Shrek: Photoshop is like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes. No.
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
Donkey: Oh, you leave ‘em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs.
Shrek: NO. Layers. Onions have layers. Photoshop has layers. Onions have layers. You get it? They both have layers. [sighs]
Donkey: Oh, they both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.
Matt Kloskowski states the truth right in the title of his new book, “Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature.” Photoshop’s layers are without a doubt the best thing to happen to image editing since, well, image editing. Unfortunately, many photographers do not appreciate the full power at their disposal or understand all the options being presented. Kloskowski seeks to remedy this through the pages of Layers. I’m happy to report that he succeeds brilliantly.
Many already understand layers to a small degree. But have only scratched the surface of what they can do. In full color and step-by-step detail, the author explains layers from the ground up, layer-by-layer.
He starts with the basics, what layers are and how they are a benefit to your workflow. Then he covers those powerful blend modes which can take your photos from flat to fantastic. He also argues that there are only three or four blending modes that you’ll ever actually need. And again, for photo editing, he’s right.
Next Kloskowski gets into Adjustments Layers, with which most photographers I would guess are familiar. These allow you to make non-destructive changes to you photo using curves, levels, saturation, etc. Then comes the most powerful features of the most powerful feature: Layer Masks. These allow your layer changes to have a selective effect instead of all or nothing.
Other lessons cover type and shape layers, detailed instruction on enhancing photos, as well as using layer styles and CS3’s new Smart Layers functionality.
The chapters are subdivided into focused lessons that take you through how to do something and teach you why you would want to do that. Shortcuts and tips are sprinkled throughout. In addition, all the sample photos are downloadable so you can follow the examples exactly – or experienced Photoshop users can apply the lessons to their own photos.
photographyvoice.com HIGHLY RECOMMENDS
“Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature” by Matt Kloskowski.