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How to Cheat in Photoshop CS5: The art of creating realistic photomontages Paperback – Jun 22 2010
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"[A]n excellent book which basically majors on showing you how to get things done with a minimum of fuss and shows all kinds of fakery. Typical perhaps is the neon lettering effects that we have used in the Greg Preston feature of this issue, we lifted the technique right out of How To Cheat. The initial chapters also include sound advice on using masks and paths and more importantly, Caplin explains why certain dodges are vital to achieving a realistic fake.. Overall then, this remains a good book with a lot of really practical advice on how to cheat - enjoy!"--Professional Imagemaker Magazine
"This book is a joy to work through. It also makes a great reference when you absolutely have to get something done NOW! The two-page format is a great way to present information and an easy way to learn it. It makes a great asset for any Photoshop user working with compositions."--TCS eJournal
"I reviewed the previous version of this book and liked it a lot but the new version is bigger, better looking, and full of useful tips on creating photomontages using Photoshop's latest iteration. Many Photoshop books spend early chapters introducing tools but Steve Caplin demonstrates how to use those tools to create interesting looking images instead."--Shutterbug Magazine
About the Author
Steve Caplin is a freelance artist and author working in London, England. His satirical photomontage work is commissioned by newspapers and magazines around the world, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times Magazine, Radio Times, Readers Digest and L'Internazionale. Steve has worked for advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Lowe Howard Spink, and his work has won two Campaign Poster Awards and a D&AD Pencil award. He has lectured widely in England, Norway, France and Holland, and has taught digital design at the University of Westminster and the University of the Arts London. Steve is the author of ten books: How to Cheat in Photoshop (five editions), How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements (co-authored, three editions), Icon Design, Max Pixel's Adventures in Adobe Photoshop Elements, The Complete Guide to Digital Illustration (co-authored) and Art & Design in Photoshop. He has also co-authored three mainstream books: Dad Stuff, More Dad Stuff, Stuff the Turkey and Complete and Utter Zebu. When he's not at his computer Steve plays the piano well, the accordion moderately and the guitar badly. He spends his spare time making improbable constructions out of wood and other materials. His first commissioned sculpture was for the Bethlem hospital - the original 'bedlam' - in 2010.
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Steve Caplin's "How to Cheat with Photoshop" is easy to read and easy to follow. Rather than get bogged down in specifics, and telling you exactly how to do a specific thing, he lists the steps for how to do a certain kind of thing, but then he gives a specific example that you can follow along with (using photographs included on the dvd that comes with the book, or your own photographs) to be sure you get the concept. For the most part this works great - even though for a couple of examples I wanted him to be a bit more specific, since it took me a moment to figure out how to do what he suggested, the process of figuring it out helped me to gain a better understanding of the principles. So this is a good teaching guide, and taught me several new things, even though I'm not new to Photoshop.
One nice feature of the book is that each section is clearly marked as to who can use it. There are chapters that apply principles possible with every version of Photoshop and others that make use of features specific to CS3, CS4 or CS5, for example. This makes the book usable for those who don't have the latest version, and in principle those with the latest version should be able to make use of every feature. In practice that's not quite right, though. Even where he adds in new features, he keeps old things intact and doesn't always explain that some of things he describes are obsolete or inaccurate for CS5. For example, where he gives instructions for how to use the "Revise Edge" feature of the selection tools, he illustrates these with the "Revise Edge" panel from CS4 even where it has been changed for CS5. Occasionally, the diagrams are just wrong (for example on p. 81 he shows the black slider moved for the underlying layer, but he says to move the white slider, and that's what works). Also, sometimes the shortcuts he identifies are no longer functioning in CS5.
Still, this is a very helpful guide to manipulating images in Photoshop and creating realistic photomontages. I haven't mastered all of its exercises, but expect to have it on my desk and it's a great reference guide for a wide range of the very cool things you can do with Photoshop. Unfortunately, it gives me the impression of having been hastily revised to reflect changes in CS5, without having been thoroughly checked to be sure that all sections are up to date and accurate. Still, most of the mistakes are minor, and on the whole I learned a lot from working through this book. It should be said that this is not really an introduction to Photoshop and presupposes that its readers have a basic familiarity with how it works (with layers and masks and adjustments, etc.).
My previous copy was the second edition, back in the days of CS2, and I plan to keep it. I learned to use the pen tool (more or less) thanks to the tutorial in this book. (The current book has a different tutorial, but it's just as good). This book is much thicker, thoroughly updated, but just as imaginative and just as much fun. This edition has revised to take advantage of all software developments to both regular and Extended Photoshop.
I call the exercises "tutorials" for lack of a better word. But that word implies a list of necessary instructions to accomplish a task. These aren't really "tasks." They are fun, creative, and imaginative projects you can create using image(s) (or parts of images) and Photoshop--no artistic ability or creative inspiration required. The resulting images are not bizarre, tasteless, or gory--they're just creative and useful. Ex: making a sign look like it's printed on fabric, or turning a day scene to a night scene, or distorting what you see behind the glass you just placed in your collage, or making a car float in a pool. Yes, it's fun--but you learn a lot in the process of doing it.
Some of the "old" tutorials do reappear in this version, but only those covering those rare parts of Photoshop that haven't evolved. Even there, many (such as the turning a photograph of a person into a statue) have been redone with entirely new photographs and a different workflow that I like much better. (He then, also, did it backwards: statue to person). Some seem to be the same tutorial but, if you look closely, you realize that, although the photo examples used are the similar, the steps and explanations have been updated. In addition, A LOT of completely new material has been added. You've got to give Steve Caplin credit for giving value and not taking his public for granted.
In addition to the text, the CD has a lot of extra content. There is a huge folder called "Deleted Pages". I assume that some of these tutorials were deleted from versions between 2 and 6 to make room for newer ones, so it's like getting several books for the price of one. The photographs used to complete the effects in the tutorials are also included, as are about 3 hours-worth of video content directly related to the techniques used in the book. They are Quick Time movies and, on Windows 7, I was having a little trouble getting them to play with sound. Right clicking and choosing "open with" Quick Time player solved the problem. (Double clicking just got me "codec" and "compression" errors).
His books are excellent and I love the way he thinks. He imagines the image he wants to create; he mentally deconstructs it in his head and breaks it down into the individual components; and then he re-assembles it in Photoshop. He is an expert at Photoshop and a genius at seeing the potential in ordinary images and in finding new and different ways to use them. I highly recommend the book both as a learning experience and as sheer (but productive) entertainment.
The only issue that I have with this book is that the sample images aren't particularly "photorealistic." In other words, the sample images provided by the author look like fake images that were done in Photoshop. This might not have bothered me if the subtitle of this book wasn't "The art of creating realistic photomontages."
Every example used in this book looks like the type of image that if you showed it to any random person they would say, "This is a fake photo made in Photoshop." That does not mean the instructions in this book are bad, but if you spend a little time and effort you can use these same instructions to make a MUCH better photo.
You can argue that the sample images were chosen so that amateur Photoshop users wouldn't feel bad if their images didn't look real, but in my opinion sample images in a book about creating "realistic" images shouldn't look fake.
I would still recommend this book to anyone who needs quality step-by-step instructions for the various techniques discussed in the book, but the sample images do a horrible job of illustrating what the finished product should look like if you follow the steps outlined in each chapter.
In my opinion this book would best serve illustrators, designers, and graphic artists. Photographers may get a lot out of it but the illustrations look more like artwork than photographs. I'm not knocking that... I wish I had that talent but when editing a photo, I want a photograph to look like a photograph not an illustration. If you're a photographer, I suggest going to a brick and mortar store and browsing it to see if it meets your needs. That said, I learned a lot from this book and did enjoy reading it.
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