Photoshop has always been a daunting application to learn for the vast majority of people. With each new upgrade of this indispensable image editing application Photoshop has become the ultimate digital Swiss Army Knife and all-the-more intimidating for mere mortals to grapple with.

By choosing Elements 10 to begin one's experimentation in pixel editing and by following along with the engaging project tutorials laid out in this book one will gain confidence and experience using key tools and features shared by both versions of Photoshop. Therefore, Elements can become your 'gateway' to the CS version of Photoshop!

This book is wonderfully illustrated with clear directions and practical workarounds when required. Remember, this is Photoshop Elements (Photoshop/ACR "Lite"). There are limitations to what Elements is able to do when compared to its parent application.

Each project begins with a very short synopsis explaining the importance of what you will learn in the following pages – and its importance in the overall scheme of learning Elements.

I found the authors' attention to detail most impressive. (One example: Find multiple references throughout the book about the unsightly edge artifacts that are likely to appear resulting from any number of editing measures most often produced with global image adjustments made to both Highlights and Shadows early on in ACR or as a result of less than perfect selections and masks.) I say their attention is "most impressive" because these authors explain why they want you to enter a particular value for a setting, or to take note of what is happening while following their directions. This is an important element of learning; not just following a recipe but actually beginning to understand what is going on! And when learning by reading alone the occasional reminder is key to success.

Unlike so many published authors, Mark Galer and Abhijit Chattaraj go out of their way to make sure their readers are gaining an understanding of how things work as we following their directions. I am personally sick to death of reading 'cook books' lavishly illustrated, filled with laundry-list-directions that 'inspire' acolytes to ape the authors' Photoshopography rather than help one to better digest the process' concept with a relevant exercise. It is this understanding gained that is the real inspiration for creating remarkable images on one's own after the exercise – you know, the old give-a-man-a-fish vs. teach-a-man-to-fish debate.

It is important to note here that the authors make the assumption readers are at least familiar with the application and its toolset. We are being offered quite ingenious methods of achieving some remarkable effects here so it's important to come to this book prepared to build upon a reasonable foundation in place already. They do, however, provide a good explanation (with lots of illustrations) covering Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), Photoshop's 'raw file converter' plugin used to process images we pull from our cameras' memory cards.

There is a wealth of additional, superlative content on the Galer website. Free resources include both streaming and downloadable videos. Find there image files you can easily download and utilize to follow along with each project. This online content is a great idea – vs. including it on a CD/DVD as part of the book.

As well, both Galer and Chattaraj post well-written and produced Photoshop, Lightroom and digital photography-related content updated regularly; a sort of über blog with tutorials, product reviews, webcasts and more. I found myself spending HOURS just poking around initially while writing this review. Based upon what I've seen here – and read inside their book – Mark Galer's few fee-based extras would be well-worth the additional, modest investment for the serious student.

(posted 3/20/12)

One-on-One Lightroom Training
| 6-Week Lightroom Classes | Back to Galleries & Links page
About Michael Maersch
| Contact + 602-225-3737 | PHX LR Enterprise facebook page