"Beyond Photoshop: Advanced techniques integrating Photoshop with Illustrator, Poser, Painter, Cinema 4D and ZBrush" by Derek Lea is a wonderful book for those who are looking to incorporate Photoshop to their illustrators, 3D work or painting projects.
I recommend this book for those who are past the basics of Adobe Photoshop and those who have dabbled and own the software mentioned below. It's important to note that the author is using CS4 for these projects.
The chapters are:
CHAPTER 1: Sharp Edges and Painterly Blends (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Illustrator CS4)
CHAPTER 2: 2D Textures and 3D Vectors (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Illustrator CS4)
CHAPTER 3: Live Trace and Pathfinder Effects (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Illustrator CS4)
CHAPTER 4: Hand Painted Magic (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Painter 11)
CHAPTER 5: Create an Old Master (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Poser 8)
CHAPTER 6: The Best of Both Worlds (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Cinema 4D 11)
CHAPTER 7: Sculpting Raw Materials (Adobe Photoshop CS4 & ZBrush 3.2)
The first step is to go to the website for the book and download the project files and from there, begin following the instructions laid out in the book. Instructions are very thorough and one of the reasons why this book has only 7 chapters is because it's thorough and Derek Lea does a fantastic job explaining each step.
The good news is that with each step, there is a picture of the artwork and the tool on the software being used, so you can see what is being selected.
If anything, this is a book that works well for those who are at the intermediate level. Beginner level, it all depends on how fast you learn and your familiarity with other software. And this is where the book has its caveat and that is one may own Illustrator but then not own the other software and thus making the other chapters obsolete until you get it.
Even for me, I've purchased and owned only four of the software, so I can only go up to chapter 5. And I assume that many people will be in the same boat.
There are awesome techniques from Derek Lea but it's a book that will be subjective to the user because you need these software to work the project files. Also, it depends on how current your software is. Granted, if you know the software well, you don't need the latest versions and do your own personal workaround.
Overall, "Beyond Photoshop" is a book that is well written and definitely handled quite well by the writer Derek Lea. It would be great to have multiple "Beyond Photoshop" books that focus on Photoshop and one software rather than one book featuring techniques with several software, because it limits the user to the software they own. If you only own Photoshop and Illustrator, you only have three chapters to work with.
This book does favor Photoshop/Illustrator with three chapters and one for the others. So, in a way, I wish there were 3 chapters dedicated to Photoshop + another software each to make the book balanced (if it was well-balanced, this book would receive a 5-star rating) but since it's not, I'm only going to give it three stars. But it's a very good book, it's a well-written book but unfortunately, it's limiting.
It's a solid book but if you intend to buy this, make sure you have the software, so you can utilize each chapter.