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on 3 March 2008
With so many books out there on Photoshop claiming to teach the secrets it's difficult to know what to buy; this new book by Matt Kloskowski though is a definite MUST HAVE for anyone just starting out in the world of Photoshop and anyone who has been using it for a while.

Matt manages to simplify the whole concept of Layers (the bread and butter of Photoshop) in a quick easy to understand way that I challenge anyone not to grasp it after the first chapter. Following on from that in the following 8 chapters, Matt goes on to cover such topics as blending layers, adjustment layers, layer masks and then some chapters covering retouching, layer styles and smart objects ... again, in an easy to follow teaching style that just works..period!

Some readers out there, like me may have been using photoshop for a number of years now and may consider a book teaching Layers to be beneath them, but as in all of Matt's books, there are always a few gems hidden in there that make buying the book worth it just for them.

Littered with some stunning photos and techniques this is a book that doesn't make false claims, it delivers and and all for a great price too ... nuff said :o)

ps> I'm not on commision, I just believe in putting my money to good use :o)
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on 21 April 2008
I do a fair amount of PhotoShop Image Editing, and tho' I say it myself, have become reasonably proficient at it, but one aspect I haven't really come to grips with, and which I know to be a failing, is understanding how to use Layers. Now I do know what Layers are, and I also understand that there's something quite magical about using Layers in PS, but somehow, although I do indeed understand the "Why", I've never really got to grips with the "How To". Then Amazon, as they do, mailed me about Matt Kloskowski's brand new PS Manual, strangely enough called "LAYERS"

And I have to say that it really has been an eye-opener, virtually from page one. Obviously inspired by Scott Kelby's eclectic style of writing, the book is laid out throughout as a series of step by step tutorials, including a complete on-line download of all the stock images used, which is many times easier to understand than Adobe's admittedly comprehensive User Guide's, and Classroom in a Book series, which in the main, flew right above my head. Some of the adjustment Layer Tutorials are little short of stunning, almost blindingly Damascene in their revelation of technique. If I had one criticism it would be of the sometimes facile chattiness of the writing which does begin to jar a little after the tenth or fifteenth jokey comment, but let that not distract from what is a tour de force of a book, enabling Layer novices such as myself to effortlessly move up a level, or should I say Layer, in my comprehension of an area of PhotoShop which I have been too uneducated - read nervous - to previously take on board.

Obviously, I have no connection with the Author, or the Publisher, but if you enjoy, if that's the right word, playing around with PhotoShop, then I can thoroughly recommend "Layers" as one of the best PhotoShop guides I've yet worked with.

Neil Carter
Oxford UK
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on 28 March 2008
Anybody who has listened to Matt Kloskowski teaching about Photoshop will know that he is a natural teacher. Everything he teaches is presented in a simple and very understandable manner, even if the subject is highly complicated.

Many of the subjects covered in this book are not huge secrets which the pros have kept carefully hidden from the general public. Rather many of the early lessons are simple and slowly build to the more complicated stuff. Matt Kloskowski has arranged the lessons in his Layers book to ensure that it is easy to follow and also in a way you will remember. If you are new to Photoshop and layers you will a thorough grasp of these subjects. The easy to follow tutorials are accompanied by colour images, which lead you through each step and you can even follow along yourself with the provided downloadable lesson files.

In short this is a really outstanding Photoshop book.
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on 4 January 2011
I knew of M Kloskowski's work from seeing his video tutorials in the NAPP website so I knew what to expect.

As a relative newcomer to Photoshop, and keen to improve my skills, I found working with the book an absolute pleasure. There are downloadable files for the user to manipulate in the chapters, and each chapter delivers the subject matter in a simple and easy to follow manner, unlike many so-called self-help books I have used.

Within a few chapters I was designing my own fliers and brochures that I had previously employed a designer to do for me. That in itself repays the cost of the book. I would heartily recommend this to anyone wishing to get to grips with layers in Photoshop.
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on 1 April 2011
Absolutely loving this book. Its style is easy to follow and the content is full of so many great tips and techniques. Matt writes like he is in the room talking to you and his style my not be to everyones taste but don't let that stop you from buying this book if you want to learn how to get the best out of photoshops layers features. Whats fantastic about this book is you can download the images Matt has worked on and follow along step by step. I know you can do that with your own photos but by doing it with the same ones as in the book you can see if you are doing it correctly by ending up with the same end product. Then you can go off and have a go on your own know you have got the technique right.

Every chapter is blowing me away, I just can't believe how much I have learned so far - and I am only on Chapter 4. This book is worth every penny.
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on 14 February 2011
With what seems like an infinite number of Photoshop books out there on the shelves all making claims to contain the `secrets' of Photoshop when all is said and done, most do the same thing and that is show you how to achieve certain effects.

Now that's all well and good but what about a book that will help you to really understand Photoshop and show you how to not only achieve certain effects but at the same time, understand the how and why? Well, with the 2nd Edition of Matt Kloskowski's `Layers' book it totally lives up to it's sub heading:

"The complete guide to photoshop's most powerful feature" ... and that is giving a total understanding of Layers.

I made the mistake when I first started using Photoshop of buying into the `effects' books and while they were good fun, I didn't really learn much at all. If I was asked to do a certain thing to a photo or design and create a poster I'd struggle because if it wasn't in print infront of me I wouldn't have known where to start.

It wasn't until I took things back to basics and started grasping an understanding of what was going on that my skill level improved and has continued to do so. In fact since doing so the Plug Ins I own are only used at certain times such as client work that is on a tight time scale for completion as I can generally work out how to achieve the same effect by myself using...wait for it...Layers

The book's 312 pages are packed with `no nonsense' and `straight to the point' information but written in a conversational style that makes it easy to read and digest leaving you not only with more knowledge but an ability to apply what you've read.

Highly Recommended!
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on 19 January 2011
This book is written by a Photoshop Guru who knows his trade and is able to deliver the knowledge in a comprehensive way. There are not tons of text you'd need to chew through, making it perfect for a quick study sessions at any given time.

The guides and tutorials are written for all user levels, with tips and tricks coming from years of practice and professional experience.

This is an updated version to go along with Photoshop CS5 environment but can be used by users with lower versions, too.

Highly recommended for anyone dealing with Photoshop - from hobbyists and enthusiasts creating their own websites or playing with photographs to professionals who may just discover there was an easier and better way of doing things..
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on 8 January 2013
Photoshop is an immense programme, and one about which numerous books have been published. So far I have yet to come across I book I consider to be the definitive guide, but this one certainly demystifies the use of Layers, which is the aspect of Photoshop that stands it apart from other photo-editing software. On the whole, there are very clear explanations of how to achieve specific effects, ranging from very simple to quite complex. Like any book on a huge topic, the coverage is not exhaustive and some chapters are better than others, but there are certainly hours of entertainment to be had from working through it.

There are two reasons why I did not give it five stars. The first one, which at least one of the other reviews here highlights, is that not everything described in the text correlates precisely with what appears on the screen, and there were a couple of times I just could not get the programme to do what the book seemed to intend it to. The second point, and this may be related, is that you are supposed to be able to download the pictures used in the book from the Kelby publishing website, so that you can work through the examples. I found that the downloads were simply not there when you try to access them, which means that you need to work with your own photos and are therefore never quite sure if you have followed the instructions perfectly. I have found the absent downloads to be a feature of some of the other Kelby publishing books I have purchased, such as the HDR Book by Rafael Concepcion, so I suspect they are only available for a limited period following publication.

Consequently it is not perfect, but it is pretty good.
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on 20 August 2009
This is an excelent guide to using this feature of photoshop. The author gives you the basics quickly and then supplies you with several clear examples of the types of effect you can achieve and talks you through the process of photo manipulation.

I have only two reservations
The authors style is unashamedly "American sales pitch" and its of questionable use for later yet to be released versions of the software.

the writting style first- He practically says :
" Im great! Im fun!! and Im gonna help you guys a lot !!! Stick with me! We'll have funnnn!! and you'll learn a whole heap of stuff!!! Im real clever so just TRUST me!!!!!!!"

Perhaps its a personal thing but I feel this style of writing tends to grate on my angloid sensibilities. However - once I overcame the desire to stick pins in the authors ego - its quite apparent that this is an excellent workbook which will teach you a lot about the layers function in CS3 and by extention a good bit about the rest of the application as well.

If you don't want to know why a technique works you don't have to read the relevent details you can follow the steps blindly and pick and choose the examples to achieve the result you want.
Alternatively, you can read more carefully and learn a lot about how this application works.

This is the second issue with the book - Im not certain how usefull this edition will be to some one who is using a later version of the software. That said - this isn't a book for your long term collection - its a workbook with notes - And as such it is a lot cheaper than going on a tailored course and you would be lucky to find a tutor as capeable of explaining the techniques as this author.

The fact that he - in large measure - lived up to his bombast - makes the hype and self promotion somewhat easier to ignore. And using the book even I, a technical "klutz" managed to produce the effects I wanted without destroying the pictures or taking hours to achieve the effects.
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on 16 February 2011
This is the most comprehensive and comprehensible guide to Layers in Photoshop I've ever used. And I've tried quite a few over the years.
The format lets you follow the written information by using online images to match those on the page, so you are actually working alongside the book and creating each effect on your own screen as you go along. It has really helped me understand the difference between the different types of layers and how to use them effectively.
I am trying to work my way through the whole book and am only half way so far but my Photoshop skills are noticibly improved and I'm actually enjoying learning by doing.
So yes, a very good buy. Recomended!
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