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on August 20, 2011
I received my book yesterday and quickly sat down to devour it. The first chapter was good for compositing techniques and covered ways Adobe Photoshop CS5 and three different add-on software products (costing from $49 - $199 each in addition to Photoshop) could improve the results of your efforts.

The rest of the book involved descriptions of various composite photos including single image used as background and main photo, series composites of individual shots or action shots, and various was to make cool backgrounds pop. It was all very interesting but in each case (except for a single use of football players in action that was not covered in any detail), the emphasis was on how to light figures in your studio, how many lights, what color backdrop, etc. Chapters on HS Portraits, family pics, advertisements, office pics, etc. all required shooting the individuals in a studio.

I shoot animals in nature and sometimes the background is better changed because of cars, man made structures, or other intrusions. I do not have the luxury of creating lighting and poses just as I want them. Hence, I was greatly disappointed in this book.

If you have a studio and want to composite studio shots, the book is a great tool! It is well written and descriptive.

If you do not have a studio, don't buy the book. The description does say "portrait photographers, designers of all walks of life, and even retouchers" but I didn't read "studio photogs only" in that. My bad; don't let it be yours.

I am giving 4 stars because it is well done, but not for all photographers.
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on September 21, 2011
Matt is a great teacher and there's lots of good stuff in this book, but be warned. If you think it's about pulling folks out of your back yard photos and putting them someplace else, you'll be disappointed. The majority of this book is about how to set up and light your subjects in a studio against a seamless background so they'll look right when you mask them out and put them into another shot. This is all good information for folks with studios and multiple lights, planning in advance to composite the shot.

I was hoping to get a lot more information on masking, and maybe some on color and temperature balance so things looked real. Instead I got "Plan ahead, write down the focal length, f-stop and distance from your subject, then set your camera the same when shooting the background; note the spot where your subject would be if he was actually there, then back your camera off the same distance you shot from in the studio. In my amateur world, it'd be a lot easier to just transport the subject to the location and take one shot.

The book was definitely NOT a waste of money, and I got several good things from it. There were good tips on masking, but masking from a seamless background is not that hard. I'm an amateur with one removable flash, two reflectors, and no studio, I don't get paid for my work, I just wanna have fun in my hobby. I could have got everything of interest to me in far fewer chapters. This book is more for professional photographers and graphic designers.
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on August 8, 2011
I love this book. Combining images, and making it look believable is hard, tedious work. In this book Matt Kloskowski lays out exactly how he does it, and actually makes it sound easy, hopefully I'll get to the point where it is.

Some of it was familiar from watching Photoshop User TV, but much of it was new. In one example he explained how he kept track (on his phone) his lens, and focal length, distance from the subject, and how high the camera was from the ground when he photographed his main subject. He then replicated all of this when he photographed the background so the subject would look right when put in that atmosphere.

He covers the shadows (super important to making it look real), the filters, the clipping masks, layer blend modes, and a couple of ways to get rid of that nasty fringe quickly to name just a few of his helpful tips. This is a book that I will keep right next to my computer and refer to any time I am doing a composite.

If you like this book, I also recommend his earlier book Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition) which was absolutely wonderful!
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on August 5, 2011
WAO! I must say I am totally impressed!!! I have seen some other online classes from the author and also read some other of his books and articles so I kinda knew this was going to be good, but he has outdone himself this time! It doesn't matter if your are relatively new to Photoshop or if you have more experience, you will find something new to learn in every project. There are various different projects in the book, each one cleverly designed to help us see the different problems we may find and how to solve them. He clearly explains how and why he used the techniques so you will be able to apply them to your own projects when needed. You can even download every photo used in the projects to follow along. Also you will find very different approches to compositing on every chapter, so we can think in a lot more ways to use compositing as a tool to achieve results that we may not be able to get otherwise. Matt teaches us a lot of tips to help us get the work done better, faster but without forgetting details. For me, just the tips shared in the first chapters about selections, extracting and planning ahead, saved me a lot of time and in my opinion are well worth the price of the whole book!!!
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on August 9, 2011
This book is superlative in every way, and is written by a true master of Photoshop. An important point needs to be made: this book will save you $money$. Compositing photographs necessarily requires that you remove (or mask out) the subject from its background from one or more photos. There are many Photoshop plugins available to help you with this process, and some are quite expensive. Matt uses the Refine Edge Tool already in Photoshop CS5 to accomplish this (even on fly-away hair) and explains its nuances, negating the need for purchasing these plugins.

This book is so well written that one can delve into any page, any where in the book, and not be lost. So, whether or not you are a fan of Joel Grimes, Dave Hill, James Quantz, Jr., Justin Paguia and the like, this tome is destined to become a classic reference - a must have for every Photoshopper.
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on August 14, 2011
I just need to start by saying that this book absolutely ROCKS!! If you're a photographer or graphic designer who wants to create compelling composites, this is the book for you. One thing that I really enjoy about Matt's book is that the examples are "real world" examples. When you look at the images, you get inspired, and actually want to sit down and take the time to learn these techniques. With other authors of photoshop and photography books, I've often not made a purchase, simply because the images inside or boring. This is not the case with Photoshop Compositing Secrets. I have some of Matt's other books and this is by far his best work yet! Real compositing is more than making a crappy cutout of someone and pasting them in a background. I've easily got through the first 100 pages upon getting it yesterday.

Real World Examples: Matt's book offers real world examples of how you can use compositing and how to create realistic looking composites. Also, he doesn't just focus on one style. He incorporates all kinds of compositing methods for different kinds of scenarios. Whether it's an awesome senior portrait, or a corporate commercial image.

Selections: This is a key component of creating composite images. Matt does a great job of explaining the amazing refine edge feature in Photoshop CS5. It's not perfect, but when you combine it with some other techniques, you can't loose. (Buy the book to find out what these techniques are).

Practice Files: Matt did not skim on the files. These files have enough resolution to make great selections, therefore add more value to the book.

Photoshop CS5: Another thing that I really dig about this book is the fact that he shares other Photoshop techniques that you can apply to other real world projects.

Bottom Line: This book Rocks! If you want to know how to create awesome composites, buy this book! It is THE BOOK ON COMPOSITING

-Brian Rodgers Jr.
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on May 23, 2012
I checked this out from the library to see if I wanted to buy it and I'm glad I did. While I did learn a few tricks, they were really just different ways of doing something I could do another way. To give you my info so you can gauge for yourself if this would help you, I have been using photoshop as a hobby for about 7 years, all self-taught, nothing professional, restoring photos and creating movies/ living scrapbooks. This book shows you a few composite images and walks you through how they were created, giving tips on extracting hair, matching the overall tone of the individual pictures, adding shadows, a lens flare, blending some images together, really basic stuff that you would get from any retouching and restoration book or even one of the bibles. He does a good job of explaining the steps and what plug-ins you can purchase to do the same thing faster. If you are a beginner, this will be great information. He also gives good information on camera and lighting staging if you are taking the pictures yourself but most of us are not. I was disappointed with the quality of a few parts of his work. I'm not saying he didn't do good work and he is certainly creative, I loved the concept and objects in his pictures, but there were still obvious tell-tale photoshopped signs which are easily fixed and should not be published, especially in a book about compositing. For example, not matching lighting sources on the cover picture (hard back light on the man and a side light, almost straight forward light on the background door, the exact opposite of the man) and the basketball in the asphalt is distractingly higher than than the ground right beside it (he should have rotated the picture from a diagonal up the man's torso and then filled in the gap) or the shadows in the last picture in particularly the upside down child and the dog not matching the main light source. These are just the few examples I remember off the top of my head. You can get the same information in this book plus a whole lot more useful tips in any restoration and retouching or the CS4 WOW book (not the CS5, it is just an update of program changes really.) I don't recall him even going into color matching or creating a global light source in photoshop for those times when you don't get the luxury of a studio controlled picture series (like most of the time for many of us) both of which are crucial for realistic composites as is matching time of day. Look at this book in the library or skip it and save the money for a good restoration and retouch or the CS4 WOW book. You will get much more bang for your buck and have a much better arsenal to attack your projects with.
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on August 8, 2011
In real estate it is all about 'Location, Location, Location' In conveying Photoshop techniques to an audience of novices, amateurs, hobbyist s and professionals it is ALL about COMMUNICATION 3x.
I facilitate workshops on a considerably smaller level than Matt Kloskowski and his NAPP brethren and the hardest feat in the presentation is appealing to all talent levels so as to not talk over the novice while at the same time not boring the professionals.
Matt Kloskowski has mastered the art of Photoshop (yes, and Lightroom) and the importance of communicating it.
That being said, the book, 'Photoshop Compositing Secrets' is masterful in the step-by-step processes of creating a great image. I look back at my earlier composited images and while it is easy enough to just blame early versions of Photoshop for not having the capabilities they have now I know the truth how my talents have been raised from Matt Kloskowski's training's through his book (as well as NAPP podcasts and
I chose to order this for my iPad2 on the Kindle app so I screwed myself from an autographed copy (You may just have to sign the back of the iPad2 next time) but it is so easy to navigate.
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VINE VOICEon December 16, 2011
Others have reviewed this in-depth, so I won't attempt to replicate their reviews. Let me just say, Photoshop Compositing Secrets is probably the best book on compositing I've ever read. It's geared more toward the studio photographer, but the techniques learned using the Quick Select tool and Refine Edge can be used for any extraction project. Matt explains things in an easily understandable manner with detailed steps.

The biggest complaint I have is for the digital version. If you enlarge the screenshots so you can actually read the settings, they're pixelated. A higher-res screenshot would be better for ebooks.
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on August 9, 2011
Another great book by Matt K! This book is really easy to follow and written so you have options, not just "here this is how I do it". It makes sense that Matt's book is so good because he is a master of layers and if you have his layers book this will take your understanding and use of layers to another level. For beginners or professionals, this book really has something for everyone. Well worth the money!
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