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If you want to expand your skills to a completely different level, then you will want to get Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery and FX.

Book Review: Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery And FX by Stephen Burns

Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery and FX is not your typical Photoshop book for photographers, rather it is geared more toward digital artists and photographers who want to do more than just generate pictures. It is different in that it focuses on a lot of Photoshop tools that are not used on a regular basis. It has also been updated to work with the new features of Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery and FX assumes that you have fundamental Photoshop skills and helps you to build on these skill by showing you the how's and the why's of what Photoshop does. The book is contained in eight chapters and a CD Rom that contains all of the images in the book as well as all of the tutorial files such as backgrounds and textures that are needed to complete the tutorials. There is also demo software as well included on the disk.

Chapter one, "Simplifying the Interface," explores the Photoshop UI and the tools that you will be using in your exploration of graphic artistry. You will be creating animated paintbrushes and a custom brush palette. You will learn a bit about the workflow within Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. This chapter sets you up to really get under the hood of Photoshop CS3.

Chapter two, "Mastering Photoshop Fundamentals," will teach you about the Layer Blending Modes to produce dynamic and creative images. You will learn about and demystify the Photoshop 8-bit environment and how it relates to 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit images. You will learn of Selections, the Alpha Channel and Masking as well as working with the Pen Tool.

Chapter three, "Smart Filters to Aid Artistic Vision," begins the real meat of this book. Here you are shown how to use photographs as a creative medium. By using multiple images you begin to see how the front cover of this book was created as you are taken step-by-step through various techniques that were used to create it. You will also learn how to use the new HDR (High Dynamic Range) Merge to get greater effects as well as adding third-party filters.

Chapter four, "Custom Created Concepts," will give you the skills to use Animated Brush Engine to custom create smoke effects and debris. You will also learn of FX tricks to create motion, how to stroke a path with animated brushes and how to use Quick Mask to define shapes.

Chapter five, "Integrating Photography and 3D Objects," explores two different approaches to integrating 3D objects into your Photoshop environment. The author begins with the new 3D layers and then moves toward using bitmaps. This is more of a setup and learning experience for chapter six.

Chapter six, "Integrating 3D Concepts with Photography," takes what you learned in chapter five to a whole new level. Here you get into more depth with the 3D Layers and the Photoshop 3D environment, as well as with integrating 3D objects with Photography. You create an initial landscape and working with 3D layers, you integrate a 3D object into it. You create a grass brush to match the environment and make the object a part of the image. You also learn how to work with the Vanishing Point tool as well.

Chapter seven, "Working with People and Backgrounds," will show you how to turn portraits into ceramic objects, create clouds and add animal attributes to a human. You will also learn how to use Masks to isolate a person as well as use textures to blend with human skin.

Finally, chapter eight, "Fine Art," concludes by showing you how to finish off your fine art projects. Here you will use textures to create custom interior and other tricks to create motion, light rays and cloud formations. You will learn a bit about printing, papers and plug-ins that will make your creations more enjoyable.

If you really want to expand your Photoshop skills to a different level by learning concepts that are not standard techniques found in most books, if you want to learn how to do fantasy graphics – the kind you've seen on books, posters and album covers – then you will want to get Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery and FX.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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