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With Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One you will grow by magnitudes in your understanding and ability to use Photoshop.

Book Review: Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One by Deke McClelland

Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One may be one of the most interesting training systems I have ever seen. It is a straightforward, step-by-step guide to the features and functions of Photoshop. It has many real-world projects, insider tips as well as coverage of new features in CS3 such as Adobe Bridge. Add to that, it has the entertaining teaching style that has made Deke McClelland a legendary trainer in the Photoshop world.

According to the author, he created Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One for three different audiences; graphic artists, designers and photographers. He created the book as a highly visual, full color multi-media presentation that will allow you to read, watch and do! His goal was to meet the needs of beginning and intermediate users but has found that even the most experienced users have learned new techniques.

The book contains 12 lessons, each of which contain three to six step-by-step exercises. Each lesson contains a corresponding video lesson; a DVD-Rom disk is included with the book that contains over two hours worth of training video, in which the author introduces concepts that you will need to complete the exercises. Each exercise culminates in a real-world project for you to complete.

While I won't go in to each of the lessons, McClelland does cover all of the fundamentals of Photoshop such as color balancing, cropping, selections, masks, filters, text and layers. When each tool is introduced, all of the important options are explained so that you will be able to work with the tool and get a good understanding of what it can be used for. On top of that, the instruction is high quality, as it not only includes the "how," but the "why" as well.

What I like about Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One is the whole concept of multi-media training. McClelland starts a chapter, say lesson four "Making Selections," by giving a brief overview of what the chapter is about. In this case he explains "Photoshop doesn't perceive the flower as an independent object. Instead, the program sees pixels … Photoshop sees a blur of subtle transitions without form or substance." Where a lot of authors would stop at the word pixels, McClelland takes the time to get you to understand the concept.

He then explains where the project files are on the DVD. He tells you what the lesson is about, and the ways to select a region of an image and edit it independently of the other regions of the image. You are then instructed to watch the DVD. In this case it lasts 11 minutes and 45 seconds. Then it is on to the lesson where you learn to isolate an image element – in this case the top of an umbrella. He guides you on how to select color areas using the magic wand. You are shown how to use the marquee tools as well as other techniques. All the time he is dropping "Pearls of Wisdom" which are additional techniques that you will find invaluable. Then at the end, there is a "Chapter Test" where you can see how much you have learned.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One has been updated throughout to take into account the new features that are in Adobe Photoshop CS3. Some of the new sections include "Aligning Layers and Blending Photographs," which introduces the new Auto-Align Layers command that allows you to match multiple images captured from a single vantage point, and "Smart Filters," which are the long-awaited means of applying Photoshop's wide-ranging filter effects nondestructively and reversibly.

I feel that if you are new to Photoshop or have been working with Photoshop for many years without formal training, you will grow by magnitudes in your understanding and ability to use Photoshop.

Lesson overview
Lesson 1: File management and Navigation.
Lesson 2: Brightness and Contrast Adjustments.
Lesson 3: Color Balance.
Lesson 4: Selection Tools.
Lesson 5: Cropping and Transforming an Image
Lesson 6: Painting and Retouching.
Lesson 7: Masking.
Lesson 8: Focus and Distortion Filters.
Lesson 9: Layer Functions.
Lesson 10: Text and Shape Layers.
Lesson 11: Layer Styles and Specialty Layers
Lesson 12: Print Functions.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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