Adobe Photoshop CS4: Power Session with Matt Kloskowski is the new video training DVD for those who have experience with Photoshop and want to learn how to use the new features in Photoshop CS4. It is hosted by Matt Kloskowski, one of the education and curriculum developers for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, or NAPP. If you are not familiar with NAPP, please read my review on Photoshop User magazine to gain more insight on what NAPP is all about and why you should join.
Adobe Photoshop: Power Session is contained on a single DVD that runs 162 minutes and can be used on a computer-based system, an iPod, or an iPhone. It is aimed at new and relativity inexperienced Photoshop CS4 users as well as those who just want to learn about the new stuff in CS4. The author goes over the material in 26 lessons and 12 Quick Tips which provide short, specific guidance on particular items that have changed in CS4. The goal of this DVD is to allow you to quickly unlock the potential of Photoshop CS4 like a pro.
I guess when you are focusing in on all of the new features, outside of the interface and panels there really is no specific order in which to go in. So for the purpose of this review, I will break it down into the three menu sets that come on the DVD.
Menu 1 begins with an introduction by Matt Kloskowski where he briefly goes over the goals of this training session. He then explains some of the interface enhancements with special attention to those that made him move from CS3 to CS4 more rapidly than he normally does. Next he focuses his attention on the adjustment panel which is a major change from prior versions.
Other topics that are covered here are the use of the new Masks Panel, the Localized Color Clusters located in the Select Color Range dialog, improvements to Dodging and Burning with the protect tones feature, the use of the new Content Aware Scaling, and Smart Object enhancements.
Menu 2 starts off with a brief look at some of the printing enhancements and then goes into the Cloning and Healing changes which gives you more control when using the cloning and healing tools. It enhances the overlay ability by reducing it to a clipped section. Canvas rotation is also covered which gives artists the ability to turn the canvas. Then you will see how to create your own custom palette using Adobe Configurator.
Next up is coverage of the changes in the new Camera Raw 5.0. This includes information on the new Graduated Filter functionality that lets you adjust things like exposure using a graduated effect and the Adjustment Brush that lets you target your adjustments. In this section, you will see how to do separate adjustments to different parts of your image just by painting the adjustments in.
This section also includes a brief talk about workflow, then seeing how to lighten faces, brighten eyes, and adjust backgrounds as well as how to use the new Post Crop Vignette. This menu finishes up with looking at the Adobe Bridge interface changes.
Menu 3 continues looking at changes in Bridge by looking at the new Review Mode that is included with Adobe Bridge. It is a carousel view format that gives you an alternate form to choose your best images and rate them. You will next work with collections and then see what Smart Collections are and how best to use them.
Now it's on to creating Web galleries, PDF files, and Contact Sheets from within Bridge as there are a lot of new features here. Then you will see how to load multiple files into Photoshop Layers together. This is helpful for working with collages. Then you will see how to create stacks for things like working with panoramas or HDR files. The final segments show how to extend the depth of field of an image using multiple images and a look at the 3D extended version can be used to globe from a 2D image as well as some of the navigating and enhancement tools included.
As I said, sprinkled throughout are quick tips that point out specific features. Some of these include how to quickly delete layers, on-image adjustments, the new Pixel Grid, how to drag-resize your brushes, interface shortcuts, image thumbnail grids, and many more.
One thing about the base DVD that I did not like was the navigation. I can pause, restart, or go to the next item. But if I miss something that is said, I have to re-watch the whole segment. What I did like is that with the iPod/iPhone version, I could just load up Adobe Media Player and I could navigate just how I wanted to. Not to mention that I could load this up to my player and have it with me whenever I needed. A very pleasant surprise
Matt Kloskowski has put together a lot of powerful information within Adobe Photoshop CS4: Power Session that will not only get you up to speed with many of the new features in Photoshop CS4, but also show you how to be more productive with these techniques. He has a way of showing you how to accomplish a task and doing so in a way that makes even the most complex tasks feel easy to do.
If you have been working with a prior version of Photoshop and want to get up to speed fast, then this is the course for you. If you are new to Photoshop, feel comfortable with some of your basic skills, but want to learn some of the new stuff, then this is definitely the video training for you. I very highly recommend this training course.