New Masters Of Photoshop

by Joe Gillespie — Dec 1, 2001

Friends of Ed books are well known and highly regarded by designers who use Macromedia Flash. Now, they have turned their focus on Adobe Photoshop and the recently published New Masters of Photoshop shows every sign of meeting with similar success.

If you are new to Photoshop and its many wonders and are looking for an instant tutorial, this is probably not the book for you. It makes no pretensions about being a shortcut to Photoshop proficiency, as some others do. This is a book about people and their work.

Taking examples from nineteen Photoshop 'Masters' who are photographers, animators, artists and designers working in a wide range of media and styles for print and screen, the book examines their thoughts and techniques, where they get their inspiration from and how they carry it through to the final .PSD file.

As the book points out, good ideas come from the head not from applying push-button filters. It is packed with articles, illustrations, photographs and screenshots and is accompanied by a CD-ROM with audio and video interviews, source files for the tutorials and multi-layer Photoshop files that you can open and examine on your own computer.

I am a great believer in 'playing with light' and I would particularly recommend Jens Magnus Karlsson's chapter called just 'Light'. Jens uses a combination of Adobe Illustrator and 3D Studio Max renderings that are then modified with Photoshop to build amazingly believable surreal environments. He demonstrates that by using gaussian blurs, colorizing, layer opacity and other techniques, you too can weave such wizardry bringing images to life on the screen.

And from the surreal to the super-real. Colin Smith walks us through the processes involved in drawing a photographically realistic SLR camera with its satin chrome body and black anodised metal and textured rubber lens. Using gradient fills, soft-edged masking and Photoshop's lighting effects, he captures all the nuances of an expert airbrush artist - but in a tiny fraction of the time. These particular tips have a lot of mileage.

At the opposite extreme from hard-edge reality, Eun-Ha Paek produces images for animation in Photoshop in a soft, painterly style that betrays little of their computer origin. Using color, texture and free-flowing imagery she demonstrates what a versatile and indispensable tool Photoshop really is.

There isn't much to criticise about this book, the content and information is excellent. I do feel that given the very high standards of subject matter, the actual book design and typography lets it down a bit and unfortunately, the interactive section of the CD-ROM just did not work for me at all.

As with all such books, it's not cheap, but the information in it is priceless. Maybe a little note to Santa Claus...

New Master of Flash - The 2002 Annual
Publisher Friends of Ed
Price $59.99 Amazon $41.99
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