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3.9 out of 5 stars14
3.9 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second book I've used from the excellent 'Smashing' series, and they really can't be beaten in terms of easy, no-nonsense practical advice - it's straight down to brass tacks with short chapters packed with useful examples to get you learning and trying new techniques straight away. If, like me, you haven't got the time to learn every tool in Photoshop 'properly' before using them on a day-to-day basis in your work, then this kind of guide is perfect - it's a dip-in type of book, excellently sectioned and indexed, so you can identify the bits you need straight away. Then it's just a case of reading the short, clear explanations, then applying them straight away to your own creations. Couldn't be simpler, and it saves a load of time flicking through more complicated 'from scratch' tutorials if you're pushed for results quickly!

I found the section on web layout techniques absolute gold dust - clear, useful advice on techniques such as grid layouts and slicing. Great stuff if your strengths are in HTML / development and you find yourself having to (or forced to!) cover the graphical side of things too. But there's equally useful material in the book on creating composites, retouching images and creating special effects - something for everyone, in other words, even those who are more familiar with Photoshop.

Highly recommended as a desktop reference for Photoshop - another golden title in the Smashing series, and a great compendium of bite-sized 'wow' techniques.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 November 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Smashing Magazine is an online presence, where you can pick up some great ideas and techniques to fuel your creativity. Aimed mainly at web designers, there are also plenty of things of interest for general computer / Photoshop users.
This book is a collection of interesting design ideas, with recipes for users to try at home. It is based on Photoshop CS5, so is dealing with the very latest iteration of a very well known image editing package.
If you have been using almost any version of Photoshop for more than 4 or 5 years, then you will probably find quite a lot of this book familiar to you. An awful lot of this stuff is freely available on the 'net already (and a fair bit of it in the 'Help' files that come built in to your software - but who reads the 'Help' files, right?), so you might be forgiven for wondering why you should actually pay for a collection of such stuff.
Well, despite all I have said above, I personally own a huge number of books about Photoshop, and even find new stuff in them after working with this package since the early 1990s. It is good to have a reference to hand that you can draw and write on - and most of my books are now covered with 'notes to self' about the new features (and sometimes failings) of the program, 'how to' instructions, etc.
So, overall I would recommend that you buy a book like this one, or one of the 'How to Wow' series, and work your way through it and learn some impressive techniques and use the book as a 'workbook' rather than a bible.
Not a book for the complete beginner, but an interesting addition to the library of Photoshop reference out there.
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2010
This is an excellently designed book for a specialist designer market, although it does have interest to a wide range of other photographers. The intended audience is the huge and growing number of people wanting to design for or create websites, and in particular create powerful and atmospheric images for them. It expects some familiarity at the off.

Starting with Photoshop's widespread use through "wireframes" in the basic setup of the site, the book takes you through all the ways in which Photoshop can help. This is aimed at professional standards, although the serious amateur would find use. For this group it is well designed.

About 100 pages are focused on website design issues. Overall website design, CSS (text management), creating various icons (favicons et al) and appearance. In the process you're also introduced some aspects of the working of Photoshop, specifically smart layers and the general handling of images, video etc.

A further 50 pages are then devoted to various techniques of Photoshop needed to 'get you going', albeit some advanced stuff. Mastering puppet warp,an application of interest to those who paint and manipulate human images, build avatars and the like. Correcting shadows, distortion,perspective. Content aware scaling and auto blending exposures, collage, correcting barrel distortion in the camera and basic manipulation techniques so on.

There then follows 50 pages of text on text manipulation and management, definitely more of an a designer and website application than a photographer application.

By this time you are halfway through the book, although few would focused on read it end to end, but rather get in at the start and then raid it for ideas and techniques. The last 200 pages get into the meat of the book with a wide range of techniques - how to manipulate images in various ways. Fancy creating wabi sabi stains - you will love it! Faking water drops and creating fire, mastering intarsia polyhedra! There's a chapter on distressing the image - van Dyck colouring, folded paper, texturising and the like, and another on studio techniques including painting.

It's a rich beautifully put together resource book and guide to the serious designer by an expert.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having recently picked up CS5, I have used this book quite a lot. It's well indexed (a real bug-bear of mine with software textbooks) and has a lot of handy tips and tricks that you can flick through without having to start at the beginning and work your way through.

There is a lot here, from basic tasks and tools to relatively complex procedures, all easily explained and well documented. The authors have obviously thought about what the average photoshop 'dipper' needs to know and has catered for that group of people (who I suspect may be in the majority) very well. The section on using photoshop for creating web-based graphics and design is very useful and simple to understand.

The only problem I have with this book, which does show short-sightedness by the authors, is that a lot of the photos used to illustrate each tip are terrible! Surely, in a book detailing how to improve your photographs, putting in good quality pics would have been a priority, but this doesn't appear to be the case here, where grainy and boring photos are prevalent. That alone made it a 3 star review for me, otherwise it would definitely have been a high 4.
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VINE VOICEon 18 November 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you've never really used photoshop (other than to crop a photo or do some extremely basic fixes) then this will be a very useful book for you.

If, however, you are well versed with a range of things that Photoshop can do then this book will be a little bit on the basic side.

For those who are looking to start out in getting better at Photoshop, this book will be god-send. Teaching you techniques and thinking through what you are doing, rather than being a dull recipe book, Smashing Photoshop CS5 is an great teach-yourself tool for the Photoshop Novice.

It goes without saying that it requires you to have CS5 but if you have an older version of Photoshop, there will still be many of the same functions so you could still learn plenty.

With plenty of images to show you how your pictures could/should look like it makes learning that much more fun.

Hope that helps.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Photoshop is one of those programs that I've ended up fumbling my way around as it's packed with too many features. Some of the tools I just fiddle with not really knowing what it's there to do or I stare at a slightly off-key photograph and wonder how to improve it but never really getting anywhere.

This is where this book has helped, rather than having a Photoshop-style book for dummies, it allows you to go to a page and play with a picture for one particular aspect so you can dip in and out as you want. Although it's not really there for a guide book, it has inevitably given me a better understanding of some of the features and even informed me of features I didn't know existed!

For anyone that hasn't done a course and is in a similar position to me in that you fiddle with sliders and tools until something works, I can highly recommend this book.
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on 18 November 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a good reference for Photoshop users, with many detailed examples backed up by clear illustrations. Although the title refers to Photoshop CS5 specifically, the information in this book could easily be used with earlier versions. I have most experience using CS3 and, as I say, the details in the book are still helpful with this version of Photoshop. The only small criticisms I have with this guide are - firstly, a lot of the information here is not new for experienced Photoshop users (making this better suited as a beginner's guide) and, secondly, some of the trickier techniques could use an extra illustration or two as not every step is necessarily accompanied by a picture. Still, there is a lot of useful info here and it could well be an ideal starting point for many Photoshop users.
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on 20 December 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For anyone who only knows the basics of photoshop I don't think this book is as helpful as it could be. It seems to presume that you have lots of prior knowledge but I suppose the clue is in the title 'Professional'. I think the pictures in the book were a bit misleading too, hard to equate them with the actuality of using the photoshop programme. My son-in-law is a graphic designer and he uses photoshop a lot so I asked for his opinion on the book and he didn't rate it much either, he even said he could have done better.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been using Photoshop for many years and do not count myself as a beginner.

This is just as well as this book assumes you already know your way around the software.

I found the book easy to dip into for help with some parts of the software I had not used before.

If you have to buy the book youself, I am sure you would do better elsewhere. If you get your boss to pay, it will be well thumbed before long and borrowed by others.

A good standby reference type of book.
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VINE VOICEon 18 November 2010
A good book for learning the techniques, but overall I found it uninspiring.

The design of the book itself is awful, hideous, and ugly throughout, and the examples shown don't scream top quality graphics at you. It's as if the book were written by someone with a good understanding of photoshop, but not of graphic design.

If I'd seen the book in the shop there is absolutely no chance I'd have bought it.
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