Dark Side of the Lens

Photoshop CS3 Essential Skills (Book Review)

I have a large collection of books, photographic books included, as I am somewhat of a bookaholic. Some of the books I have are better than others, and these are the ones I will be reviewing.

I, like many people, have my favorite authors, and probably my very favorite authors in the photo editing book world are Mark Galer and Philip Andrews, who often team up for a publication.

The main reason I like their works in general is their straight forward approach and clear explanations to, often, complex tasks in either Photoshop or Elements. I have been lucky enough to see them give demonstrations at trade shows on several occasions, which usually turns out to be an expensive exercise for me as I end up grabbing whatever latest book(s) either of them has published (remember your mantra Simon “I will not buy, I must not buy, I can not buy …. oh look, a book, let’s buy it!”).

They, currently at least, publish with Focal Press. A quick observation here from me is that I really like Focal Press as a publishing house due to the quality of the books they produce. By this I mean the general feel, the paper, the quality of illustrations, they are all important factors for me when buying a book and if I am ordering a book online and see it is from Focal Press I know what to expect (and no, I am not associated with them in any way …. be nice though *laugh*)

So, enough waffle and on to this particular book…

Photoshop CS3 Essential Skills (Photography Essential Skills)

This excellent book, my current favorite Photoshop CS3 book, covers everything from the basics to advanced techniques at a level that both the novice and advanced user will find incredibly useful. I have found that in general books are better aimed at just the basics, just advanced techniques etc, and trying to cover too large a spread leads to weaker content, but this is very much not the case here.

The various techniques, including full projects, are well illustrated and explained with enough detail to make them easy to follow but not enough to bog you down. I don’t see any level of digital photo editor not coming away from this book with a bundle of new techniques to add to their arsenal.

I am a huge fan, as you may have guessed, of learning via video tutorials. Personally I find that approach more interactive and definitely more fun. Luckily this book includes an excellent DVD containing over 8 hours of video tutorials. If I had to find one gripe about the book it is just that the DVD lacks the nice user interface sometimes found and you just have the movies in folders. Trivial gripe, it just means it takes a few extra seconds to explore what is there.

A nice surprise though on the DVD was the collection of royalty free images that you can use in your own projects, and also they have supplied some nice Photoshop actions you can add into your own copy of Photoshop.

At the time of writing this the book is selling for $24.39 on Amazon (or £20.89 on Amazon the UK – why the massive difference???) which, especially as it includes the DVD, I think it truly exceptional value (especially in the US). Amazon also has second hand copies available but although that may save you $2 I don’t think the small saving is worth it as you risk scratches on the DVD (maybe that is just me though).

So, if you are looking for one Photoshop book that will keep “working” at it for hours, then I strongly recommend grabbing yourself a copy of this one.

Amazon US: Photoshop CS3 Essential Skills (Photography Essential Skills)

Amazon UK: Photoshop CS3 Essential Skills (Photography Essential Skills)

Philip and Mark have produced earlier editions of this particular work for both Photoshop CS and Photoshop CS2. Although I have not read these editions myself I would expect the content, and hence the quality, to be very similar to the CS3 edition but with features for the relevant version of photoshop. Both earlier books are still available, so if you are using an earlier version of Photoshop CS then maybe these links will be more useful to you.

Photoshop CS (Amazon US): Photoshop CS Essential Skills

Photoshop CS (Amazon UK): Photoshop CS Essential Skills

Photoshop CS2 (Amazon US): Photoshop CS2 Essential Skills

Photoshop CS2 (Amazon UK): Photoshop CS2 Essential Skills

If you are ordering a copy then please do ensure you are using the correct link above, as I would hate for you to accidentally order a copy for the wrong edition of Photoshop.



3 Responses to “Photoshop CS3 Essential Skills (Book Review)”

  1. Salzwaffeln Says:

    mouth watering! *). Thank you for the share

  2. Natator Says:

    Well, that’s a different compliment for here … thanks 🙂

  3. Gustavo Boyt Says:

    great post thanks for the info

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