Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
With Matt's clear, easy-to-follow, and concise writing style readers will learn about:
Working with and managing multiple layersBuilding multiple layered imagesBlending layers togetherExactly which of the 25+ Blend Modes you need to worry about (there's just a few)Layer Masking and just how easy it isUsing layers to enhance and retouch your photosAll of the tips and tricks that make using layers a breeze.This book is the one that anyone who wants to finally understand layers in Photoshop has been waiting for!
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.39 pounds
- Paperback : 312 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0321749588
- ISBN-13 : 978-0321749581
- Product Dimensions : 7.48 x 0.6 x 8.98 inches
- Publisher : Peachpit Press; 2nd Edition (November 8, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #330,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I loved the layout of the book. It is broken into 10 chapters that have subchapters within. The subchapters are short, less than 10 pages each, and have LOTS of graphics showing the screen he is referring to. There were a few times that I wished he'd shown another screen that he was referring to, but overall he showed what he was discussing. The text is brief and to the point without the mindless detail that kills some Photoshop books. At the end of each chapter he has a "How do I..." section that replays some of the tips he demonstrated from the chapter that I found quite useful.
Some of my favorite things from this book were:
* All of the great keyboard shortcuts. Yes, I have a book on shortcuts, and have printed out volumes from another book I purchased, but I found his more useful because they were in context.
* His description of the layer blending modes with examples. I have a few that I use all the time, and this has really helped me branch out of my blending mode rut.
* Clipping masks, yes, I've used them, but I didn't really understand how to make them. Now I do, and it's easy.
* He also helped me expand with text. I didn't think about rasterizing a text layer so I could add filters, gradients, or use a brush on them, now I will. Or locking the transparent pixels, so a gradient doesn't apply to the whole layer, seems obvious, but I never thought of it.
* I did not know there was a keyboard shortcut where you could run the last filter, but open the dialog box so you could change the settings. It's command-option-F! Yeah!
* Loved his sections on creating a watermark, and creating glowing light streaks with layer styles. His layer style discussions were great.
These were just a few of my favs. Some of these things may be familiar to you, especially if you watch Photoshop User TV the podcast as I do. But I still found the book quite helpful.
There were a few things I didn't like about the book, for instance, he uses the eraser tool in situations where I would use a layer mask, since a mask would be less destructive. But I know another very famous photographer/retoucher that uses the eraser tool extensively over layer masks. So maybe it's what you are used to, but I would teach masks when at all possible. Matt does use layer masks extensively, but a few times, I thought, "Why is he using the eraser tool now, and not a mask?"
Then when he was teaching the highpass filter to sharpen or create an `edgy look' he said he really uses a plug-in Topaz Adjust to create the same look because it is easier. I use the highpass filter as he describes all the time, but I have it as a recorded action, so it is easy for me. I own Topaz, I just don't use it that much.
I really struggled over what rating to give this book, because I normally save my 5 stars for books that I consider perfect, and there were, as I mentioned, things I disagreed with in this book. But I liked the book so much, and would recommend it to any of my friends, that I decided it deserves 5 stars. This is a book that I will refer back to and study and incorporate many of his techniques, and where possible, automate them!
Publishers need to become more aware that if they charge a LOT for a thin book, they BETTER make the web complement outstanding! Buyers of this book DESERVE a good web experience to complement this expensive a purchase, and especially this important and specialized a title (there are over 1,000 books on Photoshop and hundreds of Lynda videos, but this is rare coverage of a key and difficult topic-- layers. If a publisher wants to compete with the thousands of videos on Youtube and other educational sites (for example, O'reilly and Pearson both do outstanding web additions to many of their software titles), they really have to do a better job of extending web tutorials to purchasers of books like this, and then doing them with enough quality that the reader can actually finish the video.
BTW, the parts of the videos that DID make it to Kelby's site are by the author and are outstanding!
"Layers," while outstanding isn't perfect. Matt does a great job with the book. It is written as a tutorial, sort of a script or lecture. He goes into great detail explaining all aspects of layers and associated tools.
Don't expect to go through this book in one evening. For me, to get the most out of the material, I treat it as a college course. I read the material, highlight important concepts in the book, making my own notes in a separate composition notebook; review my notes and then do the lab work.
As another reviewer points out, an improvement to the book would be to pull out the steps from the text, and list them near the appropriate illustration(s) [or in an appendix]. That way, one could repeat the process over and over without reading and rereading comments and other material. Also, the keyboard short-cuts are great but don't tell me what is happening. I know everyone says" ...Oh, short cuts are fast and save lots of time..." but here's the fact: short-cuts can come later, after I know and understand the process...; in the beginning, they're confusing, meaningless and don't tell what you are trying to accomplish. Tell me what you're doing; tell me the short-cut; after I've mastered and understanding the process, I will then learn the short-cut.
All and all, this is what I have been looking for. It's a great book and if layers, blending, adjustment layers and masks have been confusing and a "black art" this book will explain many of the secrets and concepts that others don't tell.
Top reviews from other countries
There are two reasons why I did not give it five stars. The first one, which at least one of the other reviews here highlights, is that not everything described in the text correlates precisely with what appears on the screen, and there were a couple of times I just could not get the programme to do what the book seemed to intend it to. The second point, and this may be related, is that you are supposed to be able to download the pictures used in the book from the Kelby publishing website, so that you can work through the examples. I found that the downloads were simply not there when you try to access them, which means that you need to work with your own photos and are therefore never quite sure if you have followed the instructions perfectly. I have found the absent downloads to be a feature of some of the other Kelby publishing books I have purchased, such as the HDR Book by Rafael Concepcion, so I suspect they are only available for a limited period following publication.
Consequently it is not perfect, but it is pretty good.
As a relative newcomer to Photoshop, and keen to improve my skills, I found working with the book an absolute pleasure. There are downloadable files for the user to manipulate in the chapters, and each chapter delivers the subject matter in a simple and easy to follow manner, unlike many so-called self-help books I have used.
Within a few chapters I was designing my own fliers and brochures that I had previously employed a designer to do for me. That in itself repays the cost of the book. I would heartily recommend this to anyone wishing to get to grips with layers in Photoshop.
To get yourself off and running you go to the book's website and download all the various images - chapter by chapter and off you go. I like the fact that not only does the book teach you about the use of layers, how they blend and interact, it also introduces really important single issues as well - for example the specific use of text - how to set text up, how to create effects, pick colours, position and so forth.
So this is an enjoyable book, presented with humour and with a gradual increase in skills and challenges and it is one that you will want to keep on the bookshelf to remind yourself about how to do this and that.
If layers are not quite something that you are comfortable with then I highly recommend this as an instructive and fun way to learn.
The format lets you follow the written information by using online images to match those on the page, so you are actually working alongside the book and creating each effect on your own screen as you go along. It has really helped me understand the difference between the different types of layers and how to use them effectively.
I am trying to work my way through the whole book and am only half way so far but my Photoshop skills are noticibly improved and I'm actually enjoying learning by doing.
So yes, a very good buy. Recomended!