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Book Review: The Photoshop WOW Book CS3/CS4 by Linnea Dayton And Cristen Gillespie

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The Photoshop WOW Book, now in its eight edition, has been around since Adobe Photoshop 2.5. It has enlightened and inspired graphics designers, illustrators, and photographers for many years. This latest edition, the first in 4 years, updates to the latest functionality of CS4, but these will also work with work with CS5 as well.

The Photoshop WOW Book contains step-by-step tutorials for creating both commercial as well as fine-art images. This book has been used in classrooms all over the world and has been published in several languages. This book is 800 pages in length and is divided into 11 chapters.

Chapter 1, “Fundamentals of Photoshop,” begins with an overview of how Photoshop works. That is, how it organizes information when you create or edit an image, how you interact with the program, and what it takes to keep things working smoothly.

Chapter 2, “Essential Photoshop Skills,” are at the core of Photoshop operations. These include working with brush-based tools, selections, masking and blending, as well as transforming and resizing images. These along with working with Smart Objects, Smart Filters, and applying Layer styles are introduced in this chapter.

Chapter 3, “Getting In, Going Fast & Getting Out,” now covers the best way to get images into and out of Photoshop. It also provides hints as to how best to organize your files so as to find them more easily as well as how to shift some of your workflow to Photoshop Actions and automation skills.

Chapter 4, “Color in Photography,” shows that color is a vital component to the way that we express ourselves in images and graphics. In Photoshop there are a powerful set of features that are dedicated to supporting your needs as you choose, apply, and change colors. These concepts are introduced in this chapter and carried throughout the book.

Chapter 5, “Enhancing Photos,” is a fundamental part of what Photoshop is all about. It has a lot of tools for accomplishing the task of getting the best possible reproduction of a photo, including the fullest possible range of accurate tones and color. In this chapter you will learn a wide number of enhancements that you can do to a photo.

Chapter 6, “Painting,” is not something that Photoshop is always considered for, but it does have a wide range of tools that will allow you to stroke paint onto the canvas. This chapter introduces the painting and cloning tools and how they can be used effectively.

Chapter 7, “Type & Vector Graphics,” now introduces an array of typesetting and vector-based drawing capabilities that Photoshop contains. They rival some of the best features of PostScript drawing and page-layout programs such as InDesign, and Illustrator. This chapter will show you how to use them effectively.

Chapter 8, “Special Effects for Type & Graphics,” will show you what happens when light and materials interact. Whether from simple drop shadows, or complex reflections and refractions of chrome, by using Photoshop Layer styles, you will be able to create great effects for graphics and type.

Chapter 9, “Putting it All Together,” now takes all that you learned earlier and puts it together to show you how to combine photos with each other as well as with non-photographic elements.

Chapter 10, “3D, Video & Animation,” is focused at Photoshop Extended edition, where you will find the tools that give you the ability to work with 3D models, extracting stills from a video, some video techniques, and working with animation.

Chapter 11, “Measuring & Analysis,” shows how Photoshop has moved from the photographic realm into the world of science and technology. It has the ability to count specific features within an image as well as analyze the data contain within the image.

The Photoshop WOW Book CS3/CS4 is really a great reference book for any Photoshop based designer, illustrator, or artist. It is a dense, thick book with full color illustrations, and it provides such a rich set of recipes and techniques that it could easily become one’s go-to reference book.

The first four chapters provide a lot of behind the scenes of how Photoshop “thinks” that has a lot of interesting information. There are quick sections which are short, and “Find out More” boxes that lead to more information. There is also a DVD that includes lesson files as well as presets, actions, patterns and textures. If you want to learn how to wow in Photoshop, then I highly recommend The Photoshop WOW Book CS3/CS4 .

 

 

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About T. Michael Testi

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