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©2003 Richard Tuschman, www.richardtuschman.com

Why This Book?

Ben Willmore, Founder: Digital Mastery

Well, I asked the same question when I set out on this project. I found myself at Barnes & Noble staring at a daunting abundance of Photoshop books, and I discovered that there were more special-effect “cookbooks” and technical tomes than I'd ever care to read. The problem was that none of the “cookbooks” gave enough detail to really let me feel like I understood the program (I just blindly followed the listed steps), and all of the technical books seemed to want to turn me into a slide rule–toting nerd (talking about terms like rasters, vectors, and bit-depth settings). That's when I decided that there was a void just begging to be filled. And that void is the primary reason that most people aren't truly comfortable with Photoshop. They either get the 1, 2, 3 steps (but no real understanding), or they get so many technical terms that it makes Photoshop impossible to grasp.

My mission is to help you graduate from "I'm just going through the motions," to "At last, I really understand Photoshop."

So how is this book different? My approach is to use the same language that you use in everyday life to explain everything from the simplest feature to the most advanced techniques. I acquired this approach as a result of teaching tens of thousands of people in hundreds of seminars and hands-on workshops. I'll still provide a fair share of step-by-step techniques, and we will delve into some rather advanced features, but through it all I'll use metaphors and stories that will make everything easy to understand and digest. Because often the difference between a confident Photoshop master and a struggling amateur is how much they truly understand the way Photoshop works behind the scenes.

With that in mind, my mission is to help you graduate from “I'm just going through the motions” to “At last, I really understand Photoshop.” Once you've made that leap, you will experience an incredible ripple effect. Your efficiency will skyrocket. Your costs will go down. Your creative genius will come out of the closet like gangbusters, and your clients (or boss) will be thrilled. But what's most important to me is that through learning how to master Photoshop, you'll find the passion and energy that come from knowing you're really good at something.

Will I Understand It?

First and foremost, I hate technical mumbo jumbo! If words like raster, gamma, absolute colorimetric, bitmapped, clipping paths, algorithms, dither, and anti-aliasing drive you crazy, you better believe that they drive me even crazier. I see no reason that those terms can't be done away with and replaced by plain English. I'll do whatever it takes to communicate a concept to you, without relying on 10-syllable words or terms that sound like they came from the inside of an engineer's head. And for those of you who have to deal with those technicians, you'll learn how to translate their techno-babble into English in my “Techno-Babble Decoder Ring” at the end of most chapters.

Does It Start at My Level?

In terms of skill level, this book is written in such a way that if you are generally comfortable with your computer, you should be able to fully comprehend the information, no matter how advanced the topic. I've made the assumption that you've either installed Photoshop or that you're using the Photoshop User Guide to figure out how to do that. (There's no reason to duplicate that kind of information here.) And if you're an advanced user, don't worry. Just because this book is very understandable doesn't mean that we won't get into the real meat of Photoshop.

Mac or Windows?

From a functionality standpoint, Photoshop is pretty close to identical on Mac and Windows platforms. Anything you can do on one platform, you can do on the other. But those darn keyboards are different. You can put your worries aside, because both Mac and Windows keyboard commands are integrated right into the text. Because I'd get dizzy if I had to switch between the two for every screen shot, I just picked one platform and ran with it. And I just happened to choose Mac OS X.

What's on the CD?

To make it as easy as possible for you to follow along with my examples, I've provided a boatload of practice images for you to play with. You'll find these on the shiny disc that is hiding inside the back cover, in a folder called Practice Images. Stockbyte and PhotoSpin were kind enough to provide many of the images in this book and on the CD. If you like what you see, you can get more of their delicious imagery at their respective web sites, www.stockbye.com and www.photospin.com.

What About the Web Site?

It's really hard for me to call this book done and send it off to press because once I've finished writing, I feel like I'm struck mute until the next version of Photoshop ships. Well, I've found a way to keep the dialogue going. Every day that I play with Photoshop, I come up with new ideas, and rather than hold those ideas back, I thought it would be great to share them with you through a companion web site at www.digitalmastery.com. There's no password needed, and you'll find all this for free! Go ahead and visit the companion web site, where you will find hundreds of free tips, my magazine article archives, and a bunch of other resources.

If you'd like to get a regular dose of my tips and tricks, sign up for my free Extra-Strength Photoshop Tips by pointing your browser to www.digitalmastery.com/tips. I try to send out about two to three tips a month.

Then I'm sure you'll have a few questions while you read the book, so don't be afraid to send them my way at questions@digitalmastery.com. I read every one of them, but there aren't enough hours in the day to answer each person individually. So each week, I pick about a dozen readers' questions and answer them as part of my free Photoshop Questions Clinic. You can sign up for this service at www.digitalmastery.com/questions.

I also bet you'll end up with a few problem images where a simple question can't accurately describe the problem. Well, that's when you might want to consider sending it to me at problems@digitalmastery.com. (Please keep images under 200KB and include a description of the problem.) This is the emergency room for disaster images where I put on my surgical mask and tackle the image problems I feel will benefit my readers. The solutions come through future magazine articles and tutorials on my web site.

Finally, if you'd like to get beyond the pages of this book and the free resources of the companion site, be sure to check out my seminars, videos, and other products at www.digitalmastery.com.

Wassup with the “CS?”

If you are wondering why this version wasn't called Photoshop 8, you're not alone. Here's what happened. Adobe took a good long look at how people were using their publishing software and came to the conclusion that most folks were using more than one product to get the job done. For instance, if they were using Photoshop to prepare their images, they might also be using those images in a page layout program (like Adobe InDesign) or a web-authoring program (like Adobe GoLive). And so they came up with the concept of an “integrated design environment,” which simply means that they've made it easier than ever to create something in one of the programs, and use it another one. They named this concept “CS,” which stands for Creative Suite, and replaced the version numbers with the “CS” designation. The suite includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and GoLive. There is a long list of specific benefits of this new integrated approach, which you can read about at www.adobe.com. The bottom line is that this version is not called Photoshop 8; instead, it is called Photoshop CS, so that is how it will be referred to in this book. If you feel sad about giving up Photoshop's number designation, you can still think of it as “8.” I won't tell.

What Happened to the Web Section?

If you read previous versions of this book, you might notice that the section that used to cover web-specific features has disappeared. Adobe made some huge changes to Image-Ready (Photoshop's web companion program). The web section was going to dominate the book and, even then, I wasn't going to have the space to do it justice. So, I decided that instead of breezing over all the web features, I'd remove that section from the book because there are many books that cover the web features in-depth. This book is still very web friendly. It's just that there isn't a section that covers information that would only be useful to people who design web sites. Instead, I concentrate on techniques that will help everyone, regardless of whether their images will appear on the web, printed in a book, or output on their desktop printer. So, don't write the book off as not being for web people; instead, buy a web-specific book to supplement this one if you need to know about all the features that are designed specifically for the web.

Where Can I Find the New Stuff?

If you've owned a previous edition of this book or just want to jump right into the new features of Photoshop CS, this is the place to start. Instead of wading through the whole book, looking for what's new, I've compiled a mini guide to what's new and improved both in this revision to my book and in Photoshop CS in general.

Chapter 1 Tool and Palette Primer

Check out the enhanced File Browser (page 49) and Custom Keyboard Shortcuts (page 54).

Chapter 2 Selection Primer

The basic selection tools haven't changed in this version of Photoshop, but the Crop and Straighten Photos command is a welcome newcomer (page 72) and worth reading about, especially if you scan many photos at once.

Chapter 3 Layers Primer

The new Layer Comps (page 131) and Photo Filter Layers (page 123) are features worth reading about.

Chapter 4 Resolution Solutions

The concept behind resolution hasn't really changed with Photoshop CS, but for the film and video crowd, Adobe's latest brew offers support for nonsquare pixels (page 156), video document presets (page 158), and Automatic Action-Safe and Title-Safe Guides (page 158). For the rest of us, there are two new resampling methods: Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper (page 161), which give us improved options for reducing or enlarging our images.

Chapter 7 Understanding Curves

Curves itself hasn't changed in Photoshop CS, but the addition of the new Histogram palette (page 229) has the potential to completely change the way you think about adjusting images with Curves. The new Shadow/Highlight feature (page 236) is also covered in this chapter.

Chapter 10 Using Camera Raw

A brand new chapter! For the digital camera crowd, the Camera Raw feature is a substantial and welcome addition to Photoshop. If your camera can shoot in the RAW file format, do not pass GO; drop everything and read this chapter immediately (page 304)!

Chapter 11 Color Manipulation

In this chapter, we'll cover Photoshop CS's new Color Replacement tool (page 359), the Match Color command (page 356), and the Shadow/Highlight command (page 349). This is an entirely new chapter, so you'll find lots of new goodies within its pages.

Chapter 13 Advanced Masking

This brand new chapter offers new tricks and an in-depth approach to one of the all-time most common uses for Photoshop: isolating a complex object from its background.

Chapter 14 Sharpening

The sharpening controls have not changed in Photoshop CS; however, this chapter is brand new to this version of this book, so make sure to read it even if you've read a previous edition of this book. It's all about those very subtle details that can make the difference between a so-so image and one that pops off the page.

Chapter 16 Collage

This chapter includes coverage of Photoshop CS's new Photomerge feature (page 526). I also talk about clipping masks (page 493), and how to apply blending sliders to adjustment layers (page 508), among other things.

Chapter 17 Enhancement

Check out the new Hard Mix blending mode (page 568).

Chapter 18 Retouching

Photoshop CS hasn't introduced any new retouching tools, but I've made considerable changes to this chapter since the previous edition of this book. I think you'll find it a worthwhile read.

Chapter 19 Type and Background Effects

If you are one of those Adobe Illustrator-phobics who longs for that elegantly curved and swooping text but finds Illustrator way too scary, then you are in for a whopping treat. Photoshop CS has added the ability to place type on a path (page 656). Photoshop CS also features expanded support for the little bells and whistles of OpenType fonts (page 642).

Are You Ready to Get Started?

So, enough blabbing, let's get on with your personal Photoshop “transformation.” I'll make it as easy on you as I possibly can, but just remember the words of my favorite character, Miracle Max, from the movie The Princess Bride: “You rush a miracle, man, you get rotten miracles.”

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