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A step-by-step guide that allows you to learn Adobe Photoshop CS3 at your own pace.

Book Review – Adobe Photoshop CS3: Classroom In A Book By Adobe Creative Team

Adobe Photoshop CS3 – Classroom In A Book is part of the official training series for the Adobe graphics and publishing software from Adobe Systems, Inc. These lessons are designed so that you can learn at your own pace. If you are new to Photoshop, this book will provide you with the fundamentals you will need to master the basic skills. If you are experienced, you will find that there are many things that you will learn on all levels that will enhance your current skills and take you to the next level.

Adobe Photoshop CS3: Classroom In A Book is divided up into 14 lessons Before starting this book, you should have a working knowledge of your computer and operating system. You need to know how to work a mouse, open and close files as well as copying files and navigating though your file system. Your hardware needs to also support Adobe Photoshop CS3 as well.

Lesson 1, "Getting to Know the Work Area" shows you how to open Photoshop files, select tools from the tool panel, set options for the selected tool, how to zoom, open and use palettes, undo actions to correct mistakes, and how to customize the workspace.

Lesson 2, "Basic Photo Corrections" helps you understand image resolution and size, how to crop an image, remove the color cast using Auto Color Correction, how to use the Sponge, Dodge, and Unsharp masks as well as save an image for a page layout program.

Lesson 3, "Retouching and Repairing" explores the use of the Clone Stamp, Spot Healing Brush, Patch tool as well as making corrections on a duplicate layer as well as backtrack within your work session using the history palette.

Lesson 4, "Working with Selections" will have you making specific areas of an image active, moving and duplicating the contents of a selection, deselecting a selection as well as adding to and subtracting from a selection.

Lesson 5, "Layer Basics" will expose you to the proper way of organizing artwork on layers, creating, viewing, hiding and selecting layers, linking layers to work on them simultaneously and adding text and layer effects to a layer.

Lesson 6, "Masks and Channels" will instruct you on how to refine a selection, save a selection as a channel mask, create a layer mask and isolate a channel to make specific image corrections.

Lesson 7, "Correcting and Enhancing Digital Photographs" will work with you on how to process a camera raw image and save it as a digital negative, make corrections, adjust visual perspectives of objects and understand about best practices for organizing, managing and saving your images. You will also learn about the new product from Adobe, Photoshop Lightroom; a new workflow management program available separately from Adobe.

Lesson 8, "Typographic Design" examines the use of text within your images. How to use guides to position text, make a clipping mask from type, merge type with layers as well as warping a layer around a 3D object.

Lesson 9, "Vector Drawing Techniques" is all about differentiating between bitmap and vector graphics, use of the pen tool, converting a path to a selection, drawing and editing layer shapes as well as custom shapes and importing from Adobe Illustrator.

Lesson 10, "Advanced Layering" will explain how to import as layer from another file, clip a layer, use Vanishing Point 3D effects with layers and in general, manage layers.

Lesson 11, "Advanced Composting" will have you recording and playing back an action to automate a series of steps. You will learn to save selections and load them as masks, apply colors add an adjustment layer to color correct a selection and add layer styles to create editable special effects.

Lesson 12, "Preparing Files for the Web" will show you how to slice an image in Photoshop, distinguish between user and auto slices, link slices to HTML pages or locations, preview rollover effects, create animated GIFs using layered files, optimize images for the web and export large, high-resolution files for zooming and panning.

Lesson 13, "Working with Scientific Images" teaches you how to work with Adobe bridge and other Photoshop tools to create spiffy infographics using Photoshop Extended.

Lesson 14, "Producing and Printing Consistent Color", will show you how to prepare an image for printing on a PostScript CMYK printer. You will learn how to proof an image for printing as well as create and print a four-color separation.

The classroom series has been around for a while and has really matured over the years. Included with Adobe Photoshop CS3: Classroom In A Book is a CD that contains all of the lesson files as well as instructional movies from Lynda.com and Total Training. You can follow the book from start to finish or select only those areas that you want to get up to speed with.

What I especially like, is that it is truly is step-by-step learning. No assumptions are made that "everyone" should know that step and so it is not mentioned. There are also sidebars that explain techniques in more detail. You are able to learn at your own pace and each chapter has a Q & A section as well as an "Exploring on your own" challenge section.

Add to that, the projects provided are interesting as well as informative. The tasks provided are useful and within each chapter are techniques from Julieanne Kost and Russell Brown. If you are a beginning Photoshop user, this is a great place to start. If you are an intermediate or advanced user who is self taught, you will find a lot to from Adobe Photoshop CS3: Classroom In A Book.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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