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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Art of Photoshop
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Daniel Giordan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Subtlety


Intended user: Intermediate - Advanced
Although Daniel Giordan has written some of the clearest and best-organized books on "How to Use Photoshop", he has really outdone himself with his latest, The Art of Photoshop. It showcases Daniel Giordan's own work with clear step-by-step explanations. It is published in large format -10 x 10 inches- with color illustrations, keyboard shortcuts for both Macintosh and Windows users and screen captures, of the tools in Photoshop that all artists could master.
I must admit, that although I have learned tons from his "how to use" books, this book was a bit over my head. It is definitely aimed at the creative artist crowd! After picking this book up several times just to sit it back down. Several pots of coffee, brought me more than I ever thought I wanted to know about: PhotoShop - The following is a list ... from the book that I found ... explained and illustrated throughout the book.
Image Editing:
Optimizing - Tools for Optimizing the Tonal Range - The Histogram Window and The Info Palette are explained in detail ...
Enhancing Focus - Image focusing tools - The Unsharp Mask Dialog Box - ...- The Gaussian Blur Dialog Box ... - The Add Noise Dialog Box
Curves - Tools For Working with Curves - Curves Dialog Box ... Curves Tonal Grid ...
Color Correction with Curves ...
Adjusting Hue and Saturation ..."
Adjusting Layers ... Montage:
Silhouetting with the Extract Filter - The Extract Dialog Box ... The Painting Tools ...
Layer Masks - Layers Mask Controls in the Layers Menu - ... Layer Mask Controls in the Layers Palette ...
Clone / Stamp Tool - The Stamp Tools ... The Clone Stamp Options Bar ... The Pattern Stamp Options Bar - ...
Blending Modes - The Blending Modes Menu ...
Special Effects:
Custom Brushes - Brush Options Bar ... Brushes Palette ...
Distort Filters - The Distort Filters Submenu ...
Making Patterns - The Pattern Dialog Box ... The Tile History Options ...
Gradients and Gradient Maps ...
Liquify Filter - Liquify Dialog Box - View Options Control ...
Lighting Effects - The Lighting Effects Dialog Box...
I confess, I didn't create anything close to the illustrations showcased in this book. I did find new skills and inspiration, and I also managed the line scribble technique used on several of the illustrations in the book. Only my scribbles were not created with the same creative intention. I feel the book was a little overwhelming, and should have included a little more basic-basic Photoshop "how to" -Daniel Giordan is famous for bringing it down to the Intermediate level, but if you are looking for a book packed with advanced level options to create your own artistic statements -this is your book



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Don't make this your sole study guide


I took the A+ exam two years ago when the software objectives covered Windows95/DOS, and had unwisely used Ron Gilster's "A+ Certification For Dummies" as my sole preparation material for the test. I barely passed the core exam and had to re-take the software portion, which was no surprise given the treatment (two cursory chapters) it received in Gilster's book. In preparation for my second stab at the software exam, I purchased Sybex's study guide for the A+ certification, crammed for about a month or so and passed the test easily. I decided to read the latest revised edition of Gilster's book, curious to see if he had made any amendments (aside from the new exam objectives) since the last time.
One of the major drawbacks of this book's previous edition was that it lacked detailed illustrations of most major hardware components, unlike Sybex's study guides. To his credit, Gilster has provided better illustrations of the motherboard form factors, PROM, EPROM and EEPROM chips and other hardware components than the previous edition. Other than that however, he hasn't really added anything new to the core part of the book, aside from what passed for new processors at the time of the book's publication date. When I took the core exam, the first question concerned EMI (electromagnetic interference), which I answered incorrectly. Neither this edition nor the previous one contain descriptions of what EMI is.
Bottom line: if you're serious about passing the test, your best bet is to purchase Sybex's study guide for the A+ exam. You'll pay an arm and a leg, but you'll get all the info you need, plus color illustrations. This book is extremely useful for people interested in learning how the various components of a computer operate, not for prospective computer technicians looking to pass the A+ exam.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Perl Cookbook, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Essential reference


Presents short code blocks for practical problems. If you've been frustrated by the seemingly irrelvant examples that plague a large number of Perl books (particularly applicable to those of us who work primarily with Win32 systems, by choice or not...), then this book should be a refreshing change. Usually my first stop when presented with an unfamiliar area of Perl.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Server
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Brian M. Smith, Doug Toombs, Mark Minasi
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Minasi is peerless.


.Definitely 5 stars. Hard to say more than has already been said.
Content: Extremely thorough and accurate. Better possibly than his Windows NT Server 4 edition.
Writing Style: Intuitive and light/humorous.
Knowledge: Obviously an expert in the Enterprise.
Usability: When we write documentation on how our server and dc's are set up, we often refer to page #'s from Mark's books where he documents the undocumented.
Check his other books, I think you'll find he is the best of the best when it comes to authoring technical material.
Mark, thanks for another GREAT one!