Photoshop CS A to Z

Author: Peter Bargh
Publisher: Focal Press
Pages: 180 pages

Reviewed By: John Harbison

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I thought I knew it all till now!

I've been a Photoshop user for many many years. I would go so far as to call myself a guru of sorts. I've read plenty of tutorials and bought more than my fair share of books and manuals. So when it came time to review "Photoshop CS A to Z" I figured I would have a great tool for quick referencing menus and filters and such. Boy was I surprised to actually learn some stuff too!

When you first pick up "A to Z" you'll probably be a little let down. The cover to the book is just horrible looking. It is an ugly green with purple accents and an all around ugliness. The anti-aliasing of the cover lettering is jagged and bad, and just trying to think up something that isn't a slam on the cover art is impossible. The book looks awful. Now open it. ZING!!!!! The layout is great. There isn't a page in the entire book that isn't lit up with pictures and diagrams. You can tell from the first page that this is a great great GREAT reference guide.

The book, as implied by the title, is a reference guide to Photoshop CS. It says CS on the cover, but truly this will actually help users of Photoshop CS even down to Version 7. The book doesn't have chapters, but rather is broken into parts by "letter." So for the 1st chapter, "A", the first thing discussed is "Actions" and goes in depth explaining how actions work, what they do and tips on using them. The tips are awesome, and actually give pointers on how the pro's use actions and point you in the right direction of usage. After "Actions" is "Active Layer" then "Airbrush" and so on. This book touches on every aspect of Photoshop and even delves into resources and elements that are just slightly related to Photoshop (i.e. "Artifacts" in compression or even plugins related to Photoshop)

This guide is for every user of Photoshop. If you need to know what the "Posterization" is? Well, it is on page 126 and "it converts the images into a number of brightness levels between 2 and 255 to produce a graphic effect. 2 is too harsh, 255 too subtle. A good balance is between four and eight." Did you know that there is a "Patch tool"? I didn't and I use Photoshop every single day. In fact - this gem of a tool is buried under the "Healing Brush Tool" and I had never used it, but after I found it - wow, does it make my life a little bit easier. And to my astonishment, the "Patch tool" has been around since version 7 (kicks self in the butt).

This book is amazing. It belongs on every designers coffee table, and another copy right next to their computer. Let's face it, Photoshop isn't an easy little proggie that you can learn in a day. Photoshop is a massive program. It is over loaded to the extreme, and it keeps getting more and more loaded. People who use it everyday don't even know all of its potential. I'm a testament to that. This book is a great resource for anyone serious about learning Photoshop. It really makes an overwhelming program like Photoshop a little more usable.


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