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Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace Paperback – August 18, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Margulis is known as "the experts' expert on the logical and effective ways to make any image look its best" (Design Tools Monthly) and "the father of digital prepress" (Scott Kelby). In 2001, he was one of the first three individuals—and the only writer—to be named as a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. In announcing this election, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals said, "Dan's ability to reduce complicated concepts to words that users can understand and his insistence on dealing with real-world relevance have made him today's most influential voice in color reproduction."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (August 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321356780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321356789
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace" by Dan Margulis is definitely worth reading and is most entertaining. I don't agree that it is "the most revolutionary book on digital imaging ever written" and it is certainly not a comprehensive look at Photoshop CS2. If you want comprehensive, get the gold standard: "Real World Photoshop CS2.

But there are some interesting gems buried in here that might improve your digital output. To me the biggest discovery was the idea of using curves in LAB color space to increase color variability. We are not just talking saturation here, but rather color separation. His explanation for why we want this is that cameras lack the sense of simultaneous contrast common to most human beings. When we see a lot of similar colors in close proximity, we break them apart.  He shows how we can do that in Photoshop. It makes a big difference on some images.

His writing style is quirky, intelligent and often funny. That helps for such complex ideas. I think this book should only by used by advanced readers.

He relishes taking positions that are against the mainstream. For example, he argues that for photographic images high-bit editing is worthless.  Likewise, he does not illustrate the use of Adjustment Layers or Layer Masks which are part of the standard workflow for most advanced users.

What is so wonderful about all his ideas, which go against the current accepted wisdom, is that he makes you question what you are doing. He presents his arguments using concise logic. It made me frequently pause and question my workflow.

Bottom line: This book should be at the top of the reading stack for Advanced Photoshop users. Learning how to increase color variability alone makes it worthwhile.

Henry Domke.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Photoshop LAB Color is targeted at photo editing/correction using a method that is either completely unknown to most Photoshop users, or is at least only slightly familiar. If you think you already know all about LAB, don't buy this book. If you know nothing about LAB and you use Photoshop as your photo editor, this book will be a revelation to you. It's chock-full of excellent info and real-world examples of problem-photo corrections using LAB, and it explains in detail why LAB is often a better color space to work in than RBG (or CMYK).

Also, this isn't an absolute beginner's book but it doesn't pretend to be, and warns you that this can be a subject that requires a lot of thought to grasp completely.

Here are a few pluses and minuses as I see this book:


1. The author has a sense of humor, and most of the time he's funny. This is well-balanced and the book doesn't rely heavily on humor to get you through it. If you prefer dry manuals full of bland statistics and dusty white-page explanations on theory and history, though, this ain't a book for you.

2. IMO this book is well-organized. The author starts with the basic concepts of LAB color, using simple changes to photos using LAB and shows you the differences between changes to the same photo using the RGB and CMYK color spaces. As the book progresses, the examples of problems become more and more complex so the solutions also become more complex.

3. The author uses lots of photos to show you what he's talking about, and they often take up lots of room on the pages. This book is about photo editing in LAB color, so this shouldn't be a big surprise to most people, and it's a definite benefit to SEE what the author is talking about.

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Format: Paperback
Developed in 1976, the LAB color space is a means to expedite color conversions to an industry standard. Photoshop gets LAB values from pantone, Inc., that enable it to construct the PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors that are the defacto standard in the graphics industry.

"Photoshop LAB Color" by Dan Margulis is a highly technical work that can be intimidating at first. However, if you work with digital images in Photoshop or other similar software that support the LAB color space, then I believe this book is indispensible for increasing your understanding of how to make superior color corrections that are not otherwise possible using RGB alone.

Note that this book is not intended for Photoshop Elements users because Elements does not support the LAB color space.

Although the book can be challenging, Mr. Margulis has thoughtfully organized it so that both novice and expert can and will benefit from using the LAB color space.

The first six chapters of the book are organized so that the first half of each chapter can be used by those who are not yet expert Photoshop users. He skips most of the technical jargon, describing only the necessary steps to use the techniques. In chapter one, for example, learn to use the LAB color space with surprising results in just a few easy steps.

The second half of the first six chapters take the reader into more technical discussions for a greater understanding of the use of colors and the LAB color space.

Chapters seven through sixteen are more advanced, and I would recommend that you be comfortable with using most of the common editing features of Photoshop before delving into this part of the book.
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