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width=150 height=125 vspace=5 border=0> Graphics Chronicle


coverPicture Yourself Learning Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 by Diane Koers.

Diane Koers's writing includes over 35 books on topics such as PC security, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works, WordPerfect, Paint Shop Pro, Lotus SmartSui9te, Quicken, Microsoft Money, and Peachtree Accounting. Two things are very obvious from the start: she knows Paint Shop Pro inside and out and she can communicate her teaching in a way different from many other authors I have reviewed.

There are lots of illustrations, screen shots, before and after photos of what she is teaching and she doesn't assume you know intermediate steps - she gives you the whole picture. The book comes with a CD-ROM packed full of backgrounds, brushes, demo versions of helpful software (page curl, puzzle pro, puzzle pro shapes, Gliftex), embellishments, four fonts (ttf), frames, masks, scrap kits, and tubes. In appendix B sites are provided for furthering your PSP skills. Many listed are old favorites and only six came up not found out of 41 sites listed. Most authors will refrain from putting any urls in a published book for this reason. She is to be commended for including some of the most expressive and advanced PSP sites available.

If I had any complaint at all it would be that the screenshots of menu bars and tools are too small to see well. You will want PSP open in front of you so you see clearly what Diane is pointing out. Of course this is not a major fault at all.

What you will find in the (almost) 400 pages is Getting Acquainted, Working with Paint Shop Pro Photo Files, Discovering Drawing Tools, Making Selections, Understanding Color, Developing Layers, Becoming More Organized, Making Quick Fixes, Manually Editing Images, Adding Effects, Filters, and Deformations, Constructing Vector Objects, Editing Vector Objects, Working with Text, Printing and Distributing Images, Creating Panoramas and 3-D Photos, Making Digital Scrapbooks, and in Appendix A - Keyboard Shortcuts.

covercoverPaint Shop Pro Photo X1 & X2 for Photographers by Ken McMahon.

Dave Huss, author, photographer and technical writer says "This is the best book on Paint Shop Pro - Period'. The book level is rated for beginning and intermediate.

Here is the Forward in the book by Gage S. Lockhart, PSP Technical Support Specialist, Corel Software Inc.
"This book provides information and guidance from a photographer's perspective. Ken McMahon has done an exceptional job in creating a book and web package that is ideal for beginners and novices without insulting those who already have a solid grasp of Paint Shop Pro Photo and are seeking quick, streamlined solutions. If you are new, this publication prevents the inevitable information overload you experience as you venture into digital photography as well as demystifying the software tricks people use to get those professional-looking results and neat photo effects. If you have already mastered Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture settings, along with how to use image-editing software, you get straightforward solutions with convincing demonstrations on how Paint Shop Pro Photo XI can quickly take your digital photography to the next level." ...

The Contents of the book begin with 'Digital Image-making', 'Simple Picture Manipulation' (two separate chapters), 'Controlling Change', 'Combining Images', 'Text', 'Manipulating Images', 'Print Preparation', 'Working with the Web', with a final chapter devoted to 'Snapfire and Photo Album' (this listing is from the 'X1' book).

Review by PSPUG member Pete
I personally bought the 'X1' version as soon as it came out and never regretted it. The illustrations in the book explaining the various tool bars, tool options, and dialog boxes you will encounter with various effects takes some of the mystery and surprise out of the program. X2 has such a different look to it that it would also be well worth having for the improvements emphasis Corel is packaging with the program now.

Important to remember is the fact that you can customize your toolbars for the way you work. If you are used to older versions of the program and need certain tools visible (and can't find them now) it is easy to put them back in the tools toolbar and perhaps remove ones you will seldom use in your work. I particularly like the graphite look to the newest version. Your workspace will not cause you eyestrain when spending hours on end editing your work and the graphics seem to leap off the screen now since they become your real focus.

coverCorel Paint Shop Pro X: The Official Guide by Dave Huss and Lori J. Davis.

Excerpts from the introduction...
You will discover that our approach to Paint Shop Pro X is more focused on using it to work with photographs rather than draw heart-shaped vector objects or as a paint tool to create semi-realistic flowers. Most of these pages are dedicated to improving, preserving, and printing photos and having some fun in the process.

You'll be impressed with the vast array of digital image correction tools that up until now have only been available as expensive Photoshop plug-ins. You will learn how to use the powerful set of image enhancement tools to give both beginners and power users the ability to make even poor quality photos look great with only a few keystrokes.

A special effort was made to focus on the realistic use of program features on real-world projects and problems. If you are not a beginner, we have included a wealth of techniques, ideas, and suggestions for the advanced user, digital photographer, or photo editor.

How This Book Is Organized...
Corel Paint Shop Pro X: The Official Guide includes 14 chapter organized into five parts. Each chapter is designed to guide you through how to use Paint Shop Pro's tools, features, and/or resources. the parts are structured in a sequence for reference and in logical progression, much like a typical learning sequence.

  • Part 1: Getting Acquainted with Paint Shop Pro X
  • Part II: Photo Editing
  • Part III: Creating Original Images Using Paint Shop Pro X
  • Part IV: Getting Creative with Paint Shop Pro X
  • Part V: Customizing and Automation

Review by PSPUG member Pete
My complaint with the book solely rests with the paper quality that it is printed on. It appears one step better than newsprint. Other books on the market have whiter, glossier pages where the images have snap. It's a minor thing but you will notice it right off. Between pages 168 and 169 color illustrations are included on better paper so you can compare the text with these examples of the programs results.

Once I began comparing the screen shots used to teach tool usage the book began to shine. The illustrations were very helpful: you didn't have to scratch your head and wonder - what next?

It was finally explained (to me, adequately) how to set the highlights and shadow areas of a photo so you could so some serious photo work. Although the authors make it plain that this book is for the individual wanting to work with photos, nothing has been 'subtracted' from the program to make it unsuitable for the digital artist.

coverPaint Shop Pro 8 in a Snap by Jennifer Fulton.

Quote from back cover of book.
Quick. Easy. Fun.

You're a smart person, And you're certainly not afraid of computers. But when you need to use a new product like Paint Shop Pro, you just don't have time to sit down and figure out all the in's and outs, or to study some long-winded reference manual.

You just want something that quickly shows you how to use Paint Shop Pro to get thing done.

Paint Shop Pro 8 in a Snap is written just for you. Organized in a series of short, clearly written, well-illustrated lessons, Paint Shop Pro 8 in a Snap lets you zero right in on that one particular task you need to accomplish right now and then lets you get back to work.

Learning to use a new piece of software shouldn't be a time-consuming or painful process. It should be quick, easy and maybe even a little bit of fun.

Review by PSPUG member Phyllis
This book is aimed at the beginner but goes beyond the basics. Experienced users should also find it helpful. It is presented in such a way that a beginner can complete complicated tasks, with step by step instructions and illustrations, much like a tutorial. All the instructions are dedicated to the use of the program with photographs. There is no coverage for drawing, painting or creating web pages. The majority of illustrations are in black and white. It would be nice if they could all have been in color, but that would probably have doubled the price.

cover Paint Shop Pro 8 : The Guide to Creating Professional Images by Robin Nichols

Not recommended for total beginners. This is the ideal guide for anyone wanting to take their imaging skills to a higher level. It shows you how to optimize scans and digital photos, fix up old or damaged pictures and create a website from the ground up. There are also sections on how to add text to your pictures, create vector graphics and prepare images for print. Pictures featured in the book are provided online so you can download them at your leisure and try the techniques as you progress through the book.

Reviewer: From Fayetteville, NC United States
As soon as I opened this book I knew I would like it. It's in COLOR, what a novel idea, to make a photo book in color!!!! :-). It deals with digital photos and scans and web only, none of that other stuff you can do like make graphics and things. You can also download the picture from the web site to follow along. For working with digital photos and scans this is the BEST PSP 8 book I have used.

coverDefensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points (Voices That Matter) by 37signals, Matthew Linderman, Jason Fried

Offers guidelines for preventing errors in web sites and rescuing customers when problems occur, providing hundreds of real-world examples that show the right and wrong ways to handle crisis points. The book will be useful for designers and information architects, developers, copy writers, and project managers and executives.

Reviewer: A reader from Wayne, PA, USA
I've read the other reviews on this site and the negative ones seem to think the stuff in this book is rehashed or just common knowledge. I guess they didn't need this book. However, there are quite a lot of sites out there with horrible interfaces that could be made better if only they WOULD read "Defensive Design for the Web." So obviously there are those out there who CAN benefit from it.

Being a web developer, I can't say everything in it was something I didn't know. Some of it's just plain common sense. What I really liked was that it's short, to the point, and has an abundance of examples of both how to do something and how NOT to do it. If you want to create a better user experience, get this book.

cover How to do Everything with Paintshop Pro 8 by David Huss
Guide to using Paint Shop Pro 8. Shows how to crop, color, print, edit, and repair images. Restore and revive images through editing, color correction, and other techniques designed to help you achieve professional results.

Although this book needs another title (it certainly does not cover 'everything' in PSP 8 especially things like brushes, filters, it is still an excellent reference for using PSP 8 with your digital photography images and teaching some digital photography techniques.

Magazine Subscriptions

coverDynamic Graphics by Dynamic Graphics Inc.
Magazine covering creative design ideas for Mac and PC users. Includes features on basic Photoshop techniques and PowerPoint presentations; columns on color, the rights and wrongs of using copyrighted work on websites, and digital cameras; and articles on technology.

This magazine is targeted to newbies, do-it-yourselfers who may not have much formal design training, and those who are looking for quick, elegant solutions to perennial layout and design chestnuts.

Created for both Mac and PC users, the magazine provides how-tos in design and layout, giving instruction for multiple programs (so, not just how to do something in Illustrator, but also Freehand and Corel, for instance.) It also provides good foundation info on the design/printing/production process. And its annual Better-Than-Ever issue is usually very good.

I would especially strongly recommend it for those on tight budgets, or who design a wide range of communications vehicles in addition to their other, non-design job responsibilities.

Check these books out also!








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