Well I'm fairly new to everything having only had PEII and your Elements Actions for a couple on months or so. As I said in my previous posting I had been looking around for some other actions to play around with but had not managed to find any. I installed Snap Actions simply to try out the actions that were available with it... I must say that I found it easy to install the actions and liked the way you can organise the menus. Things I don't like about snap actions are the use of the recipes palette or the way that the actions appear on the menus .... I prefer your use of the Welcome screen and the way your menus are presented with a preview facility.
I am sure that there must be actions around ready to be installed in Elements Actions but I just don't know where to look for them ... can anyone point me in the right direction?
Hidden Power is on order at the moment so no doubt I will be asking lots of questions later.
I struggled to make some Photoshop Actions work with the HP interface. The instructions to use the interface, given in the readme files, were outdated. At least some of the functionality I expected wasn't available, or the instructions required more knowledge than I had. Simple follow the instructions didn't pan out.
In either case...
snapActions must use converted files.
HP Actions must use converted files.
You must use the full version Photoshop to convert these actions for PSE2, or have access to a text editor that can read the action file, to extract the actual action name, to build the html or xml index link.
I asked both Richard (HP) and Ling (snapActions) to help me with the particular actions I wanted. Ling responded within a few hours with the menu and actions ready for use, that took me all of 30 seconds to install. I have used them and am really happy with how they work.
I still can't figure out how to use the HP interface, to install the actions, but Ling did give me all the information I should need to install these in the HP interface. I wanted to use the HP interface, and tried to understand it first. I will have to learn some HTML first, and that takes yet more time... I just want to fix photos.
What snapActions achieves is simplicity to use what I call one trick ponies. Click a button and get a result, simple and easy. It was because of snapActions, that I bought the HPE book. I had heard about the book before, but didn't know if I needed anything in it. snapActions gives a PSE user a taste of the full version Photoshop, and HP gives even more control and tools over snapActions.
Richard your material is extremely deep and intense. There are very few practical application exercises given in the book, to drive in the lessons or uses of the tools. Many times a mention is given for all the possibilities, but very few examples of these. As I have pointed out on several occasions, not even your editors and beta testers found all the errors. The lack of mention of these errors has to let you know that either they are not important errors, or NOBODY gets it, and are afraid to say anything. Maybe a little bit of both...
The multi complex steps you ask the reader to understand, are not easy to memorize or even comprehend in many cases. I KNOW you understand your material, but most of us don't have 10 years of image editing in Photoshop under our belt, to apply to your methods and techniques. I need a follow up book with practice tutorials, and examples of uses, so I can understand why I would need the tool at all. The expectation is that the further you read in the book, everything will come together in practice as each tool builds on the next. NOPE (because...)------------------>
Each paragraph in the book, should be treated as a book on its own. Each step and tool requires further study in application. A single sentence can contain a months worth of material to study.(you have to locate this extra study material in locations other than the book) Read a little, practice a lot. Hard. (very very hard)
snapActions are simple to use, easy to understand and install, you get immediate results, and can see right away if its something you will use again... Easy.
This feedback is my own opinion, and subject to change. I hope others will provide their feedback too.
Thanks for your pointed critique. Just to clarify a few things:
"Each paragraph in the book, should be treated as a book on its own."
Well, that would be nice but I also have to produce something that is practical in the eyes of the publisher -- or they won't publish it. The book at the 330 page limit, I thought, was already expensive at $40 (cover) and the program is only $30-$99 (depending). Will people be willing to spend more on a book than on the program? My understanding of the market would suggest not. Expanding the book by that much will take quite a long time, and the program only has so much shelf life. I'd never get a version of the book out before the next version of the program. There is a practical side to the condensed presentation of the materials. I trust my reader to be interested and diligent...and refuse to treat them as 'idiots'. I may go pretty far the other way sometimes. This is not a beginners book.
About actions...I have tried to suggest that I'd be willing to convert actions so that you can install them in pre-defined packages. Regretfully, I don't have a ton of time to search them out, and was hoping some people would flag interesting actions for me so they would be converted. I don't remember you posting any actions for me to convert...Things that are deemed 'impossible' by your testing with snap actions probably are not -- all it will check is if the action will run as is. I am sure i can make them work and make them available for everyone.
At one point I tried to work with Ling -- in fact thought I was when suddenly she released an earlier version of her interface to my surprise that i thought we were working on together. She then took a mention I made of using an XML solution to create her newer product. You might imagine I am not forthcoming with a lot more information when I can't be sure what will happen with it and that it will bring about competition with my own products. I regret that things went in the direction they did, as apparently she has a lot of time to devote that I just can't (turning paragraphs into books and all like I am...). I have a better way to do it all, but regretfully not the time. Your point about 'easy' is well taken when it comes to the actions...All I need is the time to put together the other solution. However, I wonder if this is really the whole thing for everyone. if that's it, I'd maybe make it a priority. Do you see making up pre-assembled packages as a viable solution for now?
About 'Easy'...I have heard it takes 7 years to learn Photoshop and be proficient. It isn't easy. From response I get from other readers, it isn't likely that 'nobody gets it'. In fact there are several who appear regularly in this forum that seem to understand everything fairly well (Paul and Susan, for example). If you are looking for a point and click book to make effects and such, Hidden Power is NOT that book, no excuses. There are other books that are.
About the examples...I can't be clear which seem impractical to you. In fact, most in the book were real-world examples (or imitations of projects I've had to do). Let me know which you consider impractical and why, and if you have images you want to study, post them, and we'll get to work! I'd be glad to do this as it would provide some meaningful feedback and a better forum for basing questions and endulging techniques.
So, to sum:
• Is it enough to provide pre-defined packages?
• Can you point to actions you want converted?
• Can you post images you want to work on?
I'm greatly interested in the feedback.
I sure didn't suggest that your examples were impractical. Not at all impractical! Fine examples, nothing wrong with those given. They are very practical examples.
The problem is there are not enough examples. Not enough tutorials to explain and show the various uses of the tools in combinations. Most of us need to see how these work together, to solve the most common requested tasks.
Its like the game of chess, when you are starting out, you just don't see all the combinations of moves that lead to victory. Photoshop can be many times more involved than chess.
<b> Elements users are beginners and need examples/tutorials. I have heard it said, that when it comes to Photoshop, we are all beginners! What seems easy to you is beyond the grasp of most of us. I fully understand your opinion and attitude not to treat Elements users as "Idiots". Still I AM ignorant. This is WHY I seek further understanding. No one can see what you see exactly, unless you show them exactly what you see. I want your actual opinion then... right? Not what *I think* your opinion is.
Explaining your point of view as to the use of these tools you provide, by example, is not treating anyone like an idiot! It is educational to ANY level of user!</b>
1. A great addition to your tools, would be a tutorial section, on how to use HP with Photoshop tutorials. Or HPE converted tutorials/recipes. Then explain step by step (with screen shots) how to install more Actions. "In this line, in this folder inside this folder... type..." (spell it out PLEASE!)
I have several index.html files.... which one do I edit???? Where do I type the link?
2. Let me see the instruction when I click the link for instructions to install Actions would be a great place to start!
3. Easy to install HPE Actions <b>LIST</b> would benefit the HPE user.
4. snapActions is helping you sell your book. This is not competition, this is free advertising. All HPE needs is better instructions to install Actions.
Make installing Actions into HPE a simple pleasure. Link me to more Actions and tutorials for HPE.
Oh, so we agree then...
I agree not enough examples, and there never can be (not without jumping away from publishing). THAT is why i'd prefer to see images you are working on every day. I can some up with all sorts of cool things, but what are you having trouble with on which images? To some extent you still want me to do more work (which is OK with me) but i want you to do some too...All I need are the images. What are you trying to fix but can't?
Competition is, I guess, the wrong word. Lack of unity is a better phrase. Having more than one interface is confusing to users ("Which do I need?" "What order do I install?" "Can this one do something the other cant?"). Just by creating those questions it is cumbersome and, in a sense, competing for my attention that would be better spent elsewhere. My point: it isn't necessary.
One thing about the idea that you are worried about how things work is probably entirely why the book is like it is. People use Photoshop tools like CMYK and Healing and let them be magic. Myself, I always wanted to know hows and whys...even with the magic tools...because nothing is magic. It is all a calculation or a clever application of one thing or another. If i don't know what is going to happen when I use a tool, I am experimenting and playing, not applying. Knowing and understanding are more difficult, but the best results don't come as an accident.
It is very much a chess game. for every move there is a counter...and there are combinations...more combinations than I can enumerate. That is why chess is a fascinating game. You have many possibilities afte the first move, or else the game would be over when it started. You analyze positions, and admire a game. You do the same thing with a correction.
I have lots of things planned. all I need is the time to do them. Certainly tutorials in the interface, and then some. I am not disagreeing at all with you there. part of the problem can be limitations with what i can do in the interface (instructions is a good example, and so is lack of relative paths so I can open example images)...but i think you are right on target when you suggest more in the interface to help while you are working along. It was something I was keen on when i first spied the Recipies palette.
Thanks for your time, again. I'm digesting it.
I have been following this conversation with great interest. I agree with both of you that HP is extremely difficult, but worth the effort. As an example of a technique that looks very valuable to master, but that could benefit from an expansive explanation is the masking with image tone example starting with the bottom half of page 87.
I have run this maybe a dozen times, but I still don't know why I'm moving all these layers around; I could never do this on my own on a new image to subdue, let us say, the yellow highlights.
So I'm stuck with blue horses.
Maybe a follow on workbook (or CD) with plenty of exercises tied to these important techniques would be the solution. I'd pay $10 for one, and I don't think that the understanding that would come would be obviated by any new release of PE 2.
I like the added stuff on the CD idea. I was going to try to do that last time, but flat ran out of time (if I could make enough to drop my regular job, just imagine how much more effort I could put in! :-). I had not thought of expanding the tutorials there, but of putting in more images with layered solutions. Screencam movies were something i wanted to do, but I was not helped by the flakey behavior of my screen capture utility on OS X.
About that yellow problem...lets start with this question:
Yow would you isolate the yellow color?
Well the book has now arrived and for the last few days I have been playing around with it .. one eye glued on the book and other on the Mac. I suppose some of the comments here had made me worried that I would find it all too difficult so it has come as a pleasant surprise to find that I am not having any great difficulties with it. OK it is complex but so far (page 79) I am doing just fine.
Maybe the reason is that I waited until I knew a fair bit about PE2 before I considered moving onto more advanced realms .. I started with a quickstart guide to PE and once I outgrew that I then ordered Richard's book. Whilst I am following the book and the examples I am also taking the examples and trying the theory out on other things ... learning as I go ... and as to what is going on behind the examples well I found the blending modes table and that has give me a greater insight.
So far I have discovered all sorts of new things and think that the book is totally brilliant.
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