March 1999

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Real World Scanning and Halftones, 2nd Edition, by David Blatner, Glenn Fleishman, and Steve Roth. Peachpit Press, $29.95.

While you wait for the scanner to warm up, glance through this marvelous book to learn how to get a great scan for print or Web. The authors cover all the critical issues, such as resolution, sharpening, dot gain, and screen frequency. If software manuals were as comprehensive and as readable as this book, we'd all be a lot happier and much more productive. It covers adjusting scans for quality output, getting the most from your equipment, and avoiding problems in imagesetting and on press. There is even a section on specific scanners with information on using their specific controls. This book certainly earns its subtitle as "The definitive guide to scanning and halftones from the desktop."


The Illustrator 8 Wow! Book, by Sharon Steuer, Mac and Windows, Peachpit Press, $44.99 with CD.

Fully revised and expanded for Illustrator 8, the latest in the Wow! series goes well beyond the basics to show you how to create truly glorious Illustrator documents that will print on paper and display on screen. Using artwork from celebrated designers, the author takes you step-by-step through the process of creating similar artwork. Lots of screen shots and graphics demonstrate the procedures, especially for version 8's new Brushes palette and Gradient Mesh tool. The accompanying CD contains lots of Wow! brushes, actions, free clip art and fonts as well as masterwork art to pick apart. Begin by browsing through this beautiful book, then get to work. You'll be surprised at how quickly you will be creating "great art."

Photoshop Inside & Out, Mac and Windows video, IDG, $59.95.

This video is the best piece of training material I've seen on Photoshop in a long time. David Biedny and Bert Monroy, coauthors of "The Official Photoshop Handbook" begin this series with an introduction to Photoshop 5, with emphasis on setting preferences (it makes a huge difference!), using the History and Actions palettes, creating spot color channels, and using layers to create special effects. Included are many undocumented features and hints--and all of it presented in the most productive and least threatening way. Of course, being able to do this along an expert makes it easy for the rest of us to learn how to get the most from this complex application. Whether you're a novice or experienced user, this video will give you more useful information than you'll find in most books for only a few dollars more.


Inside Adobe Photoshop 5, Limited Edition, Mac and Windows, by Gary David Bouton & Barbara Bouton. New Riders, $55 with two CDs.

This comprehensive, hard-cover book, is really a Photoshop course, an expansion of the original "Inside Adobe Photoshop 5" with new chapters on advanced techniques. Along with basic Photoshop information, it includes new chapters on creating shadows and reflections, setting up composite images, and using third-party plug-ins to simulate textures, design background tiles and produce 3D effects. The twin CDs include nearly 600MB of images, high-resolution scans, and fonts, a PDF file with definitions, explanations, and color illustrations, and step-by-step exercise files for all the images in the book.