Media praise for Photoshop in a Nutshell

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Note: These reviews are for the first edition of
Photoshop in a Nutshell.

"I have tried a stack of books on both Photoshop and Illustrator, fortunately via the university library. Most of these books either attempt to teach Photoshop or Illustrator from scratch or show you how to do really fancy things. Until now none of them really addressed my needs. The user manual and on line help is enough to get me started and I don't really need to do the fancy things.

"Recently, I acquired a copy of...Photoshop in a Nutshell -- A Desktop Quick Reference.... This book gives me exactly what I need. Specifically, it tells me: what a command does, how it does it, what all the icons mean, what the common mistakes in application of a command are possible alternate or better commands that will better accomplish what I meant to do. Furthermore it does this in a succinct style that is easy to read and understand. At $US19.95 you should seriously consider this book."

--Dave Rogers, posted to

"In this life, few dare hope to master Adobe Photoshop (now in version 4.0), not because it's unduly difficult, but because it has so many tools. I'm hard pressed to name another application with a wider array of features. With Photoshop you can produce a seemingly infinite variety of results in preparing scanned images for printing and on-screen production, including color correction and separation, image recomposition and retouching, and numerous special effects. Still, despite Adobe's well-written and nicely illustrated User Guide and tutorial CD-ROM and a wealth of independent titles, there is room for one more. Photoshop in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference, written by Donnie O'Quinn and Matt LeClair and published by O'Reilly, is another in the series of Nutshell books for which O'Reilly is famous.

"While Quick Reference is too often a euphemism for rehashed vendor user guides or unsightly tomes disgorging menu-by-menu feature descriptions,
Photoshop in a Nutshell earns its 'Quick' for its superb organization. Each chapter covers a feature category, such as Selection Tools, Paint Tools, and File Menu. Each chapter starts by explaining why you would use a set of tools. Then comes a discussion of the relevant techniques. Finally, the chapter steps you through each specific tool or menu with a unique, helpful format.

"When discussing a specific tool, the authors provide a bulleted list of Common Uses, which are indexed to a full discussion at the back of the book. This separation of the general from the detailed satisfies those who want more but helps keep the chapter itself lean and uncluttered. Chapter 10, for example, covers the Image Menu and includes a succinct description of the Adjust Curves controls. The seven additional pages of coverage in the Common Uses appendix illustrate how and why to use Curves for adjusting image contrast and how to use Curves for correcting color casts, with useful techniques I'd never considered. These detailed appendix discussions are pure gold for beginning and intermediate users because they succinctly cover the critical tasks for the relevant group of tools. My only complaint is that the Common Uses section in each chapter doesn't include specific page numbers for the appropriate appendix, and the Common Uses appendix doesn't reference the appropriate chapter number.

"Another useful element is a bulleted list of Common Errors to avoid while using a feature. The writers clearly prove their Photoshop expertise here, providing savvy tips, tricks, and a list of potholes to avoid.

"Another big plus is a 120-page section discussing every filter and effect under Photoshop's Filter menu, from Color Pencil to Digimarc Copyright Protection. Most are illustrated, with solid explanations and tips on using a filter to achieve the results you want. It's the best catalog of Photoshop filters and effects I've seen.

"The publisher tops off the package with an uncluttered, classically pleasing layout, which is printed on recycled paper. Yet the heavy-duty, cloth-reinforced binding should see Photoshop in a Nutshell through years of use. And at $20, it's a relatively inexpensive accompaniment to the Adobe User Guide or other specialty texts on Photoshop. Hey, you can never know too much about Photoshop."

-Computer Currents,