Publisher 3DTotal Price £29.99/$49.99
This luxuriously presented tome is aimed at those who wish to improve their digital painting skills, in particular for creating concept art for the film and videogame industries.
Offering more than 200 pages, this softback is presented within a plastic slipcase in an unusual landscape orientation, so it will look as good on the shelf as it will provide educational and inspirational advice.
This isn’t your standard tutorial-led book. Instead, each section is written by a well-known digital artist, sharing their advice and tips on different topics, making it an interesting insight into the visual arts industry as well as explaining different tools and techniques. Names include Nykolai Alexsander, Richard Tilbury and Tomasz Jedruszek.
The chapters of the book are logically ordered, so that it goes through a standard Photoshop workspace, looking at the interface itself and how to set up your preferences for a digital-painting project. It then runs through specific Photoshop tools and functions in detail, such as masking, selections, filters and more. The first-person prose that continues throughout stops this from becoming formulaic, though it doesn’t shy away from the technical know-how either.
The second section looks at art fundamentals, such as lighting, composition, conveying emotion and storytelling. These topics are illustrated with examples of the artists’ own work, showcasing a high standard of work to aspire to.
A complete project case study puts together all the information learned so far and shows how it is applied to in a real-world project. It’s an interesting read and uses many Photoshop tools that might not be associated with digital painting, so even those familiar with the Adobe program will find plenty of new tricks for well-known functions.
Up until this point, the techniques learned can be applied to any painting project, so the fourth section applies the knowledge to specific genres, such as landscapes, characters and vehicles, to help you hone your skills.
The book concludes with more case studies of industry projects, quick tips from the pros and an inspirational gallery of concept pieces, breaking down their individual creation.
Overall, there is a lot of reading to do, but the informal way it’s written helps to break down complex techniques and also hold your interest throughout. This is the first in the series, and we are looking forward to seeing what comes next.
It’s not cheap, but it’s full of essential information written in an interesting and engaging manner.
Ease of use: 8/10
Quality of results: 9/10
Value for money: 8/10
Final score: 9/10
Reviewer Julie Easton, Editor of Advanced Photoshop