I have both Photoshop Elements 12 "the Missing Manual" and Photoshop Elements 12 "Learn Visually". Both are handsomely printed in full color on shiny paper but a picture is worth a thousand words applies to the two volumes as "Missing" consists of 618 pages, "Visually" of 371. "Missing" retails for $28.20, "Visually" for $16.79. I can't recommend one volume over the other in efficacy of teaching you the mechanics of a complicated art form but "Visually" perhaps has the edge in getting you started as the the first pages are devoted to introducing you to the tools and their uses with screenshots of the whole Elements workspace including the top and bottom right and left areas. You have to study the diagrams very closely but you will learn the identity of each tool by mousing it over and when you click on it the parameters and manipulations of that particular tool appear in the lower task area. Color, thickness, aliasing and other methods of adjusting what the tool will do are right at your fingertips. Elements crams something useful into every possible space on and around you canvas and it's up to you to ferret them out. The tools can be just plain fun: with the sponge tool saturate or desaturate an area. The Smart Brush lets you turn a grey sky to blue and the exact shade of blue is your decision. Want to turn a pallid rose into a luscious red? Piece of cake!
The visual approach (but there is still a lot to read) came to my rescue in "refining the edge of a selection." I work a lot in digital collage, putting a zebra, say, in the middle of Fifth Avenue. In isolating the zebra by removing him from whatever background he is on -using the eraser tool- results in an edge, a whitish area around the image, as the eraser tool cannot cut it absolutely cleanly. Needless to say the edge has to be removed or the zebra will not seamlessly enter his new environment on Fifth Avenue. "Visually" by pictures shows exactly how the edge appears and what happens when you employ the correction sliders. The technique is a godsend for me, saving much time, as previously I had to zoom in and laboriously integrate the picture into the new background.
After the tool section "Visually" shows you how to set the program references, again by screen shots of the appropriate work space so you don't get lost peering around trying to find what adjustment or tool is being talked about. All the preferences can be left on default until you get a real feeling for wrenching the software to do your bidding. One aspect that amazed me is that you can discover how much RAM (memory) Photoshop is using during any manipulation and if the memory is too low you can allocate extra memory into your hard drive using "scratch disk space." I work with huge images(10 mgs or more) for designs on T-shirts and posters and prior to seeing this amazing gimmick I often ran out of memory, my PC telling me so and sending up a greyed out screen and crashing.
If you are new to Elements, it's very useful before you send your pictures to Photoshop to store them together in a bunch to later be organized by Photoshop. It is sort of a case of being pre-organized without fine-tuning, a depot area for pictures gathered from your digital camera or a scanner or from the internet. I use ACDSee but an excellent free software is Picasa, by Google. When you upload your images to Photoshop, from whatever source- camera, scanning, plucking from the internet- "Visually" tells you how to fine tune your images practically down to the last pixel.
There are 160 Photoshop Elements tasks in "Visually" each one covering and concerned with one technique. The lessons break down the big topics into chewable bites and holds your hand as you progress. Perhaps the screen shots of the tools and your working area is the most important part of the book as you have to learn to use those building blocks before you can progress in an informed and intelligent manner."Visually" is a handsome book with excellent full-color illustrations. You can't handle Elements 12 cold turkey and this fine manual at your elbow will greatly increase your confidence. Learning Photoshop is not fast and it is not easy but this book will help you greatly, trust me!
on March 13, 2014
I am 70 years old and technologically not very savvy. I am an artist and a photographer, but I needed help cataloging and working with my images. The only negative thing I have to say is that I wish the screen shots were larger. I find this to be a problem in most photo instruction books I have purchased. When you are my age, even with reading glasses, some things just "don't compute". However, the detailed instructions and the labels on the screen shots help to maneuver through this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone trying to work through the Photoshop E;ements maze.
I have been using Photoshop Elements for years. It is a powerful program, probably the best in existence for dealing with photos. I am familiar with a number of functions within the program, the ones I use for what I need. So this book will come in handy for helping me to understand how functions I am unfamiliar with work.
This is an ambitious learning manual, and its way of going about detailing needed steps to get a task done is a good one. It seeks to cover just about everything in its 371 pages (including index). But in my opinion it is, even at its considerable length, too short. Let me detail what I mean:
(1) There are reams of screenshots--that's good--but they are hard to read and figure out easily since they are small. I have resorted to my large magnifying glass to make out what the icon looks like. It does help to have the program up and running and to go through the steps by working on a photo or a few photos since you can see the icons be menus more easily.
(2) At the beginning of this book, you can read this: "Who is the Book For...This book is for the reader who has never used this particular tecnology or software application." I beg to differ with that statement. Someone who has never used a photo editing program would have a tough time--even with the commendably detailed steps--figuring out how to use the various funtions, without patient and careful study.
(3) Also, the instructions are terse, and there are a lot of cross references. Granted the book would have been much longer if the authors had kept repeating the same instructions over and over, but if you use this book, in a lot of places you will find yourself flipping back and forth constantly to read or reread previous procedures in order to figure out what to do.
(4) I found one place where the instructions were incomplete. I had a recent problem understanding printing with the program. I had been used to editing a photo and them simply printing it (using previous versions). But I found that if I had more than one photo open, the program automatically printed all the photos I had open, not just the one I had finished editing. I have learned how to specify and reliably choose which photo I want printed, but as a test I looked for that information in this book and couldn't find it. The section on printing is two pages long. By the way, the key is this: In editing mode, click a photo in the Photo Bin in the bottom area of the screen (its icon is at the bottom left corner of the screen in case you need to open it) until it has a white border around it--that's the photo that will print when you use the print command. This is information someone learning Photoshop or photo editing needs to know. It can save a waste of paper and ink.
(5) On the other hand, the section on the complicated Photoshop function Layers is quite good and thorough. I found it helpful.
(6) One last thing I need to mention. After opening the book about 3 times--and I am not rough with books--I noticed that the spine has broken and some of the pages are staring to loosen. They will probably come loose soon. In other words, the paperback binding is not the best.
4 stars, nevertheless, because there is a lot of useful and potentially helpful content. And overall, this book is a commendable effort. I think it can go a long way toward helping users find out how to get the powerful editing functions of this program to work. It is not complete, though.
Recommended for those who want to get to know Photoshop Elements 12 better and who are willing to put in the effort to read, study and the practice to reach that goal.
on November 28, 2013
With an emphasis on the 'visual learner' -- although I'm not quite sure what that is -- this PS elements 12 guide is excellent in its explanations -- both through 'time lapse' step by step images and the corresponding explanations. I have only one criticism of the book, but this might just say something about my 'learning style'. The book will provide a chapter of excellent descriptions of selection tools, but you have to turn to a different chapter to see examples of them in action. Thus, there is a lot of 'for a more in-depth explanation of this tool, see chapter ___" In other words, and to borrow an analogy from writing, the book is structured like a 'thesaurus' of features, which is good, but to find out how to use them 'in a sentence', you need to turn to a different section. Again, this might be fine for those who prefer this type of explanation. Personally, I like more 'holistic' type tutorials where the explanation goes something like, 'if you want to achieve this effect, (desaturate, experiment with B&W, change focus, etc.,) here are all the steps in sequence [yes, they're might be 20 or 30] - but I feel like I'm gaining more control over 'real life' editing.
on July 6, 2014
This was my first experience with Photoshop Elements and I found this book VERY helpful. The instructions are written very clearly, complete with screenshots showing exactly which icon to click on. A lot of software manuals will say "open this" or "click that" as you stare at your computer screen, trying to find that tool or icon out of the many choices, or in the case of a lot of Adobe software, the tool is part of a group of tools, first you have to find the right group to open. The screenshot, showing exactly where the tool was located, really sped up the task of learning the software. One of the better software manuals I've used.
on November 19, 2013
Excellent Book.A fast and easy way to learn all about Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. Colorful color grahics and photos to guide you with step by step instructions in the following areas: Getting Started, Importing and Opening Digital Images, Organizing Photos, Using Advanched Organizing Tools, Applying Basic Image Edits, Masking Selection, Manipulating Selections, Using Layers, Enhancing and Retouching Photos, Enhanching Lighting and Color, Apply Guided edits, Painting and Drawing on Photos, Applying Filters, Adding Text Elements, Applying Styles and Efeects, and finally Saving and Sharing Your Work. This book is great for beginners and those with intermediate knowledge. The step by step instructions with guded photos pf Elements 12 images, gives you an on hand visual guidance no other book out there can provide. Very easy to follow, learn from, and become knowledgeable in the usage of Elements 12. Highly, highly recommend.Great price too!
on January 7, 2014
I have purchased various manuals to accompany software programs I have purchased in the past, these being comprised primarily of text based material lacking illustrations, etc.. Often times producing unsatisfactory results without quite a bit of experimentation.
The concept of visual instruction without the expense of filmed tutorials appealed to me. The item met my expectations in principle with the exception being many of the illustrations were difficult to see clearly, specifically involving the traditional "marching ants" used to outline or distinguish areas being edited. In all fairness...to enlarge illustrations would probably result in a very large unwieldy book. Also, being targeted at beginners, perhaps a little more information specifying why an edit was being performed and an illustration of the desired result.
My critique aside, it is a worthwhile purchase for someone trying to learn the complexities of a Photoshop software program with the focus on "one picture is worth a thousand words."
on June 13, 2014
Although I have used Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop CS programs for many years, I needed help understanding the unique way Photoshop Elements does things. I purchased PE for my wife who was beginning to have problems keeping track of her growing photo archive. Up till now, she had files scattered al over her hard drive with no organization or way to edit them. I thought that Photoshop Elements was the program for her and I was right. It is a great product for managing one's media library and is a great value over the full-blown Photoshop. Unfortunately, I was not very familiar with Elements so once I loaded it onto my wife's PC I was a bit lost. While PE borrows a lot of features from Photoshop CS, there are several differences, enough to warrant an instruction manual of some kind. The pamphlet that comes from Adobe with PE is pathetic. This book is excellent. It is easy to comprehend and uses photo, graphics and clear language to help explain how to do all the things the program is capable of. It is presented in a logical order and explains the terminology and processes in a concise manner. Chapters are presented in a logical sequence and the table of contents breaks things down so you don't have to go blind trying to get where you need to go. This book is one of the best computer aid guides I have seen and I have seen more than my share. It is written and presented so that someone with minimal photo managing and editing experience can follow along easily. I highly recommend it.
I've been using Photoshop for awhile and keep saying I'm going to learn how to use it properly! So I was thrilled to see this step-by-step guide. I have Photoshop 10 but figured worst case I'll upgrade.
No need to upgrade. This manual worked fine. Photoshop tends to make a fuss about upgrades and then delivers basics.
On the plus side, the illustrations are excellent. I have been through so many manuals and online instructions where they just say, "Find the gizmo in your control panel." And try as I might, I just can't find anything resembling that button. So I appreciated knowing exactly where to look.
Like most Photoshop manuals, the book takes us through bringing photos into Photoshop and organizing images. For an experienced web user, it's not a big deal. You don't need Photoshop to organize your images; you just need a file.
The layer selection is quite good. After working with Photoshop you can figure a lot of this out but the discussion of adjustment layers was helpful.
On the downside, the manual is good with the basics, such as how to crop a photo. However, I think most people can figure out how to crop a photo. It would be helpful to know when one would want to crop and maybe a tip or two. On page 115, there's a tip that seems really valuable - but even as an experienced Photoshop user, I had trouble with it:
"Click the crop tool, then click the cookie cutter tool, and hen click a shape for the crop Adjust the cropping boundary and then perform the crop similar to using the regular Crop tool. Photoshop Elements crops the selected content as a shape. Unlike with the crop tool, the dimensions of the image canvas remain unchanged." Well, my cropping didn't work with these instructions.
I'd also have liked to understand why a process would be chosen For instance, "Add to or Subtract from a selection." Why might I want to do this? What does it mean to subtract? The author says you can use subtraction to "fix a selection that includes extraneous pixels." I got lost! I might try walking through the instructions but I'd like to get a sense of whether this is something I can use.
on August 27, 2014
This book is very well laid out. I've bought these books before for earlier versions of the same program, that I never got around too. This time-It's already proved useful. I did something wrong when I imported my pics into the program and I got the spinning circle of death for forever. Finally, I grabbed my book that just arrived, found 'remove photo from the organizer' (quick and easy to find by the way) turned to page 67-had my aha moment-shut my computer down, went back in and this time managed to delete the 44,000+ files I imported. Whew!
And page 32 shows me how to just import specific files, albums, catalogs, etc. from different sources, rather than my entire collection. The circle of death is gone and I'm a happy camper.
I'm not a complete newly, I worked with older versions years ago, it's just been a long time, I'm using a mac now, and I wanted a quick reference book to expedite my memory recall. Lol.