Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One by Deke McClelland, ISBN 0-596-00618-7

Reviewed by: Gretchen Wieshuber, July 2004, updated Mar 2007
Published by: Deke Press/O’Reilly
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$39.95, CAN$57.95

(Ed. Note: McClelland's book can teach you the basics and many more advanced techniques and workflows found in PhotoShop CS, PhotoShop CS 2 and the upcoming CS 3.)

Even a seasoned Photoshop user will learn new techniques from Deke McClelland in Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One. The “one-on-one” in the title accurately describes Deke’s writing style. His humor and casual tone make you feel that he is right there giving you individualized lessons. In the first lesson he states encouragingly, “We’ll conquer Photoshop by descending directly into it and coming out the other side. We will make peace with Photoshop through understanding, the understanding borne by knowledge, the knowledge wrought by experience. Take heart, kindred spirit: mastery will be yours.”

Want to remove red-eye from a vacation picture? Want to design a professional poster with layered images, curved type and three-dimensional effects? Deke will show you how. There is something for everyone here. Novices will appreciate that the first lesson starts at the most basic level. Students and instructors will like the review at the end of each chapter summarizing the key concepts. Independent professionals will love the companion CD with a training video that corresponds to the lessons in the book. The CD contains an additional bonus called Deke’s Keys—a set of custom shortcuts that make using Photoshop a little more efficient.


The book is structured as a series of lessons that teach progressively more advanced Photoshop features by working on real projects. The source images are provided on the companion CD. Even if you choose not to do every exercise, it is easy to follow along with the lavish color screen shots that illustrate every step. “Pearls of wisdom” are scattered throughout that provide tips from Deke’s vast reservoir of knowledge and experience.

Lesson 1 covers opening, browsing and organizing Photoshop files, including creating an online slide show. Lesson 2 introduces powerful image correction tools such as brightness and contrast, levels and curves, and explains channels and histograms. Lesson 3 delves into color correction, including hue, saturation and colorizing.

Once you have the ability to adjust the entire photo to perfection, the fun starts. Lesson 4 covers the various ways to make selections, and then focuses on combining the selections with other images. Lesson 5 is all about cropping, straightening and sizing, with a very understandable explanation of how these transformations affect the image’s pixels.

For photographers who want to push Photoshop’s creative side, Lesson 7 covers creating and applying masks and what you can do with them. Sharpness and blurring is the topic of Lesson 8. Lesson 9 explains how to build layered compositions and manage them. In Lesson 10 you will learn how to add type and vector-based shapes to your images. Lesson 11 introduces some cool special effects.

Finally, Lesson 12 explains how to print your masterpieces. This includes discussions on RGB versus CMYK, inkjet printing, commercial reproduction and how to achieve the best quality no matter how you choose to output.

The exercises included with each lesson are interesting and fun to do. The end result is almost always something you can be proud to say you created.

Because it is comprehensive, this book will take a lot of time to get through. Just take it at your own pace or skip to the parts that interest you most. Deke’s wit, literary allusions and breezy writing style help turn a cumbersome, complicated and sometimes mysterious computer application into a tamable beast. If you do venture into the world of Photoshop with Deke as your guide, you will emerge a powerful image warrior. Recommended.





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