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Smart Object Pipeline (Lark Photography) Paperback – 7 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lark (7 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600593976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600593970
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 21.3 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,018,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ted Dillard is a nationally exhibiting artist and an instructor who has taught classes in Fine Art Digital Imaging and Photoshop. He is part of the team at Tech Superpowers, Inc., where he works as the resident photographer and imaging specialist with the most respected team of Apple consultants.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colin Wilks on 2 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Photography is about images. The great attraction of this book is that the text is succinct (and relevant) allowing the key messages to be reinforced with a host of illustrations, photos and pictures of the software interface. It is, therefore, very readable with visuals that attract attention. Clearly, a great deal of thought has gone into the design on the way the information is presented to the reader, including the option of extra detail in the 'Geekzones'. The quality of the paper (semi gloss) adds to the feel of the book. This quality invites the reader to explore the contents. The subject - how to streamline and protect the non-destructive workflow when using Photoshop - has great depth. I particularly like Ted Dillard's approach of not solely focusing on 'what' and 'how' but on 'why'. For me, understanding the thinking behind the tools and approach is an imperative. I bought this book a few months ago (one of many) and before pressing the 'place your order' button paused to consider whether is was up-to-date (CS5 replacing CS4). I'm glad I went ahead because my understanding of workflow fundamentals and insights has jumped to a new level. The author has not tied his approach to a 'How to do it in this or that version'. Organised into three internal books (Foundation, The Smart Object Core and Advanced Techniques), Smart Object Pipeline paid for itself by the time I completed book one. It is one of two or three books I consult constantly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Warning! 12 Aug. 2009
By Conrad J. Obregon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Warning! This book is only for experienced users of Photoshop (PS) and the Adobe Camera Raw Plug-in (ACR).

Although smart objects have been around since PS 2, and although most PS authors make at least some reference to them, this is the first photography book devoted to them. (A smart object is an image file that you can reedit and readjust in ACR, even after opening in the main PS. The purpose of this attribute is that it may be easier (and according to the author) less destructive of image data to adjust in ACR.

The book opens with a lengthy review of RAW files, ACR, and PS layers and masking (as well as an introduction to the smart object) to the extent, and only to the extent, that this knowledge is key to the author's process. Once this is done the author explains how to use smart objects, and related smart filters, to adjust images, primarily through selective adjustments and including more advanced techniques that one might never encounter if one were not using smart objects to adjust an image.

To me, smart objects are most useful, first, when there is a chance that one might want to go back to the original RAW file to recover more data from the original image; and second, when one is applying a non-editable filter or certain image adjustments to an image, like unsharp mask, that one might want to change in the future. Dillard caries this a step further, preferring ACR smart filters instead of adjustment layers.

What the author hardly mentions is that using smart objects creates files that are several times the size of a picture adjusted with adjustment layers, and that each time one returns to ACR for an adjustment a great deal more processing power and time is taken then with adjustment layers. This may not be an overriding consideration in this era of cheap storage, fast processors and huge amounts of RAM, but I, for one, am already running out of space for internal and external disk drives.

In PS there are many different routes to reaching a desirable image. Some users prefer to use ACR only to capture the most data while other users prefer to do most of their adjustments with the plug-in. Certainly the author's method offers another technique that may prove useful in particular cases, and so, for experienced users, anxious to add to their personal tool box, this book may be worthy of consideration.

I must confess to being put off by many of Dillard's suggestions about using PS that run so contrary to the common wisdom, like sticking with 8 bit processing, and dismissing the recovery, fill, clarity and targeted adjustment functions of ACR on the grounds that the same tasks can be accomplished in curves. I found his sharpening suggestions, like always sharpening at a radius of .5 pixels and sharpening at output size rather than 100%, incredible.

Occasionally there were suggestions for techniques that I had, I'm embarrassed to say, not discovered, like changing a mask color from white to black, using invert.

I doubt that I will ever adopt most of the techniques in this book. On the other hand, the book increased my sensitivity to the use of smart objects and filters.

In summary, if you are an experienced user, are willing to consider new techniques, can decide when recommendations can be rejected and are willing to read a PS book solely on the chance that you will add a valuable tool to your arsenal, this book is for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not worth an entire book 9 Mar. 2010
By DaveInAZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My only real complaint about this book is that there isn't enough content to justify making an entire book out of it. But, that's a huge problem, in my opinion. The "pipeline" workflow the author recommends could easily have been described in a magazine article. Half the book is about Camera Raw, and covers no new ground.

Like the previous reviewer, I find some of Mr. Dillard's recommendations highly questionable. And, if this is the forefront of SmartObject use, in my opinion it's not yet ready for prime time. The disadvantages more than balance out the advantages as described here.

The book, itself, is beautifully produced, aside from the now-standard lack of actual editing, beyond spellchecking. Beautifully printed on high quality stock, very well bound, with dual cover flaps for marking one's place, and extensively illustrated, though many of the illustrations serve only to pad out the size of the book.
A family affair - the multitasker 25 April 2012
By Len E. Doimo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have three of Ted Dillard's "Pipeline" books: RAW, Smart Object, and B&W. I have only finished the first read-through on B&W, but that is because that is my current interest.

There is a lot of redundancy in the three books, but there is a valid reason for it: Dillard is helping you create a process, a methodology. And he is very excited about Smart Objects. His argument for them, in all three books, is the amount of time and effort they save you and the creativity they allow you. This is especially true when coupled with RAW - then you can do much of your adjustment layer work in the RAW editor instead of on Adjustment Layers. A great OOPS convenience.

I can't recommend one over the others - it depends on your current interest; but since all three talk about Smart Objects and the RAW editor, any one you choose will be a valuable resource.

If you opt for more than one, as I did, you will have a great mini-library, just be aware of the redundancy.

I have recommended Ted Dillard books to my brother, another post-processing amateur.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A clear, specific guide to Photoshop layering's complexities perfect for any Photoshop collection 20 April 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
SMART OBJECT PIPELINE: REVOLUTIONARY TACTICS FOR THE PHOTOSHOP LAYER WORKFLOW tells how to edit in Photoshop layers and markets, and how to gain access to a digital image to maximize image quality. Smart object technology teaches access to the raw file, and offers a clear, specific guide to Photoshop layering's complexities perfect for any Photoshop collection.
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