Photoshop 7.0 Books

Introduction

A blockbuster software upgrade requires hours of getting used to – new tools, missing favourite features, altered keyboard shortcuts… they all need to be learnt. If it’s your main work application, you need time and training to get up to speed with new software. One-onone tutor-training is best, but even large-group training is expensive – costing hundreds of pounds per day. The cheapest option is to read the manual, but much software comes paperless these days – and wading through an onscreen PDF is a chore, especially when you need your screen for the application. Printing a 300-page PDF on an inkjet costs a fortune – so your best bet is to buy a third-party book on the new software; as well as read the reviews and how-to articles in Macworld, of course. The biggest professional Mac application of them all – with the possible exception of Microsoft Office – is Adobe Photoshop, recently updated and made OS X-native in version 7.0. (Don’t worry, Photoshop 7.0 works in OS 9, as well.) Adobe supplies a decent 400-page User Guide in the new version’s box, but there are plenty of third-party books to supplement the information. We looked at three teach-yourself guides, two massive bibles, and four tips tomes. If Photoshop is your main application, having the answers to your questions close to hand is essential – so at least one of these books should be on the shelf next to the user guide. Each of the teach-yourself books covers the Photoshop fundamentals: tools; photo correction; selections; layers; masks and channels; retouching and repairing; painting and editing; vector masks, paths and shapes; special effects; two-colour printing; Web graphics; and colour management. The officially sanctioned Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Classroom in a Book (Adobe Press) is what Adobe used to include in the box – a comprehensive training workbook, with a CD containing lesson files. There are 18 lessons, covering the topics listed above. The black-&-white screenshots are a mixture of OS 9, OS X and Windows, but different platform images shouldn’t matter. The straight-laced lessons are of the numbered step-by-step variety, and are easy to follow. It will take some days to go through from start to finish, but at the end of it, you’ll have mastered the rudiments of the new version. Carla Rose’s Teach Yourself Adobe Photoshop 7 in 24 Hours (Sams) is an ambitious title – and one requiring a serious amount of drugs to live up to its title. It turns out that there are 24 one-hour lessons in the book – so you can spread-out your learning rather than emulating Keifer Sutherland in a straight 24-hour learning blitz. You’ll learn all the basics and a good deal of advanced stuff. Carla’s easy-going tone is less formal than the Classroom, and this book is for beginners rather than old pros – there’s nothing on automating actions, for instance. The colour photos don’t add as much value as they might, and would be more impressive if they weren’t so glibly captioned. Colour blindness Weinmann & Lourekas’ Visual Quickstart Guide: Photoshop 7 (Peachit Press) uses its colour section as a gallery for Photoshop artists – again offering, for the expense of adding colour to the book, little in the way of instruction. Its chapters cover much the same topics as the other guides, and is particularly good on several features, such as actions, the History palette and Liquify effect. The handy list of keyboard shortcuts is marred only by the Windows shortcuts coming before the Mac ones, which makes it harder to link action and command. The colour sections in the whopping 1,049-page Photoshop 7 Bible (Wiley) by Macworld contributing editor Deke McClelland are by far the best; its 1,000-page pack-it-all-in rival, Gary David Bouton’s Inside Photoshop 7’s (New Riders) colour pics aren’t at all helpful. Both books are stuffed with Photoshop minutiae, but McClelland’s mighty tome is much better – with tons more pictorial examples, and more Mac screens; Bouton includes mainly Windows screens, which doesn’t affect the meaning, but looks odd to Mac users. Both write the Windows shortcut first and parenthesize the Mac, but McClelland’s Mac shortcuts are easier to grasp. Inside Photoshop 7 includes a CD, which contains some clip art and TrueType fonts, as well as demo software. Good Evening The best colour pictures of all the tips books are to be found in Martin Evening’s superb Adobe Photoshop 7.0 for Photographers (Focal Press) – by far the best-designed of all the books here. It also has the best CD, with excellent QuickTime tutorial movies and demo images. Both newcomers and experienced users will learn from this book, although there’s less minute details than in McClelland’s Bible. Although it’s aimed primarily at photographers, Evening’s guide is also recommended to most Photoshop pros. And, hooray, the Mac gets the nod before Windows. Real World Photoshop 7 (Peachpit) is written by graphics/publishing experts and Macworld regulars David Blatner and Bruce Fraser. Its sub-title "Industrial-strength production techniques" spells out what this 800-page book’s all about: practical production tips: tonal and colour correction, great scans, pre-press, etc. If you’re a designer or production professional, this book will quickly become invaluable to you. Check-out 86 full pages of Real World Photoshop 7 in PDF format on this month’s CD – and, because it’s so good, we’re offering it for free if you subscribe to Macworld (see page 93). Dan Margulis’ Professional Photoshop 4th Edition (Wiley) is specifically targeted at colourcorrection issues. It’s a curiously ugly book, but is a wealth of information on this crucial, complex subject. Finally, the slim Photoshop 7 Killer Tips (New Riders) by Kelby & Nelson is expensive, but will pay for itself if only a few of the several hundred snappy tips enhance your Photoshop skills. No design studio’s restroom should be without it.
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