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Jim Harvey reviews Photoshop 7 Down & Dirty Tricks by Scott Kelby

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Jim Harvey reviews Down & Dirty Tricks by Scott Kelby
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review


Jim Harvey takes a look at Down & Dirty Tricks by Scott Kelby

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 Photoshop 7: Down & Dirty Tricks by Scott Kelby. ~ This book is published by New Riders. Read why Jim says, "...if you are looking for an easy to understand book, with tutorials that won't take you all night to complete, then the Photoshop 7: Down & Dirty Tricks book should find its way to your library.."


Click here to order Down & Dirty Tricks from amazon.comA while back I reviewed another Photoshop book (The Photoshop WOW! Book) and gave it the highest marks. It was truly a treasure trove of information, but much of it was fairly advanced, although superbly presented.

Photoshop 7: Down & Dirty Tricks is the book that people should read BEFORE they read the WOW book. Author Scott Kelby takes the reader on a "12 step program" (none of the tutorials go farther than 12 steps to completion) that will give the new Photoshop user a nice grounding in how to create special and interesting images in Photoshop.

The book consists of 8 chapters each dealing with a different set of effects or techniques. Kelby begins with some type effects, basic stroke on type, embossed effects, the carved in stone look etc. Not exactly cutting edge stuff, but for someone just getting their feet wet with PS, it certainly gives them an idea of what is available to them.

The other chapters cover, drop shadow techniques, photographic effects, metal and chrome effects, advertising effects, and a section on interface design that while not nearly as sophisticated as the interface designs of Ryan Lacdao (www.eyeball-design.com), takes the reader step by step through the basics of the creation of a hi-tech interface.

Chapter one deals with Type Effects. Covering a handful of techniques from basic emboss to perspective 3D type, it does have a couple of fresh techniques, particularly the distressed type and a very nice Light Burst effect that's reminiscent of Trapcode's Shine Plug in for video. And if you can explain Gel Type in six steps, that's pretty good!

Chapter 2 deals with Drop Shadow techniques and although it's just a short section, it's worth a look for the Matrix Shadow effect alone. There is a lot of potential in that one effect, and Kelby explains it nicely.

Chapter 3 deals in Photographic effects and except for the mapping texture to a person tutorial, left me kind of flat. The examples seemed to be a little too basic for a real "Down & Dirty Tricks" book. and they seemed a little uninspired as well. "Soft Edged Portrait backgrounds" is just a little too grade 1 for a book like this.


Chapter 4, Metal & Chrome effects had the requisite text to chrome techniques that again, were borderline basic. With all the custom actions that are available, working hard on chrome seems to be an unproductive endeavor. However, KNOWING how to make chrome is certainly a valuable bit of knowledge, so Kelby's explanations have a value there.

The chapter on Advertising effects is my favorite in this book. Here you will find some new and creative techniques that will certainly add to your arsenal of Photoshop weaponry, and with some time and a little tweaking of methods on your part, you can develop some very interesting styles of your own.

All throughout the book, there are margin notes that have some little tip or hint or trick. Read These carefully and you will see the true value of the book. The tutorials are there and easy to follow, but the real meat of this book in my opinion, is the notes on the page borders. Here Kelby spills the beans on the REAL tricks in Photoshop.

Writing a Photoshop book has got to be one of the most daunting efforts to undertake. There is SO much good information out there that to sustain a book on the subject is no easy feat. While the book fell short of "Blowing me away", Kelby does do a nice job of offering some different techniques that will certainly help a new user become more comfortable with Photoshop and hopefully lead them to explore the program more deeply.

.

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COW Rating: If you are an experienced Photoshop user, you may be disappointed with this book, but if you are looking for an easy to understand book, with tutorials that won't take you all night to complete, then the Photoshop 7: Down & Dirty Tricks book should find its way to your library

3 1/2 cows for new users
Experienced users will be familiar with most of the techniques presented here





Jim Harvey

JHV Digital



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