There were a few things that went through my mind when I held the Elements 9 box in my hand;
- Why would I want to use it if I already had Photoshop CS5 on the computer?
- Isn’t Elements just Photoshop with bits taken out?
- If I know Photoshop then I’ll know Elements.
- Elements is a toy.
For suggesting all of the above I invite all Elements users to slap my wrist! Elements is a powerful tool that once I got up and running began to realise that although it shares many of Photoshop’s features it would be wrong to call it ‘Photoshop’s little brother’.
I Know Photoshop, So I Know Elements?
So it was with some relief that Photoshop Elements 9 – The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage fell onto the desk. What’s difficult though is to review it. Why? Well simply put, this book slots very nicely into the Missing Manual series and so neither stands out, nor disappoints.
For those not familiar with the series, The Missing Manual aims to be ‘The book that should have been in the box’ and I’m yet to find one that doesn’t fulfil this promise. I’ve recently been Tweeting and Facebooking about the series and it seems that it is quite often the one most tutors refer their pupils too.
The book itself is pretty hefty, testament once again to the power of Elements, and covers every aspect of the software, from opening an image to saving with all the tweaks, layers and effects along the way.
Barbara’s writing is clear, concise and logical and assumes no prior knowledge. Great if you’re new to digital imaging but equally as good if you’ve had previous experience as this is not a linear learning tool, it’s a reference book that one can dip into for information.
Less a Review, More a Love-In
This all sounds like I love the book, and well, yes I do, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a couple of irritations. Firstly the cover, I understand that its part of a series and that they all look the same, and yes, its a manual so why should it be exciting and sparkling? But why not? You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover they say and you really shouldn’t in this case.
The cover price is £34.50, and that’s comparable to other similar books. You may have purchased Elements as a more affordable option to Photoshop and weren’t expecting to have to then buy a manual to get you going, so this could be quite a shock but shop around and don’t compromise, this is the book you need.
Finally, my main grievance. Barbara suggests that for more information on restoring Photos you may want to check out Katrin Eisman’s books or a book by Matt Kloskowski. However, as good as these are we know that the very best place to learn restoration with Elements 9 is in the company of our very own Janine Smith on Lynda.com!
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