AlthoughI wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, in a way, I really started writing this book in 1992 when I first started using Photoshop professionally (with Photoshop 2). At the time I wasn’t planning to write a book, but I had already been involved with scanning and editing digital artwork for several years. I had become enthralled with the possibilities offered by digital image editing and admittedly somewhat obsessed by Photoshop. Even in those early versions, the program seemed more limited by the systems it was run on than the other way around.
Over those first few years, I was learning, reading everything available about the program and digital imaging and trying to digest the program, make sense of it, and create easier ways to get things done while maintaining the quality of my work, and improving my style every day. One of the most disturbing things I read was that it would take five to seven years to become proficient in Photoshop—the program had barely been around for that long, and no one would have that kind of time to devote to learning a program. The claim seemed impractical, but at the same time there seemed no end to what I had left to learn.
Over the 10+ years since, both the program and systems have become more sophisticated and powerful, further expanding the boundaries of what could be done with Photoshop and digital images. The Internet and digital printing have blossomed, leading to the development of different ways to deploy images and to a need for a broader understanding of how to use digital images in different media. During that same period, more sophisticated and demanding users have had the opportunity to develop their skills and have input into how the program was built and what it could do. As there were more things to look at in the program, books became bigger, broader…and regretfully often filled with piffle and fluff perhaps in an effort to look like they had more to say.
I have written three books on Photoshop. With each, the goal has been to do something unique to help users understand how to really use Photoshop—not just to rehash the tools and functions as so many books do, and as the manual already does. Each book has been geared toward looking at what users need as a Photoshop user, as use of the program evolves, as user sophistication evolves, as technology evolves, and as my own understanding evolves. The hope has been that I can distill my experience and help users understand the program more quickly and completely.