This “Down & Dirty” is the newest update to the series started back with Photoshop v6

Photoshop Down and Dirty TricksCorey Barker has taken over this series from Scott Kelby and does a marvelous job of continuing to provide easy to follow, complete step-by-step instructions on creating some of the most awesome graphics with Photoshop. To supplement the book, Barker provides the files online you’ll need to duplicate the lessons and even provides additional videos to watch.

Luckily, 95% of the book is applicable to all recent versions of Photoshop, so you don’t need the latest, greatest version to appreciate the book. The exception is the one chapter on 3D, which changed considerably in version 5. Other than that, grab whatever version you have and start amazing yourself with what can be done with a little tutoring from the author.

One of the least understood and least appreciated tools in Photoshop is the brush tool, so guess what occupies chapter one. Barker shows why it needs to be mastered and how easy it is to create amazing work with nothing more than some judiciously applied custom brush strokes. Best part is, after you create a custom brush for one image, you’ll save it and be able to use it whenever and where ever you want later.

In the chapter on type and fonts, you’ll be creating realistic, raised chrome and gold emblems from simple dingbats that used to be flat, black and white ornaments you never knew what to do with. Moving on to commercial graphics, you’ll gain newfound love for grids, halftones and frames.

In all, it’s seven chapters of Hollywood brilliance, in steps anyone can follow, with multiple projects in each chapter. Best of all, they are effects you can use on your photos to make them stand out in a crowd of otherwise “same-ole” photos.

This book is not an introductory book to Photoshop, but anyone who has learned the basics will be able to follow along and really appreciate the techniques that Barker shares. It belongs on any Photoshop users’ bookshelf. Look for it at Kelby Training or any bookstore carrying quality software titles.

You might also enjoy these other Kelby Training books:

The HDR Book by Rafael “RC” Concepcion

Photoshop Compostiting Secrets by Matt Kloskowski