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Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites Paperback – 29 Jul 2011
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Matt Kloskowski is the Education and Curriculum Developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. He has published numerous books on Photoshop and is the author of the Lightroom Killer Tips blog. In addition to being an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and an accomplished photographer, Matt is a regular contributor to Photoshop User magazine, a speaker at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the co-host of two popular videocasts, Photoshop User TV and The Grid.
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One reviewer has down-rated this book because he claims that it does not mention that it is specifically for Photoshop CS5 users; in fact that phrase appears on the first line of the first chapter, so could not really have been much clearer. Perhaps it should have appeared on the cover but there is little that could be achieved in CS5 that was unachievable in CS4. Admitted, a few menu items were moved and some things modified slightly but most would remain valid, as it probably will in CS6 which I have yet to see or to use.
Do not confuse Compositing with Composition as the phrase is generally used in photography and art. Compositing involves taking elements from two or more images and merging them into something new. Composition concerns itself with the arrangement of the major components of an image so that they draw the viewer's eye to where you need it to be or away from where you do not. An example of compositing may be to remove the sky from one image where there is clear cloud structure, a good sky colour etc and to add it to another where the sky is ill-defined and featureless.
Although it is Photoshop that is the medium here, similar techniques can be employed in other photo-editing software, but Photoshop happens to be the software of choice for the author and most serious users.
This is a book for the more advanced Photoshop user as it employs layers, masking and other more complex techniques for many of the examples and tutorials. You really do need to be very familiar with those tools to make good use of this book. If you fit that profile, this book will probably be very useful. If you do not fit the profile, you may need to first ascertain those areas of your expertise which are deficient and that need to be improved before committing to this book.
Recommended, but only for the more advanced Photoshop user.
This book excels at teaching you how to work with composites involving people. Packed with varied examples, and covering everything from shooting/sourcing images to combining them in photoshop, it is my go-to reference for any work of this nature.
It is really only compatible with CS5 and higher (e.g. the Creative Cloud version of photoshop). Shame this wasn't made more clear in the book's description, but the author couldn't have feasibly made a book that gave a comprehensive overview of how to use CS5 features and also gave a similar level of quality instruction to users of older software.
More pertinent is the fact that the book doesn't really deal with non-portrait situations where you might want to composite images. A classic area where this technique is used is in adding different skies to landscape/building photographs. Depending on the weather, this can look very natural or completely fake. It would have been great if Matt had included a small chapter advising photographers on how to get the best results in this kind of situation - i.e. how to make sure the lighting works, and/or how to judge the limits of what backgrounds could realistically be dropped in. Nothing like seeing a low-contrast flat looking building with a bright and saturated blue sky behind it to know that this area of photography could be much improved upon.
A basic working knowledge of photoshop is required, but you do not need any more than that. It is well laid out as a book to read, or to dip into for ideas and advice. Highly recommended.
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