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Other titles in the How to Use. series:
How to Use Adobe Photoshop CS (How to Use ...)
The history of image-editing applications should be divided into two categories: BP and AP (Before Photoshop and After Photoshop). Before Photoshop, various bitmap applications were available, some of which were very good. There was Pixel Paint Pro, Studio 8, Digital Darkroom, and of course MacPaint. Like dinosaurs facing extinction, all these applications faded away after the comet called Photoshop fell to earth in the late 1980s.
I am told that Photoshop got its start in 1987 as a personal project of Thomas Knoll (a doctoral candidate in computer science at the University of Michigan). Thomas Knoll wrote a programming routine to display grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. Thomas showed the program to his brother, John Knoll, who at the time worked at Industrial Light and Magic (the special-effects studio started by George Lucas). Intrigued by the possibilities of this program, John asked Thomas to help him write a program for processing digital image files. The brothers expanded the program to include color capabilities, soft-edge masks, plug-in filter support, and many of the features that became the foundation for Photoshop's success. This was at a time when graphic file formats were all over the map and PostScript had already begun to take shape in the marketplace to help standardize a solution to many of the problems facing the computer graphics world. Photoshop was unique in its mathematical approach to images—rather than a program that simply pushed pixels around, everyone saw Photoshop as another means to promote PostScript and printing. Little did they realize the influence it would later have, especially because more people take photographs than use line illustrations.
One could argue that Photoshop is the most influential facilitator for the growth of digital graphics since the Macintosh. And although the Mac got us started in the mid-1980s, Adobe has kept things moving forward with interface standards and cross-platform compatibility that make graphics accessible to just about every computer in the world. This universality has made Photoshop the core application driving new advances in the computer graphics world. Photoshop combines with After Effects for professional video editing, with Quark and InDesign for industry-standard page layout, and with Illustrator and FreeHand for desktop illustration. In all these instances, Photoshop sits right in the middle. Photoshop also drives the advancement of digital photography and professional web design.
It was the boom in web design books in the early 1990s that prompted Adobe to launch a complementary application to Photoshop called ImageReady. Although Photoshop was the creative powerhouse, ImageReady excelled in prepping images for the Web: compressing file sizes; converting colors; and building clean, concise animations. ImageReady also featured a bare-bones set of image-editing tools for basic image editing.
Because this book covers Photoshop CS2, it also addresses how ImageReady supports graphic design workflow and integration with Photoshop, especially where web design is concerned. Therefore, you will see ImageReady written into some of the task instructions—and even featured in a few standalone tasks. Because of the redundant feature set created when they were separate programs, some of the tasks described for Photoshop can be executed in virtually the same way in ImageReady.
And another thing: Because Adobe does such an excellent job of building cross-platform applications, you should not be concerned that most of the screen shots in the book are Windows based. Everything works the same on the Mac (except for the keystrokes, which I've identified for both systems).
Whether you're working with ImageReady or Photoshop, this book is designed to get you up and running quickly, with straightforward solutions to your questions. The challenge comes from the fact that Photoshop's complexity cannot always be clearly addressed in seven steps or less. I've tried to address the details as much as I can, expounding in the How-To Hints sections and task and part openers. Although the format of this book resists long narratives and detailed explanations, a ton of solid information is still packed into the tasks that follow. I was very pleased that we were able to drill a bit deeper into some of the advanced features in this book, and I hope it helps you push things further and get the most out of Photoshop.
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