on 29 January 2003
No doubt about it Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 is a serious application and to get the best from it you will need a guiding hand. Philip Andrew's book is an excellent tutor in Elements and chapter by chapter it will guide you through just about everything there is to know about Adobe's Photoshop Elements version 2. This book is updated from the original release and items new and specific to version 2 are emphasised in separate boxes and so this book can be used equally by owners of the original and version two of Elements. If you have the original Elements then investing in this book will be future proofed should you later upgrade your software to version 2.
After an introduction to digital photography and an overview of Photoshop Elements interface the book develops your skills in Elements in a natural, progressive manner. The early chapters cover items such as managing brightness, contrast, fill flash and colour cast. As you become familiar with these techniques you can move on to the more advanced chapters covering items such as pegging black & white points, sharpening techniques, using layers, adding text to images, and using Element's painting and drawing tools.
There are valuable chapters covering the final output of your images and how to get the best results for web and email as well as traditional printed images.
A really nice feature of this book is that you can download the images in each chapter from the web and follow the instructions in the book with your very own copy and practice the techniques first hand.
Once you have grasped the concepts of Elements the book has several real life projects for you to put into practice the techniques learned. Again the images for the projects are available form the web.
The book finishes with a short section on the additional features found in the full blown professional Photoshop package just in case you out grow Elements itself.
Overall this book is a fantastic tutor to develop and hone your skills in Adobe Photoshop Elements.
If you're new to digital imaging, and trying to get to grips with Photoshop Elements (or any of its relations including its big brother Photoshop) it's often difficult to understand some of the concepts, and how all the different pieces fit together. If that describes your situation, this book is a very good place to start.
The book is beautifully produced, in full colour throughout. This delivers the best of both worlds - clear colour illustrations which communicate most topics as well as good magazine articles, and a book structure which leads the reader progressively through each of Element's concepts and features. The text is well written, clear and concise without being repetitive.
Starting with an introductory chapter on digital imaging basics, each successive chapter takes the reader through a group of related features but these are arranged so that each chapter represents a step up in the sophistication of use. This will undoubtedly work well for many readers who want to assimilate skills at a given level before moving on. However, the short "feature summaries" scattered through the text are no substitute for either a real reference work or step-by-step "how to" guides.
If I have a complaint, it's that the book brushes over some areas which are in great need of this sort of progressive, well-illustrated approach. Good examples are blending modes and filters. My only other real concern is that the discussions on poor practice are sometimes illustrated by examples where the problem is so subtle that an unpracticed eye won't be able to understand the issue, and more extreme examples might have be better. Personally I also found the "real life" examples at the end of each chapter a little simplistic and patronising, but they might work well for readers less familiar with the world of digital imaging, who are the main target audience for this book.
I definitely recommend this book, but be clear what it does and doesn't give you. If you want "how to" articles, hints and tips then the current excellent crop of digital photography magazines is probably the best source. If you need reference material, this won't necessarily be enough. But if you're not sure what Elements does, why you might need it, or what the results should look like, then this is the book for you.
This review was based on the first edition (for Photoshop Elements version 1), but there is also now an updated version for Elements 2.0.
on 9 September 2003
It is a real pleasure to recommend this book. I looked through four alternative books before I picked this one, because of the presentation, and chapter content. But it was after I'd bought it, that I really got to see it's worth. I have it two weeks now, and still have to discover an unanswered question. Beyond the official manual, it trains and inspires my imagination. The website help was a bonus that I didn't realise when I bought it. And what a bonus! The whole package is just a classic addition for anyone serious about Elements. You will never need another guide for Elements 2.0! Thanks Philip!
on 15 August 2004
I'm a complete novice to digital photography and want to make a decent job of my photos. I was recommended Elements 2.0 to allow me 'play' with my photgraphic attempts. After slogging through the manual, a very dry and uninspiring lump of literature - but is that not always the case with software instructions - I decided there must be something more useful out there. This book kept appearing in reviews I read. So after some investigation at local book shops and in comparison to the competition I purchased it and have not looked back. Diagrams in full colour so no flicking here, there and everywhere in the book to view what is being discussed in the text, as many of the other Elements 2.0 books do. There is a web site to download the projects from, and other useful tips. I'm inspired and feel I have a much more full understanding of Elements 2.0. and now I'm eager to explore more deeply what else this program can offer. So Philip when can we expect a more advanced book? Adobe take a look at this you might learn something about generating an instruction manual for inspiring your standard home user.
on 26 March 2004
This I have to admit is a great book for everyone who wants to do a little more with Photoshop, but isn't a professional. Let's face it if you were a professional you would have bought Photoshop CS instead. The book is very clear, gives good examples and thus far has answered all my questions regarding Photoshop elements. Pretty much every aspect of the program is covered and you will immediately discover that your pictures are better after you read even part of this book.
The only question left is why can't Adobe themselves not produce a book like this and bundle it with the software. You wouldn't buy even a £10 alarmclock without expecting a decent manual, so why aren't software vendors required to do that.
on 7 January 2005
I have only just started using this book but already I can see that of the 3 Photoshop Elements books I have bought, each of which is good in its own way, this is the one I will use most. Well laid out and clear explanations on all the sorts of topics that I need.