Things change in Photoshop often and if I’m asked about a previous version I’ll often have look it up, I have a terrible memory for when things were introduced. More importantly I never claim to know everything about Photoshop so I’m grateful theres a handy reference close to hand. TipSquirrel, of course, is always my first go to resource but for those little bits and bobs I’m not too sure about I’ll reach for the bookshelf.
When Three Become One
For me there’s been three books I have had, Photoshop 1 On 1 by Deke McClelland, Understanding Adobe Photoshop by Rich Harrington and Photoshop : The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider. Each bought a different look at Photoshop from different perspectives. Dekes a graphic designer, Rich a filmmaker and Lesa a stock photographer. Ok I’ve simplified it, they’re multi-skilled people, but you get the idea.
Its sad (and perhaps a sign of the times?) that Photoshop 1 on 1 and Understanding Adobe Photoshop are no longer in print, but its a blessing that The Missing Manual is still available and the Photoshop CC has just been released in it’s second edition.
This manual is a massive 956 pages long and weighs in a 1.5kg, not a book you’ll want to sit and read holding up, but its ok as a reference on your desk or for dropping onto the desk during an argument. The problem with books this size is keeping the beggers open at the right page while you reference it and work along. My non scientific tests reveal it’ll sit open of its own accord from page 185 until page 770, then it just wants to keep closing itself and requires an object on its edge.
There is a Kindle version, and I’ve had a previous version in electronic form and this works well and if you’re used to this format. For me, it was OK, but having the book to thumb through and randomly read something that catches my eye is still the way forward.
Words and Pictures
Like me you’ve probably bought photography and Photoshop books only to find that half the content is unnecessarily large images, this annoys me terribly, but with The Missing Manual this goliath has the emphasis on instruction and information that’s illustrated with images where necessary. To my mind it strikes the balance well and just shows the amount of information included.
The Target Audience
As stated at the beginning of this piece, I’ve had The Missing Manual for some time and I like to think I’m not too shabby with Photoshop, I’m a certified Adobe Expert don’t you know, but I still refer to this book. So, you need to know a bit before reading? Not at all! As the name and marketing suggests this is the ‘Book that should have been in the box’, and is a guide for everyone, however new or experienced they are with Photoshop. Someone should tell O’Reilly that CC no longer come in a box though, that’s SO last decade.
What’s The Tone Y’all?
Ok, every time I mention Lesa I say ‘y’all’ and its wearing a bit thin, but I justify it by suggesting this is the only thing missing from her writing. Anyone that’s seen Lesa on her Creative Live courses or have seen her live will know that she has a wonderful tone and teaching manner and this really comes through in this book too. There’s nothing patronising, nothing you feel you can’t do, just honest to goodness information and guidance. Hot-diggerty! (Sorry)
Content Is Key
As you might expect, this manual takes the reader from opening Photoshop and making a Workspace through Masks, Creative Effects, video and 3D , it really is as comprehensive as the name and weight suggests. As before Lesa has separated the content into several parts, to help you dive into the bit you’re most interested in. Like previous incarnations, I find this book most helpful as a reference, but if you’re new to Photoshop you’ll be able to work through it page by page and come out the end an accomplished Photoshop User.
If you’ve read the above you’ll already know that I recommend all Photoshop users have a copy of Photoshop The Missing Manual to hand, if you think you know all there is to know about Photoshop, you don’t know Photoshop. Currently selling for £32.50 at Amazon with the less weighty, but not quite as accessible Kindle version at £24.71.
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