The Essential Digital Manipulation Manual for Photographers, by Mike Crawford, ISBN: 2-940378-01-0

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, July 2006
Published by: RotoVision
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$29.95, UK£25.00

Mike Crawford is a photographer and an expert printer with a masters degree in the history of photography from the prestigious London School of Printing. His work has appeared in exhibitions, on book and record covers and has also been featured in some the world’s top photography magazines. He also produces a lot of stock photography and writes excellent photography books. He currently lives in Cologne, Germany.

The Essential Digital Manipulation Manual is an excellent book which doesn't try to be everything to everyone. It begins by very briefly delving into the technology used in digital imaging and photography and it then jumps into Photoshop. The first section dealing with Adobe Photoshop, covers a whole range of techniques and tools and explores some of the things imageers and photographers will be doing on a daily basis. I was somewhat disappointed in the example provided to demonstrate the use of the selection tools mainly because the end result seemed a little on the soft side.


The next section, which is entitled The Digital Darkroom, deals with techniques which echo many of the processes used in traditional darkrooms. Techniques including dodging & burning, creating composites, the use of gradient and digital black & white techniques are clearly handled.

The next section is Beyond the Digital Darkroom. It expands upon some of the techniques already covered and adds several new ones. Of all the techniques featured, I found that I most enjoyed the coverage of the artistic and graphic filters and effects, especially the Comic Strip, Cut Out and Sketch filters. It was here that I found the examples really shone. Crawford has done an excellent job of selecting the right image to demonstrate the effect he wanted to convey. The book is completed by coverage of output and storage media, color management, presentation and file handling.

Having worked with tools like Photoshop and all of its competitors for a long time now, I was eager to see what this book had to offer. I enjoyed the time I spent looking through it, first for the images in it and subsequently to find out more about how those images were created.

Cons: Would have like to see more in depth coverage of digital technology and workflow. A couple of the examples were poor.

Pros: Clean design, layout and writing. Although not encyclopedic in its coverage, it certainly fits the bill. Excellent coverage of the techniques involved in digital manipulation. Generally superb use of examples. Mike Crawford has done an excellent job of selecting the images for the book and in choosing the techniques to feature. I've seen very few books which succeed in consistently using examples which best demonstrate the techniques being featured, and with a few exceptions this is one which does. All told this is an excellent book and one which I actually felt helped to clarify for me the use of several filters in Photoshop. The careful and clearly explanatory language in the book and the examples selected make this an eminently approachable title for readers of all levels. Highly recommended for all photographers who work with digital technologies.

KSN Product Rating:

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