How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10: Release Your Imagination Paperback – Dec 10 2011
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"[W]e think Adobe should include this book with every copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 it sells. Now here's the best part for me: the book makes available an online set of resources that match all the projects in the book. You simply log on to the website, enter your credentials and download the original images that are used in the book. You can then follow the illustrations and mirror the job yourself."--PC Advisor
About the Author
David Asch is a beta tester for Photoshop Elements. He contributes to Mac Format magazine, and is co-author of Digital Photo Doctor and contributing author to Drop Dead Photography Techniques.
Steve Caplin is a freelance artist and author working in London, England. His satirical photomontage work is commissioned by newspapers and magazines around the world, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times Magazine, Radio Times, Readers Digest and L'Internazionale. Steve has worked for advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Lowe Howard Spink, and his work has won two Campaign Poster Awards and a D&AD Pencil award. He has lectured widely in England, Norway, France and Holland, and has taught digital design at the University of Westminster and the University of the Arts London. Steve is the author of ten books: How to Cheat in Photoshop (five editions), How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements (co-authored, three editions), Icon Design, Max Pixel's Adventures in Adobe Photoshop Elements, The Complete Guide to Digital Illustration (co-authored) and Art & Design in Photoshop. He has also co-authored three mainstream books: Dad Stuff, More Dad Stuff, Stuff the Turkey and Complete and Utter Zebu. When he's not at his computer Steve plays the piano well, the accordion moderately and the guitar badly. He spends his spare time making improbable constructions out of wood and other materials. His first commissioned sculpture was for the Bethlem hospital - the original 'bedlam' - in 2010.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm not all that into manipulating elements to give the interior of a cathedral the impression of divine lights emanating from the alter or for taking a 'vintage-like' image so that it appears to sit inside a sealed jar by using some layering methods so that you can create the concept of 'memories preserved' (I'm not kidding-it's one of the tutorials). However,there are enough interesting tutorials that you can modify once you've learned them to broaden what you can do with elements. This book offers instructions that go beyond the basics such as improving over- or underexposure, basic cropping, sharpening, desaturating, and all the other basic stuff you should know after a couple of weeks (or months) of using elements.
In terms of an educational tool, the book is well-composed with good illustrations, clear explanations, and easy to follow steps for each of the techniques the authors demonstrate. It also comes with a companion disc, and gives you resources (add-ons) that you can use to enhance your basic elements menu. I think the best thing about the book is that it can serve to get your own creativity going--not so much by imitating the authors, but by understanding that you can make your own 'quantum leaps' that are the stuff that becomes 'art.' In other words, by showing you some of the authors' leaps, you might be encouraged to make your own. That may be why I don't like the title 'How to Cheat...." Imagine Steven Speilberg writing about his cinematography and calling it 'How to Cheat in feature filmmaking'. The other part of the title 'Release your Imagination' is more to the point. But it assumes you have imagination to release. Otherwise, the suggestion could be a bit frustrating like the joke about the angry theater director that yells at his actors, "Be spontaneous!" I do think the authors have the right idea about the niche this book serves and are able to fill it. Since I'm writing this during the entertaining media circus of the Republican candidacy for President, I've been more aware of the importance of statements in molding a "brand." I'd have reversed the phrases in the title and put the "Release" part first.
I've used about six or seven elements books, and have gone through dozens and dozens of on-line tutorials. I'd say this book could be placed in a pretty high percentile in terms of the value and effectiveness of its presentation, although by no means does it get a perfect score. It might not help you boost your abilities to rate among the M.I.T. elements users (or full Photoshop users), but it will definitely raise your talents, so that you won't have to settle for open admissions level creativity.
If you know how to use it, though, Photoshop Elements is quite versatile and can be used or mundane photo editing tasks such as simple color correction - or the far more exotic and demanding tasks of restoration, retouching and the creation of photomontages.
Co-author Steve Caplin created "How To Cheat In Photoshop" several years ago and this book represents an extension of the brand franchise. The two series have different aims. "How To Cheat In Photoshop Elements" is far more general and oriented to teaching the reader how to use Photoshop Elements as a general photo editing tool.
The contents are divided into (by my7 count) 137 lessons, all of them written in a light-hearted style accompanied by copious illustrations. Samples may be downloaded from the book's companion website. Like its forebear, all of the examples involve the manipulation of photographs or graphic objects. Work through all of the examples and at the end of the process, you will be a master of Photoshop Elements and, to a surprisingly large degree, Photoshop as well.
Photoshop Elements itself is a heck of a bargain (as is its sister video editing program Premiere Elements). Learning to use it well can be challenging and difficult. This book in particular, while it doesn't necessarily make learning the program easier, it does make it fun - and it teaches you techniques you won't learn elsewhere.
By trade, I'm an Artist & Editor. I've wanted very much to increase my knowledge and ability in Photoshop specifically, and digital art in general. How To Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10 is THE BEST book by FAR that I have on the subject, and I have quite a few! After reading through part of the book, I was confident I could do so much more with my tablet, and my Elements program.
The layout of How To Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10 is great for any kind of learner. It starts with the basics.. the things you must know in order to use Photoshop Elements.. from reviewing keyboard shortcuts, to the standard features of Photoshop Elements. (Complete with great instructional pictures of course! Not the pretty ones.. but we've only just begun!)
Layers is at the heart of Photoshop Elements. If you don't understand how to use layers it's very difficult to do anything in Photoshop, so this is a great place to start! With something so important you know there's a great picture of the layers panel, with details of how to use everything on the layers panel around the border of the picture. It's like a map of Layers!
I'm not sure I've ever had a book with more pictures, of a tutorial variety for instruction, as well as pictures that show the beautiful results which can be obtained by using How To Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10! The volume and quality of the pictures is pure eye candy!If you're an Artist of any kind you probably understand how I felt when I opened the book and browsed through it the first time! It is a beautiful book - not like a coffee table book, but a beautiful book with art tutorials! Like getting new art materials.. my heart all pitty-patter! The cover is a good indicator of the kind of pictures in the book.
When working on a picture in Photoshop Elements you'll use the Marquee all the time! There's a chapter dedicated to the Marquee Tool, selections, great tips and shortcuts, and how to put it all together! You simply can't work with Photoshop Elements w/o understanding the Tools available in Elements, and the use of layers. Once you have those down, you're on your way!
How To Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10 is the one book I have in my digital art library that I will not do without, and I'm SO glad I had the opportunity to review it! It's very well worth the purchase! I recommend it highly!
I am a visual learner and this book is full of illustrations from cover to cover to show you the steps from beginning to end and the intermediary steps in-between. This shows me that I can do everything I ever wanted to do with just Photoshop Elements. I never would have purchased Photoshop CS if I had read this book first. Even though this book makes it seem easy, there is a lot to learn. It will keep me busy for a very long time.
The book is not a "Missing Manual" style of book. It is not a user guide style of presentation nor is it intended to teach you all the menu options and provide with a thorough explanation of each and every feature of the program. Instead the approach this book takes is to walk you through, step by step, a diverse set of techniques to achieve a particular result. If you work through every example in the book you will have achieved a rich knowledge of Photoshop Elements that will benefit you greatly as you tackle future projects.
I should also point out that although the book is titled "How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 10," you do not absolutely need v10 of Photoshop Elements to benefit from the book. Many of the techniques discussed can be accomplished in earlier versions of the program... the book indicates clearly those that require V10. It's also worth noting that this is not a book that you must work through sequentially. You can pretty much dive in to any section of the book to help you with a specific task. Of course, you may have to reference an earlier chapter to gain some insight into a particular aspect of an exercise, but the larger point is that the book can be used more spontaneously if you wish.
The real power of mastering Photoshop, for me anyway, is the understanding of how selecting areas of an image are accomplished and using layer masks. These are difficult to grasp until you roll your sleeves up and do it. That's where this book really helps. The earlier chapters walk you through the process of learning how to select objects and further on, how to apply layer masks to provide a means to do some amazing things.
Learning how to distort objects is a very useful tool and the example the book gives of taking a flat, rectangular image of the US flag, applying a displacement filter with texture map with the end result being an excellent rendition of a flag flapping in the breeze on a flagpole is quite amazing. When you accomplish this exercise, you will be amazed.
The most important thing you must know about this book is that it is geared to teaching you how to create images that look like photographs rather than how to tweak existing photographs. In other words, in this book you'll learn how to, for instance, select part of an existing photograph and composite that selection onto another entirely different photograph to create something new. Let's say you have a photo of someone standing in front of a non-descript wall. You would learn how to select just the person, and then move that person onto a layer of a different photograph, and integrate them into that other photograph.
Not all the examples are blockbusters, but you will definitely learn some amazingly helpful techniques and come away with a great appreciation for the power of Photoshop Elements.
I've read other Focal Press books and this follows in the footsteps of nicely produced books with great illustrations and nice quality paper.
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