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Choose Foreground and Background Color in Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements is such a deluxe, full-service image-editing program that it doesn’t stop at giving you tools to select, repair, organize, and share your images. It figures that you may need to add a swash of color, either freeform with a brush or pencil, or in the form of a geometric or organic shape.

Don’t worry: This drawing and painting business isn’t just for those with innate artistic talent. In fact, Elements gives you plenty of preset brushes and shapes to choose from. If you can pick a tool and drag your mouse, you can draw and paint.

Before you start drawing or painting, you may want to change your color to something other than the default color of black. In the Elements Tools panel, you'll see two overlapping color swatches at the bottom of the panel. These two swatches represent two categories of color: foreground and background.

Here’s a quick look at how they work with different tools:

  • Foreground: When you add type, paint with the Brush tool, or create a shape, you’re using the foreground color.

  • Background: On the background layer of an image, when you use the Eraser tool, or when you increase the size of your canvas, you’re accessing the background color.

  • Foreground and background: When you drag with the Gradient tool, as long as your gradient is set to the default, you’re laying down a blend of color from the foreground to the background.

Elements gives you three ways to choose your foreground and background colors: the Color Picker, the color swatches, and the Eyedropper tool, which samples color in an image.

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