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Video Training Review: Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video from Peachpit Press in Association with Adobe Press

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Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video is a complete training program that was created by the Graz, Austria company Video2Brain for Peachpit Press in association with Adobe Press. The aim of this course of instruction is to teach you not only the fundamentals of Photoshop, but to also show you how to use the program to create effective forms of digital communication. Video2Brain is an Adobe Certified Training Provider.

Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video contains 19 hours of video that is presented by Gabriel Powell and Mikkel Aaland. Included as well are lesson files, assessment quizzes and review materials. Also included with the DVD is a 120-page book that provides a topic-by-topic guide to the video. The video has a unique interface that allows you to jump to any topic as well as tag individual topics for later review. The project files are included on the disc so that you can practice along with the video. There are review questions to help to reinforce what you have learned.

Lesson 1, "Getting Started with Photoshop," shows you how to get up and running quickly with Photoshop. In this lesson you will learn about a lot of techniques that will have you working more efficiently. Along with touring the interface, opening and organizing documents, and saving your workspace, you will learn a number of basic techniques including creating a panorama, photo enhancements, creating a collage, and creating a basic 3D image.

Lesson 2, "Image Editing Concepts," introduces you to the basics of image editing. These provide the foundation of your Photoshop knowledge. Each video shows you a specific concept beginning with the differences between a raster image and a vector image. You will then look at image size and resolution, color modes, nondestructive editing, selections, layers, and masks.

Lesson 3, "Importing and Organizing Images," begins by showing you how to place files into a document, how to import scanned images, as well downloading images from your camera. You will see how to work with Adobe Bridge to compare, rate, add metadata, organize, and assign keywords to your images. You will also learn how to work with Adobe Camera Raw to do preliminary enhancements to your photos.

Lesson 4, "Tools," examines the tools panel and takes a look at each of the tools, what they are used for, and how to use them. Here you will delve into the inner workings of each tool. Each of these videos contains the contents of an individual panel and the tools that make up the panel. There are twenty-four videos covered in this section.

Lesson 5, "Making Selections," now focuses on how to isolate and select a portion of your image. Making selections is an important skill that one needs to master if you are using Photoshop. Just about everything that you do can be made easier if you know how to select areas in your image. Here you will look at selecting color ranges, combining selections, refining selections, and saving selections. You will then see how to accomplish some specific tasks when using selections like combining photographs and changing the color of a selection.

Lesson 6, "Layers and Masks," now looks at two more important Photoshop tools. You will begin by working with layers and learning how they make up the fundamental building block of a Photoshop file. You then learn about Layer Masks and how they can be use for compositing and merging images. You will then see examples of painting special effects on layers, advanced photo merging, how to change facial structure, and more.

Lesson 7, "Color Correction and Retouching," examines what color correction is, and how you can improve an image by adjusting the color to better reflect what is seen in the image. In this lesson you will see how to use a histogram, adjust tone and color. You will see how to do each with both Levels and Curves. Then you will see how to limit adjustments with layer masks as well as other photo retouching techniques.

Lesson 8, "Working with Type," looks at the type tools and what you can do with type within Photoshop. You will start off with using point type, move to paragraph type and then you will begin to get more creative by typing on a path, applying layer styles to type, filling type with an image, and adding type to a perspective plane.

Lesson 9, "Preparing, Saving, and Printing Images," is really all about doing something with your images outside of Photoshop. This includes preparing for commercial printing, preparing for the Web, creating a photo gallery, preparing images for video, and printing images as well.

Lesson 10, "Color Management," now looks at working with color space. If this is a topic that makes you want to turn and run, then stop and watch. In the first video, you will see how a color space looks on screen and what it is really all about. You then will see how to soft proof your images, how to assign color profiles, and how to use color management in the print dialog box.

One thing that is noticeable about the training in Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video, is that it is not focused on photography. It is not going to tell you how to take a better shot, nor will it make your editing easier when you shoot, considering some item. Instead, it is all about Photoshop.

The goal with Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video is to make you a better Photoshop user so that if you want to take the Adobe Certified Expert test, you will have the skills to pass it. Keep in mind that this course is aimed at the beginning to novice user and is much wider in its scope than it is deep. But for that user, and at this price, I can very highly recommend this course.

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About T. Michael Testi

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