Book Review: Creative Thinking in Photoshop

Often you hear artists deriding the use of technology to create new works, so it's refreshing to see a book by one that focuses on how it can help in the creative process.

Rather than fitting the way artists work around the standard ways of learning software (feature by feature, for example), Steuer takes the reverse approach by structuring her book around how artists work - and how the software can help in that process.

If you're looking for a book that will step you through the processes involved in Photoshop, this book is not for you. If, on the other hand, you've been using Photoshop for some time and you feel comfortable with the tech­niques but would like to take a more creative approach, you could find this book really useful.

Artists who work in traditional media, of course, are the obvious audience, but the book makes a good meeting point between members of this group looking to use technology and tech-savvy amateurs hoping to be more creative.

There are many photos of Steuer's work to illustrate the processes covered as well as discussion of the commissions behind the artworks. In one example, she is commissioned to create a painted, folding screen for an interior. Using Photoshop, Steuer first scans and manipulates a couple of the client's photos to get a template from which to work for the painting and then simulates how the screen would look in the client's lounge room.

The chapter on simulating art in different venues is intriguing. Of course, you can use the techniques described to see how a composition of photos or a mural would look on a particular wall, but you could also see how your painting would look in the National Gallery in Canberra or the Louvre in Paris!

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