Top critical review
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Some great concepts - very sloppy editing
on February 11, 2008
Versace's book introduces some great concepts about seeing and handling images that are not found in your typical Photoshop book and are always given from the perspective of a practicing photographer rather than a computer jocky. It is designed however as a tutorial with the intention of having the reader actually do all the exercises not just once, but several times. All great advice, but there is one aspect of this book that is exasperating. The editing is terrible. I have found this problem with many technical tutorial books. I believe it is because the editor does not have the knowledge to know when something is amiss in the instructions and the author is too close to his material to see the ambiguities and layout mistakes are never picked up. In layout mistakes, the author never sees them and the editor has no clue if they exist or not. It is only the poor reader trying to follow very detailed instructions that picks up these gafs.
In this book, I found every tutorial had mistakes in the instructions with steps out of order, ambiguity in instructions, mismatched example images for the step involved, layer masks that did not match the instructions. Truly maddening. These types of books should be proofed by a student so that these mistakes can be reported and fixed.
So I have started doing the exercises, but when I come to a step that has mistakes, I just have to wing it. Frustrating for an expensive book.
One reviewer mentioned that the exercises depended on using proprietary plug-ins. Well, he does encourage the use of Nik plug-ins, but does usually give you a work around with the exception of the Nik Skylight filter. He also notes that you can freely download time-limited trials that can be used to do the exercises. I agree that the arrangement between Versace and Nik is just a bit to tight in this book.
Overall I am glad that I am working through this book, but poor production practices have made it a struggle and thus my 3 star rating.
Also it should be noted that Versace's handling of images is quite theatrical with very strong lighting effects that will strike some viewers as phoney looking. This however is this photographer's style. I believe that the concepts he is trying to impart can all be used but much more subtly if his style seems way over the top to you.