Photoshop. Masking & Compositing by Katrin Eismann PDF
Written by Mariana Gruener   

Published by New Riders


Perhaps you are of the likes of Katrin Eissman, who realized that she could not get all she wanted to express with a single camera shot and decided to make image composites. She started out cutting photos with her scissors, put them together with tape or did photo-montages in the darkroom, until one day she found that a computer offered the possibility of putting her ideas to practice in a much faster, easier and simple way.


This new book by Katrin is the kind you want to keep right next to the coffee mug because it will often get you out of trouble. This book is for anyone using Photoshop who wants to get acquainted with or would like to improve his or her selection techniques.


The book has four sections:


* Tools and selection techniques

* Working with layers

* Masks

* Selecting and working with very detailed images.


Katrin explains that, before starting to manipulate an image, we must be very clear about what we want to accomplish, this will enable us to decide which is the most appropriate selection method. We tend to use recipes and each image requires something different due to its color, texture or the way it will be combined.


We must take into account that the original digital photos (the ones coming from the camera or scanner, the background layer) are like the negatives, so they should not be altered. She advises to make a copy of the background layer file before starting. Even though this takes up space of your hard drive, you cannot afford the risk of losing an image if you have second thoughts.


She recommends to always have a camera with you, so you can shoot your own image bank, this will ensure that you have the material you need, according to your needs and personal style.


The book opens up the door to use tools that are forgotten because they are so intimidating, like the pen tool. She tells us effective ways to use it, and makes us understand that mastering this tool requires patience.


“Masks are your friends” is the title of a chapter that seeks that the reader will lose the fear of using this technique. The function of a mask is to control, which part of the image will be modified and which will not. Katrin suggests a variety of efficient solutions, with tools I thought were meant to do other things, such as filters, channels, layers and color contrast, which render impeccable selections without having to spend long hours painting with the brush tool or clicking the mouse hundreds of times.




Anybody using Photoshop must understand that layers are crucial. They allow us to work without destroying or altering previous steps. Layer masks are the program’s soul, they provide the ability to combine images without destroying them. They allow you to move, hide, mix, experiment or combine different shapes- all of it without losing a single pixel.


The comprehension of the examples and techniques used in the book demands, in my opinion that you work only with the shown examples, this means that you must follow recipes that are appropriate for those images. That is why you have to try them out with your own pictures and be sure that you’ve learned something that can be applied to your own work.


Katrin tries to keep the spirits high in her book, since many times we think that making a selection takes less time than it actually does, we tend to loose our patience, but she is able to come up with funny remarks that helps us to relax. It takes time to process everything that is taught in this book, and be able to master the tools, so we will not overwork our photographs and they look the wrong way for abusing the tools. The important thing is to have an idea of what we want to accomplish with our image, and to look for the best way to do it, not to be an expert in techniques that we don’t know how to use.


I give the book two thumbs up. I enjoyed doing every exercise and discovering the many things that can be done with the program. It is not easy to understand, you need to have previous knowledge of Photoshop and be familiar with digital image manipulation. But you must keep it near you, because it will get you off the hook Reading it once is not enough, you will keep coming back to it over and over. The selection process requires patience, lots of practice and creativity.


Mariana Gruener




Katrin Eismann


Internationally recognized artist, author, and educator who has been working with digital imaging tools since 1989. Katrin's extensive teaching and speaking engagements address the latest tools and techniques of digital imaging and the impact they are having upon professional photographers, artists, and educators. She has taught and presented in Europe, Asia, South America, and throughout North America.

Katrin studied photography and electronic still imaging at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She was the first intern at the Kodak Center of Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine. Three years later she was the Director of Education and had implemented a rigorous curriculum that focused on imaging, design, and multimedia.

In 1998: Katrin co-authored; Web Design Studio Secrets and Adobe Photoshop Studio Secrets, 2nd edition for IDG Books; chaired two Thunder Lizard Productions Focus on Photoshop conferences. In 1999: Silicon Graphics Computer Corporation selected Katrin to participate in the Vanguards of Visual Computing Program. In 2000 she taught at numerous workshops and at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. In 2002: Katrin received her MFA degree in Design from the School of Visual Arts in NYC.





Photoshop. Masking & Compositing
by Katrin Eismann

Máscaras y montajes con PHOTOSHOP.
por Katrin Eismann

Spanish Edition
Edited By Editorial Anaya


This wonderful book by Katrin Eismann which is a must for every photographer, is now also available in Spanish language.



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