Top positive review
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steep learning curve made easier
on March 18, 2013
Virtually everyone who has struggled thru Adobe's software will admit that the learning curve is rather steep. To many, it is frustrating to the point of causing them to move to other, easier to use software like Capture NX2 or Paintshop Pro. Others find that it's myriad of features and multiple methods of accessing them is simply overwhelming and give up in despair. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of photographers, make a living demystifying Photoshop by running courses and workshops to help you use the powerful but confusing features of the program.
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.