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Book Review: Photoshop CS5: Trickery and FX by Stephen Burns

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When it comes to digital artwork, there are no real boundaries. You can select and choose from many creative art forms and through the use of a computer, bring them all together in a wide range of new and unique ways.

Now with Photoshop CS5: Trickery and FX you will learn how to take your traditional artistic skills and through the use of Adobe Photoshop CS5 combine 2D, 3D, and more to merge them together that will allow you to take your artwork to a whole new level. Photoshop CS5: Trickery and FX is 288 pages and is divided into nine chapters.

Chapter One, “Simplifying the Interface,” begins by taking a look at the updated Adobe Photoshop CS5 interface. Here you will see how Photoshop is organized, how you can use a Wacom tablet to streamline your workflow, why the main amount of work is done from the menus, pallets and toolbar, and how through the use of the Mini Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), you will have everything you need to manage your RAW files.

Chapter Two, “Creating Your Concept Using a Custom Perspective,” shows that although the camera has recorded an image, it does not mean that you are a slave to the perspective that it provided. In this chapter you will learn how to change perspective to fit your needs and vision. You will also see how to use brushes created from photographic textures, how to create ambient light sources, and techniques to give the scene greater depth including the use of atmospheric haze.

Chapter Three, “Creating 3D Logos with Repoussé,” takes a look at the fact that, although many 2D designers find working with 3D intimidating and hard to learn, they find that more and more they have to create logos and other graphics in 3D. Here you will see that Repoussé requires a vector image to create 3D shapes, that it is ideal for creating logos — you can twist and bend extruded objects in Repoussé — and that the Merge to HDR has much more improved tools for tone mapping.

Chapter Four, “Lighting and Image Based Lighting (IBL),” is about lighting your 3D objects using the luminance and hues of a digital image. You will learn how to use IBL lighting alongside standard 3D lighting to illuminate an object while matching the lighting of the scene. In this chapter you will see how the IBL is non-directional, how bump maps use black and white values to create textures, how to work with the new CS5 texture presets, and how to save any of your services as a texture preset.

Chapter Five, “Using the New Brushes,” really requires the use of a tablet, and the standard in the industry is the Wacom tablet. Up until Photoshop CS5, Corel Draw has been the standard to do digital drawing, but now Photoshop has stepped up with a whole range of new brushes. Here you will see how to setup a Wacom tablet and how it can be used to facilitate the use of the brush tools. After that is set up, you then examine the brushes, the Brush Preview, and the use of the High Pass technique to apply original texture back into the painted portrait.

Chapter Six, “Integrating 3D Objects into the Scene,” shows you how to take CS5 and use 3D content from multiple programs and combine them into a single scene. In this chapter you will use content from Smith Micro’s Poser 8 and NewTek’s Lightwave 3D 9.6 to create the image. You will see that CS5 can accept any 3D object from any program as an OBJ. You will learn how you can apply lighting techniques using Layer Blend Modes, that you can conform your scene to a custom perspective, that UV maps will be recognized in CS5’s 3D texture layers, and that Puppet Warp can be used to transform smoke.

Chapter Seven, “3D Integration for Designers,” is aimed at the artist who has little knowledge in 3D but wants to add 3D content to their work. Through the use of online sources, you will create an image of a car racing through a downtown city street. In this chapter you will see how to acquire 3D content without having to create it, how to use it to illustrate an idea, and other tips for getting better results.

Chapter Eight, “Fine Art Application with CS5,” will show you how to be more creative with Photoshop. Through the use of a more expressive approach to your work, you will be able to create more effective imagery. By learning to think differently you will be able to yield unusual results.

Chapter Nine, “Animating Your 3D Model,” finishes up by taking you through what it takes to animate your concept artwork. You are going to see how to take a finished 3D object image and learn about the use of the timeline. Here you will see that you can animate any 3D object, all layers are given their own timeline can move independently, timelines once created, can be duplicated, and you can even animate a 3D object’s Cross Section.

Photoshop CS5: Trickery and FX is very well done and laid out. Each chapter including the first — which in many books would just be a dry intro chapter — is a tutorial that does not just tell you what you need to do, but actually shows you what to do.

After the first chapter, there is an image showing the completed work that you are about to work with as well as a short set of bullet points of what skills that you will gain from the chapter. From there you are shown, step-by-step, exactly how to create each image with screen shots at most every step. At the end is an image of what the completed work should look like, as well as a refresher of what you have learned.

Also included with the book is a DVD that contains all of the content and image files that you will need to complete the tutorials as well as bonus videos that feature additional tutorials. If you want to take advantage of the new features within Photoshop CS5, especially the new brushes and 3D tools, then I would very highly recommend Photoshop CS5: Trickery and FX .

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About T. Michael Testi

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