Book Bytes
Digital Photography Combo Review
Three Dummies Books for Smarties

Photoshop CS2 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies – 9 Books in 1 – Now in Full Color
by Barbara Obermeier

Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-8916-4, 682 pages
$39.99 US, $51.99 CN, £24.99 UK

This is one of the best basic tutorial-style books on Photoshop ever reviewed here at Book Bytes in It’s fat and heavy on the outside, but presented with a light touch and bazillions of images and lessons on the inside.

I’m considering adopting Photoshop CS2 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies as an official student text for my Photoshop CS2 seminars and private lessons, because its wealth of material is delivered in a non-threatening way that makes learning enjoyable and straightforward. Best of all is the author’s total dedication to cross-platform variances between Mac and Windows versions of Photoshop CS2, that many other authors and publishers don’t fully address.

The “9 books in 1” contents cover: fundamentals, image essentials, selections, painting/drawing/typing, layers, channels/masks, filters/distortions, retouching/restoration, and printing. I typically examine1 chapters on filters when comparing books, because space allocations and in-depth coverage are all over the map. Barbara Obermeier explains both the how and the what for Photoshop’s most important filters, so that readers can apply the information to the other filters.

Her writing is snappy, witty, and first-person familiar, and her image samples are typical of a home user’s or student’s photo library. I use Photoshop every day, and each chapter in Photoshop CS2 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies either enhances my previous knowledge or helps me learn something new and different.

If you thought Dummies titles were for dummies, think again. Beginner and intermediate Photoshop CS2 users will benefit for years from the wealth of easily-absorbed lessons and reference material in this exceptional book, rated for these readers at our highest 5 out of 5 recommendation.

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Digital SLR Photography with Photoshop CS2 All-in-One for Dummies – 5 Books in 1
by Kevin Ames

Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-9577-6, 449 pages
$34.99 US, $44.99 CN, £22.99 UK

Single lens reflex (SLR) digital cameras are big, heavy, expensive, and versatile, if-if-if you know how to use them. This book is a valuable introduction, recommended for all new “DSLR” owners.

Most DSLR purchasers never bother to read any book, which is idiotic, especially when value-loaded titles such as this one are becoming more numerous. Ironically, if people studied Digital SLR Photography with Photoshop CS2 All-in-One for Dummies in advance of buying their DSLRs, many of these folks would proceed with much greater care and skill, once camera was in hand.

Camera Raw format will eventually become standard operating procedure for serious digital photographers, and we’re eased into the topic slowly, by the middle of this book. As the author’s instructions become more extensive, he provides sample images from his web site so readers can work along with his lessons. Great idea!

Before you’re aware of it, you’re using Adobe Photoshop CS2 to edit and enhance Kevin’s and your digital images, gaining confidence with every click. This title is not a comprehensive tutorial on Photoshop CS2, because Ames concentrates on specific techniques, and leaves the hundreds of others to his colleagues in additional publications.

When spending a thousand dollars or more on your camera hardware, don’t count on your printed manufacturer’s camera manual to inform you nearly as well as does Digital SLR Photography with Photoshop CS2 All-in-One for Dummies. Its “five books of Ames” address the digital SLR camera, photograph, and negative, plus his aforementioned intro to Photoshop CS2. “Preserving Pixels,” the final unit, should be required reading for all digital photographers and serious Photoshop users.

For its three units on digital camera essentials alone, awards this title a strong recommendation, rated at 4.5 out of 5.

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Photoshop CS2 for Dummies – Now in Full Color
by Peter Bauer

Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-9571-7, 392 pages
$24.99 US, $31.99 CN, £15.99 UK

This beginner through intermediate volume is 100 percent Photoshop. It’s great, finally, to have screenshots and illustrations in color, but pages in Photoshop CS2 for Dummies are text-heavy, to keep the information flowing at an affordable price. I don’t recommend this title as your exclusive tutorial source on Photoshop CS2, because you’ll wish you had more images than are provided. It would be better to price this book a little higher to include those enhancements.

Peter Bauer gives us solid information and lessons on becoming comfortable with the mighty Photoshop CS2. He chooses to emphasize certain Photoshop components and go light on others. Please examine his chapters in advance, to determine if what you need to learn is what he gives you in depth.

Photoshop CS2 for Dummies is divided into progressively more advanced parts, with the second half taking ambitious readers into artistic and creative aspects of the software. In a collaborative classroom or workshop environment, the final chapters will be especially valuable.

Don’t be scared by our Book Bytes rating of 3 out of 5, because that signifies a “good book, worth every penny.”


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