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Book Review: Digital Photography with Adobe Photoshop Elements
By Gavin Cromhout and Josh Fallon
ISBN: 1-903450-80-2 - Published by: Friends of Ed

Author: Steve Weinberg

Date: July, 15, 2002

Digital image enhancement is a new, blossoming area of interest for many interested in traditional photography, computer graphics and hobbyists new to the world of digital manipulation computer software. One of the old hands at the computer software end of the spectrum is Adobe with its Photoshop line of products. Many laud the product as the tried and true standard for comparison.

However, many find this software to have a very long learning curve with so many features that it is intimidating to even approach. Add to this a hefty price and you exclude a good many people.

Adobe has recently released a new product, Photoshop Elements, which has a simpler interface, fewer "filters" and less professional functionality with a reasonable $99 list price. Having used a number of products in this category, I find that "Photoshop Elements" is definitely a cut above the others in many respects. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the tools have reached a higher level of sophistication in the effects that they can apply. Note, though, that it still has many, many features that lay hidden in its many tabs and menus.

Now, there is help in the publication of a new after-market book that attempts to categorize functionality and tutor the reader such that the product is useful beyond what I ever imagined. I find it helpful to have the book at hand as a reference when I use the software so that I can learn by doing.

The book is published on fine glossy pages with full-color illustrations throughout. It is a 250 page; step-by-step tutorial to follow that has most, if not all, the functions of the software covered. I wanted to know about using layers and found out that there are two chapters covering the basics and the advanced aspects. There are many subtleties that require careful attention.

One of the best inclusions is a CD with sample images that are referenced in the text of the book. I followed along doing the operations on the sample images just as the book described. Each operation is described as to how it is used and why as well as alternative techniques. This is one of my favorite ways of learning (Learn by doing). By the way, the CD also includes a free 30-day trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Topics covered include: Getting Started, Quick Fixes, Selections and Layers, Drawing Tools, Advanced Imaging Tools, Filters and Effects, Layer Techniques, Advanced Layers, Photo Retouching, A Panoramic Project, Ageing a Photograph, Creative Collages, Publishing Your Work.

The list price is $49.99 with the included CD, but worth it, as you have probably invested lots more than that in the digital image experience. This can be digital camera or just manipulation of digital images that you have obtained from others or scanned yourself. Photoshop Elements lets you produce professional output and help you enjoy the results. This book allows you to maximize use of the software.

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