In a way, the whole book is a crash course--plenty of full-color screen shots accompanied by short but insightful explanations and step-by-step instructions that take you from opening screen to finished image quickly. Tips and cautions pop up frequently, and the pithy, concise text says a lot without taking up much space. For example, the author clearly and speedily explains why applying the sharpen filter to a blurry image won't make much of a visual change. And in just five pages, the section on image masks touches on RGB and alpha channels, the high pass filter, the magic wand and the lasso tools, and many keyboard shortcuts, as well as showing you a decent composited image. The discussions in the book are like recipes: you may not know why you should use baking soda rather than baking powder, but you'll eat a satisfying dish in the end.
The author writes, "I'm assuming if the image looks good to you, using your eyes as your guide, then it's okay for your Web site." Prospective buyers can check out the book's example images, as well as download a few of the .psd files, at her site (www.flatfishfactory.com). This would be a good way to gauge your level of experience against what's covered.
With its detailed index, art-book shape, and lie-flat spine, the book is handy for finding quick fixes or creative ways to experiment with digital photos. One note: Macintosh users are favored since all the screen shots were made using that version of Photoshop, but all instructions are cross-platform. --Angelynn Grant
From the Author
Each example, or task, is designed for someone who's familiar with Mac OS or Windows, and has had some experience working with graphics applications, such as Photoshop or Macromedia's Fireworks. This book is designed to work side-by-side with other books that explain the Photoshop 6 feature set, digital photography, animation, color correction, or Mac OS or Windows. Almost all of the screenshots were created with the Macintosh version of Photoshop 6. However, the Windows version of Photoshop 6 is very similar to the Macintosh version. All examples, including keyboard combinations apply to Mac and Windows versions of Photoshop.
The book is made up of 19 chapters divided into four parts. Each chapter contains a set of tasks that explain how to apply a particular feature or create a specific effect with an image file opened in Photoshop. Each task contains at least one full-color screen shot, and clear explanations about what to do to get from one step to the next. Although a CD-ROM is not included with this book, I have posted most of the original 2, 3, and 4-megapixel images, plus smaller, resized 640 x 480 pixel images used in this book on my web site. Have fun and enjoy learning about Photoshop!