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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Hands-On Training (Hands on Training (H.O.T))
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Rosanna Yeung
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Its not just for animations any more!

Once upon a time in the world of computers, there was just a scant few languages, mostly just text displays, and the Internet the sole domain of universities. Things became complicated fast, and today it seems like you need a specific tool to do anything. Unless you spend a lot of time reading computer magazines, and just keeping up, it's hard to know what tools are useful. Flash, was a nice product to spruce up, and enhance a boring website a few years ago. It had a few extra features beyond that, but it was still just more of a niche product. How things have changed in a few years.
Today you can build many websites from the ground up with flash. It has many of the programming features of JAVA, and even subscribes to the object-oriented programming model. The animation features are now easier than ever to implement, making even the less creative among us, seem a little more artistic. It is still lacking in the world of database connectivity, but that is rumored to be coming.
This book does a nice job with Flash MX basics, expanding later to the more detailed features. As a programmer, when I first learned Windows-based programming, I had to search through hundreds of books, to find one that covered the basics. It seemed like every book assumed you already knew how to program Windows! I had programmed Macintosh, and the Windows method was much different. Here I'm thankful to get a book, which just doesn't assume I'm already a Flash Guru. Hey, I know most of us are a bit turned off by the prospect of another, nearly 1000-page book. Still, the interactive CD ROM lessons get you up, and running quickly. The detail of the book is not just another printed reference. It's a real explanation on how to use features, step by step, and to create something. The smaller books, either only do high-level features, or cut parts they think will be seldom used. It always seems like the features they cut down on, are the ones I need to use in a project. Kudos here to the author, on writing a book that's useful, despite its massive girth.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
this book rules

it helped me beat every boss starting with the first reactor and ending with sephroth who might i add is hela hard to beat. i got all of the right materia and summons i could rule the land I hope you bie this book because it rules.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop Masking & Compositing (Voices That Matter)
Publisher: New Riders Publishing
Authors: Katrin Eismann
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Techniques Within

Every book I've read by Katrin Eismann has been very good. Even so, This one was better than I expected.

Katrin has designed the book so it could be used as a textbook for Photoshop teachers. There are files to go with the book and its lessons available for download over the internet. You can use these files to do the lesson projects she has throughout the book. This was true with her book on photo restoration and retouching, as well.

As the title suggests, she gives excellent information on making masks in Photoshop. She gives you the theory, so you can better understand how masks work, and then gives you lots of techniques for creating masks.

Often, masks are required to extract a person or an object from the background of a photo, so you can composite it into another photo. She gives excellent tutorials on doing this, including how to preserve hair and fine detail. We all know how much more real a composite looks when you are able to capture those stray hairs. It's all about selecting those fine details with out selecting the unwanted stuff. She gives you several selection strategies that you can use in different situations.

She also gives you strategies for using the pen tool to create complex paths and combine paths. And there is a selection technique called the "multi-pass" technique (page 300).

In the compositing section, she devotes the first part to image execution, showing you how to design your photo shots for compositing. And gives some good advice in "Photographic Essentials."

I was blown away by a project she showed in which some books were composited in with buildings, matching perspective to make them fit perfectly. See page 416 for the final result, and read the pages preceding it to see how it was done. I was even more impressed with another project that begins on page 431. In that project, there is an ordinary photo of two people fencing in the woods at a medieval faire. The end of the project results in a dramatic photo with beautiful lighting.

She also covers alternatives for achieving results, such as sharpening a photo with High Pass instead of Unsharp Mask. This is a great book for someone who wants to improve their Photoshop skills. You probably should be an intermediate level user, able to understand all of the basics of Photoshop if you want to use this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How to Build a Business Rules Engine : Extending Application Functionality through Metadata Engineering
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Malcolm Chisholm
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book !

Excellent book, very concret application, you can buy it even only to use the access application !