book reviews

Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook by Tim Shelbourne

If you're like me, you don't have a lot of time for books that delve into theory and conjecture. You really need a book that spells out a feature including why, how and when to employ it. This is just what Tim Shelbourne's book does.

It seems that the behemoth Photoshop CS2 can never be fully learned. It is a great tool, but 98% of users only know certain aspects of the program. This book definitely helps. Shelbourne's comprehensive handbook leads the reader through over 60 "recipes" for digital photographers, designers and artists. These "recipes" are presented in full color with easy to follow steps to attain the desired effect.

This book covers many of the most sought after effects in photography with Photoshop CS2 such as:

  • Creating graphic art effects: posterization, watercolor, pen and ink, woodcut
  • Working with lighting effects: neon glows, lens flares, fire effects
  • Simulating natural phenomena: rain, clouds, rainbows, lightning, snow
  • Adapting traditional techniques: film grain, masks, hand-tinting
  • Adding motion blurs and other special effects
  • Simulating textures: stone, metal, glass, plastic
  • Making mattes, vignettes, frames, borders, signatures
  • Assembling multi-layered images and photomontages

I tried several of these effects on some of my own photos. The full color photos that Shelbourne uses in the book to show before, during and after applying the techniques were great. If you are a visual person, you will definitely appreciate the photos and screenshots of the GUI.

Some of the favorite "recipes" in the book include: adding reflections to objects (such as product shots), applying graduated filters, hand tinting black and white or desaturated photos (this also works for restoring old photos), a really cool photo mosaic effect (turning one photo into a collage of several), using selective focus (such as for product shots), using texture overlays and others. Also, I must mention the recipe for turning a figure to stone. It's a creepy, cool effect!

To round out the book, at the end Shelbourne has a chapter on presentation effects. He shows the reader how to add "painted" borders to photos, presenting images out of the frame and adding a monogram to photo or art works.

I think this book is a fine addition to the library of photographers and artists alike. To learn more about the author, visit his website at:

Reviewed By: Loren Elks