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Digital Painting in Photoshop 1st Edition

49 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240811147
ISBN-10: 0240811143
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Ruddick Bloom is a Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at McDaniel College in Maryland. She has a BFA and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is well known for both her traditional wet darkroom alternative processes and her digital darkroom work. Sue has been teaching digital classes since the beginning of Photoshop and has used a Mac from the very first one on the market (128K, with a screen the size of an index card). Trained in drawing, painting, and printmaking, she was at one time a courtroom artist for television and newspapers. Her painterly skills enhance her photographic ones, and her images frequently combine techniques. Sue's work has been exhibited and collected widely.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811147
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Bob Nolin on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book's intended audience is Photoshop users who have never explored the brushes and painting tools in Photoshop. It's not, however, really about "Digital Painting." The book introduces you (by way of 50 pages of screenshots of the brushes PS ships with) to brushes. Then it shows how to use a single technique, with variations, to achieve photo manipulations resembling watecolor, oils, and other traditional media. The technique, by the way, is not at all new, and you may already know it: duplicate the background layer, run a filter on it, add a layer mask, and then paint on the layer mask to reveal the filtered image. This is a far cry from just running the Watercolor filter and calling it a painting, but it is also not what I consider digital painting. This is a Photoshop cookbook, and it's a pretty good one. The text never references the figure numbers on the screenshots, which makes it hard to follow in many places. There's also a few places where the author neglects to mention how she got from here to there, which will leave beginners frustrated.

Bloom assumes her audience knows layer masks, blending modes, and layers, so her coverage of these subjects is scant. If you are familiar with layers, though, you may find this book is just the ticket to help you release your "inner artist." If you're a photographer, it'll give you some easy methods for artistically enhancing your portraits and landscapes.

A better book, which covers many more techniques, and is more clearly-written, is Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook: 61 Easy-to-Follow Recipes for Digital Photographers, Designers, and Artists by Tim Shelbourne.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dustin Williams VINE VOICE on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a GREAT idea, yet it does need SOME improvements...


1) Provides a very nice introduction to many of the brushes and filters that you will find in Photoshop. The first 70 pages are basically "screenshots" that are dedicated to providing you with a quick, visual reference guide to the many of the brushes that Photoshop has. This does come in handy, especially if you are looking for a particular brush shape -- and don't want to take the time to manually search through Photoshop's large brush collection yourself. ;-)

2) Chapters 3 through 7 are dedicated to teaching the reader how to create various styles of artwork, such as how to produce a charcoal drawing, pastel artwork, work with watercolor, creating oil painting effects, using various artistic, illustration techniques, and even how to use some of the professional grade, 3rd-party plugins for Photoshop. The chapters are designed so that anyone who's had some moderate experience with Photoshop will know how to complete the various exercise. However, please note that this book is NOT designed for absolute beginners, as the author does expect that you have a working knowledge of many of Photoshop's program fundamentals, such as creating layers, desaturating a picture, working with filters, using layer masks, etc.


1) The book's title suggests that this book will teach you how to do "digital painting" in Photoshop. Unfortunately, it does NOT teach "digital painting", but instead, how to create similar artistic effects with your photos by using Photoshop's various filters and plugins. If you're looking for a book that teaches you how to paint, this is not it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Yo' Vinny VINE VOICE on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
OK, so this is COOL! I traditionally though of PhotoShop as a photographic imaging program and when I wanted to get a little 'artsy' with it I'd drop down a filter and run it against the image. I figured the most adjustments I had to it was to use masking, selections and opacity with various blends. This book has really brought me familiar with the brush within Photoshop. So many Photoshop books use the brush as a controlled and localized selection to apply effects. This book really shows you how to use it as a digital version of an actual brush. It is amazing how you can take a typical portrait and turn it into something special.

If you are a pro photographer you will really like how some of the effects can take a wedding portrait that has a good scene but horrible exposure or color and turn it into an artistic work of art that captures the essence of the moment. It really becomes more than just the image and should call for more profits.

if you are a photographer looking to get more artistic with your images or an artist trying to leverage some of the advanced functionality of Photoshop, I would recommend you pick up this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anne Pfeiffer on July 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book definitely crosses over into the realm of Photoshop as an artform, instead the Photoshop cool tricks (boring!) arena.

This book is perfect for educators like me, as well as traditional illustrators who find their clients can't always pay for the time for traditional media illustrations. I have found after 7 years of teaching digital art, that screenshots are extremely effective. Most young people are very visual, and of couse, all artists are. I think all the screenshots in this book are genius. I spend lots of extra hours creating screenshots for my students after realizing how effective they are as a teaching tool.

If you are an artist dipping your toes into painting with Photoshop, this book is a great start if you already understand basic Photoshop. It is much better than searching for online tutorials, which half the time are not clearly explained, and the physical book makes for a great reference to keep going back to.

The techniques described are not what you would find just by applying a filter or two. The author spent many hours experimenting with techniques that now you don't have to spend hours figuring out yourself. Whether or not you think all the finished examples are inspiring works of art doesn't matter. These techniques are very useful and I plan on teaching several to my students.

I also enjoyed the respectful discussions of traditional media. I for one would always prefer to use real pastels...when I have a lot of time, but, as a traditional media artist who also teaches digital media, it would be a huge mistake to not address this digital art form. After all, it still takes an artist to turn these techniques into exciting works of art.

Don't worry, if you are a well-trained artist, your finished products will not look like you were a non-artist who thought Photoshop turned you into an artist.
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