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Jim Harvey reviewsThe Photoshop Show by Russell Brown

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Jim Harvey reviewsThe Photoshop Show by Russell Brown
A Creative COW Book Review


Jim Harvey takes a look at The Photoshop Show Starring Russell Brown

Jim Harvey Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

© 2003 Jim Harvey and CreativeCOW.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
Jim Harvey takes a look at The Photoshop Show Starring Russell Brown. ~ This book is published by Adobe Press. Jim concludes with, "...All in all, I'd recommend this book to anyone who uses Photoshop on a regular or irregular basis."


Click here to order The Photoshop Show from amazon.comRussell Brown is a Madman. No, not just a wild and crazy guy, a genuine Madman. He's also pretty good with Photoshop. His book, The Photoshop Show Starring Russell Brown combines his knowledge of Photoshop and his totally off the hook personality to create a Tutorial book that is unlike anything I've ever seen before.

The book itself is only 158 pages, but it's like a trip to the circus. (As a matter of fact, the cover shot is of Russell dressed up like a Magician, but if you take away the magic wand, he looks an awful lot like the ringmaster).

OK, let's get down to business. This is NOT an extensive look into the inner workings of Photoshop. Russell likes Channels, and takes the reader on a little journey into Channel-land where he quite expertly explains how channels can adjust, modify, and reveal hidden information in an image to get just the effect or look that we want. He is also a big fan of using layers to tweak your image that extra little bit that will set your work apart from all the rest.

Part one begins with a simple exercise in recovering detail from an over saturated image. The explanations are clear and concise and really very straightforward. Anyone will be able to follow this book. That's especially nice for beginners who open Photoshop and sit and stare at the screen completely overwhelmed by the choices presented to them. Our friend Russell takes us by the hand and pushes us right into the deep end of the pool. Right up front, he explains in detail each of the blend mode settings and how they affect the final image. Something that I haven't seen too often in other Photoshop books.

Chapter 2 introduces us to ways to desaturate an image and use channels to enhance parts of the image incrementally. Great information on using adjustment layers here too. At first glance, it looks like this is just a silly book, but don't be tricked! Russell has his Madman act perfected, but he knows what he's talking about.

Throughout the book, Russell has little word balloons that pop out of his head and give little tips and hints that make the Photoshop experience more enjoyable and enhance your workflow. The tips are solid and fresh, something the is pretty unusual in a Photoshop book.

The examples that he provides aren't always the most sophisticated, as a matter of fact; they're not sophisticated at all. That's part of the charm of this book. What IS sophisticated is his method of teaching some pretty complex techniques in a way that tricks the reader into thinking that they're not really learning anything all that difficult to begin with. Channels are extremely powerful and Russell's book deals with them in a fun way that gets the point across and gets the reader comfortable using them.

My biggest gripe with the book is that the entire second half is devoted to creating a Frankenstein Monster using Liquify and channels. At first I felt a bit cheated, but the more I read on, the more information I gleaned from the tutorial. Now very few of us will have a need to warp a photo into some grotesque monster, but knowing how to utilize the tools precisely and get the effect we are looking for is just another bit of Photoshop ammunition in our arsenal of tricks.

The book comes with a CD with every tutorial in the book as well as project files. Watch the movies. Russell's presentation is just incredible. You won't believe it when you watch. This guy is CRAZY! The movies are in QuickTime format and well done, but it's Russell's presentation that is the highlight. CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!

Everyone can learn something from this book. It's not difficult for a brand new user to understand and follow along with, and it's not basic at all (it just looks that way) so experienced users will be able to learn a thing or two.



COW Rating: I found the book an easy one night read, well presented examples, and solid information. I didn't like the one tutorial taking up half the book, even though there was some good information presented. It's tough to write an original Photoshop book these days. So many people have covered so much about the program. Russell has certainly taken the subject and presented it in a VERY original manner. All in all, I'd recommend The Photoshop Show Starring Russell Brown to anyone who uses Photoshop on a regular or irregular basis. It's another book that should be kept on your shelf for reference.

3 1/2 cows





Jim Harvey

JHV Digital



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