Adobe Photoshop Elements
A Visual Introduction to Digital Imaging, By Philip Andrews
|Value for money||8/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||8/10|
Beautifully produced, clear introductory book
If you’re new to digital imaging, and trying to get to grips with Photoshop Elements (or any of its relations including its big brother Photoshop) it’s often difficult to understand some of the concepts, and how all the different pieces fit together. If that describes your situation, this book is a very good place to start.
The book is beautifully produced, in full colour throughout. This delivers the best of both worlds – clear colour illustrations which communicate most topics as well as good magazine articles, and a book structure which leads the reader progressively through each of Elements’ concepts and features. The text is well written, clear and concise without being repetitive.
Starting with an introductory chapter on digital imaging basics, each successive chapter takes the reader through a group of related features but these are arranged so that each chapter represents a step up in the sophistication of use. This will undoubtedly work well for many readers who want to assimilate skills at a given level before moving on. However, the short “feature summaries” scattered through the text are no substitute for either a real reference work or step-by-step “how to” guides.
If I have a complaint, it’s that the book brushes over some areas which are in great need of this sort of progressive, well-illustrated approach. Good examples are blending modes and filters. My only other real concern is that the discussions on poor practice are sometimes illustrated by examples where the
problem is so subtle that an unpracticed eye won’t be able to understand the issue, and more extreme examples might have be better. Personally I also found the “real life” examples at the end of each chapter a little simplistic and patronising, but they might work well for readers less familiar with the world of digital imaging, who are the main target audience for this book.
I definitely recommend this book, but be clear what it does and doesn’t give you. If you want “how to” articles, hints and tips then the current excellent crop of digital photography magazines is probably the best source. If you need reference material, this won’t necessarily be enough. But if you’re not sure what Elements does, why you might need it, or what the results should look like, then this is the book for you.
This review was based on the first edition (for Photoshop Elements version 1).