Photoshop CS4 Channels and Masks One-on-one

Photoshop CS4 Channels and Masks One-on-one, by Deke McClelland ★★★★
This is just another Photoshop book that I’ve read in the last 6-12 months. I have one or two more to go. This text taught me a number of things, including functionality and routines in Photoshop that I had absolutely no clue about in the past, like the “calculations” instruction for merging several channels to make a better mask. There are movies that accompany each lesson, but they only somewhat approximate the actual lesson. Deke is very careful to be exact in his instructions but doesn’t always elaborate why you are doing a certain function in a manner that makes perfect clarity for when you need to do such functions independent of the instruction book. A number of things became quite clear in this reading. 1) Photoshop is far more complicated than I originally thought, and it will take years to master exactly what it could do for you. 2) Experience will eventually be the best teacher, and one needs to play with the program to glean all the possibilities of what you could do to alter or improve a photo. 3) There is always more than one way to accomplish a given task, and every book details a completely different style of accomplishing the same thing. Ultimately, one needs to develop their own style. 4) Many routines are discovered by chance and then shared. One should not imagine that any given photo alteration is intuitive. Rather, one needs to keep a number of “reference” books around when learning photoshop and use those books to walk through techniques. 5) Videos are nice, but the text ultimately teaches you how to do things. It would be nice to note an end product, attempt it first yourself, and then walk through how the teacher reaches the end-product. Unfortunately, most photoshop instruction books are not written that way. All in all, this is not the best photoshop book that I’ve read, but still is a book worth having on the shelves.