Customer Reviews: Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: A Professional Image Editor's Guide to the Creative use of Photoshop for the Macintosh and PC
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VINE VOICEon December 27, 2008
This book is one of the first wave of PSCS4 books available which, in my opinion penalizes it a half star. This due to several tech edit errors none of which are fatal. At worst, they cause some hesitation and a minute of thought before the reader understands that the error is caused by either a true error or the author using a pre-production release of the program which was a bit different from the version one buys retail today.

The author is plain that this is a book for intermediate to advanced Photoshop users. Take that advice seriously. The author spends no pages with elementary topics of either photography or Photoshop. Instead, it's right into the soup and a deep bowl of soup it is indeed. A beginner or a slight intermediate will, for sure, benefit from the book but probably not be able to follow a good deal of it. Thus he'll become quite adept at certain aspects of PSCS4 (those he understands) but utterly ignorant of other aspects (those he was forced to skip over).

Take one of many examples: the author describes when to and how to either create channel clipping or avoid the same. He uses clear examples going into this topic in fine detail written quite clearly. However, in no place does he define what channels are or how they are clipped or what clipping is. That's fine for the solid intermediate or beyond reader but it will surely leave the weak intermediate or beginner reduced to tears trying to discern what exactly is going on.

In many places the author gives tips and tricks clearly he's learned from long experience or, in some cases, from others (who he credits). Here's tremendous value. While this book is hardly inexpensive, to a serious amateur or professional, any one of these tricks will be easily worth the price of the book.

There is no filler at all in this book. It is all valuable content and also clearly the result of a huge effort on the part of the author and publisher. I would knock it down a half star due to the few tech errors but give it back an additional whole star (at least) for the superb DVD replete with valuable extra content including some videos narrated by the author.

Everything from the DVD to the quality of the example photos to the solid content demonstrate that this book offers unusual value for the more advanced PSCS4 student.
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2009
Martin Evening's Adobe Photoshop for Photographers series has long been one of the most helpful guides on the market. This newest edition is updated for CS4 and offers full coverage of all the new features as well as continued coverage of everything carried over from prior versions. Weighing in at 704 pages and including a DVD with sample images, this is about as complete a package as you could ask for. The author methodically runs through feature after feature and does a good job explaining how to use them.

There are sections covering What's New, Configuring Photoshop, Camera Raw Image Processing, Selections and Masking, Darkroom Effects, Filters, Color Management, Automating Photoshop, and many others which I will not mention. This is truly comprehensive coverage. The writing style is clear and concise. This is a very effective guide that nearly always tells me what I need to know when I pull it off the shelf.

The closest thing to a negative (and it really isn't one) is that this book is an encyclopedia of Photoshop CS4 rather than a step-by-step "how to guide. Even with 700+ pages, when you have to cover the entirety of Photoshop there is a need for brevity. So if you're interested in Masking this book will certainly cover it but you can't expect the same level of narrative as you would from an entire book on layers and masking. Since there is no book that can possibly cover everything in minute detail, my solution (and the only practical solution) is to buy several books for my various needs. I buy this volume as a general reference guide and quick how-to helper and then buy a few other guides to help walk me step-by-step through some of the trickier aspects of Photoshop. Some of my favorites include Photoshop CS4 Workflow: The Digital Photographer's Guide which is an excellent foundation for beginners and intermediate users as well as The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter).

In summary, Adobe Photoship CS4 for Photographers is an excellent and comprehensive guidebook. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for the encyclopedic style Photoshop guide and it is worth considering even if you have the old CS3 version.
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on December 16, 2008
Well, I decided to take a little trip to a local book store and look at the various PS CS4 books that are available. I grabbed a few that I have heard about and/or stood out, and I wanted to comment a bit about each of them and why I picked Martin Evening's book.

Martin's book is a true reference book. It's huge, about 675 pages or so, and it's a very thorough book. I like the smaller things about the format as well, from how he makes references to various pictures on the page like Figure 5.55 (Fifth chapter, fifty fifth image, always on the same page), to how each chapter as a color assigned that can be easily flipped to as the colors are on the top of the pages and can be easily seen and accessed when the book is closed.

I appreciate how he presents the information. It's broken down and again very detailed. What I appreciate is that he does not use any humor in the book. Humor has it's place and time, and a reference book should really not have it, in my opinion. He sticks with a good description of what the topic is all about, and explains how to use and where to find it.

I thought I saw the number somewhere, but there are roughly about 2000 images in this book. You can see by example what he is referring to. May I also say that the publisher is a very good one and the actual quality of the book is excellent.

I'll eventually write a review of the books that I am going to mention, so I'll be concise with the review:

Richard Harrington's Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS4: I like the way he presents it very well. I was going to get this book. But the book is about 3/4" thick and I didn't feel that it was worth it as it retails for $50.

Scott Kelby's The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers: Since his CS4 book wasn't available, I grabbed his CS3 book. Again, it's about 3/4" thick, which wasn't great. But this is the prime example of a person trying to use too much humor. I'm not going to get a reference book to get a laugh - I'm trying to understand how the program works. Plus he uses a "Step 1 - Do this, Step 2 - Do this" approach with what he's talking about throughout the book. I don't like that format. Again, for $50, I didn't feel it was worth it at all, respectively.

Adobe's Adobe Photoshop CS4 Classroom in a Book: In some respects, you can't go wrong with getting the manual for how to use a program directly from the maker's of it. It presented the information well. But again, the book was the same size as the last two, and this book retailed for $55. I would like a certain value and content for what I am paying.

All of the books mentioned above included a DVD for extra information, included images that were in the book. Since I haven't accessed every DVD, I will say that Martin's DVD included many good things in them (nearly 2GB of information!), including images, video tutorials, bonus PDF chapters, PS shortcut lists as PDF, and more.

I highly recommend this book. I didn't know a thing about Martin Evening until I picked up his book and did some research about him. I am very happy that I purchased Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers.
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on February 14, 2009
Martin Evening is not only a well known and successful photographer, he has a gift in his ability to write a concise, logical, and deeply thorough presentation. CS4 is a remarkably deep and complex software program and I am a complete novice to this amazing application. Having read Deke McClelland's book on the subject had me wondering if I would ever come to master Adobe CS4. My second book on CS4, Classroom in a Book, did little more to instill confidence in my struggle to obtain a basic understanding of selections, masking, pixel masks, vector masks, alpha channels, paths, layers, adjustment layers and all of the other the tools and panels one has at his disposal within photoshop. After having read these first two books on the subject of CS4, I was feeling like a sailor hopelessly lost at sea. Alas, I spotted an island , and this island is Martin Evening's book, Adobe PHotoshop CS4 for Photographers! Finally, some firm footing under my sea-weary legs from which I began to grasp what CS4 is all about thanks to the author's innate ability to provide comprehensive instruction in a straight forward manner.

Martin Evening starts out with Photoshop fundamentals in chapter one and right away I am able to appreciate not only is the author a master Photoshop user, he is indeed a photographer! After configuring Photoshop in chapter 2, I was off to a great start with Camera Raw image processing in Chapter 3. A wonderful bonus in Chapter 3 is the straight forward explanation how one can go about customizing the Camera Raw output to produce a custom calibration of each individual camera! In other books I have read on the subject of color calibrating one's camera, the authors wrote off such a task as "beyond the scope of this book". Yet Martin Evening had my camera profiled within a mere four pages within his book of over 650!

You heard me correctly, this book has over 650 pages of logical, color-coded chapters taking on the task of explaining to the likes of a beginner like myself sharpening and noise reduction, image editing essentials, black and white, extending dynamic range, image retouching, and then onto what makes photoshop the leader of the pack... layers, selections, and masking. I have just finished Chapter 10 on essential filters in photo editing and I could not wait any longer to write this review.

I should add, in my conclusion to this review, if one is a beginner, this is the book to read if one is serious about learning what photoshop has to offer to a photographer. However, I am confident that for those who already have a basic understanding of Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers will improve one's basic understanding immensely. Martin Evening hit a home run.
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VINE VOICEon January 26, 2009
Blame it on Adobe. Each version of Photoshop (PS) gets more and more capabilities, and, as a result, each time Martin Evening writes a book about PS it gets longer. In fact not only has this book reached over 650 pages, but Evening tells us that he's writing a second book to tell us how to use the software because this book just tells us what the sliders and button do.

Evening starts with a general introduction to PS CS4 and tells the reader how to configure the software. He then discusses every aspect of the latest PS version from the use of Camera Raw to printing. The chapters are organized along conceptual lines. For example, there is a chapter on sharpening and noise reduction, right after the discussion of Camera Raw, because of the input sharpening facility in Camera Raw. Even though the sharpening filters are part of the filter menu the author doesn't mention them when he talks about filters, but he then returns to output sharpening in the chapter on printing.

He discusses every one of the sliders and buttons that a photographer might want to use but because there are now so many of them in Photoshop, the explanations come out fast and furious, crisply and succinctly without being overdrawn. The details came so quickly in the first chapter about the basic interface, introducing capabilities that I had not know existed, that at first I despaired of learning anything at such a pace. Fortunately, the pace slowed down a bit in subsequent chapters and the excellent illustrations helped make the vast quantity of information manageable.

The book is more lecture than practical exercise, although the accompanying DVD contains most of the images that Evening uses to demonstrate his points, so that one could follow along with the image in PS if he or she were so inclined. On the other hand, this is not a book of tutorials, and I would not recommend it for the beginner who is just learning PS. Instead the book is aimed at users who have some knowledge of what the tools, menus and panels do, but want to learn how to use all of the options. There were discussions of ways of configuring and applying tools whose capabilities had been in PS for the last few versions that I had just never learned to fully utilize.

The accompanying DVD contained images from the book so that one could follow along with the text. There were Quick Time movies that repeated a few of the lessons from the book, as well as supporting PDF extracts from the book. There were also several PDF files of material not included in the book. In addition, the DVD includes a PS help file that one can transfer to one's hard drive and open in a browser, which shows each of the tools, menus and panels. When an item is clicked, help was provided for that item. It's too bad that that file is not accessible from the PS help menu.

There is not much here about the art to be created using PS. Presumably that will be in the second book.

Since there is so much information in this book, it is almost impossible to just read front to back in a continuous fashion. Instead I read several of the chapters on general subjects and then returned to specific chapters that dealt with areas where I knew I was having problems or thought there had to be better procedures than the ones I was using, and sure enough, found detailed explanations and ways of doing things that I hadn't known existed. I skimmed the remaining chapters so that I knew where I could return when I encountered problems. This is one of those books that I expect to keep on the small bookshelf of reference works next to my computer.
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on February 15, 2010
I wanted to let the potential buyer know that this text is very comprehensive and detailed, but I found myself unable to read much of the text with the figures due to small size. The material is extremely detailed and probably better aimed at folks who are experienced and young (with really good vision, as I could not read with progressive or bifocal lens!). I returned my copy and will try a different text. I am 20/20 with my glasses and have never had this problem with any other book, ever.
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on February 8, 2009
I found this book to be a very thorough, well written, learning tool for learning Adobe Photoshop CS4. The author's explanations go way beyond the "traditional" and provide the reader with a much better understanding of the topic. He even provides an id-depth comparison of the functions of Photoshop/Bridge and Lightroom. The book was well worth the price.
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on January 15, 2013
I have Kelby's book about digital photography and Photoshop CS4 but this is a welcome addition as it covers some areas that Kelby doesn't get into it. The two combined make it possible for me to do pretty much any re-touching I want. I seek to take a fabulous image in camera though so that massive retouching isn't necessary. When it is though, this book is a God-send.
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on January 29, 2013
I found this book to be a complementary resource to CS6 and Martin Evenings book on the latest release. I didn't feel like spending the money on his version of this book for CS5 even though the author recommended it. There is so much to learn about Photoshop that info on a previous release is not really out of date as the few changes in technique can easily be found online easily. He is now my source for Photoshop technique - simply the best in my opinion.
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on May 13, 2009
Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an absolutely essential guide for the photographer using the increasingly powerful new versions of Photoshop.
The books title gives some indication of the target audience: A professional image editors guide indeed, any long time photoshop users would be well served picking up a copy of this book, and although not a guide for a complete novice, any level of photoshop user would benefit from using this as a comprehensive reference guide.
Not only are the new features practically explained, but more importantly the author gives best practice advice throughout, his recommended workflow for sharpening for example has changed even from Cs3.
All the bases are covered here, the interface and features tour is enough to cover the new features and fundamentals, which brings the reader quickly up to speed with the CS4 mindset. Adjustment Layers are dealt with particularly well, and the image adjustment techniques and explanations built very well on top of this new feature, and explained in depth with plenty of examples.
The book although huge is well laid out and absolutely packed with information, the author gets his point across succinctly and yet always takes time to explain the reasoning behind the various techniques.
There is very comprehensive coverage of file formats, especially the coverage of RAW and DNG. Comprehensive information on color profiling, and printing and other forms of output.
Camera Raw and Bridge are covered in depth, and where there is overlap between Raw, Photoshop or Lightroom, the various techniques are compared allowing the digital photographer to make well informed decisions on how to proceed confidently. Lightroom is mentioned here only in passing but 95% of the material on Camera Raw is easily adapted.
A competent Photoshop user can be confident of getting the best results, the most effective workflow, and a supremely useful reference book.
Very highly recommended for anyone wanting to master Photoshop CS4.
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