Up To Speed: Photoshop CS4

Author: Ben Willmore

Publisher: Peachpit Press

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Every 18 months Adobe issues a new version of Photoshop. Every 18 months Ben Willmore produces a new version of “Up to Speed”, describing the new features of the newest version of Photoshop. Every 18 months I write a review saying that, for experienced Photoshop users, upgrading from the prior version to the newest version, this book is the quickest way to learn the new features. It’s that time again.
As usual Willmore describes all the new features in clear precise language. If the function of the feature is obvious, he tells you how to set it up. If its application is not apparent, he explains the feature in enough detail to make it apparent. If it’s really complex, he delves into the complexity. It’s all there and there is not a superfluous word.

Typical was his instruction concerning Camera Raw 5.0. The new plug-in includes the Adjustment Brush, a tool that was brought over from Lightroom 2 that allows for local adjustments in Camera Raw. In 5 pages he provides the most clear and concise explanation of this tool that I’ve read anywhere. In fact I’d recommend to Lightroom users who may be a bit confused by the Adjustment Brush that they read this explanation. (Unfortunately, Willmore can’t explain why the Adjustment Brush works so much better in Camera Raw then Lightroom, but then, neither can Adobe’s engineers.)

I do have a single complaint. Willmore notes that some of the new features of the tools, like Bird’s Eye View, may not work without the proper video card. What he didn’t say was to go to the Adobe web page, where there’s a list of the cards that work, and advice that you may need to download new drivers from the video card’s manufacturer, and even links. I installed the new drivers and now all the features are available.

Why waste time reading a Photoshop CS4 book that tells you about features that are carried over from CS3? Spend an evening with this short book and you will be “Up to Speed.”

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. With the dizzying number of photography and related books being released almost daily, it is nice to be able to consult these reviews and get some guidance. These posts are appreciated very much.

  2. With the dizzying number of photography and related books being released almost daily, it is nice to be able to consult these reviews and get some guidance. These posts are appreciated very much.

  3. Maybe a monthly TWIP bookclub segment?

  4. Maybe a monthly TWIP bookclub segment?

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