Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual

Photoshop CC The Missing Manual is an amazingly information-dense manual. So much, that it’s almost intimidating. However, the author does such a wonderful job at guiding the reader through the underworld of Photoshop, that you’ll find yourself standing there reading intently even though you only intended to quickly peruse it while standing at the bookstore. You’ll quickly find yourself getting drawn in and reaching for the post-it note pad to mark off something you’ll want to try soon.


Chances are, you’ll not need to know EVERYTHING that can be done with Photoshop CC. Just the stuff that you need to know that’s most relevant to the task at hand (at least at first.) The author realizes that this is an imposing tome of a book and has kindly provided a general outline so you can go right to the most relevant sections. Both beginners and power users will appreciate it, as this book covers a lot of ground. There’s even a section guiding photographers to the most relevant areas to get them started quickly. And for the experienced user who just wants to get to know the new features of Photoshop CC, the author wastes no time in giving a good, brief overview of them along with where in the book more details can be found.
The book works its way through the basics (general tour of Photoshop) and gradually works into more intimidating territory (ending in chapters dealing with Photoshop and video, 3D and working with Adobe Bridge.) Along the way, you’ll learn far more about things you thought you already knew in Photoshop, but didn’t. I wasn’t even halfway through the book before I realized I had gaping holes in my PS education: how to use layer comps, the background eraser, the various kinds of interpolation you can choose when resizing an image, gradient map adjustment layers, matching colors between photos, etc.
For photographers, there are more than a few sections of the book well worth checking out. Working with and correcting photos in Camera Raw (including using CR’s Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filters), using Levels and Curves (and using the Info panel to take some of the guesswork out of your adjustments), creating HDR photos, processing multiple files, Adobe Bridge, etc.
The section on filters goes into detail about one of my favorite things in Photoshop CC -the Adaptive Wide Angle filter. She also talks about fixing lens distortion and fixing color fringe in photos (important if you’re submitting work to a stock photo agency.) There are some inventive (and useful) examples for using filters (such as using Emboss to work with out-of-focus images.)
The chapter devoted to printing issues (“Photoshop and Print”), while it doesn’t have the glamor of showing off cool filters and ways to distort things, is a highly useful chapter. Understanding color gamuts, color profiles, resizing and reformatting images, printing on an inkjet printer, using spot color, and many other aspects of printing are touched on. And if you’re designing for the web, Chapter 17 (“Photoshop and the Web”) is a good introduction to utilizing PS for web design. The section on using the Save to Web dialog box and the Slice tool are especially good.
For those unintimidated by the prospect of working with video, Chapter 20 is devoted to showing off PS’s video-editing ability. As the author points out, while PS isn’t the best program for your cinematic masterpiece (use a dedicated video program for that), it is good for smaller video projects. The advantage to doing a project in PS is that if you already know PS, then mastering the video aspects is quite do-able. The author explains things quite well, touching on the Timeline panel, editing video, adding transition, adding and controlling audio and other essential ingredients.
The book ends on how to use Adobe Bridge and Mini Bridge -another chapter that photographers will find especially useful.) Outside of Adobe Lightroom, Bridge is the most useful Adobe product for managing, editing, reviewing, renaming, etc. multiple images at the same time. As the author points out, some features (like the Output panel) that allowed you to send your images to several popular photo-sharing websites were not included in the CC release of Bridge. Her advice (if you want to use those features) is to hold on to your copy of Bridge CS6 (both the CC and CS6 version can exist on the same machine without any ill effects.)
I’d recommend this book for anyone with at least a beginner’s Photoshop experience. It’s an excellent book, both as an as-you-need-it reference guide and as a complete course in PH.

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