There are certain areas of Photoshop that require books unto themselves. Channels was expertly covered by my buddy Scott Kelby, Lab Color was demystified by Dan Margulis, and now Layers will no longer perplex the masses thanks to Matt Kloskowski’s newest book, Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature. The book begins by explaining what layers are. Matt does this in a creative sort of way. It’s actually the way that I have described it to people for years because they just seem to get it. Matt uses transparency material over a photograph and draws on it with a pen. No damage to the original and if you used erasable marker, you can change what you drew. Ok, so the book isn’t all on this simplistic level, in fact it gets into some fairly complex layer techniques. But the nice part is that it builds from the simple to the complex in a logical progression that will have even the most novice of Photoshop users doing enhancements and retouching using blend modes and layer styles in no time. All of the chapters are laid out very well with excellent photographs to guide you through the step-by-step lessons. This really isn’t a book about layers, it’s a book about how to effectively use layers to achieve the desired effect you want/need.
The book is divided into nine chapters and covers all the layers bases and including: Layers Basics, Blending, Adjustment, Masks, Type and Shape, Enhancing With Layers, Retouching With Layers, Layer Styles, and Smart Layers. Each chapter goes step-by-step to demonstrate the layer tool or effect. All of the images used in the lessons are ready to download. I love this feature because sometimes it is difficult to find one of my own images that work as well as the ones being used in the book. As a little bonus, each chapter ends with a page of “How do I” questions and answers that relate to the chapter material. The questions are ones that Matt has been asked during his numerous live teaching engagements for Kelby Training.
So if you haven’t been using layers for more than copy and paste operations, you should place this book high on your list of must purchase items. It will definitely take your Photoshop skills to a whole new level.
For more information, reviews, or to just order it, head on over to Amazon (just click here to go right to the book)