Book Review: Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less

[Photoshop CS box cover]What if you’re fairly new to Adobe Photoshop and want a helpful book to give you a good introduction to its many features? What if you’ve used Photoshop for awhile but you’d like a book to help you explore more? What if you’re an advanced Photoshop user who’d like a helpful Photoshop reference that can provide quick answers and covers all of Photoshop’s features? Adobe Photoshop CS in 10 Simple Steps or Less, by Micah Laaker and Christopher Schmitt, is an outstanding new book that I wholeheartedly recommend.

[Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less, by Micah Laaker and Christopher Schmitt. Wiley, 2004.] Christopher Schmitt and Micah Laaker each bring plenty of prior authoring experience to Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less. They are both well-respected Photoshop experts, award-winning designers, and creative experts. Their combined experience shows throughout the entire book in its high quality and easy-to-understand writing and examples.

Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less contains almost 600 pages of easy-to-follow “Tasks” covering every or nearly every feature in Photoshop CS. While not intending to cover Photoshop in tremendous depth or help you create an entire project, this new book on Photoshop CS is a terrific reference tool to quickly and easily find out how to use all of Photoshop’s features. It’s also helpful for exploring and discovering less familiar features.

Although more geared for beginners and intermediate users to Photoshop, I can see Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less being a helpful reference for advanced Photoshop users, too. Christopher Schmitt and Micah Laaker achieve the book’s goal to serve as “an indispensable reference, ready to provide you with quick-to-follow, easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions.”

Open Photoshop CS in 10 Steps or Less anywhere and you’ll see a complete “Task” in 10 steps or less on the two open pages, which the back cover describes as a “self-contained two-page spread.” Each Task is concisely written, easy to understand, and includes plenty of screenshots, examples, tips, and cross-references.

Want to learn more about using paths or pick up some tips on Photoshop’s selection tools? The easy-to-follow 275 tasks are logically organized by type of task into 17 sections to make finding what you need easy and fast:

  • Part 1: Photoshop Basics
  • Part 2: The Work Area
  • Part 3: Color Essentials
  • Part 4: Color Adjustments
  • Part 5: Selections
  • Part 6: Path Essentials
  • Part 7: Transformations
  • Part 8: Painting Essentials
  • Part 9: Advanced Painting Techniques
  • Part 10: Channels and Masks
  • Part 11: Layer Essentials
  • Part 12: Layer Styles and Shape Layers
  • Part 13: Type
  • Part 14: Filters
  • Part 15: Automations
  • Part 16: Print Essentials
  • Part 17: For the Web: ImageReady

A minor little point is that I wish the Table of Contents noted the Tasks that cover new or improved features in Photoshop CS or that an Appendices at the back listed them all with their corresponding Tasks. I’d love to check out the Tasks that specifically cover new or improved features and tools. New or improved features and tools are noted within most of their corresponding Tasks, though. You’ll also find a list of new features with corresponding Tasks at the book’s companion site on the book’s description page under What’s new in Photoshop cs? Very helpful!

My other minor little wish is for the helpful screenshots and examples to be printed in color within the book. While the black-and-white image quality in the book is pretty good, I found I could get a better perspective when I instead used the downloadable color images via the online companion site. At the same time, I understand the much higher cost of printing in color. The publisher is able to offer this massive book and incredibly helpful reference for a suggested retail price of only US $24.99, which I find an incredible value.

Christopher Schmitt and Micah Laaker did an exceptional job of covering a vast amount of material in a concise, easy-to-follow, user-friendly way. It’s so easy to find everything, and the simple instructions provide enough information to get you started with each of Photoshop’s tools and features. Whether new to Photoshop or an advanced professional, just about anyone interested in Photoshop can benefit from having Photoshop in 10 Simple Steps or Less as a handy reference.

Be sure to also visit the book’s online companion at Christopher Schmitt’s website where you can check out the Table of Contents, download artwork from the book, visit related resources, and learn more about this fantastic book.

05:08 pm, pdt 3 July, 2004 Comments, Trackbacks (1) ·';}?>

Categories: Books, Design, Graphics, Photography, Photoshop, Reviews, Software


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  1. A great review for a book that happens to be perfect for those who are new to Adobe Photoshop. If you are an advanced user, don't let the title turn you off. Shirley E. Kaiser mentions that this book is...

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