Focal Press Book review (chapters 8- 9)

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Chapter 8, Image Adjustment

This is the meaty chapter that Photoshop users need. It is also a fresh approach, a nice difference from the more aggressive "Professional Photoshop 5" by Margulis. No one single book will give you the tips you need because your needs are always a bit different than the agenda of the author. Evening has a calm agenda, with no political quirks.

The book nicely explains the helpful new features of the basic Crop tool. You can enlarge your image (crop into outside blank space) and then fill in missing background color without having to paint, copy, or otherwise move fresh background color yourself. You can also rotate the crop, though rotations other than 90, 180, or 270 degrees will eventually disorient the pixel detail (the pixels are naturally at strict 90-degree angles to one another).

The more professional, prepress, and otherwise sophisticated the situation (book, software, or whatever), the more likely the image adjustments will be done in CIE LAB mode or CMYK, not RGB. The Internet images will tend to be RGB as will images on a dye sub printer, but all other printers, whether actual presses or (Encad) wide-format inkjet or laser will most likely print with CMYK, whether it be ink or toner or ribbons. The image will indeed change color in the transfer from RGB to CMYK so the idea is to do your adjustments after you are safely in CMYK. LAB is the intermediate color space between the two modes.

Evening appears perfectly content to do corrections in RGB, possibly because he knows how they will end up in CMYK and being a pro, he can fix any color misadventures. Irrespective of whether you are in the RGB-is-Okay camp or the "it has to be in CMYK" camp, at least this book shows you how to come to grips with the curves, especially how to find the parts of the curve which need attention, and how to anchor (shield) the parts that you do not want to mess with (his pp. 137-139).

Since image adjustment is what Photoshop is all about, this chapter alone makes the book worth buying. Just remember that in working the curves you can block off part of the curve by putting an anchor (click on the curve to set an anchor). You can figure out where to put the anchor by clicking on the different parts of the image (shadow point, midtone, highlight) and a blip will momentarily appear on the curve (which at the beginning of course is a diagonal line; it is not a curve until you wiggle it).

Practice makes perfect. Just be sure (if a beginner) to work on a duplicate copy of your file; don't save your corrections without renaming the file or having a duplicate. Once you save your file you have altered it and eventually you will lose your original raw file. If your original raw file is safely on a CD-R disk, you are okay, since you cannot save back to the disk--it is locked once it is burned. But, on the down side, a drop of Pepsi, a slimy finger print of Coronel Sanders chicken, or a scratch, ruins your CD (in other words, you can no longer read a single file on it, even the ones not saturated with chicken grease). Better have lots of backups if you are beginning and early intermediate level.

The information in Unsharp Masking is helpful but beginner and even intermediate level users will want much more information and many additional samples. Again, you need several Photoshop books to learn everything. Being a photographer I could not resist buying the present book, but for a wider range of samples, you also need Margulus' "Professional Photoshop 5."

Chapter 9, Color Adjustments (a continuation of the theme of Chapter 8)

Read and learn therefrom, what more can I say. Have a sample image of your own. Experiment and quickly you will learn what each tool can achieve. A somewhat related chapter is 15, Coloring Effects.

Professional Photoshop 5 by Dan Margulis
Adobe Photoshop for profesionals by Martin Evening
Start with a Scan: A Guide to Transforming Scanned Photos and Objects intoHigh Quality Art," by Janet Ashford and John Odam


Mac Upgrade and Repair Bible, by Todd Stauffer

Inside Adobe Photoshop

The Official Photo CD Handbook

Start with a Scan








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