Understanding Photoshop CS4
The Essential Techniques for Imaging Professionals (2nd Ed.)
Author: Richard Harrington
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Here’s an introductory text on the use of Adobe Photoshop CS4 aimed at graphic artists. It includes a number of special features that may be of use to the tyro.
There are chapters on all of the basic functions of Photoshop from bringing images into Photoshop through the use of layers and text to printing. The method is to introduce a tool, and then provide a brief tutorial using images that are available on the included CD. The CD also includes interactive quizzes on each chapter and access to on-line video training.
The tutorials take the reader step by step through the use of a particular tool and are quite good at teaching the Photoshop basics. However, more advanced applications are not covered, and although the book is illustrated with the Photoshop CS4 interface, most of the changes introduced in CS4, like bird’s eye-view and cloning preview, are not included in the book. Only those seeking the most basic instruction in Photoshop will benefit.
The on-line videos are first class and will prove useful to those who learn best by this method. However, as with the book, many of the newest CS4 features are not included. Also beware because while the CD provides first access to the videos, once you get to the index page for the videos, bookmark the page, because the CD gateway will not allow you to access the index page a second time. I was also disturbed that rather than running directly from the on-line file into an MP4 player, I had to first download the complete file to my computer, which left me sitting in front of my monitor for several minutes watching a progress bar for each of the many videos.
The quizzes are lightweight, being simple multiple choice questions, so don’t think that you can whip through just the quizzes first and only read the chapters where you get a low score.
If you are a digital photographer, this is not the book for you. There is almost no mention of Adobe Camera Raw, which is a basic Photoshop tool for the photographer.
For new Photoshop users, if you are a graphics designer, you would be better served by using Deke McClelland’s “Adobe Photoshop CS4 One-on-One” and if you are a photographer, by Tim Grey’s “Photoshop CS4 Workflow: the Digital Photographer’s Guide.”