Oh, all right: there are some honest-to-goodness "cheats" here. (Elements lacks Photoshop's powerful Layer Masks feature, but the authors show you how to get the identical result.) The heart of this book, however, is hands-on projects designed to trigger your imagination.
For instance, the authors love composites and montages and show you how to make them stunningly realistic. (There's a full chapter on using transformation and distortion to create perspective, wrap text on curved surfaces, and so forth.) Want to recolor a sky, simulate candlelight or flashlight illumination, fake neon signs or writing in the sand? OK, maybe that's cheating -- but it sure is fun. Bill Camarda, from the February 2008 Read Only