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4th July 2005
Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One book review
by Ian Burley

An excellent supplement to the Photoshop Elements 3.0 manual for both beginners and the more experienced, the book is enhanced by two hours of bundled video tutorials

Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One
Authors: Deke McClelland and Galen Fott
Publisher: Deke Press/O'Reilly
ISBN 0596008449
Jacket price: UKŁ24.95, US$34.95
We have Amazon discounts available at the end of this page.

Following on from Deke McClelland's highly recommended one-on-one for Photoshop CS, the Photoshop Elements 3.0 version sustains the author's high reputation.

This is the second Photoshop book by Deke McClelland I have reviewed, the first being Photoshop CS One-on-One, which I rated very highly. Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One follows the same formula of a fully illustrated, lesson by lesson, approach that is embodied in a book and bundled CD for PC-based video learning. Photoshop CS One-on-One was always going to be a hard act to follow, but you'll be pleased to hear that Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One is just as successful. For Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One, McClelland is joined by Galen Fott, a freelance contributing editor to PC Magazine in the US, as well as a seasoned Total Training presenter specialising in graphics applications. However, I was a little puzzled that there was very little acknowledgment of Fott or his contributions in the book. The above information came from his home page at

Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows one-on-one is a well laid-out book that has been printed to a high standard.

If you haven't yet read a One-on-One book, of which there are several, besides the two mentioned Photoshop examples, the formula goes like this: the book is divided into a series of lessons, in this case twelve, each of which is divided up in to bite-size chunks that are smaller than conventional chapters but more than just a paragraph. To support each lesson there is a corresponding video tutorial and you are encouraged to follow the examples provided, on your own PC, as you proceed. On the video tutorials CD the lessons are presented in batches of three, with an introductory summary presented by McClelland with each batch. The video tutorials don't necessarily reflect the exact same examples in the book, which means you get more variety. I'd doubt that you would find the book hard going, but even if you did, the videos are there to hold your hand and keep up your learning momentum.

Sample video tutorial screens

Click on a thumbnail below for a larger view of the screen. Please note that the screen views have been reduced in size to fit the web and are clearer to read than they appear here.


Holding the in-depth content of the book together is an easy-going prose, reinforced by good quality example illustrations and plenty of stage-by-stage reminders of key points covered. In the videos, McClelland's commentary is friendly and informative, never dropping you into the technical deep end and yet successfully maintaining the interest of those who are already well-acquainted with the topic being covered.

In Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One, you start with an introduction to the Elements 3.0 Organizer, which Photoshop Album users will instantly recognise. In the next lesson, the pros and cons of quick-fix 'auto' correction and enhancement tools is covered. Lesson three gets its teeth into colour theory, a crucial discipline to master if you want to get the most out of your photo editing. I haven't seen many better examples of such a tutorial and a big chunk of the book's price tag is earned here alone.

The next four lessons cover key editing tools that work on your fundamental image, from making selections, cropping, resizing and straightening, to painting and healing tools, plus filters and distortion effects. The next twenty pages cover the biggest learning challenge, I think, in Photoshop Elements 3.0 and that's the use of layers. Again the presentation, both on paper in the book and on-screen via the video tutorial, are top notch. Following the lesson on layers is a look at text and shapes and how to format and manipulate them.

On to the final three lessons, the first of which deals with styles and another tricky topic, adjustment layers. Next you can get up to speed on image sharing, be it via email, printed out or online. The final lesson builds on the previous with a look at slide shows and other creative presentations, like greetings cards, calendars and panoramas.

Here the 393 pages of the book end, but if you take the trouble to register with Total Training online, you get access to a couple of free bonus lessons on the CD that show you how to create a silhouette composite and some ideas for artistic, yet photorealistic, distortion effects.

It's very hard to fault the One-on-One formula. It successfully makes tackling the lessons compulsive. The authors clearly know what they are doing, both from a technical and a presentational perspective. There isn't a lot more to say, except – if you need to beef up your practical knowledge of Photoshop Elements 3.0, then Photoshop Elements 3 for Windows One-on-One comes highly recommended!

Overall ratings – At DPNow we don't much rate stars and percentages because they mean one thing to one reviewer and something else to another, but as the industry demands such devices, we reluctantly provide them, based on our concept of the product's target market, the competition and how we got on while testing it:

5 stars (out of 5)

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