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New tools, new cheats
on 23 April 2009
How to Cheat, is a somewhat misleading title, as its not immediately obvious that this is a comprehensive look at the tricks used by Photoshop montage artists. But having said that this is a very useful series of books dealing fairly specifically with the building up of composite images in Photoshop.
Steve Caplin is an accomplished montage artist and many of his illustrations have graced the pages of the Guardian and the Independent, and he brings a lot of his experience into the techniques presented here.
How to Cheat seems to approach each new release of Photoshop as a challenge to present new tools, techniques and material, and this pays dividends to the reader as the accompanying dvd contains pdf files of many of the tutorials from previous editions.
The author seems to have spent some time getting to grip with the new tools of CS4 and finding some real world application for them, and so the book serves as a good catch-up to familiarize the reader with some new tools, but by no means is Cs4 a must have as techniques are backwardly compatible on the whole.
This book is balanced very well for its intended audience, those already comfortable using Photoshop, and as such the content here is of high value with little padding explaining the interface and so on, the tutorials all fit neatly over a two page spread, and on the whole the examples are very clear and to the point.
The first section deals with the fundamental skills required for the rest of the book, selection, masking, the pen tool, layers and image adjustment, well worth a read through no matter how keen your skills.
After the fundamentals catch-up the bulk of the book then tackles the various montage skills, setting the scene by looking at composition and perspective, the perspective chapter is excellent, easily tackled and incredibly useful.
A book packed with techniques, and Steve Caplin seems to put a lot of effort into making each version stand on its own, with fresh tutorial, techniques and the latest Photoshop features in context, the authors experience and enthusiasm make the tutorials very readable, and the book as a whole a recommended reference for the Photoshop montage artist, or even the intermediate or advanced user looking for some catch-up or fresh ideas.