Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 3

Adobe Photoshop Elements 3

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 3
Manufacturer: Adobe
Retail Price: $329

First, lets take a look at the two items that I have selected to go with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3: Scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements and Total Training Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed.

The book, Scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements, by Lynettte Kent, has a bit of a misnomer for a title as it doesn't really get into scrapbooking until Chapter eight, about half way through the book. That is not a bad thing as the first seven chapters deal with basic knowledge of the elements of design and composition, which reminded me of the eleven years I spent teaching Art to teenagers in a junior high school.

Chapter seven goes into the use of tablets, monitors, mice and the how-to's of archiving and preserving your files. As Ms. Kent writes, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 was not created specifically for scrapbookers but it is the most comprehensive application for scrapbookers available. And I would add that it is great for genealogists who want to create beautiful and interesting family histories. As the author writes, and Deke McClelland says on his Total Training program, Elements has many of the same features as Photoshop CS and it even has some features Photoshop CS doesn't have while being much easier to use.

The author has chapters on digital cameras, scanners and printers. I found these chapters very interesting and of value to any creative computer user. The author devotes Chapter 4 to digital cameras, Chapter 5 is about scanners, followed by Chapter 7, More Tools for Scrapbooking and Archiving.

The next six chapters and the Appendix: Easy Monitor Calibration with a Colorimeter, are about Elements 3 and are very thorough. There are several major effects with this upgrade. I especially like the cookie cutter effects. With it you can select a shape, for instance a heart, and use it to put a photo in place. It would be perfect for a wedding shot or for a baby picture or an engaged couple. Scrapbookers will love it but so will other people.

The back of the book has twelve recipe cards that are 3 1/2 by 5 inches that have step by step instructions on how to create various projects. They can be taken out of the book and kept in a recipe tin just like your food recipes.

I think the title of the book is not good as the book is so much more. It is like one of Robin Williams books, easy to understand and all encompassing. I think it belongs in every computer user's library.

Total Training Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed, by Deke McClelland ($59.99). This program has one disc and it runs for six hours and thirteen minutes. The chapter titles are below:

PROGRAM 1: The Art of Imaging 30 min.
PROGRAM 2: Making the Most of Quick Fix 31 min.
PROGRAM 3: Adjusting Colors 39 min.
PROGRAM 4: Using Adjustment Layers 56 min.
PROGRAM 5: Importing Camera Raw 27 min.
PROGRAM 6: Selection Techniques 28 min.
PROGRAM 7: Photorealistic Distortions 39 min.
PROGRAM 8: Healing & Sharpening 32 min.
PROGRAM 9: Effects, Filters, & Layer Styles 43 min.
PROGRAM 10: Text & Shapes 48 min.
Lesson 10: Loading Shape Libraries

As you can see from the number of lessons, this is a big program. I'm not going to try to give you examples of the lessons as they are so large.

What I like to do with Deke McClelland's programs is install each one onto my iMac and listen to the whole thing before trying to follow the lesson. I usually install on both my iMac and on my PowerBook so I have Deke's example on the PB and I can do the lessons on the bigger screen of the iMac. Deke McClelland has a very folksy way of speaking but don't let that fool you. These lessons are very extensive.

Before I start this review, let me mention that I have been using the full-fledged versions of Adobe Photoshop for years and am now using Photoshop CS. Having written that, I must tell you that I would not buy the "big brother" program again when I could have most of the important aspects of that application in the "little brother" program, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3. Not only that, but the smaller program is much easier to use. The new version is a major upgrade and I was very pleased to work with it.

One thing I found to be a little disconcerting is the Tool Bar with the tools in different locations than in CS so I was frequently going to where I thought the Brush should be and it was somewhere else. Not a problem for people who don't use Photoshop CS as they can become accustomed to the new layout. I'm sure I will get used to this feature soon.

The third version has a fast red eye fix that is so easy to use. It is a shorter, faster fix than in the CS version. The File Browser is the same in both applications.

In the Enhance mode there are these areas: Auto Smart Fix, Levels, Contrast and Color correction. Also Adjust smart fix, Adjust lighting and Adjust color. The latter two have fine tuning options.

In Photoshop CS under Image Adjustment there are twenty-one areas where adjustments can be made. Many of these I have never used. I have used Levels and Curves a lot. Curves is not in the Elements version but Levels is a much better module so the loss of Curves doesn't matter. There seems to be only one more module in the CS version in the Filter menu.

Adobe's Web site has a long list under the heading of Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, What's New which you can find at: http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com/articles/photoshopelements3.php

I'm surprised that Adobe would have such a big upgrade and make it so like the full Photoshop CS version but it is a wonderful program at a very reasonable price. The upgrade price is only $69.99 or you can download it for $59.99. The whole version is only $99.99 while Photoshop CS is $649.00. The CS version may have more to it but surely not $579.01 worth!

Reviewed by NCMUG member Janet Mobley