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Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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The Eraser Tool

Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Adobe has thoughtfully included three different mistake-fixers. If you click and hold the Eraser icon in the Toolbox, you'll see the Eraser, the Magic Eraser, and the Background Eraser. You'll probably use all three Erasers at one time or another. You can also activate the Eraser by pressing E.

Using the Eraser

The Eraser is basically just another kind of brush tool, only instead of adding color to your image, it removes color from the pixels. How it works varies a little, depending on where you use it.

If you use the Eraser on a regular layer, it replaces the color with transparency. On a Background layer, or one in which transparency is locked, it replaces whatever color is there with the background color (see Chapter 6 for more about how layers work).

The settings for the Eraser are pretty much the same as for any other brush—including brush style, size, and opacity—but with the Eraser a couple of them work differently:

  • Mode. For the Eraser, Mode doesn't have anything to do with blend modes (Blend Modes), but rather tells Elements the shape of the eraser you want to work with. Your choices are Brush, Pencil, and Block.

    You can see the difference in how the Eraser is going to work by watching the brush style preview in the Options bar as you change Modes. Picking the Brush or Pencil lets you use the Eraser as you would those tools—in other words, by choosing a brush, you can choose any brush you like. The Brush option lets you make ...

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