Adobe Photoshop Master Class: John Paul Caponigro

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9780201354997: Adobe Photoshop Master Class: John Paul Caponigro

For any course in Photography, Computer Graphics, Digital Imaging, or Visual Communications that uses Adobe Photoshop.The personal vision of internationally recognized fine-art photographer John Paul Caponigro serves as the focal point of this book. Students gain insight into Caponigro's creative process and learn how Photoshop can help them develop their own aesthetic and craft. By showcasing his work and carefully explaining the steps he took to produce it, the author provides insight into both his creative method and his Photoshop techniques. Each chapter in this elegantly designed, four-color book is organized around a specific visual theme (atmospheric perspective, selective focus, and split-toned or subdued-color images, for example). Chapters begin with an introduction to the visual concept followed by a step-by-step illustration of the process leading to its realization. This book is a visual treat and an inspiration.

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Review:

The author (the son of Paul Caponigro, a photographer in the tradition of Minor White and Ansel Adams) of Adobe Photoshop Master Class is a skilled art photographer who specializes in intriguing naturescapes that often employ compositing and mirroring. In this book, he shares the photographic wisdom and Photoshop methods that helped create these colorful, mysterious images.

The title is appropriate: the book is modeled after master classes with performance artists; for example, operatic training with Maria Callas. The readers get to see, in detail, Caponigro's techniques and read his philosophies. This demonstration includes Photoshop basics that apply to all types of digital imaging, including calibration, adjustment layers, variations, levels, and curves. It also covers visual principles that are essential to photography in general, like proportion, scale, light, and shadows (including Ansel Adams's Zone system), and--important in the author's own work--reflection and tessellation.

The images, which are generally devoid of the human form, have an otherworldly stillness. Their quiet intensity translates well into book form: the typography and layout resemble a museum catalog, with widely leaded, delicate lines of type. Readers who prefer skimming through how-to books for quick results will be daunted by the level of in-depth attention that this book demands. On the other hand, those who hope to use Photoshop for high-end digital imaging (not just preparing JPEGs for the Web or 600-dpi images for print) will be rewarded by the author's extensive experience and painstaking attention to detail.

Most chapters discuss different issues (e.g., color or shadows) and use Caponigro's images as examples. The discussion is in a narrative form, with quotes and references to artists of all kinds, from Matisse to Goethe. It's like gaining admission to the most competitive graduate seminar, hosted by a renowned artist-in-residence. --Angelynn Grant

Topics covered:

Techniques for using Photoshop (version 5 or higher) on fine digital imaging, including:

  • Monitor calibration
  • Image resolution
  • Applying levels and curves to the Zone system
  • Output to print or film

And photographic issues and Photoshop methods used in the author's work, including:

  • Photomontage
  • Proportion
  • Contrast
  • Color
  • Multiple exposure

From the Back Cover:

The personal vision of internationally recognized fine-art photographer John Paul Caponigro serves for the focal point of this book. Readers gain insight into Caponigro's creative process and learn how Photoshop can help them develop their own aesthetic and craft. By showcasing his work and carefully explaining the steps he took to produce it, the author provides insight into both his creative method and his Photoshop techniques. Each chapter in this elegantly designed, four-color book is organized around a specific visual theme (atmospheric perspective, selective focus, and split-toned or subdued-color images, for example). Chapters begin with an introduction to the visual concept followed by a step-by-step illustration of the process leading to its realization. This book is a visual treat and an inspiration.

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John Paul Caponigro
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