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Book Review: The Photoshop Anthology by Corrie Haffly

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Corrie Haffly's book, The Photoshop Anthology, is very useful to me. Being a web developer, involved in all aspects of site design and coding, I find her book a great resource as I work on a design. In it, she teaches the readers how to use Photoshop to their advantage, for the specific needs of websites.

She's wisely chosen not to advise people to use Photoshop to generate the site HTML. Instead, she chooses to emphasize Photoshop's proper role in the web design process, which is to create great graphics, work on site layouts and process/optimize photos for the web.

This book's not meant to be studied in linear fashion, although one could choose to do so. Instead, it's indexed and organized in such a way that jumping between subjects is made easy. As you work on a particular project and need to know how to do something, you can look up that task in the table of contents and get right to it. I can see that great thought went into organizing the book properly, and I appreciate that. The author took the time to think about the many tasks a web designer needs to do as he or she builds a site, then laid them out and addresses each of them in this book.

She starts out with the basics, such as using graphics, resizing documents, using masks and layers, and transparent backgrounds – then progresses to buttons and backgrounds (staples on websites), text (for logos or special uses) and using/manipulating images. Finally, she addresses the very real need of working on a site layout in Photoshop, and also talks about some nice advanced techniques such as batch commands, watermarking, web photo galleries and animated GIFs.

If you want to learn how to use Photoshop to design a website, then this book's for you. If you're just interested in learning Photoshop, this book's not for you. Remember, it's geared for web designers and the specific tasks we perform in Photoshop as we do our jobs. Given its focus, it's a fantastic resource, and it has found a permanent place in my reference library.

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