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Highly readable, extremely useful - leads you through a series of projects that highlight the range of Photoshop possibilities

  • Apr 12, 2010
I've read a few other Photoshop guides, but none are as useful as this one for introducing the wide range of possibilities for creative manipulation of photos. This doesn't really start at the beginning, with the most basics, but aims to give you a sense of what is possible in a very hands-on way. What you really need to get started with Photoshop Elements is not a list of the various things you can do with it but a clear sense of why you'd want to do them and how. In other words, you need to get your hands dirty, and this book shows you how.

What this book does is explain, step by step, a set of progressively more complicated projects, that each teach a few new skills and that each give a heightened appreciation for the creative power of this remarkable software package. I was sold after the first chapter, that introduced several ways to use the sophisticated selection tools in Photoshop. I'd used some of them, but never thought to combine them in the ways the chapter suggested. Other chapters show how to distort perception, to create seamless backgrounds using repetitive patterns, and to combine elements of various photographs to create fantastic images like the one on the cover. While some of the projects build on elements learned in the previous ones, many of them could be followed on their own, and each reads more or less like a "recipe" but with tips on how to vary the effect for different circumstances. The CD includes several useful goodies, including styles and shapes that can add to the functionality of Photoshop Elements.

In short: a practical and easy-to-follow and highly readable guide to making the most of Photoshop Elements and to creating some pretty astonishing images.

Note: while the book is aimed primarily at users of Photoshop Elements 8, most of the "recipes" are described in ways that are version-neutral and could be applied to Elements versions 3 through 8. The book is also designed to be as easy to follow for Mac users (like me) as for Windows users.

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review by . April 02, 2010
I've read all of Steve Caplin's "cheat" books for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements and have learned new things from each one.     In the Photoshop Elements books, Caplin has a co-author, David Asch. There is no way to determine who writes what parts and, frankly, it doesn't matter because the content is uniformly excellent.     The "cheat" books focus on creating composite images, that is images made with elements from several images. Photomontage and montage …
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I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (, and am co-director of … more
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About this book


Photoshop Elements is the cut-down, lower-price version of Adobe's powerful Photoshop software, and, like Photoshop, it's not just intended for tweaking and retouching those less than perfect photographs-it has huge creative potential, too.

How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 8 is the Elements equivalent to Steve Caplin's How to Cheat in Photoshop-a fun, quirky and inspiring guide, packed with tips, tricks and effects that reveal the power of Elements for design-oriented image manipulation and photomontage. With more than 80 step-by-step projects on page spreads showing the before and after, and all stages in between, this is a practical guide to stir the imagination.

QuickTime movie tutorials and images for all projects in the book are included on the accompanying CD-ROM, with additional support and an active reader forum on the website for the book:

* Fun and creative, with more than 80 full colour, step-by-step projects, supported by QuickTime movie tutorials and image files

* In-depth coverage of photomontage and image manipulation not seen elsewhere-most Elements books focus on the essentials for photography post-capture editing

* Part of the successful Focal Press How to Cheat in. series, featuring Steve Caplin's best-selling How to Cheat in Photoshop titles

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ISBN-10: 0240521870
ISBN-13: 978-0240521879
Author: David Asch
Genre: Arts & Photography, Computers & Internet
Publisher: Focal Press
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