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Title: Sams Teach Yourself Paint Shop Pro 5 in 24 Hours
Author: T. Michael Clark
Publisher: Sams Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 361
ISBN: 0-672-31362-6
Price: $19.99 or purchase at Jasc at a discount
Sams Teach Yourself Paint Shop Pro 5 in 24 Hours is a tutorial guide for Paint Shop Pro 5. In 24 easy sessions, it leads you, step-by-step, through the fundamentals of creating and editing images with the program. The User's Guide that comes with Paint Shop Pro 5 is very adequate and thorough. But, to be honest, User's Guides are never humorous nor inviting. This book is! The author, T. Michael Clark, is a graphic artist, who owns and operates GrafX Design, a Web site that features online tutorials for Paint Shop Pro, among other topics. The author states that learning should be enjoyable and that it should involve lots of hands-on experience; so he likes to write his books in a way that makes the lessons fun and inviting. He doesn't assume anything on behalf of the readers. Whether he is discussing a topic as complex as anti-aliasing or something as simple as creating a button for a Web page, he believes in including step-by-step descriptions and as many illustrations as necessary to enable the reader to get a handle on the concept. This attitude makes the book very readible and clear.

The Sams Teach Yourself series offers other books that are written with a clear and easy manner. The series is aimed at the reader who does not already know how to use an application. The material is presented in a tutorial approach to guide the reader through the learning process. The series includes: Sams Teach Yourself in 10 Minutes; Sams Teach Yourself in 24 Hours; and Sams Teach Yourself in 21 Days.
I would highly recommend this book for beginner computer users or anyone just starting out with Paint Shop Pro. The author has written the book with an intuitive feel for what someone unfamiliar with Paint Shop Pro would want to learn, and he knows how to make it enjoyable for them. The book is clear; easy to follow; written with a sense of humor; and full of tips, hints, and examples. Intermediate users just might pick up a few tips.

The book is divided into 24 one hour sessions or chapters. Each session includes step-by-step tutorials on how to use the features covered in that chapter. These chapters are written with the goal of helping you gain the knowledge you need to get you going as quickly as possible. Each lesson covers a specific topic that helps you not only accomplish a certain task using Paint Shop Pro but also helps to build your expertise and comfort level when it comes to creating and working with digital graphics. I went through the book, from cover to cover, and performed all of the tutorials. Below, I will briefly describe each chapter and present my images that I made following the tutorials.

Part I: Getting Started in Paint Shop Pro

Hour 1 Paint Shop Pro Basics--includes basic information on installation of Paint Shop Pro and an overview of the the program's interface and new features.

Hour 2 Tools, Preferences, and Menus--discusses the toolbar; the toolbox and its options and tools; the various palettes and menus; and the preferences you can set to customize Paint Shop Pro.

Hour 3 Opening, Saving, and Printing Files--introduces you to actions in Paint Shop Pro of opening a file; saving a file; importing and exporting files; and the basics of printing files.

Hour 4 Creating Your First Image--provides basic information on creating an image; editing an image; and fixing mistakes in an image. You learn to use the shapes tool; how to avoid jaggedness or aliasing in in image; and how to use brush tips.

Part II: Editing Your Images

Hour 5 Creating and Working with Selections--introduces you to using the selection tools; editing selections; loading and saving selections; and learning about alpha channels. A selection masks off an area of an image so that you can make changes to that area without affecting the rest of the image. You can fill selections, run effects on them, save selections; copy and paste selections; and add and subtract selections. The author includes a step-by-step tutorial on selections to show you how you can create an interesting image from just a few selections. Following the tutorial, I made the grey shape. I then got creative and added the two red balls which are picture tubes and the frame and matte using Photo/Graphic Edges by Auto F/X; by just Hour 5 you are learning how easy Paint Shop Pro is to use.

Hour 6 Working with Deformations--you learn to use the deformation tool; resize and rotate your images; add perspective to images; and use fading and fills. This is probably one of my most favorite tools in Paint Shop Pro, and the author simplifies the tasks involved in using the deformation tool for shadowed text. I just added the button border from Paint Shop Pro to add some effect.

Hour 7 Drawing Tools and Techniques--Paint Shop Pro provides a number of tools and this chapter introduces the drawing tools; tool options; drawing shapes; drawing normal lines; and drawing Bezier lines. I followed the step-by-step tutorial to create the bulls-eye shape and then added the frame from Photo/Graphic Edges.

Hour 8 Painting Tools and Techniques--discusses painting and drawing with the paint brushes tool; using the airbrush tool; creating custom brush tips, using the flood fill tool; and working with the clone brush tool. I used the author's information to make the following custom brush tip. I scanned in two rocks from the Berlin Wall (the real McCoy, gotten on a trip to Germany) and made a custom brush from the scanned rocks. This custom brush was used for the background of this image.

Hour 9 Using Color Effectively--includes information on the color tools; learning the color models used with Paint Shop Pro; adjusting shadows, highlights, and midtones; and adjusting hue, saturation, and luminance.

Hour 10 Creating Cool Text Effects--learn how to use the text tool; create wooden-textured text; create chrome text; add a drop shadow; and add glow to your text. This was a fun chapter. The author provides easy to follow steps to create different text effects. He describes feathering, the hot wax coating effect, and using the Gaussian Blur. I added the frame and matte from Photo/Graphic Edges.

Part III: Tools to Work Efficiently

Hour 11 Layers--understanding layers is essential for learning how Paint Shop Pro works. The author discusses understanding layers; using the layers palette; using the layers menu; using layers effectively; and understanding the blending modes. I followed his step-by-step tutorial for the embossed text with a wooden background. Again, I used a frame from Photo/Graphic Edges for the image.

Hour 12 Masks--masks can be difficult to understand but the author introduces the subject to the reader in a clear manner. You learn what masks are and what they do; how to use the mask menu; and how to create a simple and then a complex mask. I followed the tutorial and created the black text masked with a linear gradient to allow the textured woodgrain background to show through. I then added the frame from Photo/Graphic Edges.

Hour 13 Channels--learn about channels and how they are used; splitting and combining channels; identifying information in channels; and making channels work for you.

Hour 14 Picture Tubes--tubes are in! The author introduces you to tubes and relates how to use picture tubes; find tubes; and creating your own tubes.

Hour 15 Applying Filters--Paint Shop Pro has built in filters and supports many third-party filters. The author discusses filters in general; finding cool filters; using Paint Shop Pro's build-in filters; installing plug-ins; and using third-party filters. Paint Shop Pro's button filter was used to create the border for the image in the deformation tool section, and the shadow tool was used in my major white headings. Edges and effects from Auto F/X's Photo/Graphic Edges, a third-party plug-in, that works within Paint Shop Pro or as a stand-alone program, have been used extensively in this review. I felt this was an important chapter. The author provides a list of third-party filters and their Web addresses. He then tells you how to install plug-ins and have Paint Shop Pro recognize them, even if they are installed for another program such as Photoshop.

Part IV: Advanced Paint Shop Pro Tasks

Hour 16 Special Effects--in this chapter the author shows you how to apply your knowledge to create some effects that produce more advanced images. You learn to add a page curl effect; create a metallic effect; and use bevels effectively. I followed the page curl tutorial and created this image. I then added the text. Again the author takes a complex task and breaks it down into manageable steps that are easy to follow. He provides another tutorial on using a bevel effect for text, which I included in Hour 10 with the other text effects.

Hour 17 Retouching Your Images--learn to use the tools to fix many of the worst of your images. The author tells you how to use the retouching tools; fix brightness and contrast; removing dust marks and scratches; and remove portions of an image.

Hour 18 Coloring and Color Correction--tackles the issues related to color such as understanding the theory behind good color; understanding gamma correction; adjusting the hue, saturation, and lightness; working the the map hue command; adjusting the reds, greens, and blues in your color; and grasping color correction in a nutshell.

Hour 19 Compositing--learn how to create collages, placing images together in a way that makes it obvious that the images are from different sources, and photo montages, creating a picture from other images and making it seem believable.

Hour 20 Combining Advanced Techniques/Spectacular Examples--this is another fun chapter where you learn to use some Paint Shop Pro tools to create advanced images. You learn to outline text and other objects; fill text with textures or photos; and create an interface. The white headings for this review were created following the tutorial on outlining text. I then added a drop shadow. See the example of outlined text under Hour 10. The most impressive lesson was the metallic metal interface. The author's tutorial was precise, fun, and easy.

Part V: Paint Shop Pro for the Web

Hour 21 Preparing Your Graphics for the Web--the following Web-related issues are covered in this chapter, such as working with file formats; adjusting color depth; using palettes; previewing your images on the Web; understanding hexadecimal notation; and dithering and anti-aliasing.

Hour 22 Buttons and Seamless Tiles--various techniques related to buttons and tiles are covered. The author discusses creating ordinary buttons; creating 3D textured buttons; creating seamless tiles; and creating seamless tiles with Paint Shop Pro. Following the step-by-step tutorials, I created the two buttons.

Hour 23 Animation--Jasc's Animation Shop which ships with paint Shop Pro 5 lets you create cool animations for your Web pages. This chapter provides information on what animation is and how it works; why use animation; creating your first animation, including animated GIFs for your Web pages; editing your first animation; using transitions; and creating text effects.

Hour 24 Advanced Animation--learn how to use layered images and masks in animation; create a spinning globe animation; and understand advanced animation techniques.

PC Cafe gives the author, T. Michael Clark, kudos for doing an excellent job with this book.You truly and painlessly learn to use complex techniques and create advanced images within 24 hours with Paint Shop Pro 5.

Edges & Effects: Auto F/X Photo/Graphic Edges 4.0
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series
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