Book: Photoshop Workflow Setups: Eddie Tapp on Digital Photography
Author: Eddie Tapp
Publication Date: August 2006
Adobe Photoshop can be an extremely intimidating application for the beginning digital photographer, and still daunting even to the intermediate user. First, it can do so many things. Second, everything it can do can be done several different ways. Some of those ways are extremely inefficient; others are efficient, streamlined, and elegant. The trick is to find and choose the latter.
I’m impressed with Eddie Tapp’s ability to make the complex easily understandable. In his Photoshop Workflow Setup from O’Reilly (www.oreilly.com) it’s all about customizing Photoshop for Digital Photography; in short, it’s about organization and efficiency.
The first two topics that arise for discussion when two or more digital photographers get together are color management and workflow, and there are usually as many answers, procedures and opinions as there are photographers present. Many of the procedures are simply based on “That’s the way I do it”, rather than a logical, methodical, well thought-out workflow. Eddie Tapp has brought his reasoned approach to the analysis of digital photographic workflow in Photoshop Workflow Setup and saved the discussion of color management for another volume entitled Practical Color Management.
Arranged in six chapters his discussion of Photoshop workflow begins by opening Photoshop as an application and creating an efficient workspace (Creating Efficient Workspaces in Photoshop). Since computer screen real estate is limited, the number and arrangement of palettes, windows, and menus is critical if any attempt at organizational efficiency is made.
The second chapter (Getting Familiar with Palettes) reviews the tools and options available to the digital photographer. A digital photographer and a graphic designer may both be using Photoshop, but the tools they need vary in many aspects. Photoshop, as an application, can be compared to an enormous factory tool-room capable of supporting everything from carpentry to metalworking to assembling a moon shuttle. In this case, the artist’s the digital photographer’s needs to select those tools suitable for the job and keep the rest in the tool-room out of the way.
Chapter three (Setting Important Preferences) allows the digital photographer to fine tune Photoshop ‘s tools to the most efficient (there ‘s that word again) defaults for digital photography.
Chapter four (Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus) shows the digital photographer how to customize the key commands and shortcuts for the specific job or for the personal preferences of the photographer.
Chapter five (Working in Bridge) is a fine tutorial for those new to Bridge in CS2.
Chapter six (Tapping Into The Tools) covers refinements and subtleties of tool usage that are worth their weight in gold in the precision adjustments of tools.
With that brief overview in mind I have to say, that for myself, sitting and working with Eddie Tapp ‘s book was the closest experience I have had lately to sitting with a mentor who seriously cared about my learning the best way to handle Photoshop as a digital photographer. Never writing down to me, and always covering every step in precise, logical order, Eddie Tapp’s writing gives me a feeling of a very personal relationship between the author and myself.
The page layout and design is one of the best that I have encountered in a long time as far as arranging to enhance my own learning process. The basic text’s the information’s is arranged on the left side of the leftmost page and the right side of the rightmost page, and is set off in a light gray text block area. The show and tell, the examples of menus, procedures, examples and steps are arranged left and right of the gutter and placed against the white space of the page. Chapter headings are in red; topic headings are in blue, and yellow stickies emphasize key pointers of information. This arrangement makes for an instant organizational structure and leads your eye directly to the important points of information.
The overall appearance of the book is light and positive as opposed to some books that introduce themselves with all the Èlan of a telephone directory. It was a joy to pick up and to read, and though I’d like to think that I am a reasonably experienced Photoshop user (since I began using it around version 3), I learned a number of extremely useful tips and have rethought some steps of my own workflow after realizing that just because I had done it that way for about five years or more did not make it right, and I’m not too old to correct mistakes.
O’Reilly press has three more Eddie Tapp books forthcoming: Practical Color Management, (I’ve already mentioned), Creative Enhancement Techniques, and Professional Production Techniques. I am looking forward to all of them and expect to learn something from each. Eddie Tapp’s books are straightforward enough for the novice and yet loaded with clear thinking techniques and procedures that will benefit even the experienced professional.