Photoshop CS6 For Dummies
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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 18, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a basic guide to Photoshop CS6, PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR DUMMIES falls into that impractical middle ground between beginning and intermediate guide to Photoshop. Too advanced and badly organized for beginners, it likewise is not the best reference guide for highly experienced Photoshop users, because much of information contained within it is too basic. However it is most suitable for the advanced beginner-intermediate student who has already taken a beginning Photoshop course and spent at least a dozen sessions using Photoshop.

For over 15 years, I have taught 18-20 beginning Photoshop courses per year. I also have graduate degrees in education and counseling, and have done much one-on-one tutoring. As a result, am very well attuned to the processes by which students learn Photoshop. Important to the learning process is helping the students retain what they learn, and understand the thinking process that occurs in regard to determining the order of steps and the use of tools.

Users totally new to Photoshop are likely to be intimidated by Peter Bauer's approach and wonder if they need instead a book entitled PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR ABSOLUTE DUMMIES.

From the start, Bauer refers to features - e.g. 8 and 16 bit color modes, color correction by channels - which he does not define. Indeed, he prematurely and unnecessarily mentions topics too early which are likely to overwhelm beginners who needs to process information one step at a time, and in an order which makes sense when initially editing a photo.

Bauer would have written a better book if he had begun with definitions of terms, an in-depth introduction to the Photoshop interface, and discussion of the first steps which follow opening a photo and evaluating it in regard to potential editing.

In my classes, I find that beginning students need intensive focus upon:
a) proportion, resizing and resolution
b) mastery of the levels sliders, and hue/saturation
c) understanding the difference between selection techniques, the best uses for each one, and the refining of selection
d) step-by-step guidance in using the layers palette
e) considerable experience with the clone tool and healing brush
f) various sharpening techniques, and their suggested uses

Bauer does not present any of these topics to a degree which I view as adequate. He does not even, for example, address the biggest issue student have with the magnetic lasso (getting out of it, and avoiding the "bubble gum" effect). He barely refers to the process of refining selections, and he omits key information to regard to effective sharpening.

In regard to version CS6, PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR DUMMIES does not in any depth cover the newest features. It does clearly indicate that a technique is new when it is introduced. But the book is not organized in a manner which would help a previous Photoshop user locate and focus upon the latest features.

But PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR DUMMIES is not by any means a complete loss. Bauer's writing style is clear, and the layout of the book, like most For Dummies books, contributes to readability (although some of the diagrams and screenshots are a bit too small).

It is also brimming with many useful tips - ones which even many intermediate and advanced users can benefit. I, for example, learned more about organizing filters and using the oil paint filter, about using vibrance with the sponge tool, and about certain settings available in Edit, Preferences. Even with my many year's experience using Photoshop, I picked up about two dozen tips with which I was not familiar.

Bauer also covers almost every topic likely to interest Photoshop users - retouching, color correction, brushes, selection, layers and layer styles, vector paths, filters, camera raw, and even video/animation capabilities which are now available in the regular as well as the extended version. But therein lies the problem. In attempting to cover everything, he overreaches himself, particularly in regard to addressing himself to the Photoshop beginner - the likely audience for his book.

Although I have not yet examined or read many books focused on Photoshop 6 in particular, I continue to recommend to my beginning students Mike Woolridge and Brianna Stuart's TEACH YOURSELF VISUALLY ADOBE PHOTOSHOP and Elaine Weinmann's PHOTOSHOP VISUAL QUICKSTART GUIDE. Even more comprehensive and also accessible to beginners is Steve Johnson's PHOTOSHOP ON DEMAND. Finally Scott Kelby's books on PHOTOSHOP FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS continue to be excellent guides suitable for the beginner/advanced beginner.

I would not recommend PHOTOSHOP CS6 FOR DUMMIES, except to advanced beginners who also have a more suitable beginning or intermediate Photoshop book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 2, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Clarity is the beauty of these "for dummies" books. You will know where to look and you will understand what you read. This book functions as a general orientation of the program, moving logically from less to more complex, and going into detail where needed (ex: what do the sliders within the dialog mean and what going in either direction will accomplish.) In that regard, it is the perfect beginning reference for those starting out with the program or needing a review.

Having said that, it is an embarrassingly obvious update of the CS5 version of the same book with an occasional icon saying "new" inserted where text about a CS6 specific change was plugged into the existing template. It is only 6 pages longer than the previous version. Considering how much has been added and changed, I find that surprising.

What this book is NOT--and what I had hoped it would be--is a guide to the new features of this edition of the program. I realized that it wouldn't be limited to that, but I had hoped for a CS6 centric book or, at least, a listing of what is new, where it is, what it does, and where to find it and, later on, some details.

You have to search through the book looking for the little balloon icon that indicates new features. Is this, necessarily, a bad thing? Maybe not. I suppose that the new features should appear in the chapter dedicated to related material. However, having the new features listed somewhere would have been a big help since there have been hundreds of changes from simple JDI tweaks to major additions, revisions, and rearrangements. I've used Photoshop since 1999, and I can't remember an upgrade that has had as massive an impact to the look and feel and functionality of the program as a whole.

Considering the extent and complexity of the changes, I would have expected that more space be dedicated to, at least, the major features. The new blur gallery is covered in 2 pages, and coverage of the radically revised crop tool is even less generous. A new 13-page chapter has been added in regard to the new video editing capabilities of the non-extended version. As someone who knows absolutely nothing about video, it seems to be a good introduction to the subject. I understood it well enough that I could tackle a simple project based on it. For me, this was the only useful part of the book, and that is because it is the only part of the book in which I was being introduced to something new to me and for which I don't yet need further details.

If you are looking for a sort of introductory guided tour of Photoshop (and, to some extent, digital photography),and for a book that will clearly communicate what you need to know for practical competence, this book more than fits the bill. Intermediate users will also find helpful general information all in one place. Just because the book didn't meet my needs does not mean that it isn't a well-done (and well-priced) Photoshop reference.

If you are looking for a CS6-specific book, this is not it. Nor is it for you if you're comfortable with the basics and are ready to set out in more specialized directions (portrait retouching, HDR, etc). This book skims the surface of everything, but doesn't explore anything in depth. It is more along the lines of a general orientation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 25, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a big fan of the "Dummies" books. I find them concise with simple design and layout, and a logical flow from the most basic of information to the more complex aspects of the subject. Even if I know a program well, I find the Dummies books will usually deliver a nugget or two that makes them worth the price of admission. The same pretty much holds true for this book. True to format, this is a generalized overall view of Photoshop CS6. The only problem with that is Photoshop CS6 is a MAJOR UPGRADE to the Photoshop program. I was hoping this book would give me a good overview of what was new in the major upgrade, since I'm already a seasoned Photoshop user, but it doesn't. I probably shouldn't have expected it to since this Dummies series is really designed to provide only a thumbnail approach to the most rudimentary functions of a program. Since Photoshop CS6 is so much different than its predecessor, this book will really only serve beginning Photoshop users who wouldn't know, or care, what was "new" in this version anyway.

And that's fine. To me, the book is a success on that level and will be an excellent resource for beginning Photoshop users. I do wish, though, that a special section could have been provided that shows all the new features, even if it doesn't go into great depth as to how to use them. To be fair, there are icons throughout that signify that the feature being explained is new in CS6, but you have to search to find those as they're not highlighted in either the table of contents or the index.

That said, if you are new to Photoshop, and CS6 is the first version you are starting with, then this Dummies edition is a solid reference work that will serve you well in learning the basics of a fairly complex program, and getting you on your way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 28, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My experience with the "Dummies" series of books has been favorable and this trend continues with this book on Photoshop. The book provides a good general cross section og knowledge and helps you get started with a good base of knowledge. As with the other books in the series this will not make you an expert but it is a real good start. Only experience and additional readings will make you totally adept at any skill.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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"Photoshop CS6 For Dummies" is not mostly about CS6 per se. If you're expecting a book that will help you learn more about the new features in CS6, you'll be sorely disappointed. Almost all of this book covers image manipulation concepts that are not specific to CS6. It has only a *miniscule* (i.e. less than a chapter's worth) coverage of a *subset* of new features in CS6 (such as Content-Aware Move, Enhanced Video Editing, and New Filters in CS6).

Chapters 1 and 18 are the chapters with the most coverage on the new features in CS6. The rest of the chapters discuss image editing and features in Photoshop that are not specific to CS6 (such as Resolution, Tonality, Histograms, Adjustment Layers, Smart Objects, etc.). Here's a brief outline of the book to give you an idea of what it contains:

-- Part I - The Basics --
Chapter 1: Introduction (New Features in CS6 [Video, Skin Tones Color Range, Face Detection, AutomaticSave Recovery Information, Content-Aware More Tool], Keyboard Shortcuts, Installation, etc.])
Chapter 2: Digital Images (Nature of Pixels, Resolution [Image Resolution, Camera Resolution, Monitor Resolution], Resolving Resolution, Sampling Method, File Formats)
Chapter 3: Menus (Menus, Panels, Workspaces, Shortcuts, Tool Presets, Preferences [Interface, Performance, Cursors, Transpar4ency & Gamut, Units & Rulers, Guides, Grid & Slices, Plug-Ins, Type], Color Settings, Troubleshooting)
Chapter 4: Opening Images (Downloading, Scanning [Scan Resolution, Preventing Moire Patterns], Organizing, Adobe Bridge, Renaming, Printing, Aspect Ratio, Resolution, Color Management,Sharing Images)
-- Part II - Easy Image Enhancements --
Chapter 5: Image Enhancements (Tonality, Histograms, Auto Corrections, Levels & Curves, Shadow/Highlights, Exposure, Toning Tools)
Chapter 6: Color (Color Modes, Models, Depths [RGB, CYMK, Grayscale, Multichannel, etc.], Hue/Saturation, B&W, Color Filter, Channel Mixer, Color Lookup, Invert, Posterize, Threshold, Gradient Map, Selective Color, Replace Color, Equalize, etc.)
Chapter 7: Adobe Camera Raw 7 (Histogram, Lens Correction, Camera Profiles, Special Effects, etc.
Chapter 8: Fine-Tuning (Selection, Feathering, Quick Mask, Saving & Loading Selections, Adding Masks to Layers & Smart Objects, Adjustment Layers, etc.)
Chapter 9: Fixing Common Problems (Red Eye, De-glaring, Noise Reduction [Digital Noise, Luminescent Noise], Perspective, etc.)
-- Part III - Creating Art in Photoshop --
Chapter 10: Compositing Images (Layers, Smart Objects, Blending Modes, Layer Masks, Clipping Groups, Vanishing Point.)
Chapter 11: Vectors (Custom Shape Tool, Pen Tool, Paths Panel [Work Path, Clipping Path, Saved Path, Shape Path, Vector Mask Path, Fill Path, Stroke Path, Select From Path, Path From Selection, Vector Layer Mask From Path, Create New Path, Delete Path], Combining Paths)
Chapter 12: Layer Styles (Bevel and Emboss, Stroke, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, Satin, Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay, Drop Shadow, Opacity, Fill, Advanced Blending [Channels, Knockout, Blend Interior Effects as Group, Blend Clipped Layers as Group, Blend Clipped Layers as Group, Transparency Shapes Layer, Layer Mask Hides Effects, Vector Mask Hides Effects])
Chapter 13: Text (Type Tool[Tool Presets, Orientation, Font Menu, Font Style, Font Size, Anti-Aliasing, Alignment, Type Color, Warp Text], Character Panel [Leading, Kerning, Scaling, Baseline Shift, Faux Styles, OpenType Options, Dictionary], Styles, Type Containers)
Chapter 14: Painting (Brushes, Color, Adobe Nav, Color Lava, Specialty Brush Tips & Mixer Br45ush [Erodible Brush Tips, Airbrush & Watercolor Tips], Filling, Blending Colors, Gradients, etc.)
Chapter 15: Filters (Smart Sharpen, Blurring, Noise Reduction, Blending, etc.)
-- Part IV - Advanced Topics --
Chapter 16: Streamlining Workflow (Recording Action, Batch Command, Scripts, Adding Extensions, Bridge, etc.)
Chapter 17: Video and Animation (Adjustment Layers and Painting on Video Layers, Transitioning, Titling, Special Effects, etc.), Animation)
Chapter 18: CS6 Extended (Object Stack Modes, 3D Artwork, 3D Scenes, etc.)
Chapter 19: Wacom Tablet
Chapter 20: HDR (HDR Pro, HDR Toning, Printing, etc.)

This book is filled with clearly printed and amply sized illustrations (photo examples illustrating techniques and screenshots of panels, dialog boxes, etc. on almost every page) that complement the text very well for helping the reader understand the material presented in the book.

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"Photoshop CS6 For Dummies" is helpful for someone with little or no background knowledge of image editing concepts, as well as for someone who wants a primer/refresher on Photoshop. Do note that you will need at least version CS2 of Photoshop to get the most out of this book. Even though the book is not CS6-specific, it's a clearly written and easily understandale book that will help any novice get up to speed with Photoshop. I like this book a lot because I find it invaluable as a reference tool to help me unleash the full power of my copy of Photoshop (CS5) -- 5 stars.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
The author of this book is unquestionably knowledgeable in Photoshop. But he is a very poor teacher / writer for beginners. This book is NOT for dummies. In the 1st chapter he is telling you how to do techniques without explaining anything about Photoshop first. That is like a language book talking in greek before teaching you the language. Please don't say your book is for dummies if you are going to write it for people who already know photoshop. I have used photoshop before and I feel for people who waste there money on this book. If this book was for intermediate use, I would say it was great. But for beginners it needs to better explain things. Sorry, I feel I wasted my money.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using Photoshop since version 3 (not CS3... *version* 3, circa 1994), but I know I've barely scratched the surface of what the program can do. What I've needed to do with graphics editing has been pretty simple, so I was always happy with the limited set of features that I knew how to use. Everything else was "advanced", and "only for professionals".

Photoshop CS6 for Dummies showed me that there are a lot of those "advanced" techniques that can make even the relatively simple things that I do a lot easier, and that I should replace some of the old standard tools I've been using with newer features that work better and give me more control over my images.

Photoshop is a very powerful and complicated program, and this book covers a lot. Most people probably won't need everything that's discussed in the book. I would recommend skimming the book first to get an overview of the content; read the chapters that are most relevant to you carefully; and save the rest for a rainy day or when you find you need to pick up some new skills.

The author gets a bit too cutesy with his language for my taste in a few places. An informal style is okay, but I find it distracting when the author is just trying to be funny... like a comment that you might get frustrated and want to throw your computer out the windows, but please don't because he might be walking by outside. The worst was Chapter 3, titled "Taking the Chef's Tour of Your Photoshop Kitchen", where every subheading is a cooking reference. Like "Sugar and Spice, Shortcuts are Nice". There are other cooking references scattered throughout the book, to the point that I was starting to wonder if the author really had dreams of being a chef someday. And sometimes the references don't even make sense. Referring to a picture of a histogram showing red, green and blue color distribution, the author says, "If you mixed that color in the kitchen, the recipe would call for one part red, two parts green, and four parts blue." But the width of the histogram bars in the picture don't match those proportions. Huh?

Aside from that, my only real complaint about the book was the illustrations. There are a lot of them, but they're often too small. In some of the "before and after" pictures of an effect being applied, I could hardly see any difference. In one photo the author said to look for the eye icons in a screenshot of a Photoshop panel, and it was so small and dark that I had to squint to see what he was talking about.

In other places, there are a lot of words where some pictures would help a lot more. There's a full page of descriptions of nine layer blending modes. After reading the page, I still wasn't sure what the effects of all those modes would be. A set of photos for each mode, showing the two layers and the combined effect, would have made it clear very quickly.

Of course, larger pictures and more pictures would have increased the size of the book considerably. At almost 400 pages it's already an handful or two. So I suppose some compromises had to be made.

Overall, this is a good introduction to Photoshop CS6, and a good reference to keep next to your graphics workstation.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have used Photoshop for years but like most people have used certain tools and filters almost exclusively. So I still feel like a newbie when I need to make a different kind of correction. For photos that I am going to print or insert in a video: I rotate/resize, crop, adjust levels, change brightness/contrast, desaturate, combine on a single canvas, use the drawing and stamp tools, work in layers, create action buttons, and use unsharp mask.

I think the settings that are suggested for Unsharp Mask on p.315 are excellent. I have never seen any suggestions in any other books but have been using those same settings myself. The section on using your iPad or Raw camera should be helpful but I don't use either.

I'm more of a visual learner when it comes to computer programs. This is where the book began to fail for me. Telling me what a tool, setting, etc does is not as valuable as showing me 2 or more examples of the outcomes of different choices. The same with giving me step-by-step actions to get the final result. That includes stating the menu, menu item, sub menu, etc. The more screen dumps and photos the easier it is to say, "That's what I want to do. How do I get there?"

If mostly text gets you where you want to go, I think this book is going to work for you. For me, I'm absolutely hooked on The Photoshop WOW book. I understand the text better than the Dummies book and there are photos and examples galore. It seems much more detailed. I realize that Photoshop has improved since this CS4 book, but if you are a newbie or use the basic tools which have not changed for years then you are not going to be using the new features anyway. Yes I have Photoshop CS6. The location of panels has been changed and a few menu items added. But I still go to the WOW book when I have a question. I will use the Dummies book for added features. I upgraded Photoshop to be compatible with the latest system and to get the discount.
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VINE VOICEon June 20, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Pleasantly surprised!

I was not expecting this Dummies book to be so detailed. My previous experience with Dummies series has been good but I've found that most books in Dummies series usually scratch the surface of the subject matter as these are written for the absolute beginners. Not the case with this book!

Obviously I didn't read this book cover to cover but instead used it as a reference to fast-forward to the topics that interest me. I've worked with CS4 and I currently use CS5 so I wanted to check out some of the new features in CS6. I can tell you that this book is a great resource not only for those who are just starting with Photoshop but also for people who have been using Photoshop in the past.

The author has written all of the previous titles of Photoshop for Dummies so he seems to have it nailed down after having authored books for the previous versions. I'm not going to go into each chapter to discuss it but the book is organized very well. If you start from Chapter 1 through Chapter 17, you will learn Photoshop concepts very well. The last three chapters, 18 through 20 don't necessarily apply to Photoshop and I consider them bonus. For example, Chapter 19 discusses Wacom Tablets which is what I use. I was not expecting this book to have a chapter dedicated to using Wacom Tablets which was a great bonus for me.

Based on my experience, I am not hesitating when I'm giving this book all five stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
it's ok, but i suspect other books are more thorough, organized, and easier to read. the bigger slam goes to adobe. what are they thinking when they sell a complex software package without instructions?
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