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How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 7

Adobe Photoshop Elements has come a long way from the last few upgrades. Elements now has most of the same features as AdobeR PhotoshopR and its popularity is growing. This book by David Asch and Steve Caplin entitled How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 7: Creating stunning photomontages on a budget is a great way to learn how to use Elements.

The book takes the usual progression from basic to the more challenging techniques and covers quite a lot of information. However, the authors don't overwhelm their readers with huge chapters of technical talk. They have assembled the book in easy-to-follow two-page workthroughs, with each workthrough covering a single technique. They also cover some interesting side topics such as the question of whether photomontage is really art.

Starting out slowly, the first few chapters cover the basic techniques and skills that you will need when building your own photomontages. Once you get a little practice with these tools, you are ready to learn about layer techniques in Elements. The authors cover this topic extensively, even giving away a few secret workarounds for Elements. For example, Elements does not have layer masks and the authors show a great way to get around this limitation. Next, the authors cover image editing by discussing how to fix many of the common problems you may have with your photos.

The chapters that I liked the most covered how to add photo-realism to your photomontages. These steps can turn a typical photomontage into a great one. The authors show how to add shadow, reflection and perspective to the elements in your montage to make them blend together realistically. I also liked the chapter on how to create textures and materials from scratch. So many artists rely on photographs of textures to add texture to their digital art. By creating your own textures from scratch, you can create truly unique artwork.

The book has an accompanying CD that contains the project files and videos for following the techniques in the book. There is a support forum on the book's website www.howtocheatinphotoshopelements.com.

I liked this book but some of the projects covering photo manipulation such as adding a rainbow to a photograph or replacing someone's face with that of President Reagan's was old material that could have been omitted or updated.

Focal Press provided a review PDF copy to me free of charge.

Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: Focal Press
Date Published: December 1, 2008
ISBN-10: 0240521544

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