If the content in this book is the ultimate in topics for a workshop for digital photographers, it makes me glad I've never spent several hundred dollars for a workshop with the likes of Jeff Schewe or Martin Evening.
I strongly recommend Martin Evening's book on Photoshop CS4 for professional digital photographers. It's an excellent book. Well written, if a bit stodgy. Comprehensive. Much of the content of this new book with Jeff Schewe is available in Martin Evening's "Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers" and with more detail.
Should a reader care that Schewe shot photos of tractors for Case but never for John Deere? Or that he owns a laser trigger? Most authors keep the personal stuff restricted to preface, foreword, or introduction. Here the authors constantly intrude. If an author is going to intrude, then they should at least write with the wit of a Scott Kelby, Deke McClelland, or Russell Brown.
The videos were very poorly edited. The videos by Martin Evening are almost inaudible. I loaded them into an audio editor. Audio is reduced to -15db. Why? Because Martin Evening used a cheap microphone into a laptop and did not have enough respect for the buyer to remove the noise from his videos. Instead, the noise was made inaudible by making the audio barely audible even with headphones and full volume. The videos by Schewe have more volume, but their editing is also poor. You can hear him snorting and puffing, and they generally have poor pacing. That is easily fixed. I'm surprised the technical editors from Focal Press didn't insist on better videos.
The technical prose is generally excellent. Schewe and Evening are both very experienced and knowledgable digital photographers. They are both competent technical writers. Focal Press did an excellent job with the layout of the book.
I expected more from this book, however. Given their professional credentials and the title of the book, I expected the equivalent of an award-winning workshop for experienced digital photographers that would teach advanced techniques. Most of the techniques in this book are basic to intermediate. I saw nothing that really approached an advanced technique. Layer blends and selections are stock in trade for digital photographers with intermediate Photoshop experience, and it's the discussions of layer blends and selections that form the bulk of the book.
If you want to learn about layer blends and selections, I would suggest readers look for books by Deke McClelland or Katrin Eismann. If you want to learn glamour techniques for smoothing skin, selecting hair, and the like, there are books with an exclusive focus on glamour retouching that offer better instruction.
What I expected was a book for professionals that was truly inspiring. Something along the the lines of books from Vincent Versace, John Paul Caponigro, etc. Books by those authors combine photoshop techniques with photographic vision and walk-throughs that demonstrate how to take relatively lack luster shots and craft something extraordinary. That's not what you get with this book.
If this book wasn't billed as "The Ultimate Workshop" with all that implies, I would give this book a "Recommended" rating. As a general Photoshop book that explains intermediate Photoshop CS4 techniques, it's as good as many on the bookshelves at Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc. But it's not extraordinary in that respect.
This book is not the ultimate workshop. As a workshop for experienced digital photographers, I'd be sorely disappointed. Especially if the audio quality was the equal of the movies on the DVD.
Recommended with Reservations