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Book Review: Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook by Tim Shelbourne

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Have you ever wanted to take a photo and turn it into a watercolor? A line drawing? Or a wood cut? Did you ever think that it would be neat to have bright rays of sun coming through the window within a picture? Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook will show you how to create all of these effects and more.

Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook contains 61 recipes that will have you working with lighting effects, simulating natural phenomena such as rain, clouds, rainbows, lighting and snow. You will be shown how to create motion blurs, how to simulate textures as well as creating photo-montontages.

Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook breaks the recipes into nine sections, each dealing with a different effect. The first section is called "Ready to Cook." Its primary purpose is to get you up to speed on what is needed to complete the recipes in the book. You will learn about making selections, working with layers, sharpening, paths and lighting effects.

From here, we move on to "Tonal and Color effects." You will learn how to create high and low-key effects, selective coloring and tone separations. Next is "Graphic Art Effects" where you can transform your pictures into oil paintings, wood-cut drawings, pencil sketches and art nouveau masterpieces.

"Lighting Effects" will show you how to add rays of light, simulate studio lighting, create neon signs, create a star filled night and add fire and flames. Using "Natural World Effects" you will be able to add water droplets, simulate rain, add reflections and change day into night.

With "Traditional Photographic Effects," you will learn how to simulate traditional darkroom techniques such as adding color filters, add film grain to a photo, tinting, duotones as well as infrared simulation. "Distortion Effects" will have you creating panoramas, working with soft focus, photo mosaics and fish-eye lens effects.

In "Texture Effects," you will explore how to use texture overlays to create dramatic effects. You will see how to turn a figure to stone as well as how to create textures of wood, stone, metal, glass and plastic. Finally, in presentation effects you will learn how to create a frame, paint boarders, uses a signature, monogram a custom brush, use vignette effects or create a photo that comes out of its frame.

While you don't have to be an expert to use these recipes, it will help if you have experience enough to get around in Photoshop. The author runs you through basics, but understanding the fundamentals will have you creating very sophisticated effects in no time. I really liked the step-by-step instruction and the full color examples that were provided. The book is well laid out with great visual aids to guide you throughout.

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About T. Michael Testi

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