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Adobe Photoshop CS2 Workflow

The Digital Photographer's Guide By John Virata

Adobe Photoshop CS 2 Workflow is a 288 page, four part, 14 chapter book that assist you in building a digital workflow for your digital photographic endeavors in Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements and other versions of Photoshop. The book is unique from other Photoshop books in that it enables you create a workflow that you can stick to and revise accordingly so you are successful in your digital imaging and enhancement techniques.

Within this review, we'll look at some of the topics in the first several chapters of the book. For more, you've got to buy the book. Chapter 1, Workflow Foundation; Chapter 2, Download and Sort; and Chapter 3, RAW conversion comprise the first part of the book.

Chapter 1: Workflow Foundation discusses the importance of having a workflow to take on your digital images. Grey discusses the layer-based workflow and how it helps to keep your options open when manipulating your images. Grey also maintains that a workflow is not laid in stone, but rather a living entity that evolves as you learn more techniques within Photoshop. establishing a workflow, Grey says, will help you to will help you become more efficient, so much so that you won't have to stop and think what your next step is. In addition, you'll spend less time in front of the computer processing images and more time outside capturing more images.

Chapter 2: Download and Sort covers the topic of downloading your images from media cards to the computer. Grey details how to create a usable folder structure that enables you to sort and arrange your images in a fashion that makes it easy to retrieve the images when you need to. Archiving is also discussed in this chapter as well, and Grey recommends that you archive your images immediately after you download them. While Grey notes that CD and DVD media are popular format mediums for digital images, he recommends that you archive to an external hard disk drive and use that drive exclusively as your backup drive. Grey also gives instructions on how to use image download programs such as Downloader Pro, the Windows XP Scanner and Camera Wizard, and the Adobe Photo Downloader found in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Grey also discusses how to manually copy images from the media cards using your operating systems file system, and reformatting your media cards. Here Grey recommends reformatting the media cards in the camera rather than reformatting with the operating system. He cites the faster response from the camera's internal reformatting mechanism as well as the removal of accumulated file junk in the card's file system, as well as potential conflicts when the media card is reformatted via the operating system.

Sorting Images with the Adobe Bridge in Photoshop CS 2 follows, with discussion of the Light Table Analogy that worked well with slides. A sorting strategy is detailed with several key points: 1 Rotate vertical images; 2. Discard bad images; 3. Select images that you will keep; and 4. Organize images. Other detailed discussions include setting up of the palette in Adobe Bridge, Lightbox view, preview view, and switching between the views. Labels and ratings are also discussed. Both are flags of sorts that enable you to determine the ranking of the images in the Bridge. Ratings use a star system while labels use a color coded label. You determine each image's significance. Reviewing Images for Evaluation. Grey points out that while the Bridge is good for organizing images and sorting out the wheat from the chafe, to view the images and their greater detail, you open them in Photoshop and use the tools in Photoshop to further review them. Grey discusses the use of the zoom tool for this purpose, as you can evaluate important aspects of an image such as image sharpness. The most used keyboard shortcuts are also detailed here, as is a primer on printing contact sheets.

Chapter 3: RAW Conversion This chapter discusses the benefits of the RAW file format that Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements  supports. Included are discussions on white balance, exposure errors and how to fix them in RAW, high bit data, converting with Camera RAW, working and changing the Camera RAW settings, the navigation tools in Camera RAW, and the adjustment tools in Camera RAW, including White Balance presets and White Balance Tools, Temperature and Tint Sliders, Tonal adjustments, Exposure, Shadows, Brightness, and Contrast. Advanced options covered include Noise Reduction, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting, and Calibration. Sprinkled throughout each chapter are notes that are color coded differently to ensure that they catch your eye as you read the book. These notes include a lot of personal recommendations by the author. The final section includes detailed instructions on Batch Conversion in Camera RAW and Archiving RAW Captures.

As I read this book, I've come to realize how much digital photographers such as myself can benefit from it. My digital photography workflow could use a serious tuneup and this book is a great guide to get me on my way to creating a workflow that works, because right now, my workflow is in disarray. I've got many gigabytes of images residing in folders on several computers, various CD and DVD discs, and even a hard drive that I've dedicated as a media drive. I wouldn't be able to find images from last summer's vacation if I tried.

Click here to purchase book
The chapters that follow Part 1 include Chapter 4: Rotate and Crop; Chapter 5: Basic Tone and Color; Chapter 6: Image Cleanup; Chapter 7: Advanced Tonal Adjustments; Chapter 8: Advanced Color Adjustment; Chapter 9: Making Selections; Chapter 10: Targeted Adjustments; Chapter 11: Creative Adjustments; Chapter 12: Saving Files; Chapter 13: Workflow Automation; and Chapter 14: Output Processing. There is a lot covered in this book, and the images in the book can be downloaded so you can follow along with the lessons that are covered in the book. While there are enough books on Photoshop to fill an entire aisle of your local mega bookstore, Photoshop CS2 Workflow takes a different approach that not only teaches you how to use some of the tools in the application, but teaches you how to optimize your workflow so you can spend more time shooting digital photographs and less time futzing with them in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop CS2 Workflow: The Digital Photographer's Guide
By Tim Grey
Sybex Publishing $39.99 U.S.

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
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