I have used Photoshop versions 6 and 7 and have reference books on my shelves for these. Despite my years of experience the CS5 version is complex and needs some explaining with new features like Bridge and Mini Bridge to organise your photo libraries, the use of 3D objects and Animation. Of particular interest to me was the new tools like Refine Edges to make finer edge selections in extracting images from backgrounds. I needed help in these areas and fuller explanations in using Layers, Masks and Paths. I looked through a number of books and the "Photoshop CS5 Bible" seemed to explain more what this new version offers. I'm only up to Chapter 3 so far and have already learned a lot, particulary use of multiple windows on opened images. The chapters progressively explain the basic features so is useful for the beginner and then goes into greater depth covering a number of chapters for difficult concepts. There is a comparision web site with project files to use in the tutorials. A lot of books are written from the point of view of the photographer and have a number of tutorials, but if you want a reference book. This is a good reference book. My only complaint if any, would be some of the illustrations being in black & white are not very clear in comparing differences e.g. new Mixer brushes and applying wet brush strokes. The percentage of colour illustrations is small (in the centre) when compared to the volume of the book. But then colour adds cost and would make the book considerably more expensive. The paperback cover might also become 'dog-eared' in time with much thumbing through.
A handy book to have, and use as a source of reference. Logical, it is well written. Highly detailed the effort that the author's put into making this book complete is applauded. Easily earns four stars and that may be harsh. It is, of course, weighted on technique and revealing what Photoshop CS5 can do. Certainly, I'm glad to have it. And its good value for money.
This book is quite comprehensive for the beginner and intermediate user. I like the logical structure of the chapters. If you are new to photoshop, you will hit the ground running by grasping what you need to know before delving into more advanced features of the software. This book is not ideal for bedtime reading. For new users, its advisable to take your time mastering the individual chapters. My problems with the book are: 1) black and white images in the book. You need to download colour images from the publisher's website. 2) missing tutorials on new features in photoshop cs5 3) IMO, seasoned photoshop users will probably not find this book useful. However, I think its value for money for a detailed introduction to Photoshop software. Since I bought this book, I have subscribed to online video training (Kelby Training and Karl Taylor DVDs)and I have never looked back. Now I use this book for reference purposes. If your your budget allows, I would advise you to have a look at video lessons.
I have to say, I wouldn't normally go for the Bible series of books. I use less than 20% of Photoshop, and books like these gives one lots of material that one does not need. But I am happy I bought this one. It is just like going to Youtube and looking for information, but the plus point is, you have all the information in one book there in front of you. I am not a Photoshop professional, but I can assure, if I could master half of this book and not to call myself a pro, I am a fool.