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Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature [Paperback]

by Matt Kloskowski
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition) Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition) 4.5 out of 5 stars (107)
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Book Description

February 22, 2008 0321534166 978-0321534163 1
When Photoshop guru Matt Kloskowski was asked why he wrote this book, he replied, “It’s simple: I wanted to write the Photoshop book that I wished was around when I was learning Photoshop”. You’ve always known that layers were the key to understanding Photoshop, and now you have a resource to show you exactly how. With Matt’s clear, easy-to-follow, and concise writing style you’ll learn about:
  • Working with and managing multiple layers
  • Building multiple layered images
  • Blending layers together
  • Exactly which of the 25+ Blend Modes you need to worry about (there’s just a few)
  • Layer Masking and just how easy it is.
  • Using layers to enhance and retouch your photos
  • All of the tips and tricks that make using layers a breeze.
If you want to finally understand layers in Photoshop, this book is the one you’ve been waiting for.

Frequently Bought Together

Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature + Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition) + Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites
Price for all three: $91.70

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (February 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321534166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321534163
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Kloskowski is a Photoshop guru and author of nine books on Photoshop, Elements, and Illustrator. Matt teaches Photoshop and digital photography techniques to thousands of people each year. He co-hosts the top-rated video podcast Photoshop User TV and also hosts the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips and Photoshop Killer Tips podcasts. He's built a massive library of DVDs and online training courses, and writes regularly for Photoshop User magazine. Matt is an instructor at the world's premier Photoshop event, the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and works in Tampa, Florida, at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laying It On June 3, 2008
No photographer can unleash the full power of Photoshop to make an image look like the photographer's vision without understanding the power of layers. (At the very least layers allow the Photoshop user to make selective adjustments to an image, without actually changing the underlying data.) Yet many Photoshop books treat layers in bits and pieces rather than as an integrated whole so that the photographer has a hard time grasping the overall concept. That's where a book aimed solely at layers comes in.

Matt Kloskowski's book deals with all the major applications of layers. The subjects include the nature of layers, blending layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, type and shape layers, enhancing and adjusting photos with layers, layer styles and smart layers. It's all here, but in a short simple quick form. (I'm sure there are more esoteric things to learn about layers; at least one pair of authors has a book on layers that is over 750 pages long!) Most photographers will find that this book has all they need to know about the subject.

The author's text takes the form of tutorials. One can either download files for these tutorials or work with one's own pictures. The tutorials are short, well illustrated and have plenty of white space. If you make a mistake at an early step you won't have to backtrack through twenty or thirty steps to find out where you went wrong. Even if you work out each tutorial, this book will not take more than ten or twenty hours to complete, and it will teach you almost everything you need to know about the subject. Along the way, Kloskowski teaches the reader about other Photoshop tools, as when he integrates a discussion of gradients into a lesson on blend modes, or deals with selections in a tutorial on layer masks.
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84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for advanced Photoshop idiots like me! March 4, 2008
I'm one of those Photoshop users who knows too much to want to read a book mainly for beginners, not because of ego considerations but because I would be bored and skip around. But there are also huge gaps in my haphazard Photoshop education. This book gives absolute beginners what they need without slowing down the more experienced user. It's long enough to cover what it aims out to cover without being so long that you look at it and say, someday I'm going to go through that book but not today.

I was attracted to this book because of who wrote it (I watch Matt's Killer Photoshop and Lightroom tips all the time), the topic, which of course is central to knowing Photoshop, and because of the great cover. I'm a small press publisher and believe me, covers matter. Many good books languish because they don't appeal initially to the eye. And a Photoshop book should have a good design. It's also well-edited, a welcome plus in today's publishing world.

Anyway, what's between the covers is just as delightful. I think the word I would use to best describe this book is methodical but not in a boring way. It's comprehensive, but the way it's laid out never overwhelms you. I know that when I go through this book a couple of times, I'm going to be flipping my way through layers like a maniac but a maniac who knows what she's doing and knows what layers can do for her.

And, I LOVE the last page of each chapter, the "How do I...." question and answers. It gives me one place to go to immediately find all those absolutely essential shortcuts and critical pieces of knowledge without which one wouldn't really be able to say they had a good basic understanding of layers.
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177 of 199 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic, but not original March 21, 2008
The book clearly explaines the concept and uses of layers. (Not that the subject requires a whole book). It is well illustrated and the instructions are detailed and easy to understand.

The problem I found is that, like most Kelby brand books, (of which there are so many and they come out so frequently you wonder if these people ever sleep) it is a rehash of material covered elsewhere. Even the illustrations and images begin to look familiar. There is nothing new here, unless you just now bought Photoshop and this is your first book (in which case, you got a good one).

Another issue is that, since its aimed at everyone, it isn't really aimed at anyone in particular. So, if you take pictures of the grandkids, there are a few pages here for you. If you design menus, there are a few pages here for you, if you're a wedding photographer or scrapbook maker or you work in advertising, there are a few pages here for you, too. But if you're any of those things, you will also find that a considerable amount of the book is completely irrelevant to you. (Interesting, but irrelevant).
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you use Photoshop, you should read this book. February 24, 2008
Matt does a fantastic job of demystifying layers in this well organized, well thought out book. From his explanation of what a layer is, all the way through the most complex layer techniques, Matt keeps everything simple and straightforward. I have seen him instruct in person and this book follows in the same style as his classes. Each chapter builds upon the last and moves you from the simple to the challenging while building your knowledge of each layer tool or technique.

So here is what I really like, the chapters or lessons are chock full of follow along exercises that demonstrate the concepts being explained (you can download all of the images used to follow along). Next is the fact that Matt doesn't delve to deeply into the math behind the tools. He just shows you that this does this and that does that. As I always say, "I don't need to know how the engine works, just how to drive the car."

What I don't like, it's just too short. This isn't a bad thing with the book, it's just that I enjoyed the lessons so much that I wish there were more of them. The great thing about layers is that people are always discovering new ways to use them. I guess that leaves room for a sequel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Layers look easy!
The toughest thing of Photoshop, any version, is how much there is to learn! And most books don't make it easy for you. Read more
Published 6 months ago by R. N. Radhakrishnan
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book to Learn Photoshop
I like this book so much that I bought a second copy when I misplaced the first copy I had. If you have ever wanted to learn Photoshop, been confused about masks or adjustment... Read more
Published 9 months ago by victoria Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a wonderful book that explains all sorts of things I didn't understand. It isn't so technical that you put it down in despair. It's very usable.
Published 12 months ago by Barb B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Layers Are Your Friends...
I am a mid to advanced level Photoshop user, having used the program myself since Photoshop 3 (and I'm not talking CS3). Read more
Published 21 months ago by Valerie Ballard
2.0 out of 5 stars wrong book
I thought I was getting print shop pro not paint shop so it was not very helpful to me, but some of the basics were.
Published on December 5, 2011 by George T. Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars First Take on "Layers: The Complete Guide..."
This is a first take on the book "Layers: The Complete Guide...". However, even at this early stage, I must concur, approximately, with the opinions of Reviewers J Thompson and J... Read more
Published on October 19, 2011 by wjcloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is a very well written book with lots of usefull information. Easy to read and easy to follow. I would recomend this to anyone who would like to get a better understanding of... Read more
Published on April 26, 2011 by Art McColgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Photoshop Layers
I found this book to be the most concise, applicable approach to learning layers I have purchased or read. Read more
Published on March 19, 2011 by P. Motley
3.0 out of 5 stars Nor for a beginner
Layers is indeed one of the most powerful and useful features of Photoshop. I have been learning PS for years (since2.5) and I have only recently started using Layers. Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by G. McDowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever
This book has so many easy to do projects. The directions are easy to follow. The options I have been able to give my clients has been outstanding and up to my quality and... Read more
Published on February 25, 2011 by T. Remington
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Topic From this Discussion
Still applicable for CS4
Hi John,
I'd say that about 70-80% of the book is applicable. The main thing that's been changed between CS3 and CS4 are Adjustment Layers. Adjustment layers still work exactly the same but you can now use the new Adjustments Panel to do your work instead of opening a new Adjustment Layer dialog... Read more
Feb 1, 2009 by Matt Kloskowski |  See all 27 posts
Hi Robert,
Not really. It's written for Photoshop CS5. I know Elements users that have bought it and like it, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a really advanced user.
Jan 11, 2011 by Matt Kloskowski |  See all 3 posts
Is this relevant for CS2?
How could I resist answering a fellow "ski". We have to stick together you know :)
I've actually got a quick 60 second video that I did about the book where I explain it and it should go up soon but I'll give you the low-down. There's 40 tutorials/projects in the book. Out of the 40, 39... Read more
Feb 26, 2008 by Matt Kloskowski |  See all 5 posts
Copycat Book
I might note something that might make the decision to purchase one or the other 'moot'.

The summary material about Lynch's book says it is aimed at people who already have some experience (i.e. not beginners), while Kloskowski's book was actually 'dinged' for being too much aimed toward... Read more
May 13, 2011 by Athaedrielle |  See all 7 posts
photoshop vs corel paint Be the first to reply
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