Scott Kelby’s Photoshop CS6 Book: A Review
Upgrading to Photoshop CS6 needs to be on your list of things to consider for a couple of reasons. One of them is that it is an improved program that runs a lot faster on your computer than previous versions. We will go over some of the other reasons tomorrow, but first is the review of Scott Kelby’s the Adobe Photoshop CS6 book for digital photographers that I promised.
If you don’t have Photoshop CS6 don’t buy this book. Duh! you may think, and of course you are pretty correct. I write “pretty” only because a few people will buy the book to see what is new in the latest version and if it might benefit them down the road. Search anywhere on the internet for what is new in Photoshop CS6 and watch those videos. All you need to know will be there. Next, please.
If you have been diligent and already watched all those videos on what is new (and how to use those new features. There are some great FREE training sites out there, beginning with lynda.com) then you may not need this book, either. If you know your way around Photoshop pretty well you either don’t need reference books to tell you how to do things or you already have some reference books covering CS5. I’m going to suggest that you watch the videos on what is new and make a few notes as reminders on how to use those new features. If you are a good note-taker you just need to compile a folder of the things you like to do but don’t do all that often. Then pull out your folder when those situations arise. Spend the $29 this book costs on Amazon somewhere else.
If you have reference books on CS5 you have most of the book on CS6 already. In fact, I can take you to places in both books where the language is identical on how to perform a certain task (even down to the jokes about goobers not being able to buy this book in bookstores). And a few things I thought were valuable in the past (setting up preferences) were in the previous book but not this one (things like using a 3×3 or even 5×5 point sample for the Eyedropper Tool). If Scott thought we already had that one memorized he knows we have a lot of the other (included) stuff memorized, also. I once bought a reference book by Ben Wilmore for a previous version of Photoshop. It was a little book in comparison to this one by Scott; all it did was list what was brand new in the latest version and how to use those features. With all the old stuff left out it made the book a quick, valuable read that was most affordable. I wish Scott’s latest book had done that.
If you don’t know how to use Photoshop at all and this is your first version of it, this book may not be your best starting point, either. If you are not familiar with the toolbar and what those tools do at all, if you don’t know how to manage the Workspace, if you don’t understand layers or masks you are not going to learn all that kind of stuff here. This is a book that assumes you know your way around Photoshop already. Absolute beginners should look elsewhere.
So didn’t I like the book at all? Yes, I did. Scott is a wonderful instructor who has a knack for teaching. When he demonstrates a technique it is there to follow in very easy step-by-step mode. The book is very well laid-out, making it easy to skip around without needing to read everything in order. It resembles a Chinese menu: pick one from this menu and one from that to make a complete meal (a finished image). And the book is great for those techniques you don’t do very often but need to have at your fingertips if you like to see photos accompanying your text or if you are never going to compile your own note library (Scott has done it for you). There are a great many common tips and tricks and techniques for things you probably are going to want to do in Photoshop sometime in your career. It’s just that intermediate users are going to know an awful lot of them already.
I’ll tell you who I believe will benefit most from this book – someone like my lovely wife (who is just now getting more and more into Photoshop after cutting her processing teeth in littler programs and in Lightroom). She knows what she wants to do and frequently asks me just how to finish a particular step or what to do next. Now I point out where she can find it in Scott’s book and check back later on her progress (while I am working on something else). She is after Beginner and not yet to Intermediate, if that makes sense. But even there I would point out that I could have given her the CS5 book and been comfortable with that because she had checked out the new features of CS6 online already. In fact, that statement probably highlights an (unfortunate, to me) trend in so much of what we do – go online, spend time with the computer screen, forget books and the printed page.
If you own any of Scott’s other Photoshop books you know exactly what to expect from this one. In fact, there may be just a bit too much CS5 book in this latest one. Is it worth $29? To me, yes (because I highly value a reference library and enjoy the printed page). But keep in mind that much of what is here is online, usually for free. And $29 is still $29. Make up your own mind on how you best like to learn and where that $29 can best be spent.
I’m giving this book a Recommended, just missing out on a Recommended Plus. But Highly Recommended was not on the radar screen this time. Online training is now giving many of our favorite authors a real run for their money (and ours).