Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Sort of 'brilliant' I suppose...
on 30 December 2010
I've been using Photoshop Elements for many years but this is the first time I actually have Creative Suite. I was relieved to see that Photoshop CS5 looks much the same and I could just continue using it as I've used Elements - but that would be a waste. Everything I've learnt over the years for Elements has been through playing around - this time I wanted to do things properly and really wanted a book that would show me all the basics of Photoshop and explain all the tools and how to use them.
I can't say the book is exactly a joy to use: it is essentially like so many other books on photoshop: a manual, in colour. Manuals aren't supposed to be fun - they just explain what the features are and how to use them. It's the kind of book you can dip in to whenever you want to know something (like you would use an encyclopedia: 'what does 'free transform' mean? What does 'magnetic lasso' do?) The colour screenshots are actually really helpful as a few times I wanted to do something but didn't know what to search for so I just flicked through the pages until I spotted the effect in one of the pictures!
One thing I don't like about this book is it's really lacking in working examples and specific case studies. You don't notice this until you're actually working through the instructions and you have nothing pictorial to refer to when you get stuck. Step by step screenshots are very under-utilized in this book so you're not sure if you're doing something right or not when you get confused with the instructions - don't get me wrong, it's not always a problem but I have noticed it a few times already.
Nevertheless, overall the book is still good as a starting point to help familiarise yourself with Photoshop. If you're looking to be inspired though, this book won't help. It shows you how to use the tools but doesn't really show you how to get creative with them. Just remember this is a quick reference manual and you won't be disappointed really. I actually also purchased How to Cheat in Photoshop CS5: The art of creating realistic photomontages aswell and it's a lot of fun to use - it's packed with ideas (and the thing that's missing here: real design examples) to teach and inspire you. I would say buy the 'Brilliant' book if you are a Photoshop beginner but if you're mostly familiar with the software, just go for the Cheat book because it will get you thinking more creatively from the outset. I tend to dip into both books depending on what I want to do.