Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers, by Martin Evening

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, September 2007
Published by: Focal Press
ISBN: 0-240-52028-9
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$46.95, UK£29.95

Having reviewed previous editions of books in this series from excellent photographer, Martin Evening, I had come to expect very high standards from this latest in the "... for Photographers" series. Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers doesn't disappoint. Taking you through CS3 in color coded and well formatted sections, it provides an easy-to-follow, in-depth and knowledgeable reference for even the most well-versed digital photographers and imageers.

The book has been rewritten from scratch since the CS2-based edition. Evening does a good job of covering everything that's new in Adobe Photoshop CS3 compared to previous versions of Photoshop, while also looking into the essential features for any imageer and photographer. Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers is firmly positioned as a reference work for the professional Photoshop CS3 user whose main area of work is related to digital photography. The absence throughout the book of any platform bias is also nice, so you'll find almost equal attention paid to both Mac and Windows key bindings and other information.

Each of the 15 chapters takes you through its chosen subject matter from the basics through to more advanced features and applications. Chapters 1-3 are an introduction to the new features and differences that appear in Adobe Photoshop CS3 along with a look at the changes in the user interface. They also feature a look at the basic tool sets and how to use them, which includes a look at Adobe Bridge, drawing tools and some of the basic methods of working with images.

Chapters 4, 5 & 6 look into the process of making adjustments and corrections to images as well as the acquisition of images through Camera RAW and Bridge. They continue with a look at the process of making fine adjustments and image corrections using the healing brush and other tools as well as adjustment layers and layer masks.

Chapters 7 and 8 deal with image retouching and methods of using the tools in CS3 for further enhancing images using layers, cloning and brushes. Layers, Selections and Masks are amongst the most useful and powerful of features in Photoshop and are actually well deserving of an entire book dedicated just to them. One of the most useful examples provided is one where the author has used a sequence of shots of the same scene to remove unwanted people by using the automatic alignment and image stack capabilities. The extraction of image elements using a variety of tools is also quite thoroughly covered and to great effect.

Chapter 9 takes a look at replicating traditional darkroom effects in CS3. Effects such as Solarization, Split toning, black & white from color, duo-tones, infrared emulation, cross processing, and the use of gradient maps. Chapter 10 takes a closer general look at the use of Photoshop's built in filter to further enhance your images.

Chapters 11 and 12 explain many of the intricacies of image and color management. While the former is handled largely through the use of Bridge, the latter is a bit trickier. Although color management can be handled to some extent using software, the use of hardware based calibrators can augment this substantially.

Chapters 13 and 14 continue with a look at the world of output with printing and web-based output both considered in some detail. In the former the different factors affecting the accuracy and longevity of your photographic prints are considered along with calibration and configuration. In the latter the web capabilities of Photoshop CS3 are covered with attention paid to file optimization and types, watermarking and gallery creation.

Chapter 15 completes the book with a look at the powerful automation capabilities built into Photoshop CS3, with coverage of actions, droplets and some of the plug-ins and scripts that come with Photoshop CS3.

Although an excellent and fairly comprehensive title, This volume does suffer due to a timing issue, it doesn't cover the excellent Adobe Capture Raw (ACR) 4.1 update, which was released after the book was published. However, there is an update on the website.

Cons: No coverage of ACR 4.1

Pros: Excellent Layout and information. Comprehensive and with no platform bias. This excellent, well-formatted book and its companion DVD containing video tutorials and extra chapters, serve both amateur and professional digital photographers, imageers and graphic artists. It is highly recommended and a must-have for your reference library.