Photoshop 7 at Your Fingertips: Get In, Get Out, Get Exactly What You Need

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, send e-mail
Published by: Sybex Publishers, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$40.00

Besides the statement in the title, the cover of this book also claims that it's the "Photoshop Reference You've Been Waiting For." Is it? It could well be!

This book is undoubtedly a reference work - a beautiful one. The page layouts are well thought out. The font, the graphics, the screen capture images are top-notch publishing and desktop publishing reference works of art. That said, and besides being pretty, the questions are still whether the book is worth forty dollars and does it accomplish what it's designed to do? That is, is this book the one reference for Photoshop 7 that you'll always want at your fingertips? Let's take a look.

The 541 pages in this selection from the new wave of Sybex graphic books are intelligently divided by tasks. The five major task divisions are Photoshop Workspace, Universal Photoshop Tasks, Print Tasks, Web Tasks and finally Digital Imaging Tasks. These divisions are image marked on the side of every page and bleed to the outside edge so with the book closed you can pick it up and go right to the task without going to the index or table of contents - if you have remembered the division order.

This book is not an instruction book. It does not, like some of the simple books out there for those just learning the program, take you through a step-by-step process to manipulate a specific photograph through a series of basic processes. On the other hand, it still works for beginners in that it describes the fundamental tasks, what they're supposed to do and the various features associated with each task. The descriptions are exactly what I want in a quick reference book. In addition, for intermediate users, there are shortcuts and improved ways to accomplish tasks. Advanced users are also not left out as this book provides information on all the improvements in the latest version of Photoshop. This allows advanced users to stay at the cutting edge of their field.

Let me give you one example of the value of this book. At some point after installing Photoshop you'll want to change or set your program preferences. Choosing Preferences in the drop down menu gives you nine tab screens with multiple choices and multiple checkboxes. Instead of hours digging through the user manual or searching the online help system for the definition of what a check box is supposed to do, this book gives you a picture of the screen and a description of every choice and every checkbox. This whole book is like that.

So, I highly recommend Photoshop 7 at Your Fingertips. It does exactly what the cover and the advertisements states. It's easy to get in, get out and get exactly what you need. It's the Photoshop reference I've been waiting for, that's for sure!

Okay, it's not all honey. There is one minor, tiny, itsy-bitsy little thing that I didn't like. All the screen capture shots are off the program running on a MAC. I know there's not much of a difference between the two program's screens. The menu's and selections are the same. I like MAC's, I'm a MAC family authorized repairman, but I do all my work on a hot, fast PC and it takes me a moment to adjust to the different look between the two interfaces. No big deal and it's my only complaint.

Buy the book if you have the need. I'll bet it's the first book your hand reaches for when you're working in Photoshop 7 and need a fast answer.

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