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Good book. Is it for you?
on December 22, 2013
I'm a little over 100 pages into this book's 300 pages of advice and practical exercises. It is one of those books where I'm sure I will work to the end.
I wonder if you will burst out laughing reading the Forward as I did. Here is a full page image of a re-enactor knight, trudging in the sun, dragging a heavy sword wearing layers of armored regalia, perhaps practical but ramshackle in appearance. The accompanying text: "Graphic designers build up complex images layer by layer, starting with the background and gradually adding elements and special effects until the image is complete." Point taken--because my own layers can be a mess.
One thing I like about the author's approach is that he makes room for all versions of Photoshop. He is not pushing the "latest thing" from Adobe as so many Photoshop books do. Where Photoshop versions diverge in relevant ways, Gulbins acknowledges the fact.
On the other hand, this book is definitely not for you if you are a Photoshop beginner requiring a bit more rigorous sequential approach to the examples. The author can be detailed in a careful way in some places, but most often he will specify an action or goal without being explicit. This can be frustrating to the inexperienced user since Photoshop offers so many options and configurations. When the author asked me to select an object in a photo of a calla lily in his "Color Splash" technique example, I did so--and found his subsequent steps and discussion to be absolutely incomprehensible. It was not until "step 5" that he revealed specifically what object he was working with. I had chosen the wrong object, therefore used the wrong selection technique and things went downhill from there. You know the situation, I'm sure.
A moment of frustration but I got back on track. If you feel you need more explicit hand-holding in Photoshop learning, I strongly recommend the "Deke McClelland" books.
Note: the book does provide a Web site with the example images. That URL is carefully hidden in a section in the back of the book called Resources. Unfortunately, as I write this, those images must be downloaded one at a time. Kind of a chore. I hope the publishers correct this oversight soon. [edit: they did!] The images are generally a JPEG "before" and a multi-layer TIFF "after." In most cases you can skip downloading the "after" because all the fun is playing with the "before!"