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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
You know those language immersion courses folks take when they’re going to Paris in two weeks and don’t want to alienate the natives? Now there’s a course like that for Photoshop 7.
It’s Jan Kabili’s Photoshop 7 Complete Course. And if you dive into this book-and-CD-ROM package head-first, you’ll be stunned at how quickly you’ll be “speaking Photoshop” like you were born using it. So, what’s the secret? Well, there are two.
First is the author, Jan Kabili. She’s been teaching Photoshop for years -- to both professional designers and novices in live classroom settings. Well, plenty of people can say they “teach” Photoshop, but Kabili is curriculum coordinator for Adobe Training at Lynda.com and served as lead instructor at the legendary Ojai Digital Arts Center. Before that, she taught web design at the University of Colorado, worked as a professional web designer, and even earned an MFA in both electronic arts and photography. What better qualifications could you imagine?
Secret No. 2 is the format. It’s “project-based.” But that phrase doesn’t do the book justice. In this four-color, glossy, oversize book, Kabili teaches an extraordinary range of Photoshop tools and techniques by walking you through the creation of one stunning digital poster. It’s challenging, fun to work on, even suitable for framing once you’re done. (But then, Kabili, in yet another previous career, was an exhibited digital artist.)
The project serves to organize 14 progressive tutorials, in which you go beyond learning how to use Photoshop’s individual features, to really understand how they all fit together.
Each session is realistically timed, so you know whether you’ll be able to squeeze in a lesson before life intrudes. Each session explores one significant feature or area of Photoshop -- and does so in surprising depth. And, after you’ve taken the central project forward, each session concludes with additional open-ended projects that let you explore on your own before the tour bus leaves. Of course, all the source files are on the CD-ROM.
By the way, you might be wondering: “What happens if I need to learn about, say, filters, or special effects? Must I do the projects in all the other chapters first?” Nope. Kabili provides “iteration” files that let you jump in anywhere your heart desires.
After Kabili walks you through setting up for the book’s main project, you’ll customize Photoshop to your personal tastes; then learn how to manage and view your documents with Photoshop 7’s wonderfully convenient File Browser palette. (Thumbnails at your fingertips -- finally.)
Next, you move on to painting and drawing: choosing and using color; painting and filling with pixels; and drawing with Photoshop 7’s tweaked and refined vector tools. There’s a full lesson on selecting elements of your image, leading to an exceptionally thorough and clear introduction to layers -- our favorite part of the book.
Kabili demonstrates multiple ways to create layers, then gets you comfortable with stacking, duplicating, deleting, locking, linking, and merging them. In the context of your poster project, you’ll learn about layer visibility; moving and transforming layer content; and working with layer sets, adjustment layers, and fill layers. Even if you’ve been using layers awhile, she’ll help you use them more productively.
That’s just the beginning: Kabili spends a full lesson on compositing with layers, including layer blending, layer masks, and vector masks; then introduces layer styles and other features that “breathe life” into your layers.
You’ll also find multichapter sections on working with text (including special text effects); using digital darkroom tools; and prepping your images for both print and Web.
Chances are, you’ll be living with Photoshop 7 for years. Start the relationship off right, with Photoshop 7 Complete Course. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.