Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook: 61 Easy-to-follow Recipes for Digital Photographers, Designers and Artists Paperback – 21 Nov 2005
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"Jam-packed with useful techniques, and the extensive use of full-colour photographs makes it a breeze to follow." -- Advanced Photoshop Magazine, January, 2006
From the Publisher
You don't have to be a Photoshop expert to create sophisticated effects. With 58 easy-to-follow recipes, Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook shows you how to use Photoshop CS2 to simulate classic camera and darkroom techniques and special effects-without making you first learn Photoshop inside and out. Packed with hundreds of full-color photographs, step-by-step instructions, and many practical tips. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Each effect contains a brief description, step-by-step numbered instructions, and images to go along with each instruction so that you can see the resulting image plus all of the intermediate images you should get as a result. There are also screen shots of Photoshop menus so that you can know you are doing the correct adjustment at each step of the instructions. You will notice that some of the effects have names that are duplicates of Photoshop's native filters- water color for example. This is because some of the built-in filters are limited in the range and quality of results that can be obtained, and this book attempts to give the discerning Photoshop artist a higher quality result through a greater range of options and adjustments. This kind of book has been needed for a long time and I highly recommend it. A good companion to this book is "Photoshop Filter Effects Encyclopedia", also published by O'Reilly. This second book allows you to read about all of Photoshop's native filters and get an idea for their possiblilities as well as their limitations.
I notice that Amazon does not show the table of contents for this book so I do that here:
READY TO COOK - Introduction, making selections, working with layers, sharpening, paths, lighting effects
TONAL & COLOR EFFECTS - High-key and low key effects, Psychedelic poster effect, creative black and white, selective coloring, tone separation
GRAPHIC ART EFFECTS - Art Nouveau, Warhol screen-print, watercolor, oil painting, pencil sketch, pen and ink drawing, woodcut and linocut,
LIGHTING EFFECTS - Adding rays of light, Simulating studio lighting, Creating a neon sign, creating a star-filled sky, adding fire and flames, simulating candlelight, lens flare, chiaroscuro
NATURAL WORLD EFFECTS -Clouds,Simulating rain, water droplets, Rainbows, Lightning, Snow Reflections, Ripples, Sunsets, Nighttime, Changing the season
TRADITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC EFFECTS - Simulating color filters, contrast masking, adding film grain, infrared photography effect, cross-processing effect, hand tinting, duotones
DISTORTION EFFECTS - Photo mosaic, soft focus and selective depth of field, Movement and motion blur effects, Fish-eye lens effect, Creating panoramas, Displacement effect
TEXTURE EFFECTS - Using texture overlays, Turning a figure to stone, Wood textures, Stone textures, Metal effect, Glass effect, Plastic effect
PRESENTATION EFFECTS - Frame effect, Vignette effect, painterly borders, Out of the frame, Signature or monogram custom brush
I consider myself a Photoshop "Pro" but there are always new techniques and ideas out there to learn. Read through just a few of the "recipes" in this book, and you quickly see Tim Shelbourne's expertise. Tim shows us how the same tool can be used in a variety of ways in concert with tools & techniques to produce varied creative outcomes.
Many of the instructions in each "recipe" (tutorial) in the book are very specific to the particular photo used in the example and may not be reused when applying the overall effect to another photo. That said, there is much to be learned by actually going through each exercise - and the actual photos used in the tutorial are available online. Personally I prefer to actually do, and not just read, so I consider this a bonus. By doing, I tend to remember the tools better than if I have just read or had it told to me. Like any recipe, a good cook will fine tune the ingredients to their liking for a different result.
Where many of the examples given with each recipe may fall short in actual practicality upon first glance, once you give them a try you realize that you are learning valuable techniques. Examples like the photo mosaic featured on the cover may seem like a "one-off if I ever use it" example, but if you walk through the steps of making the mosaic, you will have added a new tool in your cache of ideas when facing a new project. If you are looking for new angles at approaching an image and doing more than "just" cleaning the image up, this book is for you.
What I appreciated most about Tim's perspective was that each technique seemed targeted at creating a work of art rather than just an "improved" photo. Both ideas are necessary in your bag of tricks, but Tim's was a refreshing look at the powerful abilities provided within Photoshop.
The print quality of the book is excellent. Good choice of size and page layout, though some of the pages seem a little busy getting everything to fit (tool screen shots, progression of the image along with the step-by-step instructions. Print of actual pages is both clean and represents good colors to actually see the progression in the photo. I like that the paper chosen is heavy enough and has only a slight matte finish - glossy in this case would have made viewing the photos a pain if under a bright light.
Overall, I enjoyed this title for the varied ideas and formats. I felt that around half of the techniques offered were either new ideas or gave me a new angle at approaching things different than I might have previous done. The book was well worth the read.
Level: Medium (beyond beginner but will interest Advanced users as well)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Like most PS cookbooks, this volume provides a series of recipes for transforming pictures. The book is divided into 9 sections. After a very brief review of the tools of PS, the sections deal with different types of effects, like tonal and color effects, lighting effects and presentation effects. Each of the sections contains several recipes. For example, the section on distortion effects contains recipes for photo mosaic, soft focus and selective depth of field, movement and motion blur effects, and fish-eye lens effects.
The problem with many cookbooks, including this one, is that they give recipes without explaining exactly what is going on as each of the steps is taken. For example, in one instruction on using the lighting effects filter, the reader is told to set the height slider to 28, without any explanation of what this setting will accomplish. You might wonder if there is some magic in 28.
To further complicate matters, each recipe uses a picture that is available for download on the web. That might appear handy, except that irrelevant steps are required to set up the picture to the point where the effect can be applied. I found this to be particularly true of several recipes like the one for simulating studio lighting. So many different steps were involved in manipulating the particular image before one got to the studio lighting effect that someone trying to apply the recipe to his or her own photo might become lost in the irrelevant steps. A better cookbook set-up is to provide a recipe for a single effect that a photographer can look up and then apply.
This problem may be related to the author's apparent indecision about whether he was providing a cookbook, where a list of steps to achieve a goal is provided, or a tutorial, where techniques are taught by following a specific example. If it were the latter, there should had been much more depth in the discussions.
Another problem was the lack of consistency in the level of detail in providing instructions. The simplest example was that the author would sometimes tell you to click OK when finished with a menu, and at other times not tell you even though required. Since there were times when I was expected to leave a menu on-screen while performing another step, this led to confusion because I wondered whether the menu should be left on screen before going to the next step or closed.
Still, several of the recipes proved useful like the recipe for high key effects (although even that recipe provided for the destructive flattening of an image as part of the process). I also found the recipe for contrast masking to be a useful tool for adjusting contrasty pictures.
Recognizing that some of the effects may prove useful, the reader will have to determine if, despite the inadequate instructions, this book is worth having.
To use the book, you can download the project files from a web link you find inside the book. The download is about 29MBs, but contains most of the original photos needed.
The first project I tried out is one where you use a photo of the head of a horse and place it unto a textured wood background and you end up with something that could be a wine label or a poster. I did run into one problem where the wooden background was missing from the project's files. I was able to create one myself and still follow the project. My final product didn't look exactly like the one in the book, but it was darn close. Close enough that I was rather pleased with it.
Adobe Photoshop CS2 is covered in this book, so I am not sure how well these projects would all work using an older version which may not have all the features used.
I then proceeded to do a project that turns photos into watercolor paintings. I used my own photo, then tried it again on another photo. After a couple of tries, I almost have the steps memorized.
Other projects show how to add a starry sky and a full moon to a photo of what looks like London Bridge at night, and adding reflections to objects, turning a figure to stone, or turning a photo into what looks like a painting. I have done a lot of dabbling in Photoshop just trying different effects but this book showed me a lot of tricks I never would have figured out on my own.
This is as much fun as eating candy. You might even want to print some of your results out and frame them.
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