Friday, May 29th, 2009...12:30 am
Product Review – CS4 Down & Dirty Book
Written by Jeremy Verinsky
Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks by Scott Kelby
The latest book from Scott Kelby, Photoshop author extraordinaire, goes back to his very first Photoshop book, Down & Dirty Tricks. The book is completely new for Photoshop CS4 and covers many of the latest graphic design tricks of the trade to get the looks you see in today’s print and web media. The book even has a chapter written by contributing author Corey Barker, of planetphotoshop.com fame, covering 3D design effects. Most of the tutorials can be done in Photoshop CS3, but you may have trouble following along in earlier versions. The 3D chapter is only applicable if you have Photoshop CS4 Extended; even CS3 Extended does not have the same 3D capabilities.
For those familiar with Scott’s other books, you will find that this book follows the style of most of his others; it is written as if Scott was sitting at the computer with you showing you step-by-step how to re-create these effects. It also designed to be jump-in anywhere and go. There is no need to start at Chapter 1 and work diligently toward Chapter 9 (although I do recommend reading the “9 Quick Things You’ll Wish You Had Known…” section at the beginning for reasons I’ll go into later). Simply skim the contents for a tutorial that strikes your fancy or matches a project you’re working on, flip to the appropriate page and get started. The tutorials are broken down into simple, easy to follow steps and have lots of screen captures showing each step along the way.
In the introduction to the book (“9 Quick Things …), Scott explains what the book is about and how to get the most out of it. First and foremost, this book is a how-to on creating designs using Photoshop. The book does not cover basic Photoshop skills or using Photoshop to adjust photographs (there are plenty of other books covering those topics, including a surprising number by Scott). There is a website to download the files that Scott uses in the tutorials, so you can follow along step-by-step if you don’t have your own projects to work on. Scott also talks about his chapter introductions (or “mental breaks” as he calls them). If you are the serious type, please skip the chapter introductions as they will only get on your nerves.
The book is written for beginning to intermediate Photoshop users. Advanced users may get frustrated with the basic instructions that appear at the beginning steps of each tutorial, but once a concept is introduced Scott usually will just tell you to duplicate the layer or whatever the command is instead of continuing to detail the key-stroke or menu command needed. Advanced users will probably still find some helpful tips that they can immediately integrate into their own design work. Beginning users will come away with a good grasp of how to create both print and web media designs embodying many of the effects they see everyday. All in all, I recommend this book for anyone using Photoshop to create designs or add special effects to their projects.
And If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, just click the image above.
Today’s review was brought to you by Jeremy Verinsky. Jeremy is an amateur photographer and Photoshop
addict enthusiast from Santa Cruz, CA. He uses Photoshop daily for photography and design projects at work. You can see samples of his work at his NAPP portfolio, or follow him on Twitter via @jeremyv10.
Thanks for the review Jeremy!