My book “Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop” is now available

My first book “Power, Speed and Automation with Adobe Photoshop” on Focal Press is now available for purchase. It’s part of a series of books called “The Digital Imaging Masters Series” edited by Katrin Eismann.

 About the Book

“This book is for the serious Photoshop user. Power, Speed & Automation explores how to customize and automate Photoshop to increase your speed and productivity.  With numerous step-by-step instructions, walk you through the steps to best tailor Photoshop’s interface to your personal workflow; write and apply Actions; and use batching and scripts to process large numbers of images quickly and automatically.  You will learn how to build your own dialogs and panels to improve your production workflows in Photoshop, the secrets of changing keyboard shortcuts and menus, and ways to tune your system for optimal performance. Learn how to get more work done- more easily and quickly- with this essential guide.”

“This is not a book for beginners to either Photoshop or their own computer. There are plenty of good books on both subjects. You should know the basics about using Photoshop. It is admittedly a very deep and wide application. Many people using Photoshop daily admit that they know only about 15 to 25 percent of the power available to them. The fact is that many people use different parts of the application. That’s okay. As long as you can use the tools, find the menus, understand what a selection is and might be used for, know what an adjustment layer does, and have played with filters, you’ll be fine.”

“You also do not need to know how to write code. This book teaches you that and not all at once to overload you. You learn the basics of how to create a script and communicate with the computer. If you already know how, then those parts are easy to skip over, so you can learn just how to communicate with Photoshop itself. You do not need to be a code monkey to do the work in this book.”


The Backstory

At Photoshop World Boston in April of 2009, Katrin Eismann approached me about teaching a class on Photoshop Scripting and Automation. I had led several workshops at Photoshop World on the subject. I’m not a programmer by nature – I went to school for fine art photography – but wanted to open up the power of scripting to artists and photographers. The School of Visual Arts was just starting up an online version of its Masters in Professional Studies degree in Digital Photography.

Since I lived in Minneapolis and not New York, the offer to teach the online version of the class made sense. I accepted the offer. That spring, I reached out to a few of my Adobe, and former Adobe, friends to get feedback on the class I was developing. One of those was Geoff Scott. Geoff & I had worked together on Photoshop – primarily on user interface architecture. We became friends after discovering a mutual interest in comic books.

Geoff left Adobe in late 2008 and quickly applied to get into the SVA online program. Previously, he had been getting further into photography, as well as teaching classes on Lightroom and other digital tools. He decided to pursue a new career in digital photography, moving away from his career as a software engineer. A master’s degree in digital photography was a first step to that goal. So our paths crossed again from different directions. Geoff Scott ended up being one of the first students in the class.

In June of 2010, I was again approached by Katrin Eismann. This time to turn my class into a book for a series entitled “The Digital Imaging Master Series” that she was editor of. I initially said “no” because I was severely burned out from a really intense Photoshop CS5 release. I did, however, say I was open to letting someone else use my class as the basis for a book. I can’t remember if I suggested Geoff for the task, or whether Katrin did. Either way, it was a no-brainer decision.

Although I’m a credited as a co-author of the book, Geoff ended up doing 99% of the work on the book itself. As the book came together in mid-2011, my second daughter Stella was born. She was born with a serious heart defect. Her heart stopped when she was 4 days old and spent the first couple weeks of life on life support (ECMO). She spent over two more months in the hospital recovering from her heart procedure and hydrocephalus. Any obligations I had towards the book at that point were dropped so I could focus on my daughter’s on-going recover. Geoff was a complete angel about the whole thing and tirelessly completed the book. I can’t thank him or the rest of team for pulling it all together. And Geoff’s photography looks amazing in the book.

I also can’t thank Katrin enough for giving me the opportunity to teach at SVA and produce a book that also bears her name. It’s truly an honor.

Finally, I need to thank my wife Rachel, who put up with the long hours writing the original curriculum for the class, and my two daughters, Sophia and Stella, for being the sweetest, most special things on earth.

I hope you enjoy the book.

6 Responses to My book “Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop” is now available

  1. Great, book that was missing and it comes from first hand.

  2. PECourtejoie says:

    Can’t wait to see it on the shelves!

  3. Jim Svos says:

    Thank you, I look forward to reading the book.

  4. Pablo Serrano says:

    I purchased the Power, Speed and Automatization textbook to learn Photoshop Scripting. I am working through the exercises in the last chapter Building Custom Dialogs and have stumbled on the exercise building a High Pass Dialog. When I test the script highPassDialog.jsx I get a run time error which I am not able to rectify.

    Are the exercises in the textbook available online or as download? The textbook from Focal Press did not include a disc with the exercise files for reference. Having these files would be helpful to isolate errors.

    In other respects this is a great textbook, I find the content very interesting. The textbook is nicely designed and pleasant to use.

  5. Pablo Serrano says:

    I am running PS CC 14.2 on OSX 10.9.1. I was able to debug the script for the most part using my common sense. I had to deviate from the textbook samples to make the script workable. The problem was with the popup box drop/down menu functionality. When I removed this code block from the createHighPassDialog function the dialog showed up with all the controls but no functionality.

    Problems and workarounds:
    1. I was not able to assign the default value of OVERLAY to the drop down menu following the textbook example.
    The work around was to move the instructions
    //Set the default value to OVERLAY
    //Set the value of the blend mode
    from the createHighPassDIlaog function to the initHighPassDIlaog function.

    2. The dropdown menu only exhibits three blend modes: Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Mix.
    The other blendmodes Vivid Light, Linear Light and Pin Light in the createHighPassDialog function were commented out because they were causing an error.

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