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Book Review: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended For 3D And Video By Chad Perkins

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There are a lot of things that Photoshop CS3 Extended can do that Photoshop has never been able to do before. These include importing and editing of video and animating any object in a file. Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended For 3D And Video is the first book to provide a detailed look at these new features. This book is geared for both those who want to learn about video and 3D in Photoshop as well as those video producers and 3D artists who want to incorporate Photoshop into their workflow.

The goal of CS3 Extended For 3D is to get you started down the road in using Photoshop for 3D and video. Even if your workflow is print based and you think that there is nothing in this book for you, or you feel intimidated by professional grade 3D and video software packages, this book is aimed at you.

One thing to keep in mind is that because of the specific nature of this book, it does not go over how to use Photoshop. It is assumed that you are comfortable with using Photoshop and know the most basic concepts such as the interface, pallets, tools, how to work with layers and other fundamental topics. CS3 Extended For 3D is 318 pages long divided into ten chapters.

Chapter 1, "Photoshop's New 3D Abilities: The Basics," starts off by looking at Photoshop's new extended capabilities with regard to video and 3D. These include working with 3D files, transforming 3D objects, preset views, and the 3D camera tools. Chapter 2, "Playing with Lighting and Appearance Settings" now shows you how to work with the tools that will light, cut up, and change the appearance of 3D objects. Then you will see how to display wireframes, create cross sections, and learn about some rendering tricks.

Chapter 3, "Even Cooler 3D Tricks," begins to experiment and gets more creative with the tools that you have been learning about. You also begin to learn how to use them with the standard Photoshop tools. You will work with Layer Styles, adjusting color and luminance, and use Layer Masks with 3D Layers. Chapter 4, "Editing Textures of 3D Objects," tackles what may be the most important part of Photoshop Extended for 3D; the ability to alter textures on 3D objects. These changes can be made either non-destructively or permanently, all without having to go back into an external 3D program.

Chapter 5, "Creating Textures for 3D Models," goes over some of the features that are available for 3D users in the standard edition of Photoshop, especially with the creation of textures. Here you will see how to refine bump maps and create a realistic eyeball texture as well as other tips for using Photoshop in your 3D workflow. Chapter 6, "Video Basics," now shows you how to work with video in Photoshop. Once again, the basics are covered beginning with working with files, exporting video, and using audio in your productions.

Chapter 7, "Animating," shows you the six animation properties: position, opacity, style, Layer Mask position, Layer Mask enabling, and Global Lighting. Here you are shown that you can animate just about any layer. With these you can make each of those layers come to life in Photoshop Extended. Chapter 8, "Editing Video," shows you how to do just that, edit raw video footage within Photoshop. Topics covered are cutting video, filling gaps, animation conversions, as well as take advantage of other bells and whistles when it comes to editing your video.

Chapter 9, "Creative Video Techniques," now gets into all sorts of creative video techniques that you can use in your videos. You will work with styles and filters, Paint tools, cloning, healing, and the use of composting. Chapter 10, "Plug-ins and Resources," finishes up by discussing the third-party plug-in solutions that are available for use with Photoshop as well as other resources that may be useful to you.

Adobe continues to push the envelope from within Photoshop and the new extended version is no exception. While narrow in focus, CS3 Extended For 3D is quite broad within the areas of 3D and video and is a needed volume for beginners on this topic as well as those who want to use Photoshop in their workflow.

The author writes clearly and the easy to follow tutorials are great to learn from. I think that this ease comes from his background as a trainer for Lynda.com. Since this release of Photoshop is really a version 1 for 3D and video within Photoshop, Perkins is able to point out strange oddities that he has encountered which may make for an easier time for you while working in this medium.

CS3 Extended For 3D is definitely the resource that you want if looking to get into 3D and video from within Photoshop Extended. The book also comes with a CD that gives you the resources to work with to make your journey much more enjoyable. I highly recommend Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended For 3D And Video

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.