Focal Press, $54.95 (768 p)
ISBN-10: 024052604X, ISBN-13: 978-024052604
Martin Evening, a London-based professional photographer, has updated and expanded his popular and comprehensive book on Photoshop. He explains almost all of the techniques and tools that photographers might need within the program and he makes sure to cover CS6’s new features. Many of the alternative Photoshop materials on the market function like recipe books. They presume some familiarity with Photoshop and give tips and techniques, including specific numbers or levels to enter in order to achieve a given effect. Evening’s tome, more expansive, is not meant to be merely a recipe book, but to show the reader 'how to cook', providing theoretical underpinning and explanations.
Take sharpening and noise reduction for example; Evening patiently goes through each slider, detailing what it does and why - as well as recounting the evolution both of camera sensors response to noise as well as the improvements in the Photoshop’s ability manage it. Graphically, the book feels well designed, filled with images, screen shots, before-and-after versions, and sidebar facts.
An added plus to Evening’s book is his easy-to-navigate site www.photoshopforphotographers.com. With this latest edition, Evening eschews including a DVD as he has in the past, instead putting material online, including printable .pdfs and instructional videos. Full access to the site requires a login and password included with purchase. With 768 pages of material already in the book, some readers may be intimidated by the idea of going online and getting hundreds more, but it's there if you want it.
The book’s primary strength then - its exhaustiveness - may also be a liability for some readers who would feel inundated by this volume of information. Evening’s prose is readable and practical, though not terribly colorful, and the book retains a consistent 'text book' flavor throughout. Thankfully, Evening can be playfully self-aware of his potential for a dry technical tone, such as when he insists on the correct spelling of raw (not RAW) files but acknowledges that it is a 'pedantic point'.
Despite its density, beginners should be able to understand this book, but will need to tackle it in sequence, because they’d likely be quite lost if they arbitrarily opened to a later chapter. Evening imparts much of the vocabulary and menu navigation towards the beginning, and then assumes increased fluency as he goes. That said, with some prior knowledge, intermediate and advanced types could easily take a 'flip to the chapter you need' approach because the book is well-indexed.
Ultimately, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, if you want a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the photo industry's major photo-editing program, I recommend giving Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers a close look.
'Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers' is available on amazon.com
Adam Koplan is head of the Performance Department at the Dreamyard Project which brings arts programs to NYC schools. He is also Artistic Director of The Flying Carpet Theatre Co. Follow him on Twitter @FlyingCarpetNYC
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