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The Digital Darkroom by James Abbott

Obregon Obregon

Is from: Southold, US
3060 posts

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Obregon Moderator Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Charter Member
Sun 23-May-21 02:33 PM
In reviewing this book there are broader issues then just whether it does the job of teaching about Photoshop and Affinity Photo. Should a beginner even be concerned about learning Photoshop? (I use Photoshop regularly; I had never even heard of Affinity until I picked up this book.)

This book is clearly aimed at new comers to the world of post-processing. If the author's descriptions are correct, Affinity is aimed at a much more basic level than Photoshop, and is much cheaper. Whether one elects to use Affinity or Photoshop for processing (and that is not a choice I'm exploring in this review), a beginner doesn't need to be confused with text that shifts back and forth from one program to another.

Photoshop needs to be rented from Adobe and comes bundled with another program; Lightroom CC. Photoshop was the only choice I had when I begin processing digital images more than 25 years ago. Even though it has many specialized advance features for finishing a photograph, Lightroom has a much more intuitive interface, and for some folks may be all the software they need. Since Lightroom and Photoshop come in a bundle, most beginning processors would do better learning Lightroom and then applying Photoshop, if they need the more specialized functions. Photoshop includes the same kind of editing functions as Lightroom, but it doesn't have either the intuitive interface or the excellent cataloging and file management functions of Lightroom.

Even if one decides to begin learning post processing with either Photoshop or Affinity, the pedagogical approach of this book is poor. Abbott provides a long list of the dozens of buttons and menus and what they are supposed to do, without regard to underlying concepts. He then provides examples of how he processed certain photographs. I have found that learning is more effective when a concept like say, tonality, is discussed, then the related tools, buttons or menus, are introduced, and then the reader is asked to perform a practical exercise using the concept and tools.

Photoshop has specialized tools that aren't available in basic software that provide more control over the ultimate ouput, like the selection tools. Unfortunately, the author gives short shrift to the selection tools, and many other tools that one might want to use in Photoshop. A feature of Photoshop that I prefer is the way it handles printing on an inkjet printer. The author doesn't even discuss printing except to mention soft proofing.

If you are already familiar with the Adobe tools or Affinity, there is nothing new here for you. If you are just learning image post processing, this book will leave you confused.

Note: The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book at no charge.