Review - Photoshop CS

September 20, 2004

PHOTOSHOP CS for Nonlinear Editors-2nd Ed
By Richard Harrington
CMP Books: $54.95
Product code 157820237X

Photoshop CS: Essentials for Digital Video DVD
By Richard Harrington
MSRP: $149.99

Review By Steve Douglas

There have been a great many books published for the many versions of Photoshop that have come down the pike. This has got to be one of the more colorfully illustrated and well produced of them.

As the title suggests, this book addresses many of the uses, issues and concerns of the non-linear editor and is not simply directed at only the photographer in mind. The table of contents says it all with nicely organized chapters covering the very basics of proper set up, tool usage and video requirements and suggestions. It even discusses the old PC vs. Mac debate, which being a stalwart Mac user, I won't touch on here.

Many of the examples of the functions of Photoshop CS are preceded by Richard Harrington's discussions of the pros and cons of usages for the many tools, settings and protocols that the editor might want to take. This attention to alternatives is a great way to extend not only one's knowledge but customize the workflow according to the goals of the task or project. One thing I liked about this book is that Richard Harrington frequently provides step-by-step instructions towards completing a specific task. There is no assumption in his directions that you know what he is referring to or how to do it. While these instructions might be redundant to the experienced Photoshop user, they would certainly be welcome to the novice user or anyone not familiar with the particular method being employed.

The coverage of each topic whether it is the use of gradients or how to integrate Photoshop with your DVD production is thorough but is not too extensive so that you are left more confused than before.

Also included with Photoshop CS for Nonlinear Editors is a disc loaded with samples of different images, gradients and, even a few music pieces. Some were full sized and useful while others were barely viewable and seemed like little more than advertisements for the footage companies. Also included on the disc are several mpeg tutorials focusing on Presets, Using Workspaces, Creating Lower Thirds, Calculations, Image Preparation, Film look, Restoring Photos, Color Balance, Creating Backgrounds, and Alpha Channels. I found these tutorials to be very clear and concise and they fit into my own learning style. Personally, if I see how something is done I learn quicker than I do by reading manuals.

To complement this book or simply as a stand-alone tutorial, you don't need to go very far. The VAAST Training DVD, Photoshop CS Essentials for Digital Video is a 2 DVD set narrated by Richard Harrington that guides you through most any task you wish to learn with an excellent explanation of setting the most advantageous preferences and the reasons why, to easy to follow chapters covering Graphic Details, Working with Photos, Mastering the Use of Multiple Layers, Blending Modes, Transparency, Design Fundamentals, Automation, Making and Using Lower Thirds as well as how to most effectively build your DVD menus and Slideshows. For the video editor, his chapter covering the use of your video frames for print or the web are eye opening and easy to follow. There is a great deal more to this 2 disc set than I am covering here but with over 6 hours of tutorial information, I am limited to just the peaks of this excellent DVD set. I can honestly say that there are no valleys. Is it worth the price? YEP!!

Steve Douglas has been an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. The winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition and the 2003 IVIE competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", recently contributed footage to the Seaworld parks for their new Atlantis production, and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both African safari and underwater filming expeditions with upcoming filming excursions to Thailand, Costa Rica and Kenya. Feel free to contact him.


Review copyright © Steve Douglas 2004

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