Photoshop Elements 11; Put an arrow on an image

Let’s use layers and the Cookie Cutter tool to make an arrow that points at something on a screen-capture image.  This is a handy tool for making instructional material.

Bring the image into PE.  Make sure that the Layers window is visible.Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.31.57 PM

Add a layer, by clicking the “folded sheet” tool at the left end of the Layer Window tool-bar (top right corner of screen).

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.22.14 PMName the layer “Arrow.”  Make the layer translucent.  Click the down-arrow next to Opacity and drag the slider tool to set an opacity you like.  Even if you want a solid arrow, do this now so you can see what you’re doing; you can change the opacity later.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.23.25 PM

Make sure Arrow is the current layer, so you don’t wipe out your image.  Make sure your primary color is the color of arrow you want (I’m using red).  Click the Paint Can tool in the left tool bar.  Click on the image to turn the whole Arrow layer red.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.24.25 PM

Click the Cookie Cutter tool in the left tool-bar.  It has several settings to pay attention to.

  • First, pick a shape; I like arrows.  Don’t worry about the direction or proportions of the shape; you’ll be able to change them shortly.
  • Make sure the proportions are unconstrained.  (Because working with “Constrained” feels like writing while the teacher controls your pencil.)
  • Make sure “From Center” is not checked.
  • For an arrow that isn’t fuzzy, make sure the Feather slider is all the way to the left.
  • Make sure “Crop” is not checked.  Crop would chop off most of your image after you drew your arrow.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.25.36 PM

Draw a box to cut your “cookie.”  This is the part of the Arrow layer that will stay visible; the rest of the “dough” gets thrown away.  Don’t click the green check-mark yet.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.26.22 PM

Move, stretch, squeeze and rotate the cookie.  If you mouse near the handles, you’ll see your cursor turn into the appropriate tool.  When it’s the way you want it, click the check.  If you change your mind after that, just Undo.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.27.17 PM

You might be wondering how I annotated the images in this tutorial with yellow highlighting.  I used PaintCat, a much simpler program–but it doesn’t make arrows!  8)

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