Ok. So the review I originally wrote was about Patty's first book, Digital & Hybrid Scrapbooking & Card-Making with Photoshop Elements. She has since updated, upgraded, and made the book BETTER (and it has a new title), so I'm going to adjust my original review to encompass the new book.
My best friend helps me with all of the reviews I do on digi books, and at this point I like to make my ultimate judgment of a book based on her reaction to it. When she started looking at this book , she begged me to let her take it home. That night. When I told her that I still needed the book to write the review, she told me to beg the author for an extra copy for her.
So yeah. The book is good.
The book is also huge. It’s a standard letter-size (8.5x11), and 384 pages. It reminds me of my college textbooks (and at $50, is much cheaper than they were.) The pages are sturdy, and have a nice glossy feel.Since I started my Digi-Scrapping with Jen blog in an attempt to make Photoshop more attainable for scrapbookers, I’ve had a lot of people tell me I should write a book. And my answer has always been no, because I have neither the time, energy, or focus to tackle such a project. When I started reading this book, I got really excited – this is totally the book I would have written.
Patty uses the approach that I prefer when it comes to teaching Photoshop: tell the reader about the tools they will use in Photoshop to make scrapbook pages, and explain (in plain English) how the tools and features work; this way the reader can internalize that information and will be free to digi-scrap on their own from then on. The book is easily readable, and has great screen shots – I really think that anyone who takes time to study the book will be able to digi-scrap without further help.
I had a hard time teaching myself Photoshop, because I used regular Photoshop manuals I found at the library. They had a lot of random information that I would never need, and I had to pick through several manuals to piece together a complete understanding of using Photoshop for my digi pages. My life would have been so much easier, had I had a copy of The Digital Scrapbook Teacher three years ago. The book is definitely for someone who isn’t afraid to read -- but friends, an understanding of Photoshop can not be handed to you. You have to work for it.
The book gives you probably more info than you initially need, but you can always come back later and pick up the parts you skip. When I was talking to my other local digi friend about this book, I jokingly said “It’s like the Physician’s Desk Reference for digi-scrapping.” We laughed, but I realized that it’s totally true. This is a GREAT reference book.
Patty focuses on Photoshop Elements, but the majority of the information presented will transfer to the full blown version of Photoshop. There aren’t a lot of scrapbook page examples in the book; instead she uses the space for screen shots to help the tutorials make sense.
I personally disagree with Patty about organizing kits by the websites they are purchased from; my experience in digi-world has taught me that designers tend to jump around a lot. It makes much more sense to organize all your kits by the name of the designer, which is something that will never change (well, usually never.) But if you can overlook that, she has a lot of great advice in her section about organizing your digi purchases. And it’s very important to stress to a person brand new to digi to organize from the get-go!
So for people out there who want to learn Photoshop Elements, and who are like me and want to know, in depth, how their program works? This book is a God send. At this point, digi-scrapping is such a huge, crazy world, there’s no ONE book or website that can inform you completely – but this book is the closest I’ve seen so far that can really teach you the ins and outs of Photoshop Elements.
signed, Jen Strange :)