using Elements (which I assume you are, since you bought this book), you won’t use the Draw tools much (except for the Brush tool) and you won’t use the Modify tools much either (except for cropping and straightening). But, you’ll use the Select and Enhance tools plenty.

Step Three:

Go ahead and click on one of the tools in the Toolbox. It can be any tool, so just click around a few times and then look at the bottom of the window beneath the preview area. You’ll see a context-sensitive Tool Options Bar appear for each tool (here, I clicked on the Quick Selection tool). Since most tools have different settings, you’ll notice it changes based on which tool you click on. This is a really important area, so make sure you get accustomed to it. (Note: To hide/show the Tool Options Bar, press F5.)

Step Four:

Now look over at the bottom-right of the window. There are five icons there. Click on the Layers icon to open/close the Layers palette on the right side of the window. Layers are one of the key elements to working inside of Expert mode and there’s actually a whole chapter devoted to them (Chapter 5). For now, just know that you should probably keep that palette open all the time, since you’ll be using it a lot.

Step Five:

Click on the More icon to access some of the other palettes. As for the other icons, you (as a photographer, at least) probably won’t use them as much.

Step Six:

Finally, don’t forget the menu bar at the very top of the window. That’s the launch pad for a lot of the things we’ll do in the book. So, for example, if you read “Go to the Layer menu,” that means to go to the Layer menu up in the menu bar. And, if you read something like “Go to the Layers palette,” that means to go to the palette we just talked about in Step Four.

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