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Neil Enns
07-29-2004, 06:00 PM
<img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_CoverArt.jpg" /> <br /><br /><b>Product Category:</b> Books<br /><b>Title:</b> The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers (First Edition)<br /><b>Author:</b> Scott Kelby<br /><b>Publisher: </b> New Riders<br /><b>Where to Buy:</b> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=jasondunn-20&amp;path=tg/detail/-/0735712360/qid%3D1089330469/sr%3D8-2">Amazon</a><br /><b>Price:</b> $27.99 USD<br /><b>System Requirements:</b> None, it's a book :)<br /><br /><b>Pros:</b><li>Actually shows you how to solve digital imaging issues;<br /><li>Large, easy-to-see sample photos;<br /><li>Clear organization of content.<b>Cons:</b><li>Witty writing can be distracting;<br /><li>Meager index makes finding specific topics a challenge.<b>Summary:</b><br />The cover of <i>The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers</i> promises that it ďbreaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers thatís never been done beforeĒ. In a crowded field (an Amazon search for Photoshop turns up over 2000 titles) does this book live up to its promise? Can it actually help digital photographers solve real-world issues, or is it just rehash the same old content that other books cover?<br /><br />Read on for the full review!<!><br /><PAGEBREAK><br /><span><b>Not Your Father's Photoshop Book</b></span><br />Unlike most Photoshop books on the market, The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers takes a task-oriented approach to its organization. Rather than going painstakingly through every dialog and option, Kelby offers specific steps to correct a wide range of digital photograph issues. The walk-throughs are organized into eleven chapters, grouped by type:<li>Chapter 1: Start Me Up: Mastering the File Browser<br /><li>Chapter 2: Cream of the Crop: Cropping and Resizing<br /><li>Chapter 3: The Big Fixx: Digital Camera Image Problems<br /><li>Chapter 4: Color Me Badd: Color Correction for Photographers<br /><li>Chapter 5: The Mask: Masking Techniques<br /><li>Chapter 6: Head Games: Retouching Portraits<br /><li>Chapter 7: Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Body Sculpting<br /><li>Chapter 8: 38 Special Photographic Effects<br /><li>Chapter 9: Back in Black: From Color to Grayscale<br /><li>Chapter 10: Sharp-Dressed Man: Professional Sharpening Techniques<br /><li>Chapter 11: The Show Must Go On: Showing it to your Clients<br />If you have a problem with your digital image itís a fair bet that youíll find a solution in this book.<br /><br /><span><b>A Slow Start to a Great Book</b></span><br />I found little to help me in my day-to-day Photoshop work until chapter 3. The File Browser discussions on Chapter 1 are pretty boring if you use another image management tool, such as Picasa or ACDSee, or if you already have your own filing system. The second chapter suffers a similar fate: itís hard to make cropping and sizing that interesting. But donít judge the book by the first two chapters! While it starts slowly, the rest of the book is impressive.<br /><br /><span><b>Step-by-Step</b></span><br />The meat of <i>The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers</i> is chapters 3 through 7, where Kelby provides every tip and trick you could imagine to get the best out of your digital images. From fixing image-wide issues, such as awful flesh tones (chapter 4) to whitening teeth (chapter 6) pretty much every digital image issue is addressed. Unlike other books that give general approaches to solving problems, Kelby provides detailed steps for specific types of image situations. For example, there are no less than three methods for doing skin colour correction: one for images going to press, one for images destined for RGB display, and a third for correcting studio portraits using a grey card.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure1.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 1: Kelby's page layout makes following along easy.</i><br /><br />What really sets this book apart is how Kelby describes each of the image manipulations. In addition to going step-by-step through the process, he includes large screen shots of the various dialogs and nice big pictures of the photograph as it moves through the correction process. He also adds just enough theory to the discussion so you can adapt the techniques to different types of images. His blend of specific information and general tips is perfect. Most other Photoshop books are too heavy on the theory side: explanations of the curves dialog abound, but youíre never given specific steps for different types of images. <br /><PAGEBREAK><br /><span><b>Helpful Tips Abound</b></span><br /><i>The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers</i> has taught me a few techniques that have become a standard part of my Photoshop repertoire.<br /><br />One of these is the Extract filter. Until I bought Kelbyís book, the Extract filter was just a confusing mess of tools and sliders. Kelby uses eleven steps, including a clever layer duplication, to illustrate extracting someone from a background for use in another image. Three of the steps take care of dealing with pesky drop-outs (areas that should have been captured by the extraction but werenít). He doesnít use an easy image as a sample, either: he dives right in and extracts a model with very wispy hair from a sporty looking car.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure2.JPG" /> <br /><i>Figure 2: Before extraction.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure3.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 3: After extraction.</i><br /><br />While extraction is a fun party trick and makes for great (and sometimes goofy!) images, my favourite tip by far is whitening teeth. This is just one of 18 different techniques described to correct common problems with portraits, but is so straightforward and simple I wonder how I lived without it.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure4.JPG" /> <br /><i>Figure 4: Before whitening.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure5.JPG" /> <br /><i>Figure 5: After whitening.</i><br /><br />While the above two techniques should give you a taste of what you expect from The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, itís impossible to do justice to Kelbyís detailed portrait retouching techniques in a short review. I will say that the pages of chapter six are well worn in my copy: every portrait I take has me reaching for this section to correct the little issues before sending the image to print.<br /><PAGEBREAK><br /><span><b>Sharpen Your Sharpening Skills</b></span><br />No Photoshop book would be complete without a discussion on image sharpening. Sadly, until <i>The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers</i> Iíve never come across one that actually helps me make sharper images. Most books show you the unsharp mask dialog, explain the different settings, but then fail to offer specific values that work for different kind of images.<br /><br />Chapter 10 is Kelbyís attempt at de-mystifying the world of image sharpening, and I would spend $27.99 on this book just for pages 292-304. He provides sharpening settings for four different kinds of images, and an advanced Lab colour sharpening technique that I now use on all my images. Just last weekend I was trying to figure out how to get the best sharpening for some tulip photos Iíd taken, and Kelbyís settings for soft images turned a great photograph into a stunning one.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure6.JPG" /> <br /><i>Figure 6: Before sharpening.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/media/users/303/neile_jul8_figure7.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 7: After sharpening.</i><br /><br /><span><b>Conclusions</b></span><br /><i>The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers</i> is a must-have for anyone who owns a copy of Photoshop. It is as much a digital editing tool for me as Photoshop itself, and my images are vastly better now that I have a copy on my shelf. The only drawbacks are minor: Kelbyís chapter introductions try overly hard to be funny and can be distracting, and the index could use quite a bit more detail. Other than that, this is without a doubt the best Photoshop book Iíve ever read. Highly recommended!

Jason Dunn
07-29-2004, 06:55 PM
Great review! :-)

Crocuta
07-29-2004, 07:00 PM
Nice review, Neil! If you'd asked me 10 minutes ago, I wouldn't have said I needed another Photoshop book. Now I'm convinced I do and have added it to my Amazon wish-list.

cmchavez
07-29-2004, 07:25 PM
Great review! :-)

Now if only Kelby would write a similar book on MS Digital Image Suite! :) (I still love it though)

dartman
07-29-2004, 07:39 PM
I have the Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers by Kelby which I assume is just an updated version for CS. I used his similar book for Photoshop Elements first (before I bought CS). These are great books.

dart

Tim Williamson
07-29-2004, 07:45 PM
Added this to my Amazon wishlist!

Neil Enns
07-29-2004, 08:05 PM
I have the Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers by Kelby which I assume is just an updated version for CS.

Yep, same book just updated for CS. I'll tell ya what... I'll trade you my copy of the book for your copy of Photoshop CS *grin*.

Neil

dartman
07-29-2004, 09:04 PM
I have the Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers by Kelby which I assume is just an updated version for CS.

Yep, same book just updated for CS. I'll tell ya what... I'll trade you my copy of the book for your copy of Photoshop CS *grin*.

Neil

LOL. I only recently broke down and bought CS. Still haven't muddled through my learning curve yet (actual work still getting in the way). I did manage to become comfortable with Kelby's style so his CS book was the only one I bought.

I remember stumbling along trying to learn Elements 2 (which came with my Digital Rebel). I learned more from Kelby's book in 1 week than the others in 6 months.

You did a great review, BTW.

dart

JTWise
07-29-2004, 09:47 PM
I am using Photoshop 5.5. Will this book be useful for someone like me that is using an old version? I can't afford to keep my copy current.

Neil Enns
07-30-2004, 01:22 AM
I am using Photoshop 5.5. Will this book be useful for someone like me that is using an old version? I can't afford to keep my copy current.

Yes, it should still be quite useful. A lot of the things he talks about use tools that have probably existed since Photoshop version 1 :) The teeth whitening and sharpening information, for example, applies to version 5.5.

Neil

Jonathon Watkins
07-30-2004, 01:18 PM
I've got Kelby 's Potoshop CS book for Digital Photographers as well. I don't dip into it as much as I should - it's a good read with some grat content.

Good solid review there Neil. 8)

duncanhbrown
08-11-2004, 04:49 PM
Would this book be useful for us Photoshop Elements owners, or should we seek the Elements-specific book by this same author? Thanks.
Duncan Brown

Neil Enns
12-02-2004, 11:06 PM
Would this book be useful for us Photoshop Elements owners, or should we seek the Elements-specific book by this same author?

I'd go for the Elements-specific book. I'm sure it's equally fantastic.

Neil

sdrosenthal
12-02-2004, 11:07 PM
I recently purchased the CS follow up to this book. I haven't gotten all the way through it, but this is the book I have been looking for, for a VERY long time. Now I can truly use my Photoshop reference books as reference books, instead of how to guides. Thanks for the dead on review Neil!

Stephen