Professionals in visual media face the "real world" every time their work goes to press. As authors Blatner and Fraser point out in the introduction, "In this new age of desktop prepress, there's simply no one you can ask [what values you should enter in the Color Settings and Proof Setup dialog boxes]." You need to be able to find the answers yourself to this and other critical Photoshop questions; the technology is changing too fast to rely on the guys at the end of the project to fix your errors. The authors want you to develop your "spidey sense" which is where, "in a crunch, you've gotta have an intuitive, almost instinctive feel for what's going on in Photoshop, so you can finesse it to your needs."
That's the philosophy behind the Real World series: finding the solutions to common problems and preparing your work so there're no unhappy surprises when you go to output, whether that's print, PDF, or Web/multimedia. First, this book goes over the essentials: the work environment (tools, palettes, preferences), working with images (resolution, mode, up- and downsampling), and the huge area of color management.
Once readers have those issues under their belts, they can work on techniques: tonal and color correction, selections and channels, using adjustment layers to have the perfect digital darkroom, and a variety of ways to sharpen an image (not just a blanket application of Unsharp Mask). Later sections cover spot colors and duotones (essential to every print designer's workflow), capturing images (effectively using your digital camera and scanner), and building a digital workflow using the new Camera Raw capabilities in CS and the improved file browser. And there are some great final chapters on compositing, retouching, typography, automation, outputting, and the Web.
Throughout the book there are tips and tricks that help you work more efficiently in Photoshop, for example, holding Shift while using the Move tool to take a selection from one image to another of the same pixel resolution allows you to pin-register that selection, landing it in the same location in the second image that is was in the first. This isn't a step-by-step lesson-style book. It's more the essential resource you'll read through when you first get it and always keep on hand when your "spidey sense" needs recharging. --Angelynn Grant
About the Author
David Blatner is a Seattle-based graphic arts consultant specializing in electronic publishing. He has authored or co-authored several books, including the award-winning bestseller The QuarkXPress 4 Book, InDesign for QuarkXPress Users,and Real World Adobe Photoshop 7. Bruce Fraser has authored or co-authored several books, including Real World Color Management, and Real World Adobe Photoshop 7.