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Here's whar I told my Editor about what would be different about my digital photography book.

(1) It's no: a distal photography book, it's a Photoshop boot One that's aimed at professional and high-end presume photographers who either have gone digital, or are just moving to digital. They'd be no discussion of film (gasp1), t-stops, lenses, or how to frame a photo If they don't already know how to shoot, this book -ust won't be For them {Ncit Editon hate if UrJien you jtcrf Jilting t) it? people the hook won't be appropriate for. I hey wan: to hear. Vis perfect for everybody! front grandma nght up te While Home press photographers.' Put sadly, thu hook just isrt'cj

(2) I would skip the 'Here's What j Digital Camera Is" section and (he 'Here's Whit h Printer to Buy'' sett ton, because they were in all those other hooks that I bought Instead, I'd start the book at the moment the phoio comes into Photoshop from the camera.

(3) fi would work the way digital photographers teally work—in the order (hey work—starting with sorting and categoni-ing photos From the shoot. dealing with common digital photography problems, color correcting the photos, selecting and masking parts of the photo, retouching omul areas. adding photographic special effects, sharpening their photos, and then showing the fmal work to the client fot approval.

(4) It wouldn't be another Photoshop book that focuses on explaining every aspect ol every dialog bo* No siriee—instead, this book would do something different—it would show ihem how to do ir1 This is what makes it different. Et would show-photographers step-by-step how to do all those ihmgs thty keep asking at my seminars, sending me emails about, and post ing questions about rn our forums—it would "show them how to do it!"

For example, I told Steve that about every Photoshop boot out iher,? includes info on the Unsharp Mask fitter They all talk about what the Amount, Radius, and Thres-hotd sJ'Cfers do, and how those settings affect the pixels They all do ihar But you know what they generally dan : do' They don't give you any actual settings io use-' Usually, not even a stilting point. Some provide "numerical ranges to woik wuhin," but basically they explain how the Filter works, and then leave it up to you to develop your own settings. I told him I woutdn't do that. I would flat-out give them some great Unshaip Mask filter settings—the same settings used by many professionals, even though I know some highfalutin Photoshop expert might take issue with them I would come out and uy. "Hey, us? this setting when sharpening pcaple i Jse this setting to coem sfighily out-of-focus photos Use this setting on landscapes, etc* I give students m my live seminal s these settings, so why shouldn't I share them in my book' He agiei-d. I also told him that sharpening is much more than just using the Unsharp Mask filter, and it's much more important to photographers than the three or four pages every other book dedicates to it 1 wanted to do an entire chapter showing a the different sharpening techniques, step-by-step, giving different solutions for diffeienc sharpening challenges

I to'd him about the File Browser and how there's so much to U, it's just about J separate program unto itself, yet nobody's realty coveting the things photographers are trllirtg me they need ro know—like automatically renaming their digital camera photos with names that make seme. OtheT books mention that you can do that tn the File Browser —I want to be the guy that "shows ihem how to do n!" I want a whole chapter just on the file Browser

Steve was starting to come on board with the idea What he didn't want wa% the vame thing I didn't want—another digital photography book that rehashes what evety othei digital photography and Photoshop book has already done. Well.

Sieve went with the idea, and thanks lo him, you're holding the book that I am so genuinely excited to be able to bring you. But the way the book was developed beyond that took it further than Steve or I had planned.

How the book was developed

When Steve gave me the final approval (it was more like, "Okay, but this better be good or we'll both be greeting people by saying, 'Would you like to try one of our Extra Value Meals today?'"), I sat down, with two of the industry's top digital photographers—commercial product photographer Jim DiVnale and fashion photographer Kevin Ames—to get their input on the book. These two guys are amazing—they both split their time between shooting for some of the world's largest corporations, and teaching other professional digital photographers how to pull off Photoshop miracles at events such as PhotoshopWorld and PPA/PEI's Digital Conference, and a host of other events around the world.

We spent hours hammering out which techniques would have to be included in the book, and I can't tell you how helpful and insightful their input was. This wasn't an easy task, because I wanted to include a range of techniques wide enough that it would be accessible to "prosumers" (the industry term to describe serious high-end amateurs who use serious cameras and rake serious shots, yet don't do photography for a living), but at the same time, I wanted high-end professionals to feel right at home with techniques that are clearly just for them, at their stage of the game.

Does this make the book too advanced?

Absolutely not. That's because my goal is to present all these techniques in such a simple, easy-to-understand format that no matter where you are in your Photoshop skills, you'll read the technique and rather than thinking, "Oh, I could never pull that off." you'll think, "Hey, I can do that."

Although it's true that this book includes many advanced techniques, just because a technique is advanced, doesn't mean it has to be complicated or "hard to pull off." It just means that you'll be further along in the learning process before you'd even know you need that technique.

For example, in the retouching chapter, I show how to use the Healing Brush to completely remove wrinkles, and that's what many photographers will do—completely remove all visible wrinkles. But an advanced Photoshop user might retouch the photo differently, because they know that a 79-year-old man's face shouldn't be as wrinkle-free as Ben Affleck's. When they do a similar retouch, they're not going to remove every wrinkle—instead, they'll be looking for a way to just lower the intensity of the wrinkles, so the portrait looks more natural (and the photo appears unreiouched). To do that, they'll need something beyond the basic Healing Brush technique—they'll need a more advanced technique that may require a few more steps along the way, but produces far better results.

So, how hard is it to do the advanced "healing" technique we just talked about? It's simple—duplicate the Background layer, remove all the wrinkles using the Healing Brush, and then lower that layer's Opacity a bit to bring back some of the original wrinkles from the layer underneath (r>ee page 184). It works like a charm, bur really—how complicated is that? Heck, anyone that's used Photoshop for a week can duplicate a layer and lower the Opacity, right? Right. Yet few photographers know this simple, advanced technique. That's what this book is all about.

If you understand that line of thinking, you'll really get a lot out of this book. You'll be able to perform every single technique. You'll be putting to use the same advanced correction and retouching techniques employed by some of today's leading digital photographers; yet you'll make it all look easy, because it really is easy, and it's a lot of fun—once somebody shows you how to do it.


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