Photoshop CS4 Essential Skills

Photoshop CS4 Essential Skills, by Mark Galer and Philip Andrews ★★★★★
This is probably one of the best skills textbooks that I’ve read so far on Photoshop, covering a broad range of topics from photo touch-up, montages, landscape photography, portrait photography, panoramas, and the works. There were some topics not covered, such as 3D work, but the text did not intend to be comprehensive coverage of all that photoshop offers. The book is arranged to be read with an accompanying DVD, containing many movie files, as well as sample photographs that will be used in projects in the book. Typically, a set of movies would first be watched, and then the projects shown in the movies worked through in the accompanying textbook. The authors assume that the reader is learning, and thus make short-cut descriptions of how to do things, as you get deeper into the text. The example projects provided are very sensible images that any amateur photographer would usually be working with. Through the use of repetition and ever-expanding skills, you cover most of the standard functionality of photoshop. The text is very good at showing how something may be done in a number of ways, and also explaining the various choices that Photoshop offers. This is not a beginner’s book, but a very good transition for someone who has read a beginning book on Photoshop, or at least is familiar with the functionality and various uses of layers and channels, etc. I would compare this to the text Photoshop Classroom in a Book, which is produced by Adobe and is excellent for taking a raw beginner through all the things that Photoshop can do. Unfortunately, it will not teach one how to use Photoshop, as you spend your time following detailed instructions, but rarely ever tell why you are doing it. This book is highly recommended as a “next-step” text for the Photoshop photographer.