Photoshop Elements 11 For Dummies Paperback – Oct 9 2012
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From the Back Cover
Bring out the best in your photos with Photoshop Elements. This book makes it easy!
Photoshop Elements puts powerful yet simple-to-use tools in the hands of every shutterbug. This handy guide shows you how to make the most of Photoshop Elements to organize your images, fix common problems, control color, add text, create slide shows, and much more.
- Elements-ary, my dear Watson get familiar with the tools, menus, and options, import your images, and explore the Organizer
- Under the hood understand resolutions, color modes, and file formats, and add tags and albums so you can find your photos fast
- The beauty within tweak entire photos or the teeniest detail, remove red-eye, crop photos for better composition, correct contrast and color, and fix flaws
- Express your vision turn a photo image into a drawing or apply many other effects, experiment with type, or play with the drawing and painting tools
- Share the moment create professional looking prints, share your creations over the web and social networks, or view them on your TV
Open the book and find:
- How to import and organize your images
- Instructions for both Windows and Mac users
- How to wave the Magic Wand and toss the Lasso
- Techniques for correcting color, contrast, and clarity
- Tips for composing and cropping photos
- Creative and practical projects anyone can do
- Secrets for quickly sharing photos on your favorite social networks
- How to upload and save images to Photoshop Showcase
- Fix the most common digital photo problems
- Edit and crop images, enhance color, and sharpen photos
- Share your photos with family and friends on Facebook® and Flickr®
IN FULL COLOR!
About the Author
Barbara Obermeier is principal of Obermeier Design, a graphic design studio in California. She is currently a faculty member in the School of Graphic Design at Brooks Institute. Ted Padova is an internationally recognized authority on Adobe Acrobat, PDF, and digital imaging.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
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I won't compare them fully here (I've reviewed the Teach Yourself Visually book on its own page) except to say that the main way they differ is in the graphics that accompany the step-by-step guides and the amount of commentary between guides. This book has much more text between guides that goes into why you might use tools and special tips for using them in different situations. The teach yourself visually guide has very little commentary, but makes up for it by providing fully labeled pictures with each of its guides that SHOW you exactly which buttons to press. That said the two books really balance each other out making a great pair. If you're a true beginner or are just feeling a little intimidated I'd recommend getting both.
But lets look specifically at this book
Photoshop Elements 11 for Dummies is broken down into 6 parts. Although you could use it as a strict reference, these parts are laid out in a way suggesting that they be read in order as sometimes topics in late chapters refer to things you would have picked up in earlier chapters. The six parts are:
1) Organizing and Editing Images - Before you edit your photos in PSE you have to get them into the program. This section is incredibly helpful with that covering not only importing digital images, but also scanning in photos. This section also introduces you to the work areas of PSE and defines many of the icons. It's nice to have this all up front giving you bearings so the following chapters are easier to understand.
2) Managing Media - I don't know why some of the topics here weren't just covered in section one. Creating albums would to me fall under organization, but its not a big deal.
3) Selecting and Correcting Photos - This section is the "meat" of the guide and probably the real reason you bought it. It covers the majority of ways you can manipulate an image including step by step guides, before and after examples, and lots of tips to speed up your work flow and get the most out of each tool
4) Exploring Your Inner Artist - Beyond editing your images to fix imperfections, there are a lot of "artistic" corrections you can make like adding filters or integrating text into an image. If you're a strict photographer you may not use these as much, but if you want to make your images into posters or greeting cards or just give images a certain feel with a filter you'll spend a lot of time on this section.
5) Printing, Creating, and Sharing - I thought this was interesting, while I don't print many images, I didn't know about the additional printing options that come with Photoshop Elements things like adding boarders, labels, printing proofs etc.
6) Part of Tens - I have never understood the purpose of this section in a dummies book. It always feels like a bit of filler to me. This gives ten ideas for projects and ten tips for composing your pictures. They don't seem like revolutionary tips or ideas and could probably have been included somewhere else in the book. It doesn't detract from the rest of the book, but I could live without it.
Overall the content in the book is well laid out and described, but might be a little on the light side for more advanced users. On the bright side if you like the layout of this book and the author's writing style it looks like she has a similar dummies book that's a little denser (Photoshop Elements 11 All-in-One For Dummies).
Beyond the content organization the layout of the book and it makes it easier to use. If you've read a dummies book before you'll know what I'm talking about. The book defines a set of icons that point out things that you should really remember, things that are especially important because they could damage something if you do the wrong, things that are extra technical and can be skipped over, etc. I like having these icons for two reasons one they do direct you to the kind of information you're looking for and two they act as mini guide-posts throughout the book which make finding your way back easier. A few times I knew there was a small topic I wanted to revisit. I could remember that it was marked with a quick tip icon, but couldn't remember the exact page number. With the icons I could easily flip back and find it.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this guide and thought it shortened my learning curve substantially. It has the content that I needed and a good bit of commentary to string it all together. As a more visual learner I did think that it could have been improved with more action screenshots to show, but with Teach Yourself VISUALLY Photoshop Elements 11 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech)) as a companion book this wasn't problematic at all.
Four Stars for very visual learners
Five Stars for everyone else
Five Stars overall
I was so frustrated that I closed it, put it to the side and just spent some time with the program by myself and guess what... I found it pretty easy to figure out, even as a beginner. Everything I wanted to know how to do with photoshop I figured out by myself, without the book, in about one hours time. The program is easy to use and just use some logic and you will be fine.
Did not need the book nor did I find it helpful.
Now, however, you have a friend in the game. the "DUMMIES" book will help you survive the photoshop experience with a minimum of wounds and much less tearing of hair, weeping and gnashing of teeth (note: it will not reduce those things to zero).
Photoshop Elements 11 editor is a little less worse than previous versions in that it offers quick, guided and expert interfaces right from the get-go. If this is your first intro to the program, by all means, use the quick system and do not let a testosterone fog persuade you to take on the expert interface. You will have to get to page 31 in "DUMMIES" and read the note at the bottom of the page for an intro to this.
"DUMMIES" then takes you thru an explanation of all the tabs, buttons, and options. READ THIS SLOWLY and commit it to memory. Follow the step by step progression in the book. This is what will save you the 'tears' part mentioned above. Page 38 will move you thru the menu bar. This is invaluable since Adobe seems to take pride in making its menus confusing and non-intuitive. Using "DUMMIES" will save you time and make your job of editing easier.
Chapter 3 ends with a discussion of adjusting your monitor to look like your photo prints. Here's a tip that's NOT in the book: Photo prints are viewed with reflected light; monitors use back lighting which is much brighter than reflected light. If you want your monitor to give you a good idea of what your print will look like, you must DECREASE THE BRIGHTNESS quite a lot - to about 25% of what you initially think it should be. Experiment with this and you'll be a lot happier with your printed pictures in the end.
Chapter 8 of DUMMIES talks about layers. Layers are a great strength of Elements and, at the same time, one of the most difficult for some beginners to master. Some programs, like Capture NX2, automate the use of layers and make it so intuitive that you never even realize you are using them. Adobe is not so friendly but DUMMIES will get you thru it and help a great deal.
Overall, DUMMIES does an excellent job of explaining Elements and is the best book of its type that I have seen. It takes you step by step and is very thorough and well organized with a good index and table of contents.
I downgraded it one star because it doesn't include information on PLUG-INs like those amazing augmentations by NIK Software. Be sure to look into these fabulous programs whether you are an Elements novice or expert. You can download them for free and try them before buying.
James M McEntyre, MD
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