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on 13 April 2013
My first impression is that this book was smaller than expected physically. I know this is an odd comment but this looks more like an oversized small book than a typical software book. I bought it primarily for digital photography after having bought a book on Lightroom. I am a little disappointed with content in this regard. It only really covers what I can already do in Lightroom. Other content is not really applicable so much to the digital photographer. I have not marked this book down because it does not claim to be what I was hoping it would be.

There is a DVD with tutorial files on which makes this well worth the spend. I started with Photoshop in the early 90s with version 2. I have not kept up to date beyond CS3 so this book was also purchased to bring me up to speed with some of the more recent tools, not least the content aware fill, which would have had the entire Adobe staff hung, burned or drowned for witchcraft had this tool been available in medieval times. I was at an Adobe conference and their message is that a lot of these tools are intended to save time which can still be billed to a client. I firmly believe with this release they have achieved that.

Having written courses myself, I know the importance of covering off the fundamentals and getting timing right, to allow students to solidify their understanding. On that note I believe this book is presented well, introducing more basic concepts earlier and advanced topics separately. Tutorials are about an hour per chapter which is about the right amount of time.

Where could the book be improved? Well my main criticism is that where students are presented with a group of settings, the book often lacks detail on these settings. There is no science behind many of these; they will vary for each image. They do provide their recommended values and what I like to do is try myself first and then compare the results with these recommended settings. But beyond a cursory level, there really isn't sufficient detail and that was something I had hoped from this book. I had recently gone through Lightroom training and was expecting this Photoshop book to cover the same settings in a lot more detail, given the target audience. Saying this, there is plenty of opportunity to experiment, and some research will build upon the detail presented in the book, so I can hardly be disappointed. I would have liked more advanced content but I believe this would have led to a much larger book and one which would have had novice readers scratching their heads. As a basic introduction it is really very good and even though I consider myself a rusty veteran of this tool, I have not yet completed a tutorial without feeling that I have learned a lot. So not to be underestimated as a 'fundamentals' style course not exclusively aimed at novices.

My only other observation is that when following step-by-step instructions, I find there is quite a bit of superfluous text. This is the very area where it would help to be as concise as possible, perhaps using the sidebar for additional detail. They do this already, but I find the general content a bit word-heavy when following tutorials at times.

Saying this and with hindsight I would have little reservation in choosing this book again. For a teach yourself guide there is benefit in sticking with Adobe. I tend toward independent writers where I am looking for workflows, but for a book you can go chapter to chapter and ensure you don't miss anything, this would appear to be it. The book does claim it's a reference book as well. I am not sure it serves more experienced PS users as a reference; more an aide memoir. More detailed reference style books are available and I would think this book could easily live alongside such books.

If you're a novice or more advanced user who has not studied a 'fundamentals' style course in Photoshop, I would heartily recommend this one. If your goal is to learn more advanced techniques then there are other books and video courses available which are more suited. But I doubt anyone going through this book would end up disappointed. There is always plenty to learn no matter how experienced the reader. And it's always the fundamentals that if not learned thoroughly or at all, end up costing the user (or worse still their client) time and money.

Update: I am starting to find the book frustrating. Having just completed the exercise on Masks, at least one part of the tutorial has errors and continues the tendency to just regurgitate values instead of attempting to explain (even in basic detail) what various settings do, makes me question the value I am getting out of the course. Unless you understand what you're changing, and unless you can clearly see the changes, there is risk of damaging your work. The point about Photoshop is it's a significant step up on Lightroom and other entry level packages. I had hoped that this book would furnish some level of detail. Although the tutorials do cover advanced level techniques, they skip over detail. They would have been better using simpler tutorials and allowing more space for additional reading. To their credit they do have summary boxes through (yellow) but these are very basic.

So far I have downgraded the rating on this book. I have left my original thoughts and update because I believe at first glance it looks good, but becomes frustrating. I am no novice and I am even getting confused with their explanation of topics I know quite well. This is in part the limitation of learning from a book instead of video where you can watch the process and then go through step by step. They do however provide the finished work so you know where you're aiming. But in going through some of the tutorials I am finding most of my effort is in making sure I don't miss a step and not really understanding what I am doing. Perhaps a lot of experimentation on my own with occasional reference to the book will help, but that defeats the purpose of it.
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on 9 February 2013
I had a pretty basic knowledge of Photoshop (I knew what layers were, didn't know about filters, etc) before, and wanted a decent foundation, with a view to becoming good at it. This book is perfect for me. If you want an introduction to Photoshop, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's well written, straightforward, and goes into each subject in a reasonable amount of depth. Photoshop is a vast subject (that's why the software isn't cheap), and of course, this book doesn't cover everything, but as an introduction it's great, and will have you doing all sorts of cool stuff by the time you're through it.
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on 28 August 2014
I bought this for Kindle and read on my iPad mini. No problems with this version at all - I would totally recommend it even!

If I could, I'd give this 4.5 out of 5 rather than 5; to give this book less than 4 seems a little unfair considering how helpful it's been though I don't think it quite deserves a full 5 stars.

So a bit of background about where I'm coming from - I'm a bit of a computer geek who likes to mess around with computer programs in my spare time. Having said that, I am NOT a designer nor particularly talented when it comes to design. So yes, I can use computers reasonably well and enjoy tinkering; no, I'm not a creative type.

I have recently started to need to rework photos for work and have more detailed input into what our design team do, and so I thought that I'd try to learn Photoshop once and for all to improve my contribution to the team, hence why I bought this book on Amazon.

Long story short, this book has a chapter on each of the major uses and tools in the CS6 suite and it talks you through each tool one by one. By the end of the chapter, you have had a decent, though not thorough, introduction to that particular tool. The style is more explanatory, and this should be fine for beginners and intermediates alike.

By the end of the book, you have touched upon all the major tools used in Photoshop and it's really up to you to take it from there.

A note about the explanatory nature of the book:

What I thought the book lacked was a means of building up the reader's photoshop skills so that they are ready and able to come to their own solutions using the skills and techniques covered in each chapter. A project at the end of each chapter whereby the solution is not given by the author but rather in the hands of the reader would be a more decent and task-oriented way for the reader to get to grips with each tool/technique covered in the preceding chapter. Taking this idea one step further, each chapter's project could also build on the previous chapter's project, so by the end of the book you have a pretty decent portfolio-piece.

So overall this is a great 'overview' book for those looking to get past the 1 or 2 things they know how to do already or for those with absolutely no knowledge of Photoshop or other image rendering software. I could also recommend this to lower intermediates who perhaps have a working knowledge of Photoshop but who feel they want to know about more of the tools.

If however you are looking for something a little more in depth, I wouldn't recommend this book.
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on 19 September 2013
Before I bought this book, I tried to look up various tutorials on Photoshop online, but had a hard time following them because I had no previous knowledge of Photoshop. This book helped a lot, and here's why:

1) It is organized by chapters, going from the basics to more advanced topics. I found that structure easy to follow and easy to learn from.
2) Lots of illustration and screen shots -- that helped, too. Photoshop is not an easy software to use, and screen shots, especially in early chapters made it much more manageable and enjoyable to use.
3) I liked the link to download many of the images used in the book to use for practice. Keep in mind that these images are copyrighted and low-resolution, but their intent is to help you learn the software, not use them for any other purpose. And for that purpose, they work just fine.
4) Now that I've gone through the lessons, I use it as a reference/refresher -- and that's excellent, too. Everything is clearly indexed and easy to find.

I cannot comment on how it compares to CS5 book or how much detail other people might need about the new CS6 features because I don't have the CS5 book. But this one is perfect for me, a beginner who had never used Photoshop before now.
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on 29 September 2012
I really rate the Adobe Classroom in a Book series. Why? Because they can either be read as a primer to using the application in question, as a tutorial with the application open, or as a useful help manual/reminder once you have got started.

Okay so not every bit of detail is included, but a good balance has been struck to get you started with all the key features and grasp an overall understanding of the Adobe workspace and terminology. Once you have that, you can go looking in the Adobe help to answer specific questions.

If you are going to invest in a product from the Adobe Creative Suite, invest in the corresponding 'classroom in a book' at the same time.
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on 26 October 2014
As someone who purchased the book on Kindle, there were no warnings that it requires a dvd (which comes with the paperback) otherwise the book is completely useless. I feel completely ripped off.
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on 31 May 2014
Being new to Adobe Photoshop, I wanted something which would teach me the basics. Video tutorials are far and wide, and while useful, cannot easily be collated into one assembly. As a complete novice to Photoshop, I also found some of them confusing, making the whole prospect of mastering something as “complex” as an advanced photo-imaging software, very daunting and almost off-putting.

Having said that, now I'm familiar with Photoshop, videos and articles make much more sense. That’s all thanks to this book, Adobe Photoshop: classroom in a book.

Having gone through the entire book, I'd say this is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn Adobe Photoshop starting from scratch, and, in my opinion, should be provided with every installation of Photoshop.

The authors take you by the hand and move you through each chapter, first making sure you can crawl, then teaching you how to walk your way through lessons.

The photographs and images in the lessons are all very clearly labeled and correspond well to the nearby text, making it extremely helpful for someone who doesn’t know their way around the interface.

There are mini questionnaires at the end of every chapter, probing your memory to see if you have learnt anything.

What this book doesn’t do is blind you with the science of how images are manipulated focusing, rather, on getting the steps right in achieving that end. Directions are straight to the point with minimal digression, yet hold your attention to the end of the chapter. Diagrams of layouts are extremely well presented with precise indications as to where everything is on the Photoshop Interface.

If I had to pick faults, I’d say some of the images you’re given to work with are bland and uninspiring. You are given seashells to move off a plate using Photoshop tools (?). In addition, if you are an experienced Photoshop user then this book may offer little. I happen to have bought both the CS6 and CC version of the paperbacks and aside from a few different illustrations and the few updates relevant to CC, the books are identical.

These minor points aside, this book is thoroughly recommended if you have no experience of using Adobe Photoshop.
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This title has had an existence not only through the CS family sequence, but previously. Corresponding titles also exist, or have existed, for other Adobe products.

The title provides a clue to its nature; it is instructional and is not intended to be fully comprehensive in its coverage of the features provided by Photoshop and is in no way intended to explain or explore each and every feature that is available. What it does do is to provide a number of exercises with a step-by-step text and graphic demonstration that allows the reader to follow each one at their own pace. You can, in a session, follow a certain number of steps and then save your work to complete the remainder of that exercise on a later date. The methodologies employed are Adobe's recommended procedures and not a third-party author's personal short-cut.

Although of necessity rather limited in the features that it covers, it handles them very thoroughly. This is not a style of book that every Photoshop user will need to own or want to own but many users, especially those coming to the software for the first time and needing to gain experience, will find it valuable.

To rate it as less than 5-stars would be unduly critical as it does its job rather well and very effectively, but its limited feature coverage perhaps requires a slightly lesser score. 4.5 stars, if available, would be a reasonable compromise.
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on 13 July 2013
Am half way through this book and it is so far proving to be perfect for me. As someone who had previously (clumsily) dabbled with photoshop elements (enough to be familiar with the tools but not enough to know what I was doing) this book is like someone holding your hand and it takes the daunting feeling away from starting to learn photoshop.

The previous familiarisation with the tools has been a help in my learning and I would definitely recommend that others do a little research/experimentation before starting the lessons in this book.

I am happy with the size of the book and the content (I find huge books off-putting), but also wish that there was a second volume, or even other volumes that focus on specific areas of interests - digital painting, for example, or photography. I know that upon completion of the lessons, I will be proficient with the basics, but will not know where to go from there to further my understanding of CS6. I do see that there are many books which cover CS6 for photographers and for newcomers to digital art in its various guises, but I am particularly fond of how this book works.

All in all, very happy with the book and am excited to finally be the owner of this amazing software.
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on 9 December 2013
I bought this book in 2012 and although I worked my way through the first 2 chapters at that time, I couldn't find enough time to do any more. A couple of months ago I had a heart attack and was forced to rest, so I decided to finish this book. I started again and have completed 10 chapters, just 4 to go. I have learnt so much about Photoshop CS6, Camera Raw and Bridge that I felt inspired to write this positive review. There's far too much to talk specifically about any part of the book, but it has changed the way I view Photoshop and Bridge.

I had several photo management programmes as each seemed to have something I could use, but now I have deleted Picasa, 2 Canon and 1 Nikon browsers. I tried Adobe's Lightroom, but having learnt how to use Photoshop, Bridge and Camera Raw, I felt I would gain nothing from it. It's very tempting to buy lots of different programmes for their headline features, but with this book I no longer feel the need.

I am wondering now if Premier Elements, which I also have, is going to offer me much more that Photoshop, so I've ordered a copy of Classroom in a Book for Premier Elements 9. If it's as good as this book, I will be very pleased.
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