Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed

Total Training
DVD – 6 hours, 13 minutes. $59.99

Photoshop trainer Deke McClelland delivers a boffo “beyond the basics” instructional course for Photoshop Elements 3 in Total Training’s Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed. Aimed at intermediate to advanced users, the six hour DVD delves into the surprisingly sophisticated features of Elements 3. McClelland’s clear, understandable instruction is second to none, and his special brand of self-deprecating humor keeps the training lively and engaging.

The DVD’s ten lessons are divided into short topic chapters of about five minutes each, making it easy to consume the training in small bites or to zero in on specific topics of interest. The first lesson, “The Art of Imaging,” introduces various palettes, layers, brushes, tools and techniques, most of which are explored in greater depth later. Subsequent lessons include “Making the Most of Quick Fix,” “Adjusting Colors,” “Using Adjustment Layers,” “Importing Camera Raw,” “Selection Techniques,” Photorealistic Distortions,” “Healing & Sharpening,” “Effects, Filters & Layer Styles,” and “Text & Shapes.”

McClelland teaches us how to leverage Elements 3 features like the Photo Bin which actually surpass the full-fledged version of Photoshop CS, as well as how to apply keyboard shortcuts and tool techniques to speed up our work. Familiarity with the Elements 3 interface is assumed, but McClelland always makes sure viewers know how to find the tools, palettes, etc. that he uses in the lessons. In those instances where Mac and Windows instructions vary, both methods are presented without favoring one platform over another.

A Launchpad application installs the 17.5 MB training application, a 96 MB project files folder and Deke’s Presets (custom gradients, styles and textures for Elements 3) onto your hard drive. Project files and preset installation is optional but strongly recommended. Registering with Total Training entitles you to $100 worth of royalty-free images from Like Photoshop Elements 3, the Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed DVD requires OS X, Windows XP or Windows 2000.

Deke McClelland’s training videos usually feature an entertaining “concept.” For Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed McClelland dons a lab coat and, surrounded by bubbling beakers and backed by a Periodic Chart of the Elements (get the connection?) Deke welcomes us to Dekester’s Lab. To keep matters from getting too serious, he starts each lesson with a chemistry-based joke or routine. Some of the jokes actually help us to understand the topic better; the rest just make us glad (if sometimes groaning) for the laughs that energize this exceptional learning experience.

Most highly recommended.
– Elsa Travisano

Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 Unleashed
System requirements: DVD drive, OS X, Windows XP or Windows 2000.

Copyright ©2005 by Elsa Travisano. This review appeared in the June 2005 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.