Book Review: Page (1) of 1 - 03/29/08 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook


Matt Kloskowski peels away the layers of Photoshop By Ko Maruyama
Matt Kloskowski is a Photoshop guru who you can watch and listen to while you're near your computer, but he has also written 4 books - for when you just can't get enough software tricks and you can't get near your computer.  Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature is now available as a digital download.

You can either download the book or purchase the printed version.  Personally I think you'd be fine with the printed version - - it's easier to mark up, and make notes in the margins.  The download version is a little bit smaller - and you won't be eating trees in order to learn about Photoshop's layers.  Either way, the new book is an absolute must for anyone who wants to take advantage of the main benefit of Photoshop: Layers.

This book focuses on the layers of Photoshop.  Not like you wouldn't get that from the title - you probably would.  What you might want to take a minute to appreciate is that Adobe Photoshop's layer feature can easily fill a whole book - without even going into depth on its other tools.  While Matt does describe some of the other features in the software; you'd have to when talking about the potential of layers.

One of the really excellent topics that Matt covers well is a review of transfer modes.  Whether you know them as "transfer modes", "blend modes", just "Multiply, Screen, Overlay and those other ones", or even if you've never experienced these swanky modes at all, these are key to making some dynamic layering.

Each chapter ends with an overview quiz which helps you to figure out whether you've been able to grasp the contents of the previous chapter.  These quizzes also serve to give you little tips and shortcuts which will help you to get more out of Photoshop as a whole.

Having used Photoshop for several years myself, I was surprised to find that there were a couple of pages which made me think - "Hey, that's a great idea!" even when it was a simple procedure.  While the book focuses on Photoshop's layers, there are also some other tools that are covered to show off the power of the layer functions.   As with so many procedures in Adobe's products, there are often multiple ways to achieve a specific look or design.  A concise book like this one can't hope to cover all possible alternative paths to design, but Matt will give you an understanding of the fundamental properties  of layers, and allow you to explore all of the possibilities they hold.

Beginners and intermediate Photoshop users will find many gems in the layers of this book.  If you're an advanced Photoshop user, you might want to strongly suggest the book to one of your coworkers who might not be as skilled as you are - then take look inside.

If you want to take a look at a sample chapter from Matt's book, check out PEACHPIT PUBLISHING online at:

Become a Peachpit member and save on your book purchases.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
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