This is a book review that I wrote for Craft Critique. It appeared on that blog last week.
If you have ever thought about doing anything with Photoshop Elements, you must buy Patty Debowski’s book, Digital & Hybrid Scrapbooking & Card-Making with Photoshop Elements.
It’s a long and inelegant title, but this is the first book I’ve ever seen that covers absolutely everything in plain English. The monster manual-style book (it’s 384 pages) comes with a DVD, which is packed with digital elements, actions, brushes, and coupons for lots and lots of discounts. In her introduction to the book, Patty writes, “Learning to digi-scrap, for me, was a very long and frustrating experience. I spent many hours surfing the web and reading anything on the subject I could get my hands on….After buying every book available on Photoshop Elements, I finally found a Photoshop Elements Adult Education class. The books and class taught me how to edit my photos and make slide shows, not how to make a scrapbook page or a card.” Thus, this book was born.
Here’s what you’ll find in the book:
• Beautiful color screen shots.
• Easy to follow step-by-step directions.
• A comprehensive index.
• Keyboard shortcuts.
• A scrapbooker’s perspective.
The book is divided into the following sections:
• Questions Every new Digi-Scrapper Has
In this section, Patty covers topics such as “Why Photoshop Elements” or “If You’re Using a Mac.”
• Getting Started
Patty covers the basics on installing Photoshop Elements.
Patty covers Cameras, Computers, Scanners, Printers, and Wacom Tablets.
• Organizing Your Photos, Digi-Kits, Ideas, Time & Extras
This is just what the title describes.
• The Really Technical Stuff
In my opinion, this is the beginning of what sets Patty apart from other authors. She explains it all: “What’s a Pixel?” “How Big Are My Images?” “How Do I Resize a Scrapbook Page To Upload To A Online Gallery?” And so on.
• The Photoshop Elements Editor
This section is all about shortcuts.
• Tools, Commands, & Tips
Sections in this chapter include “Tools That Move You Around” and “Tools That Make Shapes.” Patty really thinks the way a scrapbooker does and so each chapter is organized that way. And it’s great as a reference book because I can just look up, “Tools That Erase” or whatever else I’m having an issue with.
Patty covers absolutely everything you would ever want to know about layers in this chapter, from linking layers to clipping masks.
• Filters & Blending Modes
Through lots of helpful screenshots, Patty shares what every single Filter and Blending Mode in Photoshop Elements does!
• Fixing Your Photos Quickly
This is a very brief section on the “Quick Fix” feature in Photoshop Elements.
• Design, Color, & Journaling
This is a brief overview of some common sense design principles and contains some helpful links to a variety of scrapbooking and card-making sites.
• How to Do The Basics
As you might expect, this section covers how to create a basic scrapbook page or card.
This sections opens with “What is a Template?” and continues by explaining how templates work, how to create a template, how to use various templates, etc.
• Cool Stuff to Do With…
Love the title of this section! Basically, Patty covers, “Cool Stuff to Do With Text, Shapes & Mats” – such as multi-colored text and embossing words in a photo – “Cool Stuff to Do With Brushes” – such as make your own brushes and how to make a rubber stamp looking brush – “Cool Stuff to Do With Color” – such as change a color photo to black and white and tinting a photo – “Cool Stuff to Do With Photos” – such as change your photo into a puzzle and how to make a magazine or book cover.
• Shopping, Downloading, & Installing
Among other things, Patty takes you through the various steps involved in downloading scrapbook kits and installing them on your computer.
• Printing Your Pages & Cards
Patty reviews the pros and cons of printing at home or commercially.
For the sake of full disclosure, I feel that I should share that this book was sent to me by Patty when I became a member of the Scrapbook Dimensions Magazine Dream Team. I already knew the basics of digi and hybrid scrapbooking, but she really took my work to a whole other level. I use this book as a desktop reference and whenever I get stuck, I use the index to un-stick myself.
Patty has a great website and she offers free weekly tips and tricks on the Scrapbook Dimensions blog.
I highly recommend Digital & Hybrid Scrapbooking & Card-Making With Photoshop Elements ($39.99). It is the most comprehensive digi-scrapping book I have ever read.
Here are a few digi pages that I recently created: