I have no idea where you are as you read this. You might be sitting in front of your computer, lounging on a beach in Martinique, or curled up under the covers with a flashlight. But there's a chance you're standing in a bookstore with a clerk behind you asking if you need any help. If so, you're at what we in the book biz like to call the "point of purchase" (POP). From my perspective, the POP is a dangerous place, fraught with ambiguities and temptations. There's a chance — however infinitesimal — that you might put this book back where you found it and buy a competing title. I shudder to think of it.
So for the benefit of you POPers, I'm about to lay it on a bit thick.
This book is not only the number-one selling guide to Adobe Photoshop, but one of the two or three most successful books on any electronic publishing topic ever printed. You can find dozens of localized translations throughout the world. The Dutch translation has been known to come out before the English edition, and I just received an e-mail from my German translator urging me to get her manuscript ASAP. The Photoshop Bible is the most widely accepted textbook for college courses. It is also the only third-party book that has been edited from cover to cover for technical accuracy by members of Photoshop's programming team (for which I am duly grateful).
Now, we all know "bestseller" doesn't necessarily translate to "best" — I needn't remind you that pet rocks were once hotter than Pokemon. But the Photoshop Bible seems to have touched a chord. Based on the letters I've received over the years, most readers find the book informative, comprehensive, and entertaining. (Okay, one woman summed it up as "violent, satanic, and blasphemous" — cross my heart, it's true — but now that we've removed all the backward lyrics, I think we've addressed that problem.) Knowing that people not only buy the book, but actually read it and find it pleasurable, gives me more satisfaction than I can say.
The driving philosophy behind Photoshop 6 for Windows Bible is a simple one: Even the most intimidating topic can be made easy if it's explained properly. This goes double when the subject of the discussion is something as modest as a piece of software. Photoshop isn't some remarkable work of nature that defies our comprehension. It's nothing more that a commercial product designed by a bunch of regular people like you for the express purpose of being understood and put to use by a bunch of regular people like you. If I can't explain something that's inherently so straightforward, then shame on me.
I've made it my mission to address every topic head-on—no cop-outs, no apologies. Everything's here, from the practical benefits of creating accurate masks to the theoretical wonders of designing your own custom layer styles. I wasn't born with this knowledge, and there are plenty of times when I'm learning with you. But when I don't know how something works, I do the research and figure it out, sometimes discussing features directly with the programmers, sometimes taking advantage of other sources. My job is to find out the answers, make sure those answers make sense, and pass them along to you as clearly as I can.
I also provide background, opinions, and a few feeble attempts at humor. A dry listing of features followed by ponderous discussions of how they work doesn't mean squat unless I explain why the feature is there, where it fits into your workflow, and — on occasion — whether or not it's the best solution. I am alternatively cranky, excited, and just plain giddy as I explain Photoshop, and I make no effort to contain my criticisms or enthusiasm. This book is me walking you through the program as subjectively as I would explain it to a friend.
But before I brag any more about the book, it's possible you're not even sure what Photoshop is, much less why you'd need a book on the subject. Just so we're all clear, let's take a peek at the program.
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