The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2 by Richard Lynch

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, send e-mail
Published by: Sybex, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$40.00

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 is the $99 image editing sibling of it's $600 big brother, Adobe Photoshop 7. It's a lite, dumbed-down, version of Photoshop for the millions of photographers, desktop publishers and general public users who don't need to control every pixel on every layer of a photograph or who don't want to spend big money to fix up their scratched vacation pictures. In other words, most of us! I've even seen the Photoshop Elements for sale in one of those warehouse style grocery stores.

That said, Photoshop Elements 2 is still an excellent program and far above a great many of the basic image editing programs out there. It's made even better with the lessons and tools provided by this book and it's accompanying CD.

The goal of this book is two-fold. First, it's an instruction guide to take both the beginning and advanced user through a step by step learning process for image editing. Second, it provides additional tools for Photoshop Elements 2 which allow for even more sophisticated and advanced editing.

The nearly 300 pages in this book are divided into six parts with ten chapters. Coverage in the chapters includes the essentials of image editing: color correction with image tone, contrast and tools; altering images; images in print and finally, images on the web. The lessons in each chapter take the form of step-by-step tutorials with some 70 practice image files provided on the CD.

The CD also provides additional advanced tools which install into Photoshop Elements. These files expand the capabilities of the basic program and move it a step closer to its big expensive relative. Some of these tools are calculations, channels, clipping paths, color balance, curves, custom vectors, masking, color separations and enhanced sharpening. The tools provided on the CD and the step-by-step explanations in the book are for both the MacOS and Windows. The font, color pictures, layout and graphics in the book are part of the new wave of Sybex graphic books and are thoughtful and excellent.

Although the book has a great deal of valuable information, perhaps one of the best chapters deals with printing and making prints at home. For many new digital photographers, printing your pictures and not getting exactly the same colors you see on the screen is a maddening and frustrating experience. Chapter nine, Options for Printing, deals with printers, printer resolution, printing to the edge and RGB to CMYK conversion problems. It is enlightening to read and learn about stochastic printing and to try out the CMYK.pdf file on the CD to test your printer.

All in all, the lessons and information provided are easy to follow and understand. The book is easy to read and the explanations clear and concise. The tools provided are also a great improvement to Elements. If you're interested in photography and want to understand the concepts and function of B&W and color as well as image editing as an art form, and you own or are planning to buy Photoshop Elements 2, then this is a great book and CD for you and worth the price.

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