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Book Review: Adobe Photoshop CS5 One-On-One by Deke McClelland

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 One-On-One may be one of the most interesting training systems I have ever seen. It is a straightforward, step-by-step guide to the features and functions of Photoshop. It has many real-world projects, insider tips, and also covers the new features in CS5 such as Puppet Warp, or the new High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities. In addition, it has the entertaining teaching style that has made McClelland a legendary trainer in the Photoshop world.

According to author Deke McClelland, he created Adobe Photoshop CS5 One-On-One for three different audiences; graphic artists, designers, and photographers. He created the book as a highly visual, full color multi-media presentation that will allow you to read, watch, and do! His goal was to meet the needs of beginning and intermediate users but he has found that even the most experienced users have learned new techniques.

The book contains 12 lessons, each of which contain three to six step-by-step exercises. Each lesson contains a corresponding video lesson; this time, instead of a DVD, you are directed to a site where you can download the video that contains over two hours worth of training as well as the sample files. In each lesson McClelland introduces concepts you will need to complete the exercises. Each exercise culminates in a real-world project for you to complete.

Photoshop such as color balancing, cropping, selections, masks, filters, text and layers. When each tool is introduced, all of the important options are explained so that you will be able to work with the tool and get a good understanding of what it can be used for. On top of that, the instruction is high quality as it not only includes the “how,” but the “why” as well.

What I like about Adobe Photoshop CS5 One-On-One is the whole concept of multi-media training. McClelland starts a chapter, say lesson three “Making Selections,” by giving a brief overview of what the chapter is about. In this case he explains “Photoshop doesn’t perceive the flower as an independent object. Instead, the program sees pixels … Photoshop sees a blur of subtle transitions without form or substance.” Where a lot of authors would stop at the word pixels, the author takes the time to get you to understand the concept.

McClelland then explains where the project files are from the download. He tells you what the lesson is about; how to examine the ways to select a region of an image and edit it independently of the other regions of the image. You are then instructed to watch the video.

Then it is on to the lesson where you learn to isolate an image element; in this case the top of an umbrella. He guides you on how to select color areas using the magic wand. You are shown how to use the marquee tools as well as other techniques. All the time he is dropping “Pearls of Wisdom” which are additional techniques that you will find invaluable. Then at the end, there is a “Chapter Test” where you can see how much you have learned.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 One-On-One has been updated throughout to take into account the new features that are in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Some of the new topics include Content Aware Fill, Puppet Warp, and working with HDR pro.

I feel that if you are new to Photoshop or have been working with Photoshop for many years without formal training then you really need to check this book out. There is so much information contained within these pages and it is so easy to absorb that I very highly recommend this book.

Lesson overview
Lesson 1: Open and Organize.

Lesson 2: Straighten, Crop, and Size.
Lesson 3: Making Selections.
Lesson 4: Retouch, Heal, and Enhance.
Lesson 5: Working with Layers.
Lesson 6: Adjusting Color and Luminance.
Lesson 7: Sharpening and Smart Objects.
Lesson 8: Transform and Distort.
Lesson 9: Pro Photography Tools.
Lesson 10: Creating and Applying Masks.
Lesson 11: Text and Shapes.
Lesson 12: Print and Web Output.

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About T. Michael Testi

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