Our book review of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 Maximum Performance: Unleash the Hidden Performance of Elements in Paperback by Mark Galer

Title: Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 Maximum Performance: Unleash the Hidden Performance of Elements

Author: Mark Galer

ISBN: 0240521358

Publisher: Focal Press

Edition: Paperback

RRP: £21.99

Dimensions: 336 pages, 24.1 x 18.5 x 2.5 cm

Although they both cover similar ground in terms of understanding advanced techniques, the primary difference between this book and Advanced Photoshop by Philip Andrews is that Unleash the Hidden Performance is more of a workbook than a reference guide, in that it comes with a DVD full of creative projects to work on as you plough your way through the book.

Split into three sections – Optimize, Enhance and Montage – each of these sections is further split into a number of chapters, with each taking the form of a creative project based around an image. Within the Optimize section this includes lessons such as ‘Crop and Correct’ and ‘Tones and Sharpening’. Projects in the Enhance section include ‘Black and White’, ‘Toning’ and ‘Motion Blur’, while the Montage section offers lessons in ‘Replacing a Sky’, ‘Layer Blending’ and ‘Photomerging’ among others.

Galer’s writing style is enthusiastic and informative and also surprisingly easy to follow. ‘Before and after’ shots are used to illustrate each individual project, along with screen grabs showing which sliders and buttons are being used to generate which effects. As a learning tool there’s no doubt that this approach works very well. In addition to project material, the DVD also boasts over seven hours of QuickTime tutorials.

So, does this mean that it’s a better title than Advanced Photoshop? Well, that will depend on how you intend to use it. While Advanced Photoshop is probably the better all-round reference book for advanced users, Unleash the Hidden Performance is the preferable title for those regular users who want to become advanced users through hands-on learning and by getting involved with the software.

 What Digital Camera Rating: 90%