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on 9 April 2006
When I started this book I found it quite heavy going, due in the main to the constant references to illustrations and curves being either on the previous pages or next page. After a while I found this very frustrating. However, all the frustration has been well worth it as the content is simply awesome!
My previous excursions into LAB were simply to use the Lightness Channel for sharpening. Not any more!! I am now half way through the book again on my seventh read, and suspect it will not be my last, because as I said earlier, it is not an easy read, but it not only brings a new meaning to LAB it puts a new perspective on Photoshop. (of all the books I have on Photoshop, not one goes into any detail on LAB )
As Dan points out several times in the book it is not the answer to all colour problems, but where it is, it really is!! The impressive thing for me is that once you have understood and mastered his techniques it only takes seconds to transform drab, flat uninspiring images into vibrant works of art. Fantastic!!
If you have images which are flat, need colour correcting, need a colour shift, noise removal, better sharpening, blending......... I could go on and on, then this is the book for you. It is packed from cover to cover with examples of various techniques plus of course a CD of images to work along with.
You may find it heavy going to begin with, but stick with it as the rewards are more than you could ever imagine
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on 3 October 2005
I've never been moved to write a review here before but this book forces me to make the effort.
This book teaches you how to correct photographs using techniques that are available through LAB mode in photoshop. There are simple recipies to follow which work and full detailed explanations that lead you a great understanding of colour and how to analyse and manipulate it. The examples are clear and beautifully illustrated and the writing is fluent and entertaining. The only photoshop book I've read cover to cover - and I'm now going through it again to make sure I've absorbed it all.
If you don't want leading through the menus but do want some real knowledge, get this book.
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on 7 May 2007
I came at this book as a enthusiastic amateur with some fair knowledge of Photoshop based on a lot of reading of the many other books out there. I reckon I am an intermediate level user. I have slightly mixed feelings about the book but definitely think the journey was interesting and worthwhile.

I found this book to be a demanding read and I spent some time trying to figure out why. I came to the following conclusions. Firstly, the book is written by a professional for other professionals. The book's overall approach assumes that the reader has good experience of working in the RGB colour space, and that they are in need of new or alternative solutions to common problems met in that space. Some of the problems discussed I do not have, since I do not face the commercial pressures to produce something publishable from an average original under a time constraint, nor do I get asked by an Art Director to change the colour of a model's jacket on a whim.

Secondly, the LAB colour space requires a rethink on how to approach making changes to a photograph to get what you want. Some of the tools behave differently in that space, most notably Curves. And then there is the split between the luminosity and colour information which is the main reason for going in to the space in the first place. In addition to the complexities of the colour space, there are also the implications for incorporating the techniques into your standard workflow that require some thought.

Lastly, with all due respect to Dan Margulis, I think the book could have been better written. The overall approach is rather old-fashioned, at least to my eyes, in that the main explanation is entirely text based. Where images do occur, and there are a lot of them, they are typically either photographs in intermediate stages of development, where it can be sometimes difficult to tell them apart, or straightforward snapshots of the settings for the tools being used, most often Curves. The only image I can recall that documented an idea, based on a colour wheel, was actually acknowledged to come from a reviewer of the beta editions of the book. In addition, as has been noted by another Amazon reviewer, the images and the accompanying text do not always peacefully coexist on the same page.

HOWEVER, in spite of all the above, I must say I learned a lot from reading the book. It was invaluable to be sitting at the shoulder of a pro and looking at how they evaluate a photograph to identify the problems it has. And the book really gives your Photoshop skills a work out with a concomitant improvement in your understanding of the software.

Advanced users will get the most out of this book, and I would have thought that it was an essential addition to the library of any professional manipulator of photographs. Everybody will get something from the book, since there are, certainly, simple techniques that can be used on a wide range of photographs to improve them.

I intend to return to this book in future to reread it, and in the meantime improve my skills in the RGB color space I regularly inhabit. I will be making use of those skills I did take away from the book to supplement what I know now.

So, 5 stars for the content, -1 star for the overall presentation and style.
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on 24 September 2006
This might look suspect with only glowing reviews, but really this is a great book. I use photoshop for years and have avoided using lab colors. This book will teach you so much stuff. I just can't put it down. Reading this book will teach you techniques which polish up photos with a completely different approach. LAB seperates contrast from color so you can adjust contrast without messing with the color... and vice versa. If you like photoshop this book will take you to a whole new dimension.
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on 5 July 2010
I agree with many of the previous reviews. This book takes a bit of reading even if you exclude the more "complex" explanations as suggested by the author. That said, I have immediately changed the way I process certain types of image. There are plenty of Lab techniques to learn and with a bit of re-reading, prove to be much better than RGB or Channels. In particular, I now use it for general saturation, noise reduction and sharpening. Its amazing how good Lab lends itself to these three processes, with less damage to the original image, especially sharpening artifacts.

It only gets 4 stars because, as stated, its a tough read/re-read book.

What an eye-opener!
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on 18 May 2009
After seeing some of Dan Margulis's previous work and being reasonably impressed, and after a tutorial on boosting colour with LAB, I finally decided to buy this book.

It's a useful textbook from which I've learned some new and interesting techniques. They won't all be hugely relevant to every photographer, but they're still useful to have up your sleeve in case you can find a use for them.

I feel like I should attempt to dispel some of the criticism I've read for this book in other reviews. This is generally aimed a few areas:

- "He keeps referring to images that aren't even on the same page as the text": this is true, but 90% of the time they're only on the next or previous page. Any textbook will refer to figures at other points in the book, it's unavoidable.

- "It's written in too complicated a fashion": I disagree completely. Even the intro to the book warns that it's complicated and says things along the lines of, "even highly-experienced professional retouchers have needed to reread sections to understand them". Well, I'm not exactly an expert (I've been buried in Elements and then CS4 for around a year now) and I've understood every section so far without rereading. That's not me boasting about how clever I must be - it's just that it isn't necessarily as complicated a book as some people seem to be making out.

- "He labours the point and spends aaaaages explaining everything": OK, this one's true. But it isn't necessarily a bad thing; sometimes he puts a little reminder of a previous point in a few chapters later, or gives 2-3 examples of a particular technique, each a little more complicated than the last. Alright, this means there's a lot of text in the book, but I've found that it makes learning from it progressive and straightforward.

- "The whole book could be summed up in an 8-page white paper": Again, this is pretty much true. But the author hints at applications of the techniques presented, and with some thought, anyone who's understood them will be able to find applications for them where they might not have realised there was any possibility...

- "His writing style is too aggressive": Once more, possibly (it's a matter of taste). I think it could come across this way, but it seems to me that it's written to prove a point. Sometimes it's admittedly a bit blunt and forceful, but taking everything he says with a pinch of salt helps ;-)

My only concern is that the book seems to assume for the most part that you're starting from a bad original image. I shoot RAW format and use CS4's Camera Raw to improve my images before opening them in Photoshop, so some of the things he discusses don't apply to the same extent as in the textbook example. However, they're still useful and effective techniques.

A worthwhile read - if you can make yourself read it!
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on 21 July 2008
This,somewhat indigestible book, is not for casual reading but for Reference & Practice. If your aim is to attain perfection in colour management - buy it. Results get better and better each time you read it and apply. Knowing your way round Photoshop helps digestion of contents.
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on 21 August 2013
This is the standard work on Lab Color. It is both engagingly written and informative. Each of the first six chapters is written at both a beginner and Photoshop Pro level. Very highly recommended- after all what else is there?
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on 19 September 2008
if you go n check on you will find more reviews about this book there. and mostly, they are unhappy. i tend to agree with them on certain points. for one this is not an easy book to read. the author has a very unique style in which he compares what you do in ps with real life examples. so if you dont like that, then you wont like this book either. a reviewer said that the whole info in this book could be summarised to a 10 page pdf (maybe a bit more) which actually is quite true, but the way he explains things makes you really saturate the information. in all fairness, i was not going to give all the stars to this book for being a bit hard to read. but in chapter 11 he gives a tutorial on removing moire from a photograph. honestly, just for this tutorial i would have bought this book. that on its own was so good i was left with no choice but to give full stars.
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on 13 July 2014
Every photographer needs this book, even if you only blindly follow the instructions!
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