Real World Adobe Photoshop CS4 is subtitled "Industrial Strength Production Techniques" because that is really what the focus of this book is - how to move images through Photoshop. But this book is not just about Photoshop, it is also about photography and images and translating your own understanding of images into the digital world of Photoshop.
Real World Adobe Photoshop CS4 knows that when you are in a crunch, you have to have an instinctive, intuitive feel for what is going on in Photoshop to finesse it to your needs. Because of this there is a lot of conceptual discussion that goes on in this book. The goal then becomes how to take what you already know and incorporate it with new tools that will give you the ability to push Photoshop to the limit.
This new edition has been completely gone through, tightened up and updated to take on the new features of Adobe Photoshop CS4 including the Masks panel, Modeless Color Correction, Adobe Camera Raw 5, and much, much more. Real World Adobe Photoshop CS4 is contained in 448 pages divided into 12 chapters.
Chapter 1, "Building a Photoshop System," will show you what you need to build a quality Photoshop system. Mac or PC is not as important as having enough power to do the kind of work you need done. Chapter 2, "Image Essentials," reminds us that computers do not understand about images, tone, color, or any of those other things that we view as important about images. While you won't have to understand binary math to work with Photoshop, it does help to understand how Photoshop thinks.
Chapter 3, "Color Essentials," examines the different ways that different people thing about what makes a color. Regardless of if it is RGB, CMYK, Lab, or some other variation, this chapter looks at the fundamental color relationships and how Photoshop presents them. Chapter 4, "Color Settings," constitutes the heart of this book. While the authors consider every topic to be important, they feel that unless you understand how Photoshop handles color behind the scenes, you will never achieve the quality of image that you should be able to get.
Chapter 5, "Building a Digital Workflow," explores what it takes to build a true digital workflow that allows you to make quick work of your digital images. Because taking digital images is so cheap, you soon find you have so many more images which mean that there are many more images to handle. This chapter is all about getting through Adobe Camera Raw as quickly as possible. Chapter 6, "Essential Photoshop Tips and Tricks," continues the work in chapter 5 in that the biggest boost to your productivity is to accelerate it with the tips and trick found here. As a sideline, included here are a couple of Easter eggs included in Photoshop including one honoring the late Bruce Frasier, one of the authors of this book.