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Digital Imaging Essential Skills Third Edition

By John Virata

Digital Imaging Essential Skills Third Edition is a tricky title given that the essential skills are devoted to the use of Photoshop CS, CS2, and Photoshop Elements. Nowhere on the front cover is the application mentioned. However, given that Adobe's Photoshop tools dominate the landscape for image editing, the authors maintain that the book is not an Adobe manual. And it isn't. It is a well thought out guide on the digital imaging process. . . using Photoshop CS, CS2 and Elements.

The book is comprised of three main segments; The foundation module, application module, and workflows module. Each of these modules covers specific topics relevant to imaging with Adobe's editing applications; Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CS and CS2. Not only do the authors write about the topics, but they also show you how to make use of them via projects. Each topic includes a hands on project to better familiarize the user with the Photoshop workflow.

The foundation module is more of a primer on digital technologies with a brief discussion on film versus digital. It is written to give you a sense of how digital technologies capture the data that make up a photographic image. The six chapters in the foundation module include Foundations, Digital Capture, Digital negatives, Platforms and Output Devices, Color Management, and Image Adjustment.

Foundation topics include an introduction to the digital imaging process, channels and modes, levels, hue saturation, and brightness, color and light overview, bit depth and mode, file size, resolution, understanding resolution, and image size. Digital Capture includes image formation, image sensor characteristics, image sensor types, how a sensor creates an image, types of digital camera, and choosing a digital camera. Digital Negatives covers the RAW file format, and includes the following topics; processing RAW data, processing activity, white balance, tonal adjustments, noise reduction and sharpening, choosing a bit depth, and choosing a color space.

Platforms and Output devices
This section helps you to understand the hardware devices that will help you as you embark on your digital imaging endeavors. The topics discussed in this section include storage choices, including external and mobile storage devices, film, drum, and flatbed scanners, and how a flatbed scanner works, and the various options in printer technology to output your images.

Color Management
This section delves into the world of color management and understanding the issues associated with color management. You'll get an understanding of how the color process works in the digital domain, how to work in a color managed workflow, and how to create a personal target file for output. Topic sections include what is a color space, color gamuts, how does RGB relate to CMYK, color concepts in practice,  applying color management, and hardware calibration.

Image Adjustments
This section is hands with tutorials that walk you through preparing an image for print and for the Web. The steps to this tutorial include image capture, cropping an image, tonal adjustments, color adjustments, cleaning an image, sharpening an image, saving a modified file, and experimenting with levels.

The Application Module covers image enhancement, post production, and presentations. Image enhancement topics include Advanced cropping and sizing techniques, advanced levels controls, target values, shadows and highlights, and advanced sharpening techniques. Post production covers black and white, toning, creative depth of field, tonal contraction, and digital montage. Presentations explains the contact sheet, picture package, screen presentations, creating a slide background, creating a web photo gallery, and creating a panorama using Photomerge. This module features 14 projects so you can actually get hands on experience with the topics discussed.

The workflows module features the following sections; Capture workflows, file handling workflows, managed workflows, and printing and prepress. Capture Workflow topics include digital camera controls, file format, camera noise, white balance, setting up the camera, creative use of sharpening, remote camera software, and capture workflow decisions. This section features two projects, Setting up the camera and creative use of sharpening. File Handling Workflows discusses the image management capabilities in Photoshop. Topics discussed include image browsing, metadata, archiving captured images, and applying workflow actions to folders. Two projects in this section include archiving captured images, and applying workflow actions to folders.

Managed Workflows topics include setting up a closed loop workflow, using profiles in a managed workflow, how to set up an ICC profile based system, color settings for Photoshop, color management for Elements, color management policies for Photoshop, and creating a target image. The two projects in this section include setting up a closed loop workflow, and creating a target image.

Printing and prepress is devoted to preparing and printing your images for the various devices available. A discussion of inks and papers is also featured in this section. Topics include closed loop printing to an RGB device, managed printing to an RGB device, and managed printing to a CMYK device The included CD-ROM features video tutorials, images used in the tutorials in the book, Adobe presets, PDF files and image resources via the web links.

Digital Imaging Essential Skills Third Edition covers a lot of ground as shown in the lists above. What this book does is effectively combine the essential topics of digital imaging to make you successful with your endeavors with some real world projects to cut your teeth on. The book is in full color and provides a lot of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements screen shots to ensure the points are well understood.

Digital Imaging Essential Skills Third Edition by Mark Galer and Les Horvat
Focal Press
316 pages
CD-ROM included

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