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Review: How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3

How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3 [LINK]
Steve Caplin [LINK]
Focal Press [LINK]
Reviewed by
Kevin L. Kitchens
Review Publication Date
October 05, 2007

We’ve all seen them. Photographic montages that are so well done they make you believe that what you’re seeing really happened. Some journalists have even gotten in big trouble recently for doctoring images. In his book “How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3,” author Steve Caplin teaches you not only the technical skills necessary but also the artistic discernment to create realistic and believable combinations of photos.

Each concise section is well laid out with step by step graphics and minimal text.
Cheat could be more accurately called “The Quick and Dirty, Advanced Tutorial to Photoshop.” Though this fourth edition is geared to CS3, the latest release – almost all the lessons are applicable to earlier versions of Photoshop as well. If something does not pertain to a certain version, it is noted in a sidebar. The lessons are neatly arranged and most cover only two facing pages of the book. Step-by-step color pictures show you exactly what your result should be after performing the stated action.

The author
nudges you
out of
the nest,
you fly on
your own.

Caplin begins with the fundamentals, showing you how each tool is used and then proceeds to show you real examples of when each tool should be used. More than robotically saying “Do A., Do B., Do C.” in rote fashion, you learn the thought processes of why some tools work better than others. As the book progresses, some assumptions of your progression are made, so the author gradually nudges you out of the nest, letting you fly on your own. But no fear, references back to previous lessons guide you to refresher material. Keystrokes are presented for both Mac and PC, which is nice, since many books tell you once how to convert the keystrokes and then show only one or the other throughout.

The book flows like a series of magazine articles. As noted, each lesson is short and heavy on content while being light on verbosity. After a brief introduction to the lesson the steps (normally 12 or more) are presented in visual detail, with the captions telling you what to do. Interspersed every few chapters are some of the Caplin’s insights into the world of image creation and manipulation, which I found to be a nice break from the pure learning. These interludes are like having a chat with your teacher before getting back to work.

But pure photographers would never use such “cheats” in their work! Perhaps not, but again we fall back to the when and why of using the tools versus the how. I learned more about using Photoshop successfully from the first few chapters of Cheat than I had in months of just playing around with it. So while you may not apply the tools in the same manner to your photography, you won’t find a better source for learning the tools themselves.

"How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3" is highly recommended by photographyvoice.com. It includes a DVD with 300+ high resolution images in addition to more than two hours of video instruction. The book retails for $39.95 (US).

Find out for yourself:
Buy "How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3" from Amazon.com

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