Read an Excerpt
So, you wanna have fun with Photoshop Elements? You came to the right place. Do you want to create images that are beautiful, funny, or politically incorrect? Pull up a chair. If you want people to think you are on vacation in some exotic location while you're just hanging around the house, I'll show you how to fake the perfect postcard. If you'd like to make outrageous combinations of animal parts, environments, or food, this book is for you. Are you dying to distort your spouse's face or make your parents look really old? This book can show you how, but maybe you need to work on anger management, too.
Welcome to the Second Edition
The first edition of Fun with Photoshop Elements was so wildly successful, we just had to satisfy popular demand and update it to include version 4 of this dandy program. Some reviewers rated the original Fun with Photoshop Elements as the funniest computer book on the rack, while others (um) could not be reached for comment.
How does this edition differ from our earlier offering, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. Projects have been updated, where needed, to include new features in Photoshop Elements 4. Some projects have been substantially rewritten and there's a brand new project on scrapbooking. More hand-holding is provided for beginners, including a beefed-up Appendix B on the basics. The screenshots of palettes and other interface elements in our first edition were all made on a Mac. Now I've created all screen captures on a PC.
Actually, Photoshop Elements 4 is only available for Windows. Yeah, I wondered about that, too. Why would Adobe want to turn its back on all of us Mac users? My anonymous source in the industry (similar to "Deep Throat," but really more like "Enlarged Tonsils") explained it to me. Seems that Adobe is annoyed that Apple provides a photo organizer/editor free with its operating system. It's called iPhoto, and it's a pretty good browser/organizer, but it has only the most minimal editing tools. Nothing like the vast array of creative tools for altering, combining, and generating images available in Photoshop Elements! But Adobe decided to punish Apple, thus restricting Mac users to Photoshop Elements 3. When that program becomes obsolete, I'm sure Adobe will be happy to take your money for the much more expensive Photoshop CS.
Who Are You?
You are a hobbyist, or recently retired, or a person with a demanding job who just wants to "unlax" creatively. You're a kid or a parent or a grandparent. You are a "shutterbug" who enjoys taking snapshots, or you have absolutely no interest in photography. You have an idea for an image that you need help creating, or you just want to fool around for a couple hours now and again. You definitely want to learn how to use Photoshop Elements as painlessly as possible. You are certainly a bargain hunter, proven by your purchase of Photoshop Elements at a small fraction of the cost of Photoshop CS, while getting about 90% of the features offered in the high-end version.
What Do I Need?
No experience with Photoshop Elements is necessary to start having fun right away, although you will probably work faster if you're an intermediate to advanced user. Appendix B, "Photoshop in a Peanut Shell," at the back of the book serves as a handy reference for basics you'll want to learn or be reminded of. This book covers both versions 3 and 4 of Photoshop Elements, and Photoshop CS users have not been ignored, either. There are tips where needed in a project (as well as in Appendix B) to point out any significant differences among these programs.
Most Photoshop techniques can be performed just fine with a mouse, but there are a few that are much easier (and more fun!) with a Wacom tablet and pressure-sensitive stylus. A scanner will be handy, too, if you want to digitize old photos taken with a traditional film camera. Remember those?
Where Do I Start?
The chapters are self-contained and designed to be used in any order. Within a chapter it's a good idea to start with the first project and work down, but even that isn't absolutely required. So feel free to jump around and do what looks interesting at the moment.
Every project is liberally illustrated with images at various stages to keep you on track. Screen captures of dialog boxes, menus, or palettes will help you navigate the program and choose options.
What Will I Learn?
I made no attempt to cover every aspect of Photoshop Elements in the first edition, and I must say, with all due modesty, I was very successful once again. It turned out, however, that most of the important features of this amazing and versatile program got covered. If you do all the projects in all the chapters, you'll have a good grasp of most Photoshop techniques and at least a nodding acquaintance with many others. When you finish Fun with Photoshop Elements 4 and want to continue your adventures in image manipulation, there are resources listed in Appendix A, "Resources," to help you do just that.
Where's the CD?
You won't find a CD to accompany this book on the inside back cover, or anywhere else. We wanted to keep the cost as low as possible and pass the savings on to you. The source images needed for most of the projects are available for download from the Fun with Photoshop Elements 4 website at http://www.samspublishing.com. Type the book's ISBN (0672328518) in the Search field to find the page you're looking for.
Here's where you'll find pictures of people, places and things created by professionals and obtained from stock photography companies. ShutterStock.com has been especially generous. You'll also find some "unprofessional" images donated by my family and friends. For some projects you'll have access to exactly the same images I worked with, and in other cases reasonably similar photos are provided. Many projects can and should be done with your own photos. Wouldn't you much rather distort the faces and bodies of your family rather than some total stranger? See Appendix A for more info on image resources.
If you scan images printed in books or magazines or search the web for digital pictures, be aware that such items might be copyright protected. That's not a problem unless you want to publish your edited versions. Copyright law gives the original creator of an image all rights to it, including derivations thereof (or is it "wherefrom"?). How much would you have to change an image to make it legally your own and not just a derivation? Are you willing to go to court to find out?
When it comes to using the likeness of a celebrity, things can get complicated. Are you infringing on the copyright of the subject or the photographer who created the photo? Maybe both! Famous people have the right of publicity to prevent others from making money with their likeness, even after death. On the other hand, ordinary folks have the right to privacy, so you need to get a "model release" signed before you can legally publish their faces.
There are exceptions to copyright protection, called fair use. For example, you can publish doctored images of famous people for satirical purposes. How about drawings? As a professional caricature artist I need to publish examples of my work, using famous faces to demonstrate my skill. Not a problem, legally...unless it's Jay Leno. He's kinda prickly about stuff like that, maybe 'cause he's such a popular target. Anyhow, some of my colleagues have gotten "cease and desist" suggestions from Leno's staff. 'Nuff said.
Copyright expires 70 years after the death of the creator, at which time the image becomes public domain, so anything goes. An image like the Mona Lisa is way in the public domain, even though the painting itself is owned by the Louvre in Paris. Ownership of a piece of art is completely separate from usage rights thereto.
The images made available to you on the Fun with Photoshop Elements 4 website are provided only for your personal use in working the projects. All other rights are reserved by the copyright holders.
I'm glad we had this little chat. Now, go have fun with Photoshop!
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