Photoshop Elements 4 Templates and Plug-ins

In my last article about Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 4 I discussed the layer’s of Photoshop that make it such a great image editing program. Layers are like pages that can be stacked on top of each other and can add to the overall picture your creating. Each layer can be seen as a part of the whole image and when you draw on one layer it’s like drawing on a clear page of the stack of layers.

This becomes a great and easy way to edit parts of an image or adding things to an image without changing the original image. Other things that can be great additions and heps to your photography editing projects is the ability to edit pictures on a template so you can print out specific sized pictures according to the paper you can purchase.

For instance if you want to print wallet sized photos on Avery Wallet Sized photo paper 53283 you just download a template that has a gray square representing each of the nine photo spots that are on the actual sheet of photo paper. The template is a layer that you use while editing your pictures so that you align each wallet sized picture, 2 �¼ x 3 inch, on the sheet that you are going to print.

When you have edited and then positioned each picture on the page you then delete the layer with the template on it and then print the photos. You make sure of course that you use the correct settings for the paper, glossy and orientation is correct and that you put the page in correctly.

On my printer it prints with the page going down into the printer and the glossy side is facing you. Your printer may be different but by now a little trial and error on regular white paper would not hurt to make sure you are going to print correctly and that the settings are all correct. You can then hold the page you printed up over the blank wallet sized paper and get an idea if it is going to print correctly.

I have found some great add-ons and such for Photoshop Elements at About.com. Here is the main page of those add-ons and some others are accessible from that page.

Main Page for Add-ons and Templates:
http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshopaddons/index.htm

At this site you can search for Avery Print Templates for specific Avery paper and you can search by the number Avery has for each paper it sells:

http://www.avery.com/us/Main?action=software.BlankTPLHierarchy&catalogcode=WEB01&node=0

Entering the number 53283 will take you to a menu with four pages of templates on it. Selecting the bottom one will take you to a description page and you then click on the download button. A pop up will come up telling you how to download templates. I have created a file on my drive called Adobe to save all related files and things I use for this program. I also use this for my working save area when editing images so I know where everything related to this program is and it is on a drive that I regularly backup so anything I am working on is saved in case of an accidents and I lose my drive.

I have many templates and plug-ins saved and use them regularly for editing and working on photos and such. Of course I am still learning how to use all the different features of this program and am still finding all kinds of useful and helpful things about it.

To use the plug-in template you simply open the standard editor in Adobe Photoshop Elements, then click on File, New and then Blank File. A pop-up will come up asking what size page you want to work on. Enter letter sized on the pull down menu for preset and make sure your image resolution is set at 300 PPI for better image quality. On a letter sized photo you will not be needing to go any higher but if your printing or working on images that are bigger, a larger pixel per inch would be necessary.

The pixels per inch is how many little boxes that are the smallest parts of an image are in a inch are of the picture. To make up your image each pixel is a color that makes up the whole picture. When you import a picture in and zoom in very close you can see what I mean.

Your project now has one layer called background, this you want to leave alone and always work on other layers so you can go back and edit on the different layers and work easily with your projects. To get your template onto your page you simply click on the Place command on the File pull down menu. Find your template from where you downloaded it to and click on the Place button. Your template will pop up on the blank page over the background and a new layer will show up on your working windows to the right of your image window. The background will be locked and you can just leave it like that. To work on other things in your project you will need to click on the check mark that pops up above your help and working windows. The template will have words on it to remind you to delete the template before printing.

Now you will want to have pictures to add in, you can open your organizer to find them or find them using the image editor. What I would suggest is editing the images you will be using for your pictures first and saving them in a working file for ease of finding them. And then using Place in the File menu to put the pictures onto your project. Each time you use Place it will add the photo as a new layer, it might get confusing or crowded but you can see that each layer will be able to be adjusted on it’s own and can be edited or deleted without touching any of the others. This feature makes this program a great way to edit parts of your project and not have to mess with others.

When working with your pictures on the template page, if you want to move or resize the picture you place you must click on the picture of the one you want to edit or move. If this does not work and you move or make a mistake you can always undo things with the Undo command under the Edit pull down menu or use Control Z to undo the last thing you did. layer that picture is on and then Select All from the pull down menu’s across the top.

Once you have your page filled with all your photos you can then save it, I recommend you do this so you will have a copy to use if anything happens during printing or if you want to go back later and print something again. To print you must delete the layer for the template, do this by simply right clicking on that layer in your Layers window. Then click on delete layer and verifying that you want to delete the layer.

Then using the settings for your printer and the type of paper you are using print the page. Like I said you can print a copy onto regular white paper to make sure it works the first time and that you get the paper oriented correctly. Better to waste some ink and one page of regular paper than good photo paper.

There are also many creative and fun Add-ins and templates that you can download and experiment with. One of these is the different templates that add textures or effects to your photos. These are also available for download from the About.com website and come in a wide variety of effects and neat add-ins. A great many different layers are available here: http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshopstyles/

Many of these are add-ons for text, pictures and image fun and are easy to use. There are instructions to use them along with the downloads. Experiment and use the different layers, plug-ins and add-ons for some great and creative fun with your Photoshop Elements 4.0. Adobe has made the use of layers and these additional plug-ins easy and fun.

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