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Book Review: Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook by John Beardsworth

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Have you ever wanted to use sophisticated Photoshop effects to create images that mimicked the styles of famous artists? Create Impressionist effects? Create Surrealist effects? Create Japanese woodblock prints? Create stop-motion effects? Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook shows you how to do all of this and more.

Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook consists of an introduction and four main sections. In the introduction the author reminds us that “This book is about the power of Photoshop,” and, “this book is about making the most of that potential.” After reading this book, I think that the author wants you to learn the techniques presented here and to define your own reality.

In “The Artists Eye,” we are reminded that before we can imitate a style, we must first study the technique that was used to create the style. You must be able to understand what the original artist would have done in that particular situation, what characteristics they would have chosen to use, and what tones or colors they would have tried to include. Appreciating their work will give you a clearer ability to re-create their style.

“The Tricks of the Trade” provides an overview of the Photoshop tools and the ways of working with those tools that will provide the ability to recreate those effects. Here, Beardsworth explains how to select images and filters, and how to adjust the filters to transform the appearance of your images.

The first of the meaty sections of the book is entitled “Photographers.” Here we are walked through recreating many of the techniques that have been employed by photographers of the past. From Daguerreotypes to stop-motion photography to photojournalism to depression era photos, they are all explained. From landscapes to Polaroids, the author recreates them all and more. Each of the recipes has an introduction explaining the history of the style and then step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the effect.

Then in “Painters and Printmakers” we are exposed to the canvas realm of artistic endeavor. Here are the techniques of trying to recreate vignettes, Japanese printmaking, Impressionist art, Cubism, and Art Nouveau, as well as Pop Art Comic Strips.

While there are a couple of these recipes that are not to my taste, I found most of the 62 techniques quite fascinating. If you want to explore the realm of fine art effects and perhaps use this as a stepping stone to creating your own creative effects, then Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook may be just your ticket.

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About T. Michael Testi

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