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Adobe Photoshop CS6 Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an instructor of beginning and intermediate photoshop courses in several continuing education programs (and a photoshop user myself), I have considerable opportunity to observe students' learning process. Reading and reviewing photoshop books each year and creating my own manuals also helps refine my awareness and approach to explaining photoshop. This is the context from which I am evaluating THE TOP 100 SIMPLIFIED TIPS AND TRICKS book.

A preliminary summary: ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6 TOP 100 SIMPLIFIED TIPS AND TRICKS is NOT a comprehensive or adequate beginning or intermediate photoshop MANUAL but it is a useful and very well designed SUPPLEMENT for the beginning, advanced beginning and low-level intermediate student.

POSITIVES:
1) The 117 tips which includes techniques related to almost all uses of photoshop, and are divided into 11 sections:
a. make photoshop work for you
b. working with layers, selections and masks;
c. straighten, crop and resize
d. retouch portraits
e. enhance colors, tone and sharpness
f. camera raw
g. digital special effects
h. text effects
i. digital artwork
j. professional presentation
k. photoshop plugins

2) Each "tip" is 1-4 pages and color-coded in regard to difficulty level.

3) The layout of each page is superb. Most pages contain two fairly large screenshots carefully labeled with numbers corresponding to the step-by-step instructions. At the bottom of many pages, a separate box contains additional tips.

4) The text is a medium size non-serif font, easy on the eyes and highly readable. It is also broken up into several sections, separated by white space, so that large blocks of text do not overwhelm the reader.

5) Most tips begin with an explanation in regard to when and why you would use the particular technique which follows. This is a particularly helpful feature - both my students and I find that too many photoshop books (and classes) focus on the HOW and neglect the WHEN and WHY. Readers need not only to be able to follow instructions but to become able to think for themselves - which means understanding which technique to use for what purpose.

6) The author presents many useful techniques (rather than "ain't it cool" techniques) such as: use auto-align and auto-blend layers to combine photos, level a crooked horizon, remove glare from eyeglasses, apply high-pass sharpening to increase edge sharpness, and create a custom watermark. The book is PRACTICAL.

7) Even intermediate users are likely to pick up a dozen pointers that they did not know before, particularly in regard to the latest CS6 features, or Adobe camera raw.

NEGATIVES (most of which would only be negative for users who have different expectations than the book aims to fulfill):

1) This is not a comprehensive beginning or intermediate test. It is collection of how-tos - a supplement to a basic text or course. In my classes, I recommend Elaine Weinmann's VISUAL QUICKSTART SERIES, and to some extent Scott Kelby's PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS and Steve Johnson's ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6 ON DEMAND.

2) It assumes that you have some familiarity with the basic photoshop tools (e.g. lasso, clone etc.) and the most recommended workflow when editing an image.

3) It does not specifically address or note the new CS6 features and therefore is not recommended for readers primarily focused upon upgrade-related skills.

4) It isn't consistent in regard to the level of techniques it provides. In other words, it includes many basic tips that would be addressed in a beginning class (e.g. using auto-settings, converting to black-and-white, applying a photo filter and some advanced beginning/intermediate level tips (e.g. using gradient fill layers, applying a shape with displacement maps).

Rating ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6 TOP 100 SIMPLIFIED TIPS AND TRICKS is not easy because its value depends upon the user's needs and expectations. For total beginners or intermediate/advanced users, or anyone seeking a comprehensive text, it deserves three-stars. But it does not pretend to serve these purposes. As a how-to tips and tricks book, it is well-written, practical, accurate, superbly designed, visually effective, and easy to read and follow. For that reason, I rate it five stars.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 27, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been using Photoshop since Adobe was a lump of clay. So immediately after ordering "Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks" from Amazon Vine, I upgraded from CS5 to CS6 (The perfect excuse!). I was so happy when the book finally arrived. In the first twenty-nine chapters alone, I have learned to apply all sorts of new tricks.

The lessons are depicted--step by step and numbered--with full-color screenshots of the Photoshop menus; they range from the simple to the complex. The author, Lynette Kent, in fact, includes techniques for every level in every chapter throughout the book, which also contains copious tips and suggestions. Be warned though, the word 'Simplified' of the title, in some cases, can be extremely intricate, and thank heaven that items such as blending separate photos, using puppet warp; increasing depth of field; simulating reflections, and even removing the glare from eyeglasses, to give but a few examples, *have* been simplified!

Especially helpful are the author's instructions on how to use the book, and this section should be thoroughly perused before digging into the rest of its fascinating contents, since, amongst other useful information, she presents the key to her color codes, which mark the levels of difficulty for individual tasks. Her first chapter, on adapting Photoshop to one's particular needs is especially helpful in getting started. Other chapters discuss layers and masks; straightening, cropping, and resizing; retouching portraits; enhancing colors, tone; sharpness; digital special effects; designing with text effects; creating digital artwork from photographs; making images look professional; and a chapter on plug-ins. The book contains a thorough index as well as a table of contents. In 117 lessons, Ms Kent presents something useful for everyone.

The "Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks" of Photoshop CS6 certainly let me know not only how much I still have to learn, but also how much fun I am going to have in the process of learning.

Highly recommended!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I can see people rating this book anywhere from one to five stars depending on one's needs and one's level of expertise within Photoshop CS6. As an advanced intermediate to perhaps a novice expert (if such ratings exist) I found this book a bit less useful than others, but I can see a typical serious hobby photographer getting a good deal more out of it which is why I rated it three stars instead of the 2 I found it to be personally. If you are a serious PS 6 user, I'd suggest you look elsewhere for your CS 6 update source. If you have the general sense of PS but feel there must be more to it, this book is a terrific source book for you.

First, this book isn't about CS 6 exclusively (many of the topics exist in previous versions) nor is is really nothing but Tips and Tricks. Tips and Tricks imply to me that the author is giving you unconventional material usually not found in standard encyclopedic sort of books such as those from Evening, Kelby or Snider. It really isn't. Instead it's mostly a tour of 100 "how to's" along with a procedurals about accomplishing those tasks. The tasks are, for the most part, those any competent PS user will already know how to do such as converting to B&W, brightening an eye's iris, correcting over exposure by changing layer blend to multiply, how to use Camera Raw, and using Smart Objects.

It does include good explanations of some of PS's less used and less appreciated elements such as Puppet Warp which more would use if only they could figure them out. While the bulk of the book is aimed at photography, PS can go a good deal further but the book is very light on non-photographic uses such as lettering or uneven surface addressing.

The good news is that the step by step for each task is lucid to say the least. Not only does the author explain in sufficient detail each step, but in a brilliant move by the publisher, the screen shots of PS are festooned with call outs making it almost impossible for one to get lost in the step by which is a common if not universal problem with many PS books.

If you are at the stage where you understand the basic PS layout, but feel you are not getting nearly as much out of it as you know it's capable of, then this book may be just the boost to get you from bucking about program's edges into that intermediate stage where you feel you are getting your money's worth out of this very expensive offering from Adobe. The book's presentation is superb - the best I've ever seen but it isn't really Tips and Tricks, but rather the author's idea of what are the most needed tasks to learn within PS. For those wishing a truly comprehensive look at PS 6, books from those three authors previously mentioned will probably serve better.

I also penalize the book a bit by not having either a DVD / CD or a Website where you can download sample images. Instead you need to supply your own. For example, if you don't have an over exposed image to try that exercise, you either need to imagine what to do when you do get one or take one and over expose it just to correct it. I find a book pitched at this audience lacking samples to be, well, surprising.

For those who wish only a look at what's new in PS 6, Amazon has, of this writing, a free offering:

Photoshop CS6 Beta New Features: Digital Classroom Preview
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 19, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using free photo editing software for year (GIMP & Paint), and have been getting along just fine, but I found that I needed a program that was more robust so decided that with the new Photoshop CS6 release that I was going to take the plunge, shell out the big bucks and upgrade to Photoshop. And while I feel fairly proficient with the free programs I had been using,

I had no idea about how to use Photoshop, even though some things would seem so similar that it would be a no brainer. That wasn't the case for me, it was like starting all over again :( So when I saw this and looked at the table of contents on the preview I thought this looked like the perfect book for me....and it was!

I loved how the book was laid out starting with the basics of setting up Photoshop on your computer, recommending color calibration tools, and other tools that will make Photoshop work with you, not against you. I found this very helpful.

The chapters are laid out and the tutorials are brilliant. The instructions aren't overly wordy, which I love. Each tip or trick is only a few pages at most, and have color illustrations with bullet points to show you exactly what they are trying to tell you to do. These aren't really lessons, but more of "if you want to do this, here is how you go about it." The tips are ranked for difficulty.

I would recommend this book for any new, or casual Photoshop user because it touches on the essentials and basics. If you are looking for a book with more advanced technique, or the full scoop of what Photoshop can do, then this may not be the book for you. But for me, at the stage that I am at with Photoshop, a newbie, it was exactly what I was looking for and I would highly recommend it. I only wish that it was a comprehensive book that I could use as I became more familiar with it, which is why I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5, but that would make it more than the "Top 100" tips & tricks :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Photoshop users with advanced beginner to intermediate experience can benefit from this book. The tutorials are easy to follow, and are designated with the difficulty level in color. The screen prints are in color, which makes the lessons easy to follow. The step-by-step instructions are quite detailed with the numbered balloons.

Readers with no Photoshop experience will have some difficulty following some of the lessons, because the author assumes one has some basic PS knowledge. This book does not cover all the new CS6 updates in detail, so it is best to look in other books or the adobe.com site for that info.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 31, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Photoshop is a huge program, and it's not getting smaller: Any fully-inclusive guide to the program would be the size of the O.E.D. Of necessity, any book dealing with PS will be condensed, with a particular point of view. For example, the fine volumes by Martin Evening deal almost exclusively with photography. Some other volumes will be purely overview. This book does its best to cover most of the features in Photoshop in an introductory form guaranteed to get results.

The more time I spent with this book, the more I appreciated it. The author, Lynette Kent, has dedicated a concise chapter to over 100 topics within Photoshop. While the targeted reader may typically be new to the program, even an old hand can learn a trick or two. Each section is very specific--this button first, this filter next, this button next, and so on. Screen shots accompany each set of instructions with clear pointers to show just where the buttons are (even the new, cleaner look of CS6 can overwhelm you with choices). Each set of instructions is meant to be followed closely. There are two primary reasons for this. The first is obviously to get the reader to a result. This second is to familiarize that reader with each tool. There are many ways to get the same (or nearly the same) result in Photoshop; Kent has used a different method for each chapter. This approach will build confidence in the reader while giving them the ability to branch out.

The first few sections have to do with setup, calibration, the Bridge program and a few basics. Any new user should treat them as required reading. After that, it's not really necessary to go from beginning to end. Drop in anywhere and experiment with the techniques on offer, whether vectors, sketching, designing with text or whatever. The section on retouching is nicely-done. The results bring out the best in the models without making them into plastic dolls. Kent's love of traditional art comes through in her sections on converting photographs into pastels, pen drawings, or watercolors.

The deeply-experienced PS user who's just looking to see what's new in CS6 will not need this volume. But the beginner or intermediate already knows there's a lot more under the hood. This volume provides a nice controlled set of experiments to help explore.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book covers a number of subjects for CS6.

First it offers set-up instructions for the work environment. Select color settings for your projects; Set the preferences for the way you work; and so on. This a great opportunity to get your work evironment set for the way you work.

Next it covers Layers, Selections and Masks - Adding layers and Blending Modes; Use Layer Filters to find the layer you need; Quick Selection tools; Blend two photos together and more.

There is a section on Straighten, Crop and Resize where it gives tips for Diptych, Triptych or Quadriptych; change your perspective with the crop tool; how to use the lens correction tools to correct geometric distortion; assemble panoramas; and resize your image with minimal visible loss.

A handy section covers retouching portraits, including removing glare from eyeglasses; improve skin with the spot healing brush and layers; reduce wrinkles; brighten eyes and more.

This book has seven more sections that cover the following:

Enhance Colors, Tone, and Sharpness in Photos
Process Photos in Camera Raw
Make Magic with Digital Special Effects
Design with Text Effects
Create Digital Artwork from Photographs
Give you Images a Professional Presentation
Plug-in to Photoshop

This book is very comprehensive and includes numerous illustrations in color, along with step by step instructions for how to accomplish each step in the process from beginning to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 6, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm not a photoshop newbie, but when jumping from Photoshop CS to CS4 and now to CS6 I have lost my way. This book has really helped me to discover new features and how to use them step by step. It guides you through Photoshop's in depth menus and options with ease. Each project is only two pages long and by no means overwhelming or too difficult. The book even gives each project a difficulty rating.

A more advanced user wouldn't find this book particularly useful and would be looking for more in depth projects, but a new person or someone like me who just feels outdated certainly would. Once you've read and tried it all out it's a nice reference book to keep in case you forget a long the way. Another plus is the whole section devoted to portraiture that anyone could use including how to whiten a smile, change eye color, remove glare from glasses...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book has some serious competition eg Scott Kelby's new Photoshop cs6 for photographers ( different format but much of the same territory is covered). Still, it comes up well enough for me to rate it at 4/5.
First my main reservation. Well, its not so much a criticism as a matter of semantics. The books seems really to be about the basics of photoshop rather than what I'd call "Tips and Tricks". As such, it presents the basics and more advanced procedures for using most of the main tools in photoshop ( and Raw adjustments). So, its not special and less known tips, more about the main tools and adjustments in photoshop. i had hoped for some wiz-bang hot and new recipes for doing things in photoshop but instead I got a ( very good) book covering much of the standard tools of trade, so to speak. Still for my money it was dollars well spent and I feel as though my investment has more than paid for itself.
The book uses a very clear and easy-to-follow dot-point treatment of the use of the photoshop and raw tools, plus usually very pertinent warnings or tips where relevant. The titles of each section are clear and give you a good understanding of what you are going to learn.

Each 'lesson" is about two pages long. Not long and involved processes here, just the more basic operations most users are going to want to know.

Although the blurb says it assumes you already know the basics it seems to me a beginner could easily use this book and in so doing boost themselves to intermediate level.
if, like me, you are around an intermediate level user you will still find a vast amount of useful stuff. I'd say if you are a top-end user you are likely going to already know much of the content.

Each two-page section has a number of screenshots of photoshop screens, annotated with numbers which relate to the step-by-step guidelines in the section. I found the detail was meticulously done and very clear and precise.

I would recommend this book for beginners and mid-level users. if you are thinking of buying a guidebook for photoshop, as well, bear in mind basically this is what you will get with " Top 100 Tips and Tricks". By the way, they give you 117 tips - a 17-tip bonus, which is nice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great book for picking up a few additional tips on features you didn't yet know about Photoshop or for just getting started with it as well. The "5-star visual learning system" puts it all right out there for you - complete with screenshots of where to find things on the menus. Personally I wouldn't sit down with this and start from the beginning and go the end of the book, but those new to Photoshop definitely should go through the first two chapters to get a good feel for the software. I'm using this as a great reference point to get me familiar with some tasks that I don't know.

I have been using Photoshop since about CS2 so I'm pretty familiar with it, though my skills are limited to the features I the most. I don't consider myself an expert, more of an intermediate user. And since I've been using it since CS2 mainly for processing photos, I tend to stick with the features I know that work. For me, many of the tips in this book give me a better understanding of additional features that I have never used or have only touched on a few times, but need to know more about. I honestly don't have a lot of time to sit and learn new things, which is why I tend to stick with known features. With this book I can quickly find something from the table of contents, go that page and get working right away. A plus for someone like me with limited time!

Granted, there are not a lot of new things in here, which I think other reviewers have already pointed out. But if you're like me and don't tend to go much beyond the tools that you know you need to use for processing a photo, this book will give you some quick guidance to expand your knowledge. I would have been happier if they had flagged the items that were new in CS6, so I could go directly to those. It's interesting, too, because some methods are different from how I do things now. Like whitening teeth and brightening eyes. I know that with Photoshop there are many different ways to do the same thing, but it's nice to learn a new way to do something I've always done. By learning a new way I often end up learning a new tool or technique that I can use for something else down the road.

Oh, and this book is oversized, too. Which I actually wasn't too thrilled about as it took up a lot of space in my bag when I was carrying it around with me for awhile, but now that it sits on my shelf and is readily accessible, I appreciate the larger size as I can see more on the page and the color images are easy to read. (the book is 8.5" wide by 10" high).

If you are new or a beginner Photoshop user, this would be a good book for you to get up and running with Photoshop pretty quickly. If you're an intermediate to advanced user, I suggest checking out the table of contents to see if there is enough "new to you" tips/techniques to make it worthwhile.
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