Adobe Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques was purposefully written not to be like the two standard types of Photoshop books. It is not a "cookbook" that teaches you Photoshop step-by-step, but never seems to explain why you should do these steps so you can understand the process. It is also not an expert book, so technical that unless you know Photoshop inside and out, you cannot understand it.
Enter Adobe Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques. The goal here is to explain how to use Photoshop in everyday language: everything from the simplest feature to the most advanced technique. Dan Ablan, author of 12 prior books, the president of a 3D animation and imaging company, and the founder of 3D Garage.com, a video training website, has been asked to help with the revision of this edition. Like the previous edition, this book is intended to take you from "going through the motions" to "at last, I really understand." The book is 480 pages long and divided into 11 chapters (there is a bonus chapter and video training located at an online site).
Chapter 1, "Tools and Palette Primer" is all about effectively managing your workspace and finding your way around all the features that have made Photoshop the industry standard it is. Here you will learn about the palettes, tools, and panels you will be working with in this book.
Chapter 2, "Selection Primer" will take you through what many consider to be one of the techniques most central to Photoshop success - the ability to make selections. When you want to edit a portion of an image you must first select it and this intimidates many people. In this chapter you learn how to work with the marquee tools, lasso tools, crop tools, selection tools, magic wand tool, and others.
Chapter 3, "Layers and Curves" examines two other fundamental Photoshop features: the Layers palette and the Curves dialog. The Layers palette helps keep everything in the Photoshop project organized. While on the surface, it may appear to be complex, it really is very simple to learn. The Curves dialog can be used to adjust just about anything. Throughout this chapter you will learn how to use these two features while picking up all sorts of tricks that will prove invaluable later in the book.