Book Review: Welcome to Oz:

A while back I finished another Photoshop book, Vincent Versace’s Welcome to Oz: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop.

This is an advanced Photoshop book, because I consider any book that spends two chapters on how to combine several images (not via HDR) to obtain a single image to be advanced. The first chapter alone was worth it for me. Versace talks about how to control how the viewer’s eye moves around in a photograph and then shows how one might take a photograph and process it so that the viewer would take in the photograph in the desired manner. He introduces the technique of creating image maps which are then used to guide the various post processing steps.

In addition to white and black points, curves, layer blending modes and gaussian blurs, this is the first book that I’ve read that discussed the use of Photoshop’s Lighting Effects filter. Being a lighting guy, I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it was interesting to observe the rationale and effects of this particular filter. I’m not sure that I will ever use Versace’s technique of harvesting several images to obtain a single image, but it was interesting to see the thought process, which might be of use when composing pictures in the viewfinder and assessing the goodness or badness of a shot.

I have yet to actually try Versace’s method on a photograph, but there are many stunning photographs in the book. I’m looking forward to things slowing down enough for me to actually sit down and try my hand at some of the more basic techniques that he described.

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