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Photoshop for Nonlinear Editors

Certified Adobe Photoshop Expert Richard Harrington's new book is invaluable By Douglas Spotted Eagle
Douglas Spotted Eagle, VASST trainer,
Sundance Media Group
Richard Harrington's newest book on Adobe's Photoshop and its uses for nonlinear editing is much needed in the ever expanding market of DV editors and production.

Cutting through the mysteries of photo editing, aspect ratios, transparency, alpha channels, titling, etc are all a big part of what makes this book great. I found myself staying up late into the night reading this nearly 300-page book filled with color graphics throughout, finding tidbits and full-on approaches to creating great titles and stills in NLE systems. Richard Harrington is a certified Adobe Photoshop Expert, among other credentials such as being a certified Avid instructor, Final Cut Pro instructor, and faculty member at the Art Institute of Washington.

The book is loaded with tutorials, such as how to correct aspect ratio, how various aspect ratios look in different NLE systems, photo editors, and output tools. My favorite tutorials are probably those on masking and creating ripped edges. Sometimes it's very easy to get caught up in working with just one application, and forgetting that Adobe's Photoshop can bring some serious creative muscle to the table. This book reminded me of that muscle in a very loud way! I woke up this morning with my head screaming ideas after reading this book.

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Creating DVD menus, motion-worthy graphics, titles, color correction and much more are covered. This is by no means a 'starter book' or primer, but manages to include the beginning videographer in its presentation as well. The end tutorials cover fairly high-end practices for the tool, and also includes uses of Photoshop actions and properties in After Effects and other tools such as Adobe Premiere, Boris FX, Sonic Foundry's Vegas, Avid's systems, and Final Cut Pro.

One of the highlights of the book are the in-depth profiles of creative mavens like Angie Taylor, Glen Stephens, Lianne Rozzell, and other monsters of video tools, authoring, creativity, and award-winning projects. Most of the artists profiled offer their own tips and tricks regarding image creation and manipulation.

Subjects like font management, what fonts to use for what types of projects, getting the most out of fonts and their angles, lighting, paths, colors, and over all presentation are covered in depth. Repairing poor photos, creatively using weak media, creating video backgrounds, using various filters for effect, and automating effects and tasks in Photoshop are all covered in depth with lots of pictures to go along with the tutorials and descriptive elements of the book.

At no point does Harrington assume anything about the end user, other than that they are using Photoshop 6.0 or newer. (A demo version of Photoshop 7 is included with the book.) His approach is very simplistic in words, but complex in capability and end result.

Following the tutorials is very easy, once the Mac-only images are related to the PC structure. In fact, this is the only fallible portion of the book that I can point to, is that Harrington assumes that all PC users will be able to quickly make those translations from the Mac screen to the PC screen. Behaviors are the same in the two platforms and Photoshop, but keystrokes and GUI are slightly different. It might have been slightly more useful if in each keystroke example that both Mac and PC instructions were given.

Harrington provides some very helpful tips on creating, coloring, placing corporate and other logo formats. This deep section was particularly useful to me, as I'd been stumped on creating and placing a logo 'bug' in a video corner for a client, having trouble making colors stand out while still being transparent on the screen. Harrington points the way to keeping colors present in most any situation.

More than 90 minutes of tutorials, plugins, demoware, articles, exercises, and tryout software found on the DVD in the back of the book make this publication worth the price of admission alone. At $54.95, it's easily one of the no-brainer 'add-to-my-library' books of the decade.
There is strong coverage of creative use of, and creating 3D graphics for NLE use, as well as prepping files for motion graphics. There is also heavy coverage of third party plugins, some of which come on the DVD included with the book. Dozens of projects come with the DVD as well, all of which can be altered for use in your own project. There are over 90 minutes of video tutorials, all very useful. For me, one of the most useful tutorials on the DVD was how to create a grid in Photoshop. I've known a couple methods of achieving this for a while, but Harrington walked me through it in just a couple steps, with a method I'd never considered. The video tutorials are concise, and he doesn't fly the mouse around too quickly as many visual tutorials do. Harrington is steady, deliberate, and gives enough time for the editor/viewer to watch what he's doing. Helpful on-screen titling makes this a snap to follow, although again, the PC user is somewhat ignored. Occasionally, Harrington will comment on a PC shortcut or keystroke, but by and large, it's deigned for Mac users only. However, only on rare occasion is this an issue, as screenshots of the Mac version of Photoshop are very much the same as the PC version, so it's usually quite fast and easy to follow. But it is worth noting.

Overall, just the DVD alone is worth the price of admission on this book. I'm somewhat surprised to see it so inexpensive, given the plugins, video tutorials, demo ware, and articles found on the DVD in addition to the wonderfully illustrated pages of the book. This is clearly a strong labor of love for Richard Harrington, as it's a lengthy book packed with zero fluff, and solid information that every NLE owner should have, and every user of Photoshop period should have access to. Were it not for the Mac-only approach to this book, I'd easily give it a 5 out of 5, but that factor brings it to a 4 out of 5 for me.

A sample chapter of the book may be downloaded here in pdf format.

  • Photoshop for Nonlinear Editors by Richard Harrington 2003
  • 302 pages + DVD containing 90 minutes of instructional video, tutorials, plugins, demoware
  • $54.95 Available at all booksellers
  • CMP Books
  • Readers will need Photoshop 6 or newer to get the most out of the tutorials and exercises. A demo version of Photoshop 7 is included in the DVD that accompanies the book.

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DOUGLAS SPOTTED EAGLE, Managing Producer Douglas Spotted Eagle is an audio and video pro. He is a Grammy recipient with DuPont, Peabody, and Telly awards lining his studio; he is also a participant/producer in multiple Emmy Award winning productions.

Douglas is the Managing Producer for Sundance Media Group, Inc. and VASST, authoring several books and DVDs and serving as a trainer and consultant for videographers, software manufacturers and broadcasters. He is the author or co-author of several digital media titles including Digital Video Basics (VASST), The FullHD (VASST), and Vegas Editing Workshop (Focal Press) among many others.

Douglas is an accomplished aerial photographer who thrives in the adrenaline-filled world of fast-action videography. He remains active as a multimedia producer, trainer, and presenter, utilizing the latest technology as part of his workflow.

Related Keywords:Photoshop, Nonlinear, editing , Richard Harrington, photo editing, aspect ratios, transparency, alpha channels, titling

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