Archive for November, 2012

Get started with Adobe Premiere Elements 11 in three easy steps!

Yes, you read right – get started with Adobe Premiere Elements in three easy steps. In this post you’ll learn how to turn your raw video clips into a polished movie that you can share with family and friends. And we’ll do all of that in an hour!

We have a clock ticking, so without wasting any time, let’s jump straight into the job. And before starting, I’m making two assumptions:

  1. You have your video clips at hand (can be stored on your camcorder, camera, memory  stick, and so on).
  2. You have Adobe Premiere Elements installed on your computer. If you don’t have it installed already, you can install a free trial version from http://www.adobe.com/go/trypremiere_elements/. If you need help with installing, see the detailed installation instructions.

Step 1: Launch the video editing workspace & import video clips

When you launch Adobe Premiere Elements, you see this Welcome screen:

On the Welcome screen, click Video Editor, and select New Project. Your video clips and all other project assets that you add, like audio files and graphics, are stored in the project.
Note: I’m not covering any details about using Elements Organizer in this post. If you wish to learn more, you can see my earlier post, where I cover details about using Organizer.

The project opens in the video editing workspace. The workspace offers two modes of editing – Quick and Expert.

In this post, we’ll focus on using the Quick mode of editing. The Quick mode of editing provides you a simplified user interface, where you can simply drag and drop special effects, trim video clips, add transitions, and create a memorable movie . To learn more about the panels, timeline, and views in the Video editing workspace, see this article.

Import video clips

You can import your videos clips into the video editing workspace in two ways:

  • By dragging and dropping your files on to the timeline, or
  • By clicking Add Media, and  selecting from your DVD, camcorder, device, and so on.

Step 2: Create your movie

Once you’ve imported your video clips, you can create an instant movie or manually put together a movie by adding your choice of visual effects and audio. I tried both, so let me explain a bit about how to go about using each of these methods.

Instant movie

If you want to spend absolutely no time on editing but want to see a well put together movie, then this is a good option for you. You can use out-of-the-box themes (comes with theme-specific audio and visuals) and let Adobe Premiere Elements intelligently put together a great looking movie for you.

It’s as simple as clicking Instant Movie in the Action Bar and selecting from the many themes that are provided. Just add a title for your movie and click Apply. You’re done.

Now sit back and let Adobe Premiere Elements take over. While you’re sipping on your coffee or getting on with your other jobs, a professional-looking movie is created right at your desktop. No prizes for guessing why I love this feature!

If you want to watch how this feature works, see this short video.

Manual editing – trim video clips, add special effects, and audio enhancements

You can add the “wow” factor to your movies by adding some good special effects and well-timed audio. And here’s how you can go about this activity.

Visual enhancements

Trim video clips - One of the most common and important tasks that you would  need to do while editing your video clips is trimming out least interesting or low quality footage. You can do this manually by setting in and out points for your clips. Or you can use the Smart Trim feature and allow Adobe Premiere Elements to do the job for you. Just select Tools and then Smart Trim from the Action Bar. Watch this video to learn more about how to effectively trim your video clips.

Add special effects – To add special effects of your choice, click Effects in the Action Bar and drag-and-drop the selected effect over the clip. Your clip automatically takes on that effect. For example, I applied the Old Film effect, which gave a yesteryear’s feel to my video clip instantly. See this article for more information.

Add transitions – When you’re using two or more video clips to create a movie, adding the right transitions are so important in providing a graceful transition from one clip to another without any abrupt pauses. Just click Transitions in the Action Bar and drag-and-drop the selected transition. See this article for more information.

 Audio enhancements

Adding audio enhancements to your movie is really a personal choice. A lot of you may prefer to use the audio that you recorded while shooting the video. I just feel that you can make your movie more appealing by adding complementary audio. And it’s so easy to add some good music or a narration, that it’s an option worth exploring.

Add music - Adding music to your video is as simple as selecting Music in the Action Bar and dragging and dropping the music track that you like. If you want to do more advanced audio mixing, you can do so in the Expert editing mode. For more information, see this article.

Add narrations - You can also provide a nice personal touch to your movie by adding a chatty narration. You can record and add a narration to your clip by clicking Tools and selecting Narration from the Action Bar. Then, just press Record and talk away! For more information, see this article.

Step 3: Publish or share your movie

Once you’re done with editing your video, you can publish or share your movie in a few clicks. You can publish your movie to a disc, a web DVD, a device or share it to a video-viewing website like YouTube.

Click Publish+Share in the editing workspace, and select the required publishing or sharing option. For detailed information on using the various publishing options, check out these articles.

More…

Now that we are done with the essential tasks in creating a movie, you can try using the Expert mode to explore advanced editing options. And to help you with that, we’ve got a bunch of helpful resources:

Getting started tutorials
Advanced Help & tutorials
Video tutorials

And not to forget, we have a great community out there to help you with any questions that you may run into in the course of learning and using Adobe Premiere Elements. Just head over to the Adobe Premiere Elements forums, and join the conversation.

Get, Set, Go with Photoshop Elements 11

Are you brand new to Photoshop Elements 11, and don’t know where to start? Are you a casual photographer looking to add pro-quality effects to your photos? Do you want to create and share stunning pictures that are worth a thousand likes?  If you answered “yes” to even one of those questions, then this post is just for you.

In this post, we’ll learn how to get started with using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, how to use it with Elements Organizer, and how to create stunning photographs almost effortlessly.

Installing Photoshop Elements

To begin with, let’s talk a bit about installing Photoshop Elements – see this step-by-step guide to help you with the installation process. If you run into any issues, or you’re looking for assistance, you can reach out for help on the Photoshop Elements forums.

When you install Photoshop Elements, Elements Organizer is installed by default. On launching Photoshop Elements 11, you see a screen like this:

 

Click Organizer to  import, find, and organize your media (photos and videos) or click Photo Editor to edit your photos.

Using the Organizer

The Organizer workspace provides a new, simple, and clean interface. You can easily import photos, add folders, and share them in a few clicks.

Easy importing of photos

The Import options are now easier to discover. You can import your media (photos and videos) directly from your camera or card reader, scanner, files and folders, or from Adobe Revel.

While importing your photos, you can let Photoshop Elements automatically suggest photo stacks. Stacks of visually similar photos are then intelligently created. I find this feature especially useful when you capture photos in the burst-mode setting on your camera, and want to eliminate duplicate photos.

Simplified sorting and viewing of photos
Photoshop Elements provides you four very intuitive ways of sorting and viewing your media:

Media The Media tab groups files based on whether they are photos, videos, audio files, PDFs, and so on.

Places The Places tab displays photos on a map based on where they were taken. Integration with Google maps lets you tag photos with places where the photos were taken. For more information, see this article.

People The People tab groups photos based on who’s featuring in them using facial recognition. This is one of my favorite features – Once you’ve identified the face of a person in a photo, and if you have Facebook connected to your Photoshop Elements, you can add the Facebook name of the person. A photo stack is then created for the identified person. See this article for a detailed explanation.

Events The Events tab lets you view photos based on events. For example, you can create a stack of photos taken at a vacation, or a party, or any other event. For more information, see this article.

The powerful search capabilities in Elements Organizer lets you quickly search for photos or videos based on keywords, people, places, and events. For a better understanding of the ways of sorting and viewing your photos, watch this video.

Sharing photos on the Web

You can post your photos to Facebook, share them via email, or share them in other interactive ways from the Organizer. For an overview of the different ways you can share your photos, see this video. We also have some helpful tutorials to help you learn more.

Using the Photo Editor

There’s lots to talk about here, but I’ll focus only on the three main modes of editing, and point you to good resources from where you can learn and understand more. Before getting into the details, you can check out this video for a quick overview of all the features in Photoshop Elements 11.

Editing photos

 To open Photo Editor from the Organizer workspace, you simply click the Editor button on the Elements Organizer taskbar.

The revamped UI is noticeably clean, simple, and intuitive.

The interface is very easy to navigate and has three basic modes of editing:

Quick If you are new to image editing and want to make just basic edits, without being overwhelmed by the several editing options, use the Quick editing mode. This mode is best suited for fixing the sharpness, exposure, colors, and so on.

Guided If you’d like to explore more complex image editing and want some guidance with using it, use the Guided editing mode. The Guided editing mode provides you step-by-step assistance in creating the perfect portrait, adding depth of field, and such. Check out this article for more information.

Expert Use the Expert editing mode if you are well versed with image editing, and want to jump straight into using all the available editing tools.

To learn more about editing your photos, check out some helpful articles at this page.

Want to learn more?

The Photoshop Elements Getting Started page is a great place to start with. Here, you’ll find a good collection of articles and tutorials to get you started with Photoshop Elements.

You should also check out the Learn Photoshop Elements 11 channel on Adobe TV for a good collection of video tutorials selected by experts at Adobe.

I’d also recommend that you visit the Photoshop Elements blog that has good nuggets of information to help you be more effective in using Photoshop Elements.