16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not for dummies or newbies,
This review is from: Photoshop Elements 9 for Dummies (Paperback)
Not for dummies or newbies
A little background. Three years ago I bought my first digital SLR. I had an early version of Paintshop Pro and I used that to edit my jpegs (mainly removing unwanted items in the picture, as it couldn't do much else) - prints I made were rubbish. So I bought and installed Photoshop Elements 7 (PSE7). Excitedly I sat down to start work on an image I'd dragged into the editor. I looked around at all the menus and toolbars and thought "What on earth do I do now?" It gradually dawned that I had no idea where to start, absolutely no idea. Looking at the Help suggested to me that things could be done using Elements but, with my level of ignorance, I still had no idea where to begin. At first I was angry: I mean it said on the box how easy to use it was and that anyone could start making wonderful images in minutes! No way. Calming down, I realised that there was more to this photo editing lark than I'd imagined, a lot more. What I needed was a good book... So on to Amazon, doing a search for good beginner's books. I read the reviews and descriptions and eventually chose to buy the 'PSE7 Classroom in a Book' (CIB). As this review is intended for beginners like what I was, I'm not going to baffle my audience with detailed descriptions, but what happened was that straight away I was using Elements, and subsequently I worked my way through the lessons in CIB and in a few weeks I was doing some pretty good post-processing of my images. To explain without using jargon: I could organise my photos into albums, and I could improve them so that they looked pretty good on screen AND when printed. A major achievement.
But I knew there was more could be done. So, in short, after a time I bought the Scott Kelby book and the Philip Andrews book. And after studying those and using their advanced techniques, now I'm getting somewhere near proficient.
Then a month or two back I bought a hi-def camcorder, my old PC can't cope, so reluctantly I replace my 2003 PC with a new Windows 7 PC. AIUI Elements 7 and Windows 7 don't get on and as Elements 9 is available for £40 with the new PC, I bite and buy Elements 9. Again a detailed description of the improvements of PSE9 over PSE7 is outside the scope of this review, but it was a worthy upgrade. I find I can, if I wish, use PSE9 much the same as I used PSE7 but reading forums and reviews it seemed there are new tools available in PSE9 that I didn't know the full details of. So I began research on books for Elements 9. I didn't want to buy updates of Scott Kelby or Philip Andrews as I can still use their PSE7 books and the latest editions will be 90% the same. After reading reviews and inside looks, eventually I settled on buying this Dummies book plus the Mark Galer book.
The reason why I bought this Dummies book is that it looked like a very good REFERENCE BOOK for the INTERMEDIATE or advanced Elements user. And I think it is just that. But as a book for beginners like myself three years ago? I definitely have reservations about that. (Incidentally the Galer book has mixed reviews. I think this is because it didn't meet the expectations of some purchasers - but I'm very pleased with it.) The same could easily apply with this Dummies book. If you are an absolute beginner it may well not meet your needs and expectations, as explained by Roy Evans in his review. In my case as a beginner, getting down to it by working on a guided lesson with simple instructions was just the jobby, and then building up my expertise through further lessons. So, although I don't have a copy of Classroom in a Book for PSE9, I'd definitely recommend a beginner to check it out first as, if it's as good as CIB for PSE7, it should be very helpful.
I gave Dummies a five star rating. This is because I consider it a good reference book for the experienced PSE user. However, if I was rating it as a suitable book for a beginner, I might give it two stars, not because it is bad but because it probably wouldn't meet the requirements of someone getting to grips with Elements for the first time. If you are a beginner and you've bought this book and find it a huge disappointment, I'd hang on to it until you're a bit more experienced and then you should find it a useful reference manual.