Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Added in ElementsXXL 3.50
If the ActionsXXL or FilterHub plugins are installed, you will see menu items for them on the Window menu. You can use these to make the ActionsXXL and FilterHub panels appear or disappear again.
Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Requirements: A tool that uses a brush has to be selected
Added in ElementsXXL 4.0
The Brush panel gives you access to 80 new brush features that otherwise not accessible in Photoshop Elements. It can also be displayed by clicking the "More Options..." button on the Tool Options window in Photoshop Elements 11 and higher.
The Brush panel can be used with the following 22 tools:
The Brush panel offers a list at the left-hand side, which works similar to tab buttons. Clicking each list item displays new controls and also activates the check box of the item (except for the first two items). You can deactivate these settings again by deactivating the check box of the list item. The "O" letter at the right-hand side of each list item means that its settings are open and not locked. As a result they can be overwritten when clicking on a brush preset. If you click on the "O" it is turned into a crossed out "Ø" sign, which means that the settings are locked and will not be overwritten by a brush preset. The three items at the bottom ("Noise" up to "Built-up") of the list are only check boxes and do not display any other controls. Five tools (Quick Selection, Healing Brush, Smart Brush, Color Replacement and Background Eraser) support limited brush settings, in which case this list is disabled and only the Brush Tip Shape controls are usable.
Please note: ElementsXXL cannot access all brush settings at all times due to limitations of the plugin interface of Photoshop Elements. So during a Photoshop Elements session either only use the Brush/Tablet Settings dialogs of the Tool Options window or only use ElementsXXL's Brush panel, because adjustments in the Brush/Tablet Settings dialogs will be undone by a new adjustment in the Brush panel.
Previewing the Brush Adjustments
The best method to see if your adjustments on the Brush panel have the effect that you intend is to draw with the brush on the image. If you want to see a brush stroke preview, please display the Tool Options window by clicking the Tool Options button and have a look at the brush thumbnail displayed there. The thumbnail changes with every adjustment made on the Brush panel.
The Brush Presets item at the top displays a list with the currently available brush presets. You see the same preset list if you click on the Brush combo box on the Tool Option window of most of the above mentioned tools. The icon in the upper right corner displays a menu with various option for creating, renaming, deleting, resetting, opening and saving brush presets.
Brush Tip Shape
The Brush Tip Shape item displays controls for adjusting the brush tip. The list at the top lets you change the brush tip by selecting a brush preset. Unlike the preset list of the Brush Presets item clicking an item in this list will only change the Brush Tip Shape controls and not all controls of the Brush panel.
Photoshop Elements 13 and higher supports four brush types: Computed, Sampled, Erodible and Airbrush. Photoshop Elements 12 and lower only support computed and sampled brushes. The Bristle brush type of Photoshop is not supported by Photoshop Elements yet. Computed brushes are simple circular brushes that are calculated by an algorithm. Sampled brushes use a grayscale image for the brush tip and can be created with the Edit > Define Brush menu item. Erodible Tip brushes simulate a tip that wears off, e.g. like a pencil. Finally, Airbrush brushes imitate the properties of an airbrush. When you click on a preset in the Brush Preset section or the list of the Brush Tip Shape sheet, the Brush Type combo box displays the current brush type. You can use this combo box to switch to another brush type. Different controls are displayed for different brush types.
Computed & Sampled Brush Controls
Computed and sampled brushes use the same controls. However, for sampled brushes the Hardness slider is not usable, but you can switch between various sampled tips. To do that click the menu icon at the right-hand side of the Brush Type combo box. The appearing menu indicates the currently used brush sample with a check mark and lets you switch to another brush sample. The other controls lets you adjust the size, hardness, angle, roundness and spacing of the brush imprints as well as flip the brush tip shape in horizontal and vertical direction.
Erodible Tip Controls
The controls of the erodible tip brush type let you adjust the size, hardness, shape and spacing of the brush tip. You can choose between point, flat, round, square and triangle shapes. These settings are only available in Photoshop Elements 13 and higher.
The controls of the airbrush type let you adjust the size, hardness, distortion, granularity, spatter size, spatter amount and spacing of the brush tip. These settings are only available in Photoshop Elements 13 and higher.
The Shape Dynamics sheet offers controls for dynamically changing the brush shape while painting with a brush tool. The Size Jitter slider determines how much the size of the brush shape varies randomly. The Control combo box defines if the brush shape variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt or stylus wheel of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration. The Minimum Diameter slider defines the minimum diameter that the brush shape must have when it is controlled. The Tilt Scale slider is only usable if you selected "Pen Tilt" in the Control combo box and lets you adjust how much influence the tilt has on the brush shape.
The Angle Jitter slider determines how much the angle of the brush shape varies randomly. The Control combo box defines if the angle variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time, controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt, stylus wheel or stylus rotation of a graphics tablet or by the initial direction or direction of the brush stroke. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration.
The Roundness Jitter slider determines how much the roundness of the brush shape varies randomly. The Control combo box defines if the roundness variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt, stylus wheel or stylus rotation of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration. The Minimum Roundness slider defines the minimum roundness that the brush shape must have. The Flip X Jitter and Flip Y Jitter check boxes flip the brush shape randomly and the Brush Projection check box allows the brush shape to be projected.
The Scattering controls lets you adjust the scattering of the brush tip imprints along brush stroke. You can compare it with the trembling hand of a painter. The more the hand trembles the more the imprints will vary orthogonal to the brush stroke and the thicker the line will become. The Scatter amount is controlled by the Scatter slider and the Both Axis check box also varies the scattering in the direction of the brush stroke and not only orthogonal to it. The Control combo box defines if the scattering is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt, stylus wheel or stylus rotation of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration.
The Count slider fills up the empty spots (where the brush tip did not hit the canvas) produced by the scattering. The higher the Count slider value, the less empty spots remain and the more consistent the brush stroke looks. The Count Jitter determines the randomness of the filling process and the Control combo box controls this process with different options.
The Texture settings apply a texture effect to the brush tip. You can choose one of the current patterns from the Pattern combo box. The menu icon at the right-hand side displays a menu for opening other pattern files. The pattern can be inverted, scaled, brightened and contrast adjusted with the appropriate controls.
An activated Texture Each Tip check box blend the texture with each tip imprint rather than the whole brush stroke itself. The Mode combo box determines the blend mode that is used to blend the texture with the brush tip. For regular blend modes the Depth slider works like an opacity slider. For the Height and Linear Height modes, it works more or less the opposite way: Lower Depth slider values produce a texture look whereas higher slider values only only vary the brush tip shape.
With an activated Texture Each Tip check box you can also adjust with the Depth Jitter slider how much the texture depth randomly varies for each brush imprint. The Control combo box defines if the texture depth variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt, stylus wheel or stylus rotation of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration. The Minimum Depth slider defines the minimum depth of the texture blending.
The Dual Brush controls let you define a second brush tip, which is blended with the first brush tip. The controls here are similar to those of the Brush Tip Shape and Scattering items. You can select a brush preset for the second brush tip from the list at the top. You can adjust the size and hardness as well as flip it. Additionally there are Scatter and Count sliders and a Both Axis check box as described above. The Mode combo box contains the blend mode with which both brushes are blended.
The Color Dynamic sheet lets you modify the color of the brush tip. The Apply per Tip check box changes the color for each tip imprint. Otherwise a different color is used for each new brush stroke.
The Foreground/Background (Jitter) slider increases the random variation of the color between the foreground and background color, which are displayed on the tool bar. The Control combo box defines if the color variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt, stylus wheel or stylus rotation of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration. The Hue, Saturation and Brightness Jitter sliders determine how much the hue, saturation and brightness of the brush color vary randomly. The Purity slider more or less adjusts the saturation of the brush color.
The Transfer controls influence the build-up effect. In the real word this correlates with the absorption rate of the canvas and the liquidity or dryness of the paint. The Opacity Jitter slider randomly varies the opacity of each brush tip imprint. The Control combo box defines if the opacity variation is not controlled (Off), faded over time or controlled by the pen pressure, pen tilt or stylus wheel of a graphics tablet. If you choose the Fade option, you can also enter a value between 1 and 9999 for defining the fade out duration. The Minimum slider defines the minimum opacity.
The Flow Jitter slider randomly varies the flow speed of the brush stroke. The second Control combo box provides methods for controlling the flow speed. The Minimum slider defines the minimum flow speed.
The Wetness and Mix controls are only usable with the mixer brush tool (in Photoshop Elements 11-14). The Wetness Jitter slider randomly changes the "Wet" property of the mixer brush (see the Tool Options window). The third Control combo box provides methods for controlling the wetness. The Minimum slider defines the minimum wetness percentage. The Mix Jitter slider randomly changes the "Mix" property of the mixer brush. The forth Control combo box provides methods for controlling the mixing. The Minimum slider defines the minimum mixing percentage.
The Brush Pose settings controls allows you to adjust or override the input from the stylus of a graphics tablet. If you use a mouse, these settings have no effect. If the Override check boxes are activated, the horizontal and vertical tilt, rotation and pressure of the stylus are adjusted according to the respective slider values. The four sliders define the maximum horizontal and vertical tilt of the stylus as well as its maximum rotation and pressure.
Noise, Wet Edge and Build-up
The three check boxes at the bottom of the list display no controls. You can only activate, deactivate and lock or unlock them. The Noise check box adds a noisy edge to the brush tip. The Wet Edge check box adds outlines to the brush stroke by brightening the bigger inner part of the brush stroke. Finally, the Build-up check box enables an airbrush-like build-up effect.
Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Requirements: An image has to be opened.
Added in ElementsXXL 3.0
Clicking the Channels menu item displays the Channels panel. You can also double click the thumbnail of a layer in the Layers panel to display it. The panel window also includes a tab sheet for switching between the Channels, Paths and Properties panels. They are discussed below. To enlarge the panel window move the mouse arrow to the edge of the window and drag its border.
The Channels panel is an extended version of the Image > Channels sub menu. Besides the color channels of the image it also displays saved selections (see Select > Save Selection), which are stored as so called alpha channels, as well as the layer mask and filter mask of the currently selected layer.
To select a channel click on it in the channels list. If you click the RGB item at the top, the Red, Green and Blue channels will be automatically selected. But you can also select the Red, Green and Blue channels individually, which makes the other color channels invisible, so you will only see a grayscale image. To see the image in color again click the RGB item. To have one of the Red, Green or Blue channels selected and the image displayed in color at the same time, please click on the crossed out eye icon of the RGB item. Alternatively choose Image > Channels > Show All from the menu.
If you click on an alpha channel you will see it as a grayscale image in the document window. An alpha channel is a grayscale image that is not part of the image itself like the Red, Green and Blue channels. It can be used for masking image areas by turning it into a selection or layer mask. To display an alpha channel together with the image, click on the crossed out eye icon of the RGB item. Alternatively choose Image > Channels > Show All from the menu. Now you will see the alpha channel in red color on top of the image. If you prefer to see the alpha channel with another color, choose Channel Options from the panel menu. To select more than one channel hold down the Shift key and click on the other channel.
Right clicking on a channel selects it and displays a context menu, which is similar to the panel menu.
The New button as well as the New Channel menu item of the panel menu add a new alpha channel to the document. In the New Channel dialog you can enter a new name for the new channel, choose the color and opacity that is used when it is displayed together with the image and decide if this color should cover the masked or selected areas. Finally click OK.
Once the new channel is created, it will be displayed with black color in the document window, which means that the channel is masking the whole image. As it is usually better to also see the image together with the new channel, please click on the crossed out eye icon of the RGB list item. As a result you will see the channel as red (or the color you chose previously) on top of the image. You can now start editing the channel, e.g. by painting with the brush tool with a white foreground color or by drawing a selection and filling it with white color. But you can also go the other way around and start by creating a selection and saving it as an alpha channel. See the Save Selection menu item below.
The Duplicate Channel menu item of the panel menu lets you create a new copy of the selected channel. On the Duplicate Channel dialog you can enter a new name for it. Additionally you can choose to invert the channel by activating the Invert check box.
By default the current document is selected in the Document combo box. If you choose the New item in this combo box, a new document will be created and the channel copied to it. If another document with the same width and height as the current document exists, this document is also selectable from the combo box. By choosing it you can copy the channel to the other document.
The Delete button simply deletes the currently selected channel just like the Delete Channel menu item from the panel menu.
The Load button loads the selected channel as a selection. You can also do the same by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on a channel or choosing the Load Selection menu item on the panel menu. If a selection exists and an alpha channel is selected, this button shows the Load Selection dialog.
The Load Selection menu item on the panel menu (as well as Select > Load Selection) displays a dialog. On this dialog you can choose the alpha channel that you want to load as a selection from the Selection combo box. The Invert check box inverts the selection in the process. If a selection is already present, you can choose to replace it by keeping the New Selection radio button active. But you can also decide to change the current selection by adding the alpha channel to it (Add to Selection), subtracting the alpha channel (Subtract from Selection) or intersecting both (Intersect with Selection).
Visualization of the merging process of a channel with a selection or vice versa
Channel or Selection A and B
Adding A and B
Subtracting B from A
Subtracting A from B
Intersecting A and B
As was previously mentioned you can also load a channel as a selection by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on it in the the channels list. But if a selection already exists you can also add the channel to the selection by holding down the Ctrl and Shift keys before clicking on the channel. Similarly you can subtract the channel with the Ctrl and Alt keys and intersect both by holding down the Ctrl, Shift and Alt keys.
The Save Selection menu item of the panel menu (as well as Select > Save Selection) allows saving the current selection as a channel as well as changing an existing alpha channel with the help of the selection. To save the selection as a new channel keep the New item in the Selection combo box and enter the name of the channel below.
To change an existing channel with the selection choose the channel name from the Selection combo box. Now the three disabled radio buttons at the bottom become enabled and the New Selection radio button is renamed to Replace Selection. As you have guessed, the Replace Selection option simply replaces the existing channel with the selection. The Add to Selection option extends the selected areas of the channel with the selection, the Subtract from Selection option contracts the existing channel and the Intersect with Selection option only keeps the intersection areas of the channel and selection.
The Channel Options menu item works for all channels except the three color channels. It displays a dialog that provides the similar options as the New Channel dialog above. So you can rename the channel, choose the color and opacity that is used when it is displayed together with the image and decide if this color should cover the masked or selected areas. There is also a Spot Color radio button, but it provides no usable functionality.
The Split Channels menu item creates three new grayscale documents from an RGB image, each of which contains one of the color channels. This way you can work on each color channel in a separate document window. But as the main document with all three channels was closed, you have to combine the three documents to one again to regain the original color image. This is done with the Merge Channels menu item.
The Merge Channels menu item displays two dialogs in succession. In the first please choose "RGB Color" from the Mode combo box. The other options do not make much sense. Also make sure that Channels is set to 3. After clicking OK, you need to specify the document names that contain the red, green and blue channels in the new dialog. Usually they are already automatically selected, so you only need to click OK. As a result the three grayscale documents are combined to a new RGB document.
Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Requirements: An image has to be opened.
Added in ElementsXXL 2.0
Clicking this menu item displays the Path panel for creating, editing and organizing paths. A path is a vector graphic that consists of dots that are connected by lines. A path can be used to create a selection, vector mask or shape layer and can be transformed with the Shape Selection tool. The panel window also includes a tab sheet for switching between the Channels, Paths and Properties panels. They are discussed above and below. To enlarge the panel window move the mouse arrow to the edge of the window and drag its border.
The Pen button activates the Text On Path tool, which allows creating and editing paths in Photoshop Elements 10 and higher. In older versions of Photoshop Elements you can create a path by drawing a selection and choosing New Path > From Shape from the panel menu. On the Tool Options bar you can switch the pen tool between the Draw and Modify modes. With the Draw icon activated you can create or extend a path. The Modify icon displays the dots of the path and lets you move, delete or add new dots. See also Edit > Tools > Pen Tool.
The Select button activates Select Shape tool, which allows you to scale and rotate the currently selected path. It has the same effect as using Transform > Free Transform from the panel menu.
The Save button lets you save the currently selected path. The new path will appear as a new item in the list box of the Path panel. The Delete button deletes the path that is selected in the list box.
The list box of the Path panel displays a Work Path item, which selects a path that was created but not saved yet. If you want to create a new path with the pen tool, better activate the Work Path item to make sure that no existing path is selected and thus modified. The list box also shows all saved path items, so that you can switch between them. Additionally if a layer with a vector mask or a shape layer is selected in the Layers panel (in Photoshop Elements 8 and higher), you will also see its vector mask in the list box.
Even more path features are hidden on the panel menu in the top right corner. Right clicking on the paths list also displays a context menu, which is similar to the panel menu.
The New item of the New Path sub menu creates an path item on the list, which does not contain any path. Use the pen tool to create a path for this new item. If a selection is available, you can use From Selection to create a new path from it. The same is true for the From Shape, From Text and From Vector Mask menu items: If a shape layer, text layer or layer with a vector mask is currently selected in the Layers panel, then each menu item creates a new path from the shape, text or vector mask.
The Deselect Path item makes sure that no path is currently selected. To select a path again click on one of the list box items of the Paths panel. The Save Path and Delete Path commands work just like the Save and Delete buttons mentioned above. The Duplicate Path menu item replicates the currently selected path. The Rename Path item lets you change the name of the selected path. You can achieve the same by double clicking an item in the list box.
The Transform sub menu offers four items (Free Transform, Skew, Distort and Perspective) for reshaping the path. You can also activate these features from the Image > Transform Shape sub menu.
The Make Selection command creates a selection from the current path and also allows combining the current selection with the path. Additionally you can feather and anti-alias the selection. The New Selection option simply replaces the existing selection with the selection that is created from the path. The Add to Selection option extends the existing selection with the path, the Subtract from Selection option contracts the existing selection and the Intersect with Selection option only keeps the intersection areas of the path and selection.
As already mentioned you can also recreate a path from the selection with the New > From Selection menu item. The Convert To Shape item produces a shape layer from the current path after asking for a color.
The Fill Path item of the panel menu fills an image layer with a color or pattern by using the current path. This operation is similar to creating a selection and using the Edit > Fill Selection command. Before applying the Fill Path command make sure that an image layer is selected and that no selection is present, otherwise it may not work.
The Fill Path dialog offers various parameters. You can choose a color or pattern, blending mode, opacity, feathering and anti-alias of the filling operation.
The Stroke Path item of the panel menu draws the outlines of the current path on an image layer by using a certain tool. This operation is similar to creating a selection and using the Edit > Stroke Selection command, but much more versatile. Before applying the Stroke Path command make sure that an image layer is selected and that no selection is present, otherwise it may not work.
The Stroke Path dialog lets you select the tool that will be used for stroking as well as activate a Simulate Pressure check box for more irregular stroke. The stroke is drawn according to the tool options of the selected tool. So before using the Stroke Path command it is a good idea to select the tool that you want to use and adjust its settings on the Tool Options bar in order to achieve the stroke you had in mind.
The Clipping Path item of the panel menu is useful if you want to save a part of the image (and not the whole image) to a PDF file. The clipping path can only be seen in the saved PDF and not in Photoshop Elements itself.
The Clipping Path dialog lets you select the path that will be used as a clipping path and define the flatness (meaning softness) of the path curves.
Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Requirements: A layer mask, vector mask or filter mask should exists in order to make use of it
Added in ElementsXXL 3.0
Clicking this menu item displays the Properties panel. You can also double click a layer mask or vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to display it. Alternatively you can use the Properties menu item on the Smart Filters, Layer Mask and Vector Mask sub menus of the Layer menu. The panel window also includes a tab sheet for switching between the Channels, Paths and Properties panels. They are discussed above. To enlarge the panel window move the mouse arrow to the edge of the window and drag its border.
The Properties panel lets you adjust the density and feathering of filter masks, layer masks and vector masks non-destructively. Additionally it offers three button with useful commands, but they change the pixels of layer masks and filter masks.
The currently selected mask type is displayed at the top. Additionally one of the mask type icons is selected. If no mask is currently selected the controls on this panel are disabled. In case the current layer contains two or three of these mask types you can click on the mask type icons to switch between them. You can also switch to another mask type by clicking on its thumbnail in the Layers panel. Clicking on the image thumbnail of a smart object selects the filter mask.
Decreasing the Density slider makes transparent mask areas opaque again. In the case of a filter mask the smart filter effect returns gradually. The Feather slider softens the transition between the transparent and opaque mask areas.
The Refine button shows Refine Edge dialog (also available on the Select menu) for adjusting the mask. The Range button displays the Color Range dialog (available on the Select menu too) for recreating the mask. The Invert button simply inverts the mask, so that selected areas are masked and vice versa.
The Mask Options menu item of the panel menu displays a dialog for selecting the color and opacity that are used for displaying the layer mask or filter mask together with the image. It work just like the Channel Options command of the Channels panel
The Load Selection from Mask menu item creates a selection from the mask. If a selection is already available, you can combine the selection created from the mask with the existing selection. You can choose to add the mask to the selection (Add Mask to Selection), subtract it from the selection (Subtract Mask from Selection) or intersect both (Intersect Mask With Selection).
The Apply Mask menu item only works for layer masks and vector masks if the layer is not a smart object. It removes the mask and makes the layer transparent. The Disable/Enable Mask menu item enables or disables the mask. Delete Mask simply deletes the current mask.
Supported by Photoshop
Elements 11 and higher
Requirements: An 8-bit image has to be opened.
Added in ElementsXXL 5.0
This menu item displays the Smart Filter panel, which lets you add and edit smart filters. You can also run it from the Filter > Add Smart Filters or the Layer > Smart Filter > Edit Smart Filters menu items. It can also be displayed by clicking the smart object icon or smart filter symbol on the Layers panel.
On the Smartfilter tab sheet of the appearing Smart Filter panel you can switch between filter groups with the left list box and choose a filter in the right list box. To apply a smart filter either click the Add button or double click a filter item in the right list. If the current layer is not a smart object, it will automatically be converted into one. Then the filter dialog appears. For applying only smart filters that also support 16-bit/channel images you can activate the Display 16-bit filters only check box. Alternatively you can also use the Filter > Convert For Smart Filters command for creating a smart object and apply the smart filters by choosing a filter item on the Filter menu.
The Edit tab sheet displays the smart filters that are applied to the smart object that is currenly selected on the Layers panel. Please notice that new smart filters are added at the top of this list. So the bottom filter was applied first and the top filter last. If you click on another smart object in the Layers panel, the filter list automatically updates to reflect the smart filters of the new smart object.
Double click a smart filter in the list to edit its settings or alternatively select it and use the Edit button at the top. The Blending button shows a dialog for adjusting the blend mode and opacity of the smart filter. The Delete button removes the selected smart filter. To disable an activated smart filter click its eye icon, which is then struck out. To enable it again click the eye icon again. You can also do these four things with the top menu item of the panel menu.
To change the order, in which of the smart filters are applied, you can hold down the left mouse key over one of them and drag it to an new position. If you only need to move one smart filter up or down you can also use the Up or Down panel menu item.
On the panel menu there is also a Duplicate menu item for duplicating the currently selected smart filter. The Add (All) To and Move (All) To sub menus display other smart objects in the same document, to which you can add or move one or all smart filters of the current smart object. This makes it easy to copy or move smart filters and their settings to other smart objects. To copy smart filters to another document please use the Edit > Copy To Document > Selected Layers command to copy the smart object to another document. Then you can use these four sub menus to tranfer the smart filters to another smart object within the other document.
Finally, the Help menu item displays this help section and the Close item closes the Smart Filter panel.