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Who Should Read This Book?

In keeping with the goals of this series, Special Edition Using Adobe Photoshop 7 is an intermediate-to-expert reference book. However, even advanced beginners with a working knowledge of the program will find this to be an extraordinarily useful volume. Everything is presented clearly and concisely, with an eye toward readability. We want it to be as easy as possible for you, the reader, to understand what is being explained.

As with other Special Edition Using titles, this book is factual, no-nonsense, and practical. It's designed for the individual or group who works with Photoshop, professionally or as a serious hobbyist. It's for those who have deadlines to meet, goals to achieve, images to perfect, visions to capture. It is for you, the Photoshop user.

Special Edition Using Adobe Photoshop 7 is aimed at the high-level user as well as those striving for that status. Most readers will be experienced Photoshop users, either transitioning to Photoshop 7 or expanding their knowledge of the program. They come to this book for answers. No single volume can cover every aspect of this incredibly complex program and all the applicable techniques, but this book goes beyond the basics and explains what you need to know to make things happen the way you want them to happen.

Even after years of working with Adobe Photoshop in various versions, there's always more to learn. New releases bring new features. New assignments demand different techniques. Changing technology (and jobs) require new skills. There may be some capabilities of Photoshop that are perfect for one person's workflow, yet remain unknown because of the program's complexity. Often there are several ways to produce the same result, and the best way is often situational. This book helps explain the differences among similar techniques and procedures.

Reaching new levels of efficiency and capability within the bounds of your normal work is possible. Gaining a better understanding of Photoshop's capabilities, and the theories behind them, is a good place to start. Even if you work with the same tools, in the same way, day after day, there's likely something more to learn. That something is likely between these book covers.

Similarly, few individuals know Photoshop from top to bottom, from left to right, from front to back. Most are well versed in the aspects of the program with which they work regularly. Some create Web graphics, some work in prepress, some are artists, some specialize in photo retouching—there are many examples. When a Web specialist is asked to prepare the company's brochure (“Well, you're the Photoshop guy, aren't you?”), or the digital video expert is tasked with creating Web site navigation bars (“They're just graphics!”), answers are needed. Photoshop professionals who need to work outside their particular fields don't want a beginner book. They know what the Move tool does. They're familiar with cropping. Instead, they require a reference that fills in the gaps, that answers the questions. In that spirit, we perhaps could have written a series of books titled Photoshop for the Web Guy Forced to Do Prepress and Photoshop for Digital Photographers Trying to Create Their Own Web Sites, and so on. Rather, we've put together a single book that covers all those bases. How? By being thorough. Just as a Web specialist may learn something new about ImageReady or Save for Web, so too will that digital photographer learn what he or she needs to know to get that Web site started.

Readers who use Photoshop on a daily basis can reach for this book to check specific details, to understand the application of a new technique, or simply to see if there's a better way to accomplish a certain task. If you work with Photoshop less frequently, you'll find this book of even more value. You can discover what a particular feature does, how a particular command works, what options there are for a particular tool.

If you're brand new to Photoshop, in all honesty, this should not be your first book. Get a copy of Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Photoshop 7 in 24 Hours by Carla Rose. When you've learned the basics, make this your second book. After you've got a handle on how Photoshop works and what it does, you'll be better prepared for this more advanced look at the program.

Why You Should Use Adobe Photoshop 7

If you work with digital images, there's no program more powerful than Photoshop. It is the industry standard for a reason—it allows you to do what needs to be done.

Prepress Power

Many of the things you can do with Photoshop 7 can be done with Photoshop Elements or the older Photoshop LE. Prepress is not on that list—the “light” versions of Photoshop don't support the CMYK color mode. (Photoshop 7 adds native support for Pantone metallic colors, too.)

Photoshop offers sophisticated (yet ever easier to use) color management, along with strong soft-proofing tools. View out-of-gamut colors onscreen, view proofs of individual plates as well as composites, and convert images to or apply specific color profiles, each in just a click or two.

Photoshop 7's Print with Preview dialog box (see Figure 1) offers the opportunity to add registration and crop marks, as well as captions and labels, to your printed work. You can also print for specific separations, choosing emulsion up or down, and positive or negative.

Figure 1. Print with Preview allows you to scale and position the image on the page—for any image, whether it's CMYK for process printing or RGB for inkjets.

Web Graphics and More

ImageReady. Need we say more? No other raster image editing program offers the incredible power of ImageReady. A dedicated, standalone Web graphics creation tool, ImageReady is packaged with and tied to Photoshop 7. ImageReady 7's new features include dithering for variable transparency (make an image fade into any background, even patterns and text), prioritized optimization for type and vector graphics, and even output for WBMP, the image format used by many PDAs and wireless devices. The new Rollovers palette enables increasingly sophisticated Web graphics (see Figure 2). As if that's not enough, let's remember Photoshop's own Save for Web optimization capability.

Figure 2. The new Rollovers palette shows that the Click state has an animation associated with it.

Digital Restoration and Retouching

Photoshop has long been the number-one name in image manipulation, and the new Healing Brush and Patch tool make doing your best even easier. Unlike the Clone Stamp, the Healing Brush can retain the color and shading while removing dust, scratches, blemishes, and wrinkles. The Patch tool enables you to use selections—even masks—to identify an area for healing. The source pixels retain the color, lighting, and shading of the pixels being repaired, and the texture is corrected.

Whether you're a professional photographer, a pro-sumer, or a digital hobbyist, Photoshop offers the most complete collection of image correction tools and commands available. Color correction can be achieved by working with the individual color channels themselves. Curves and Levels commands can also be applied to specific channels. Photoshop 7 adds a new Auto Color command, too.

Incredible Integration with Other Adobe Products

The Adobe family of products gives you a level of integration that's sure to ease any multiprogram workflow. Adobe GoLive creates Web pages with Photoshop-native graphics. Add the .psd file to the Web page as a SmartObject, and let GoLive handle the optimization. Need to update the image? GoLive will automatically open the image in Photoshop for you.

InDesign lets you say “page layout” and “variable transparency” in the same sentence without having to include the word “can't.” In addition to adding .psd files directly to InDesign documents, you can use Photoshop alpha channels (masks) and paths to designate transparency and even to wrap text. InDesign also automatically reads embedded color profiles.

Illustrator and Photoshop can exchange files while retaining the editability of type. Illustrator recognizes Photoshop layers and maintains Photoshop blending modes and transparency.

Adobe After Effects, Premiere, LiveMotion, and AlterCast are just a few of the other members of the clan that work and play well with Photoshop. You'll find appendixes at the end of the book that discuss interoperability between Photoshop and a variety of Adobe and non-Adobe products.

Save in a Wide Variety of File Formats

Using Photoshop's Save As and Save for Web commands, you can create files in no fewer than two dozen file formats (when using the optional plug-ins supplied on the Photoshop CD). For print, you can choose among TIFF, EPS, PDF, and (if using InDesign) PSD. Web graphics can be created in GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats as well as the PDS/Wireless WBMP format. Paths can be exported to Illustrator, too, for use as clipping paths or to prepare trapping.

Why Upgrade to Photoshop 7?

If you're reading this Introduction and have not yet upgraded to Photoshop 7, we think you should both upgrade and buy this book. (The book discusses the major differences between Photoshop 6 and Photoshop 7 as well as explaining where and how your interaction with Mac OS X or Windows XP will differ from earlier operating systems.)

When looking at the new features in this release of Photoshop, some may ask “Is that all there is?”

The answer is “There's more there than you think!” The new capabilities are strong, and they'll get a lot more use than it might seem. In addition, Photoshop 7 offers a compelling reason to upgrade: operating system compatibility. Whether you're on a Windows computer or a Macintosh, Photoshop 7 allows you to work in the most modern operating systems available.

Mac OS X and Windows XP

Windows XP is a major step forward for Microsoft, with its 32-bit kernel and improved stability and performance. Mac OS X, similarly, is a gigantic leap into the future. Although this book is not about operating systems and interfaces, you'll find everything you need to know to transition to Photoshop 7, no matter which OS you run. If your current operating system doesn't have “X” in the name, it soon will—Windows XP and Mac OS X are the future.

On the Mac side, one could honestly say that the most important new features in Photoshop are protected memory and pre-emptive multitasking. By rewriting the core code to take advantage of the best features of Mac OS X, Adobe provides a stable environment within which to run Photoshop. Photoshop 7 can also run in the Mac Classic (OS 9.2) mode as well as on Macs using OS 9 exclusively.

Windows users can run Photoshop 7 on computers running Windows 98, if desired. However, Windows XP offers tremendous advantages, including the stability and performance improvements mentioned. In most cases, if the hardware supports it, migrating to XP is recommended.

New Capabilities, Improved Capabilities

Perhaps the most visible of Photoshop's new capabilities are the File Browser, Tool Presets palette (both shown in Figure 3), Pattern Maker, Healing Brush, and Patch tool. However, look more closely, and you'll find that Photoshop has also added spell check and text find/replace, native support for Pantone metallic inks, document security, WBMP file format creation, and a wide variety of other new tricks.

Figure 3. The File Browser allows you to navigate and even update the contents of your disks and drives, and the Tool Presets palette gives you one-click access to various tool configurations and setting combinations.

In many cases, Photoshop users may be just as excited (or more excited) about improvements to existing features:

  • The Brushes palette makes a stunning return as the interface for a whole new paint engine.

  • Layers can be renamed directly in the Layers palette.

  • The New dialog box offers a list of document size presets.

  • Open image windows can be presented onscreen in tile arrangement as well as cascade.

  • Many filters have larger preview windows.

  • The Curves dialog box is resizable.

  • The History palette can now be set to record up to 1,000 history states—10 times as many as Photoshop 6.

  • ImageReady offers improved transparency support.

  • In addition to saving the current palette locations, workspaces can be established, preserving palette arrangements and tool settings, too.

Windows and Macintosh

No matter which platform you use, Photoshop offers the same powerful features. The interface is as close to identical as possible, with virtually the same tools, palettes, and commands. Many of the images in this book show Macintosh interface elements, such as palettes, menus, and windows. In those few specific instances in which a difference exists between Macintosh and Windows, the differences have been shown or noted. Keyboard shortcuts are shown for both platforms throughout, with Macintosh appearing first in parentheses, followed by the Windows equivalent in brackets.

The abbreviations used in this book are as follows:

  • (Command) [Ctrl]— This identifies the Command key for Macintosh and Control key for Windows. The Command and Control keys are modifier keys; they do nothing on their own. They are always used in combination with another key or a mouse click. The key must remain pressed while you press the other key or click the mouse button.

  • (Option) [Alt]— This identifies the Option key for Macintosh and Alt key for Windows. The Option and Alt keys are modifier keys, and they too must always be used in combination with another key or a mouse click. The key must remain pressed while you press the other key or click the mouse button.

  • (Control-click) [Right+click]— Macintosh users must press the Control key and click the mouse button; Windows users click the mouse's right button once.

How This Book is Organized

Special Edition Using Adobe Photoshop 7 has eight parts, encompassing 31 chapters, plus a ninth part, consisting of three appendixes. Each of the eight parts is structured around a central theme, with the individual chapters developing the part's concept. (Each appendix addresses Photoshop's interoperability with one or more other programs.) Readers new to Photoshop should read the earlier parts before exploring the later chapters. Readers who have some familiarity with Photoshop 7 should also take a look at the first three parts. Although few high-level practitioners have the time to thoroughly explore a new version of a favorite program, often incredibly useful tools and techniques can be added to the reader's workflow.

Part I: Fundamental Photoshop 7

Five chapters develop a basic understanding of Photoshop 7, its interface, what you need to run it, and how to get pixels into and out of the program. Chapter 1, “What's New in Photoshop 7,” is directed at those transitioning from Photoshop 6. If you've been working with this latest version for some time, you might still want to take a look—some of the improvements are not likely to catch your eye immediately. Chapter 2, “The Photoshop Interface,” helps you develop a better understanding of how you, the user, manipulate the program. Among other things, you'll find a couple of tables of shortcuts that can speed your daily work.

The third chapter, “Hardware, System Setup, and Photoshop's Preferences,” answers many common questions. What do I need to run Photoshop 7? What do I need to run Photoshop 7 efficiently? How do I set the Preferences? How do I recover from a corrupt Prefs file? (This last answer may be for some the most important information in this entire book—how to get Photoshop back up and running properly without going through the time and trouble of a full reinstall.)

Chapter 4, “Getting Pixels into Photoshop,” looks at scanning, digital cameras, stock art, and other sources of images. Some Photoshop files start life as blank canvas, but most are based on previously existing imagery. This chapter helps you understand the basic concepts, leading to improved workflow and fewer problems later in the creative/productive process.

Part I ends with Chapter 5, “Photoshop's File Formats and Output Options.” Very few (if any) images are created to simply view in Photoshop. Most need to be saved in a way or a file format that's appropriate for incorporation into a page layout program or a Web page, or for printing from an inkjet printer or a film recorder. (There are other options, too, and they are also reviewed in the chapter.) In each case, one or more specific files formats is required. Chapter 5 helps you choose the format (and its options) that is most appropriate for your needs.

Part II: Critical Concepts

When you consider the root level, Photoshop is all about color. Images are created primarily with pixels. Each pixel is a single color. Creating an image in Photoshop means assigning a specific color to each pixel. The four chapters in Part II help you understand pixels, color theory, creating color in Photoshop, and color management in Photoshop 7. Chapter 6, “Pixels, Vectors, and Resolution,” looks at pixels, what they are, and how they differ from vector artwork. It also discusses the concept of resolution and what it means.

Chapter 7, “Color Theory and Practice,” examines closely the various color modes in Photoshop, how they differ, and when to use which. You'll get a look at working with specific colors in Chapter 8, “Defining and Choosing Colors.” Chapter 9, “Photoshop Color Management,” shows you how to ensure that the specific color you want is the specific color you get, whether printing to an inkjet, outputting to the Web, or preparing for process printing.

Part III: Photoshop's Creative Tools

Just as the core theory of Photoshop is pixel color, so too are certain concepts key to the creative process in this program. Part III looks at selections and masks in Chapter 10, “Making Selections and Creating Masks.” Chapter 11, “Type and Typography in Photoshop,” develops the ideas central to adding text to an image. (This chapter is supplemented on the accompanying CD by additional material, which serves as a glossary of typographic terminology.)

Photoshop 7's new paint engine (and how you work with it) is the subject of Chapter 12, “Photoshop 7's Painting Tools and Brushes.” In addition to the theory and practice of painting tools, it examines the new Brushes palette and how custom brushes are created and saved.

In Chapter 13, “The Pen Tools, Shape Layers, and Other Paths,” Photoshop's vector capability is examined. (This chapter looks at the non-type vectors in Photoshop.)

Part IV: Photoshop's Advanced Creative Capabilities

Many of Photoshop's most powerful—and most complex—capabilities are examined in Part IV. Chapter 14, “Working with Layers and Layer Styles,” shows you how to exploit both multiple layers and layer effects. You'll also learn how to combine (and save) layer effects as layer styles. Working directly with an image's color information is discussed in Chapter 15, “Channels: Color and More.” Editing channels, adding spot color and alpha channels, and mixing channels will be explained.

Building on the color and color management chapters earlier in the book, Chapter 16, “Color Correction and the Adjustment Commands,” is a practical look at how to use Photoshop's capabilities to get the correct colors and tonal range in your images.

See Chapter 17, “Using Blending Modes,” for information on how blending modes determine how colors interact.

Chapter 18, “Applying Photoshop's Filters,” and Chapter 19, “Extract, Liquify, and the Pattern Maker,” explore ways in which you can enhance, alter, and distort images. For many Photoshop artists, the filters are the backbone of the program.

Part V: Image Composition, Retouching, and Compositing

Three of the most common procedures in image manipulation are explored in depth in Chapter 20, “Image Cropping, Resizing, and Sharpening.” Most images passing through Photoshop undergo at least one of these three operations. Learning the theory behind the techniques helps ensure that they will be applied in the most effective, appropriate way.

Chapter 21, “Retouching and Restoration Basics,” discusses the most important techniques for improving (and salvaging) photographic images. Essential topics in the chapter include Photoshop 7's new Healing Brush and Patch tool.

Going beyond image repair, Chapter 22, “Advanced Compositing and Collaging in Photoshop,” looks at the core concepts of combining elements of multiple images.

Part VI: Photoshop, ImageReady, and the Web

In recent years, creating Web graphics has become one of the major uses of Photoshop. Photoshop users who just a few years ago had never accessed the Internet now produce graphics for it on a daily basis. Other Photoshop professionals are assuming these responsibilities as additional duties—creating Web graphics in addition to their jobs as prepress or photographic experts. Many are producing graphics for their own Web sites.

Chapter 23, “Photoshop, ImageReady, and Web Design,” explores the core concepts of Web graphics. It looks at the capabilities available in Photoshop and ImageReady. (Even experienced Web professionals should take a look at Chapter 23 to see what's new in Photoshop and ImageReady.)

Producing the most effective Web graphics means balancing file appearance and file size. In Chapter 24, “Save for Web and Image Optimization,” this art/science is dissected and examined. The chapter includes a look at the new capabilities of Save for Web (including creation of WBMP graphics for PDAs and wireless devices).

Working in ImageReady—and maximizing efficiency in the program—is the subject of Chapter 25, “ImageReady Basics.” Among the new capabilities discussed are dithering to create transparency and optimizing with priority for text and vector graphics.

Part VII: Print and Prepress

Even if you do prepress daily, you'll want to take a glance at Chapter 26, “The Printing Process: A Primer.” Photoshop now natively supports Pantone metallic inks. This chapter also discusses flexographic printing and explores Photoshop's Print with Preview dialog box.

Chapter 27, “Grayscale, Line Art, and Vectors,” looks at three of the challenges facing print professionals who work with Photoshop. Getting the greatest tonal range in an image that uses only one ink, maintaining the integrity of artwork that uses only black and white, and ensuring that Bézier curves print at full resolution are the topics discussed.

Commercial printing presses can't function properly unless the printing plates are correctly prepared. Among the keys are working with halftone settings and producing color separations. Chapter 28, “Halftones, Screen Frequency, and Separations,” explains the key concepts and how Photoshop implements them.

Part VIII: Power Photoshop

The final set of chapters gives you the ticket to faster, more productive Photoshop work. Chapter 29, “Actions and Automation,” looks at Photoshop's Actions and the Automate commands. Chapter 30, “JavaScript, AppleScript, and Scripting with Visual Basic,” explains how the operating system can be used to control some Photoshop operations. Chapter 31, “Efficiency Tips and Tricks,” offers ways to improve your efficiency and quick tips to give you an edge.

Separate appendixes look at Photoshop's interaction with Illustrator 10, the major page layout programs (InDesign, Quark, and PageMaker), and the Web graphics programs LiveMotion and Flash. In addition to basic interoperability, you'll learn tips and tricks to make your work go more smoothly.

CD: Added Value

On the CD that accompanies this book, you'll find a variety of goodies. In addition to color versions of many of this book's images and illustrations, you'll find extra sections that we're supplying only electronically. (To put everything on paper would not only have made this book thicker and heavier, but also have increased the price—something of which we are all very conscious.) We've invited some friends and contacts to include other goodies for you. In addition to demo versions of some great commercial software, we solicited some additional useful, practical, and valuable contributions: actions, fonts, stock photography, and more. See the ReadMe file on the disk for instructions on how to load these extras on your computer.

On the Web

Space considerations did not allow us to fit all the chapters in the printed book. Because of this, additional chapters will be made available online. Go to http://www.quepublishing.com/, and type the book's ISBN (0789727609) into the search field to go to this book's Web page and download the additional material.

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