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Photoshop 4 is reknowned for its powerful painting and selection tools, along with its color adjustment controls, multiple layer and channel capabilities, and special effect filters. These features make Photoshop the standard for desktop image design and production -- enthusiasts in all graphics industries turn to Photoshop again and again to refine the images that define our world.
These same features make for an extremely complex product. Photoshop is sprawling and immense, catering to an incredible quantity of graphic-editing needs. Even experienced designers familiar with most of the features can have trouble remembering every detail.
Unlike most Photoshop books -- which try to teach Photoshop -- Photoshop in a Nutshell is a detailed reference that will enable Photoshop 4 users to make informed choices as they work, eliminating time spent searching for just the right combination of filters and effects, and reducing the risk of incorrect editing decisions.
This book defines and describes every tool, command, palette, and sub-menu in Photoshop 4. Each item is accompanied by a list of its most common uses and misuses, as well as production-oriented background information. Where appropriate, the common uses contain step-by-step techniques, and the common misuses include experience-based advice and solutions.
There are four sections:
The information in this book is organized in an encyclopedic reference fashion, following the structure of Photoshop itself. All topics are easy to find and fully cross-referenced, allowing you to intuitively explore the cause-and-effect relationships of each command.
Any serious Photoshop 4 user will find Photoshop in a Nutshell an invaluable guide.
This book does well what it purports to do, providing a quick reference to the myriad tools in Adobe Photoshop 4 for Windows and Macintosh. It doesn't try to take you through broad procedures, such as applying filters and color-correcting images, as many other Photoshop books do. Rather, it defines and describes each option so you'll know when and why you'll need it. The book first delves into tools--those items on the toolbar, such as selection, paint, type, view, color control, and quick-mask tools. Next the writers explore all options on the menus, from the File menu to the View menu. The third and final section covers options on the Navigator, Info, Color, Swatches, Brushes, Layers, Channels, Paths, and Actions palettes. Several screen shots of dialog boxes and images help you understand the tool under discussion. An appendix covers techniques in applying some of the tools, such as transforming type and creating curved lines. Another offers Photoshop keyboard shortcuts for both Macintosh and Windows users.
Photoshop in a Nutshell is best suited for those who already know the basics, and it provides a wealth of documentation-like detail that even expert users may not necessarily have at their fingertips. In addition to outlining the correct use of a particular tool, each section focuses on common problems and errors, something that can be a huge time saver. All in all, this is a no-nonsense book that does an excellent job of deepening the reader's understanding of this complex program. --Kathleen Caster
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