Thursday, October 28, 2010

BOOK: Photoshop Layers

If you're new to Photoshop layers, or just want to understand them better, you'll need to pick up an easy to read book on the topic. No photographer can unleash the full power of Photoshop to make an image look like the photographer's vision without understanding the power of layers. (At the very least layers allow the Photoshop user to make selective adjustments to an image, without actually changing the underlying data.)

Yet many Photoshop books treat layers in bits and pieces rather than as an integrated whole so that the photographer has a hard time grasping the overall concept. That's where a book aimed solely at layers comes in.

Matt Kloskowski's book deals with all the major applications of layers. The subjects include the nature of layers, blending layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, type and shape layers, enhancing and adjusting photos with layers, layer styles and smart layers. It's all here, but in a short simple quick form.

There are much more larger books that can go through ever possible feature of layers, and maybe something to look at later, by Matt's book is probably going to suit many photographers who want a really good grasp of the topic without wanting to change professions.

The author's text takes the form of tutorials. One can either download files for these tutorials or work with one's own pictures. The tutorials are short, well illustrated and have plenty of white space. If you make a mistake at an early step you won't have to backtrack through twenty or thirty steps to find out where you went wrong.

Even if you work out each tutorial, this book will not take more than ten or twenty hours to complete, and it will teach you almost everything you need to know about the subject. Along the way, Kloskowski teaches the reader about other Photoshop tools, as when he integrates a discussion of gradients into a lesson on blend modes, or deals with selections in a tutorial on layer masks.

The author has an easy-going, breezy, humorous style.
For experienced Photoshop users this book will contain nothing new. However, for the photographer who doesn't have a firm grip on the use of layers in Photoshop, this book will help him or her to master the subject.