October 1999

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The dunes are highlighted and then extracted from the sky pixels with the Extract command.

Photoshop 5.5 with ImageReady2.0, Adobe Systems, Inc. $589.95; $108.95 (after rebate for upgrade).

If you do any image work for the Web, Photoshop 5.5 is an indispensable tool for creating and compressing images. If you don't do Web work, you will find the new masking tools in this powerful upgrade an easier and more efficient way to select parts of an image for compositing.

The new Save For Web dialog box and the Jump to ImageReady 2.0 button provide you will all the tools you need to prepare images that display correctly and download quickly. ImageReady provides optimization and animation tools along with shape tools and type enhancements. The Save for Web dialog box lets you fiddle with up to three different versions of an image, applying color, dithering, and compression options while the image proxies update with file sizes and download times.

A Background Eraser tool and the more powerful Extract command let you extract parts of an image with very little color spill, those ugly pixels that hang on to a selection and appear in the composited image. New faux styles in the Text Tool dialog box are available for applying bold, underline, and italic style to type. And three levels of anti-aliasing for text are also available. Expanded export options and indexed color options are among the new features in this latest version of a valuable and venerable tool.


PowerPoint (Mac and Windows) 2000/98 by Rebecca Bridges Altman, Visual QuickStart Guide, Peachpit Press, $17.99.

If you can't devote your life to deciphering Microsoft's manuals, pick up this wonderful book which shows busy users how to create dynamic presentations. Like all the books in this extraordinary series, PowerPoint marries the tools and functions of this complex application with lots of visuals and step-by-step instructions. Working with charts, graphs, and multimedia clips in PowerPoint are all covered and lots of tips and tricks will have you creating truly professional presentations in less than an hour.

Real World Digital Photography: Industrial Strength Techniques, by Deke McClelland and Katrin Eismann, Peachpit Press, $44.99.

This timely book addresses the issues photographers face before they even get to Photoshop: how digital cameras work, how to buy the one that's best for you, even the fundamentals of digital photography including the use of lighting, props, and flash equipment as well as composition tricks. It also covers imaging with QuickTime VR as well as with Photoshop. Lots of photographic examples and plenty of charts and screen shots help to make much of the more difficult and arcane material intelligible. Before you buy or even use a digital camera, use this book as a guide then as a valuable companion on your digital journey.