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New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Mastering Photoshop for Web Design is the third book in our eBook series, and it’s definitely the best eBook we’ve published so far. It was written from scratch by our regular writer Thomas Giannattasio, exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers. We are very proud of the result, in particular because of the high quality of tips, ideas and techniques that Thomas — who is a deep expert in Adobe Photoshop — presents in his book.

Update (January 2013): The e-book is now available for $4.99 (€4.49)

Mastering Photoshop is written for advanced and intermediate designers who want to brush up on their workflow and improve their Photoshop skills. The eBook contains 178 pages, explaining fundamental techniques that Web designers need to know to produce high-quality work in Photoshop. You won’t find any generic step-by-step tutorials or learn random effects. You will gain a profound understanding of what you can do with Photoshop and how to use it effectively in your work.

All chapters have undergone a careful technical review by well-known designer, illustrator and speaker Elliot Jay Stocks2. The book was proofread by our regular proofreader Andrew Lobo, and it has an attractive layout. The PDF can be printed and read on all devices.

The Author Link

Thomas GiannattasioThomas Giannattasio is an interactive designer who resides in the Washington DC metro area. He specializes in Web design and front-end development, particularly art direction, website design and application design, and has 14 years of experience. Thomas cares strongly about typography, simplicity and user experience. He works as a senior designer for a global marketing firm and freelances under the name attasi.

Thomas’ articles on Smashing Magazine prove his expertise in Photoshop: The Ails of Typographic Anti-Aliasing3 and Unknown Photoshop Tricks and Time-Savers4 are two of the most useful Photoshop-related articles that Smashing Magazine has published over the years.

The Expert’s Opinion Link

Elliot Jay Stocks“Photoshop is a powerful tool, and although the basics can be easy to grasp, mastering the application can be extremely difficult. This is where Mastering Photoshop comes in: it takes readers through the app in depth and relates all tasks back to the creative process. There’s much to learn in here, for beginners and experts alike.”

— Elliot Jay Stocks, designer, illustrator and speaker

The eBook, in PDF, ePUB and Mobipocket format, is ideal for archiving, for armchair or mobile reading (including the iPad and iPhone via iBooks and other apps) and of course for printing. You can order your copy of Mastering Photoshop for just $19,905 (or €16.95 if you live in the EU) starting now and exclusively in our Smashing Shop.


Buy the book now!7

The book contains eight chapters:

  1. Color Management
    Colors can appear lighter or darker, more or less saturated, cooler or warmer, or just plain wrong depending on the user’s environment. This can be quite a problem, especially with a client’s brand-specific colors. As Web designers, our responsibility is to ensure that the experiences we craft are as true to the original as possible.
  2. Paths
    While Illustrator’s vector tools are much more powerful, Photoshop’s benefit lies in its ability to blend vector and raster data together seamlessly. Because Photoshop documents are based on a pixel grid, the path tools in Photoshop make them superior to Illustrator for designing on-screen media.
  3. Layer Styles
    Layer Styles are essential to creating flexible and non-degradable documents, because they’re separated from the layer’s actual content. In this chapter, we’ll cover how to create great-looking and reusable styles. We’ll also cover some unique effects and non-typical uses that help to consolidate excess layers.
  4. Brushes
    Mastering the digital brush is by no means easy. It carries the same difficulties as the sable brush hidden at the bottom of your art bin. In fact, the difficulty is multiplied by the disconnect between the hand and monitor. Developing Photoshop brush skill takes time, but it is well worth the effort.
  5. Typography
    While the majority of type on the Web is rendered by HTML, Photoshop is still necessary to handle treatment beyond the grasp of CSS. In this chapter, we’ll explore Photoshop’s type tools and discover ways to maximize the software’s typesetting capabilities.
  6. Photography
    A photograph — especially of the human face — immediately draws the user’s attention and can be used to direct eye flow to important areas of the page. Placing a large photograph above the fold is a common way to provide an entry point to the content. Because photographs are high above other elements in the hierarchy, they need to be handled with care and precision.
  7. Exporting
    Once you’ve polished every last pixel, it’s time to get your work into the browser. This is a pretty straightforward process, but properly optimizing your images is crucial. You need to maintain a balance between clarity and download speed. This requires multiple formats, varying levels of compression and other optimization techniques. In this chapter, we’ll explore the workflow of exporting images via the “Save for Web and Devices” dialog.
  8. Summary

Sample Chapter and Screenshots Link

You can download the Chapter 4, Brushes8 (4.7 Mb, PDF) for free. Please consider buying the eBook if you find it useful or helpful.

Large view10

Large view12

Large view14

Motivation behind the book Link

In the foreword, Thomas describes his motivation:

“This book was written in the hope of filling a gap — a gap that has existed for as long as designers have been using Photoshop for Web design; a gap that we so often fill with tutorials focused on the latest trends and on inspiration galleries that are quickly browsed and forgotten; a gap that is growing as quickly as our technologies. It’s a gap of foundation.

The fast pace of the Internet has focused us on the latest and greatest techniques, which typically have a lifespan of only a few months. Rarely do we focus on the fundamentals — the principles that outlive the trends. Unfortunately, the principles often appeal to us less than the shiny and new.

Photoshop tutorials offer quick results. They hold our hands step by step until something incredible appears, but they rarely explain in depth the principles that allow us to create something unique and incredible of our own. If you’re a beginner, I hope this book gives you the comprehension you need to bring your ideas to life. If you’re a veteran, I hope it unveils some of the mysteries that have always boggled you.”

The book is not protected by DRM and is available exclusively in the Smashing Shop. Please respect our work and the hard effort of our writer. If you received this book from a source other than the Smashing Shop, please support us by purchasing your copy in our online store.


Thank you.

Footnotes Link

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3 ../2009/11/02/the-ails-of-typographic-anti-aliasing/
  4. 4 ../2010/01/20/obscure-adobe-photoshop-time-savers/
  5. 5
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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Shame there is no printed version… I tend to prefer printed books rather than PDFs… Anyway, looks great!


    • 2

      Yea, I MUCH prefer printed books. PDF books have almost zero interest to me. I read the Smashing Book while going to the bathroom over the course of 4 months, just a few pages at a time. That’s pretty much how I read, lol. Either that or on my nightstand. I work in digital all day long, somtimes I just like to relax and hold a book or magazine in my hands. I subscribe to Maximum PC and Popular Mechanics, not interested in their web sites howerver. Somthing to consider SM, some of us digital people like PRINT!

    • 3

      I was really hoping for some fabulous tricks on using PhotoShop for the web, this book is more of an instruction guide and overview of PhotoShop’s tools

  2. 4


  3. 5

    Pete Morley

    July 27, 2010 4:45 am

    You’d probably sell four or five times as many of these books if they were priced at a fiver, just saying. I can’t justify 17 Euros on an eBook until after payday. Shame.

    • 6

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 27, 2010 4:59 am

      I understand your scepticism. But the thing is that we’ve invested a lot of work into preparing this eBook, and Tom has done a tremendous job on writing it, so selling it for $5 just doesn’t sound right. I am sorry.

      I assure you that the information in the book is well worth it.

      • 7

        Pete Morley

        July 27, 2010 5:16 am

        I’m not saying that it’s not worth the money, I’m sure it is and I’m sure that Thomas has put a lot of effort in. You’d probably make more money by selling your eBooks at a more accessible price as more people would be inclined to take a gamble and buy them. Would you rather sell a few hundred books at 17 Euros, or a few thousand at 5?

        Take David duChemin’s model as an example. He sells his eBooks by the bucket load. I’ve purchased a couple in the past without thinking twice about it and I’m always keeping my eyes open for his next release.

      • 8


        July 27, 2010 8:18 am

        I agree, why should you go to all that effort and sell it for budget price … 19.90 is hardly expensive for the content it provides … keep up the good work!

        • 9

          I was just about to purchase the book until I noticed that it was only available as a downloadable e-book. I agree, it is for sure worth the price in a matter of content, but knowing that for almost the same price I got the printed Smashing Book and on amazon other Photoshop books are on average just a little bit more pricey (but include shipping) I can’t really see it getting justified. I love the touch of paper in my hands, printed content is a million times more valuable to me. besides that, reading on screen is straining my eyes and printing it is only making it more expensive and overall clumsy. I would have liked to pay a little more so I would have been able to hold it or at least to have it displayed on my bookshelf.

          • 10

            I agree. While I’m sure this book has great content. I’m not really interested in e-books. Perhaps if it were half the price ($9.99) for the e-book and $19.99 for a printed copy. I would even opt to buy the printed copy over a half price e-book as I much prefer to read off paper, it’s also far handier to toss a book in your bag. With this model I think you’ll cover a much larger audience which in turn will increase your ROI.

          • 11

            For God’s sake, get over yourself. You love the feel of paper? Do you want a sexual experience or do you want to learn something? The value is not determined by how it is packaged, but by the info it contains that will improve your skills or make you money. I am reading books like this on my iPad. Try it, it will change your life.

          • 12

            @Doug The medium is the message. The book does have GREAT content but that’s just part of it. Those of us that read this blog care about the experience too. There is something about a printed book that allows for a shared experience an ebook is unable to provide.

            So yes, value is also in the packaging (however not totally inclusive). Content is the most important thing. Not true. If content is the most important thing then delivery cannot be. Both content and delivery play equal roles.

        • 13

          Russell Wayne Webster

          July 29, 2010 1:17 pm

          This is a bargain!!!!!

      • 14

        jason the designer

        July 27, 2010 1:27 pm

        SM: I bought the printed version of your last book and thought it rocked for the pricepoint.

        I too am more inclined to read a book than a PDF (I am 38… showing my age? lol)

        Maybe offer a Lulu link for peeps who want a printed copy?


      • 15

        Hey Doug not everybody has the same experience as you do… people are making valid comments about the book.. respect them don’t slam them!

      • 16

        Yeah, sell it lass expansive and you will sell more, and gain more money… Its a E-book, sell 100 copies or 1000000 cost the same to you..

        • 17

          Pete Morley

          July 28, 2010 7:12 am

          Logic doesn’t seem to work here Fernando. The amount of lost sales in the comments alone compared to the amount of people who said they’ve bought the book should be an eye opener.

      • 18

        Jason the Designer

        July 28, 2010 8:07 am

        After seeing this thread I received an email from Rockable Press for their new e-Book for, yes, $39. I had received a $20 voucher in my email for being on their list, but for the rest of the world who isn’t… $39 for an ebook on blogging?

        Makes this one look like a steal.

      • 19

        Vincent Pollard

        July 29, 2010 7:29 am

        i agree. it’s priced to high for a PDF. i’d buy it at $10 but $20 is too much.

  4. 20

    Caleb Kester

    July 27, 2010 4:47 am

    Looks very interesting! Once I get a good way to read e-books I’ll have to consider this!

  5. 21

    Bruno Paiva

    July 27, 2010 5:01 am

    the price is so expensive for an ebook!

    • 22

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 27, 2010 5:07 am

      Sorry. But please read my comment above.

      • 23

        Vitaly, don’t apologise. I have no doubt it’s worth the price, and I’d also be happy to spare a few more dollars to fund such a good cause as SM and its authors.

      • 24

        i double the previous reply

        • 25

          I agree. I think of all the awesome articles on SM that have helped me over the past couple years and what I’ll get from this book and it’s an easy decision for me.

          Sometimes you have to look past what the “market rate” for things are and pay for their value. I’m sure i’ll save a couple hours from the tips in the book and it will have paid for itself.

          Thanks SM!

  6. 26

    Celwin Frenzen

    July 27, 2010 5:01 am

    Definately considering ordering this one, just need to get a good e-reader first!

  7. 27

    Are you planning on releasing a epub-version of the book as well? PDF is normally fine, but reading them in iBooks on my iPhone is a bit of a pain.

    • 28

      Then the ebook would be even more expensive… Not a good idea. Why don’t you ask Steve if he could make reading PDF in iBooks less painful… :) I would like that :)

      • 29

        Johan de Jong

        July 27, 2010 6:00 am

        That statement doesn’t make sense, since epub is basically a ZIP file with XHTML + CSS + XML packed together. (source:
        So no extra work is needed, since you can simply export your Word document to HTML :p

        The only “extra” cost will be the DRM, which by the way isn’t available in PDF.

    • 30

      The ebook is now available in PDF, ePUB and Mobipocket format.

  8. 31

    Awesome book, will there be a printed version of the book?
    Some of us prefer reading an actual book.

  9. 32

    Caesar Aldhela

    July 27, 2010 5:05 am

    I wish you guys will issue new printed books again, however goodluck for the e-book :)

  10. 33

    Guys you should definitely start selling those books in printer version! Otherwise keep on good work ;)

  11. 34

    Ollie Queen

    July 27, 2010 5:06 am

    I feel the price is fair, for the information involved would be very relevant and perhaps be able to make someone’s career if they are just starting out. I’ll pick it up this afternoon when I get back from work, I need a refresher in photoshop anyway and it’s a heck of alot cheaper than a lynda subscription.

  12. 35

    I have bought 2 ebooks and the smashing book now and every one has been an awesome read. But this is becomming a very expensive hobby. The price for this ebook Vitally is so expensive! Surely it’s better to sell 10,000 copies at $5 than it is to sell 1000 copies at $19?

    • 36

      thomas giannattasio

      July 27, 2010 5:14 am

      $19 may seem like a lot at first, but I assure you the information within is well worth it. Try finding a Photoshop book from your local book dealer for that price. They’re typically around $50 a pop! I hope you’ll reconsider :)

      • 37

        I’m not saying the content isn’t worth every penny asked for it. But 1st off, the price is more expensive from a book store cause it is something tangible, most of that price includes the printing and manufacturing costs. Also – though I completely agree the content is of a different callibre, but all books in the iBook store are much much cheaper than this ebook is. As soon as I buy a eBook online, I sync it to my iPad, it’s the main reason I buy the eBook, but $19, though I’m sure great content, is so so high! Big name books, magazines, limited edition 1 off’s (8 faces) come up cheaper than this does. And again, though the content is completely different, it is still just as valuable.

  13. 39

    Have to agree with above. Looks like a great book but a little too expensive for me.

  14. 40

    Helio S. Junior

    July 27, 2010 5:24 am

    Looks like a must have book. Another one to my personal library.


  15. 41

    I can’t imagine designing web in Photoshop. Interesting, but fireworks is so much easier!

    • 42

      I couldn’t imagine writing a comment about a Photoshop article if I am preferring to use Fireworks. That would be so random. I would probably write comments on Fireworks related articles. That would be so much easier (for everyone).

      And what I wanted to ask: who cares?

      • 43

        Why can’t a Fireworks user comment on this? I use FW exclusively for my web design work, and was just curious to see what was in the book. After seeing a summary of what’s in it, I have no reason to buy it. Plus it’s way too expensive.

        And what I want to ask: Have you actually ever even TRIED Fireworks!?

  16. 44


    July 27, 2010 5:37 am

    Looking forward for the print version.

  17. 45

    Husien Adel

    July 27, 2010 5:37 am

    Nice book as i read s a short description about it, may be buy it and give it a feedback ;)
    thanks SM team you are great

  18. 46

    Martin Chaov

    July 27, 2010 5:40 am

    I agree there is a lot of effort and time needed to create an eBook. But guys … seriously … all that information is available for free, not to mention that, Adobe manuals are completely free, and Photoshop has one of the best written manuals I have ever seen.

    I like your work on general. Nice tryouts you are making with this eBooks, just price them according the containing information and its quality, not at what you would like to be paid for a job, that is already done by the community.

    Good luck selling it to the newbies thou.

  19. 48

    This is great news.
    However, is there any way to get it as a printed version?
    How much more would it cost?

  20. 49

    Melle Wynia

    July 27, 2010 5:46 am

    I’m normally not the person who buys (e)books quickly, but this looks very interesting (especially after reading the excerpt). Looking forward to buying it!

    20 Dollar (around 16 Euros for me) isn’t much comparing the price with the prices at (even though their books are around 500 pages thick each)!

    ~ M

    • 50

      Sitepoint books are good but also ridiculously expensive. I would never buy one at their prices… I can’t be the only one, either. I think if smashing dropped their prices, even to say $9.99, they would blow Sitepoint out of the water with any competing books.

  21. 51

    Photoshop is not exactly superior for anything web. Illustrator does let you use a pixel grid now, and frankly Fireworks is light years ahead of Photoshop for building out sites. Not trying to stir anything up, but just seems like bad advice from the description alone.

    • 52

      good point ..

    • 53

      I agree wholeheartedly and also with Caleb above. Seems like the subject of study for such a topic should be the tool best suited and designed for web design, Adobe Fireworks.

      • 54

        I’d like to see some examples of sites that the people commenting have built with fireworks! I’ve always found ps far more powerful but am always open to change. Sadly, most of the sites I’ve seen done with Fw didn’t look so hot as a final product.

        • 55

          @matt. I had a look at the sites Floor Vahn provided. Sure, they all work but the graphics are a little underdeveloped.
          Compare to:
          That was designed in PS. I think there’s just more depth to those images. But as most astute commentors are noting: designers use tools, and it’s a case of how good the designer is and how well – and quickly – a designer can use a particular tool.

          • 56

            @Brett. There’s nothing in those images that I couldn’t do in Fireworks. I would say that your website is a little underdeveloped. (template?)

          • 57

            Not sure why you had to use Photoshop for that really. Not sure why you’re comparing your site to the ones I mentioned. Sort of apples and pears, no?

      • 58


        I can only repeat myself. Who cares? This article is obviously not for you, as you like to use Fireworks. This article is for people who like to use Photoshop for web design. Its their preference, and there are many many people who think like this. Hence, there is a book (or say hundreds) on it. With regards to the Fireworks discussion on “Photoshop for Web” related articles, I can only advise you to go to the best timber merchant near you and buy some wood. Then you build a bridge. And then you get over it.

        • 59

          I was interested in reading this book to see WHY people would use Photoshop. I might just get it. I can be convinced to change my mind. But honestly, I design TEN times faster than someone using PS. Fireworks is made EXCLUSIVELY for the Web. Photoshop is for….well… Really. But you CAN use it for web design. If you like to punish yourself….

          • 60

            I think you mean to say YOU can design 10 times faster in fireworks than YOU can in photoshop. Fireworks is faster for you and that works for you so that’s great. Other people who have been using PS for years will be plenty fast enough. And if you really measure quality by how fast you get something done than maybe you should buy this book and learn something :)
            My opinion on the whole PS vs FW is: If you are a web designer and ONLY a web designer, learn to use fireworks. If you are like a majority of designers out there and do everything from web to print, you should to use (and probobly already have) photoshop, illustrator and indesign. Either way you look at it, Adobe is laughing all the way to the bank.

  22. 61

    Although I prefer a printed book, I consider buying this one. It’s not a bad idea to give my Photoshop skills a boost.

  23. 62

    I bought it…I have certainly blown $20 bucks on stuff not nearly as informative as this book! I have read Tom’s articles here and know I will get my money’s worth and then some.

  24. 63

    20 dollars is nothing for almost 200 pages. Just not having to drive to a bookstore knocks 5 off it for starters and I get it immediately. Its FAR less than a book and sure you can search the web (I do all the time) but its nice to have a professional overview; I see this as a no different to a seminar. Many of the design magazines that are packed with ads don’t cost much less; I look forward to buying this and supporting more such ebooks.. Any actual reviews anyone?

  25. 64

    Nick Voronin

    July 27, 2010 6:08 am

    I have Smashing Book and i can tell for sure – one of MUST HAVE books.
    And i believe that this one worth to buy it too.

    But, maybe dear SM team can make some special discount for RU / BY / UA readers who want to by this full of needed knowledge book, because $20 for casual Ukrainian / Russian designer is not the same as for UK or US.

    Thank you SM team for you job. You are doing great job.

  26. 65

    Brian Jones

    July 27, 2010 6:15 am

    Looks like a great book. $20 is nothing for an in depth book which will help you gain the necessary skills to master this program for designing for the web. Plus, the money is going to my favorite spot on the web SM..$20 for a great book and the money goes to complaints here!

  27. 66

    Vitaly Friedman

    July 27, 2010 6:25 am

    Please submit reviews of the book, too! Do you like it? Did you find it useful? Is the price worth it? Please let us know what you think!

  28. 67

    Sorry but like the last ebook I won’t be purchasing. I can’t read ebooks, too hard on the eyes and a bit too expensive. If you released this or the previous ebook as a hard copy I’d definitely purchase.

  29. 68

    Another ebook book to my collection! Thanks SmashingMagazine…. its totally worth it!

  30. 69

    There are already a bunch of books available on Amazon on this subject – actual books for around the same price by industry experts. An eBook should be something fresh and new. No reason to get this, really. I’d rather visit my local Barnes & Noble and review the books on this subject before I purchase.

  31. 70

    Jamal Nichols dot com

    July 27, 2010 7:49 am

    Agree with Dan. I’d rather watch some video tutorials or check out BN or Amazon. You guys really need money huh.

  32. 71

    I’ve bought two printed eBooks from Smashing (The Smashing Book and Smashing WordPress), they were both amazing. Their “Professional Web Design” eBook was very interesting and it was worth the buy too. But this one, “Mastering Photoshop for Web Design”, I’m not sure about it. The sample just says to me that this eBook is an excerpt from the Adobe Photoshop manual, that’s all. No tips, no tricks, no interesting techniques… I’m really not sure to buy this one, in any case not at this price, sorry!

  33. 72

    Helge-Kristoffer Wang

    July 27, 2010 8:12 am

    I will buy this book, but not yet. Got to wait for my clients to handle my paycheck. I will also write a review of this book after I’ve read it. Looking forward to it!

    Won’t be a problem to print it if im getting tired of reading the screen tho’.

  34. 73

    If you could spend $18 for a tee why can’t you pay few more $$ for a book!!! lol…
    keep up the good work SM! cheers…

  35. 74

    I must admit I’m struggling to decide whether to buy this or not. It looks great, but I really hate reading PDF books. Any chance there’ll be a printed version at any point? Wouldn’t hesitate on that, even if it was quite a bit more expensive.

  36. 75

    Truly, $20 isn’t much for a book of this nature, but as my eyes have trouble reading long lengths of text on a computer screen, it is tough for me to designate a purchase of this nature.

  37. 76

    Chris Beaman

    July 27, 2010 8:52 am

    Please print it and I will buy it, thank you.

  38. 77

    $20 for an eBook!? Let me be clear, I love your resources, however to spend 20 beans on an eBook is ridiculous. Like previous comments, these resources can be found all over the net. Now if it was printed, it becomes a different scenario and I would have purchased it.

    Any rate good luck with the sale

  39. 78

    Photoshop for Web Design? Really??

    Fireworks for web design is more like it……
    Fireworks accelerates web design and development and is the ideal tool for creating and optimizing images for the web and for rapidly prototyping websites.

    • 79

      Why do you feel the need to comment? This article has nothing to do with Fireworks, and there is really no need to comment about it. Everyone uses the tools they like and this article is for people who – unlike you – would like to use Photoshop for their web design needs. God, sometimes I would really like to figure out what people are thinking when they post such remotely related comments.

      • 80

        And it seems like you have to comment on everyone’s opinion all the time.

  40. 81

    This is awesome, but Do you have the Sony Reader version?

  41. 82

    I bought last week “Rework” – Jason Fried book on amazon – 288 pages – top notch content – “”hardcover””- for 12 $ .And you are asking that we pay 20 $ for ebook ….Funny…


  42. 83


    this sounds very interesting! But: I am working with Gimp so this ebook isnt really useful. Is there an eventuality that you publish a ebook / book like this but for gimp in near future?


  43. 84

    print in French, spanish english and chinese and will all buy at any price.

    Good works

  44. 85

    I think it would be worthwhile for smashing to invest in good publication model. I am not someone who reads comic books but just a little while ago I picked up the iphone app for comics and they somehow sucked me in to paying .99 cents a chapter on this bayou story, something to consider.

  45. 86

    Lenny Terenzi

    July 27, 2010 9:48 am

    178 pages of information from a trusted source like SM seems like a good deal for $19.90. Do not lower the price or apologize to those who tell you your work and your research is not worth the cost.

    For those who want a printed copy take the pdf to any copy shop and get them to do a double-side print and crisp white paper. Only set you back a few more bucks and you will still be way ahead of most books on the shelf.

  46. 87

    Aaron Ufema

    July 27, 2010 9:55 am

    I’m just learning Photoshop for web — was wondering if the book covers anything technical as far as web design goes, like the standard size canvas to work in and organizing layers for coding? Thank you!

    • 88

      thomas giannattasio

      July 27, 2010 10:03 am

      Hi Aaron,
      That’s a great question. This book actually concerns itself more with the application and its tools. It focuses on how to utilize those tools for web design. It does not cover best practices of design, but it DOES cover best practices for the outlined tools. If you have further questions (canvas size, organization, etc.), please feel free to contact me at or on twitter at @attasi. Thanks!

  47. 89

    Sound good, but I’m a GIMP user.

    As far as folks asking for a printed copy, could something like “” work… just a thought.

  48. 90

    Price is ok i guess for quality ebook. If it’s from SM then it’s good in my opinion. I got paper book from SM and i like it. But i will not buy this one because i’m not interested in topic:) It’s not 5$ ebook “How to become rich in 7days” where some teenager want make money from people by selling his poor quality texts.

  49. 91

    $20 is a bit much for an ebook. My company sells it’s printed paperback 6×9 books for $15, and the content is just as important for it’s readers. Hopefully Tom gets the majority of the proceeds. His articles are always great! I’m not going to buy the ebook, but I would quickly purchase a printed version for $15-20.

  50. 92

    Damage that is not even in print, nice work

  51. 93

    I would definitely buy it if it was a printed book at that price + shipping. Until screens become easier to read from (I don’t have a Kindle or eBook reader), I’ll have to pass.

    I’d even be willing to pay a $5-10 premium + shipping if it was available as an actual “book”.

  52. 94

    I agree all. The ebook is too expensive. I will buy it if you cut the price 70%.

    • 95

      Thomas Giannattasio

      July 27, 2010 11:43 am

      If only the world worked that way. I’d love to walk into a Mercedes dealership, claim that the cars are too expensive and demand a 70% price reduction. I’d have entire fleet of them!

      Pete, what if your clients requested a 70% cut? How would you respond?

  53. 96

    Looks good, but that’s just too much money.

  54. 97

    Crtl + Alt + Right Click resizes your brush… Alt + shift + right click adjusts the hardness…the sample chapter has it swapped.

  55. 98

    Connor Crosby

    July 27, 2010 12:04 pm

    I was going to get it until I realized that the price was for a eBook. Sorry SM but I cannot pay that for a digital version which cost none to print and distribute. Yes you worked hard on it, but still. Please consider offering a printed version, even for a little more!

  56. 99

    Guys at SM, you should really consider the idea of hiring a marketing expert to place your ebooks in the market. As you can read from the majority of people, if you had priced it 9.95$, you would have hit a homerun, but 19.95$ for an ebook? No way, sorry, not this time

  57. 100

    What kind of serious person would publish a book especially web related. It’s all about videos now pal, get a hint, this generation demands visual stimulation not black type on white paper. How out of touch could one get in expecting this would sell. GooYa

  58. 101

    Wow people. They worked hard on this book, and the price really isn’t that bad.
    If you don’t need the book, then don’t buy it.

    I’m still voting for the epub-version though before I will buy it so I can read the book on my iPhone :)

  59. 102

    Andreas Papula

    July 27, 2010 2:46 pm

    Although beeing a child of the web, i would prefer a paperback (printed) version.
    Am I too old (35 yrs)? ;-)

    • 103

      I too prefer printed books (I’m 26). I get that people are thinking it could be an age thing, however I think there’s more to it, I think it’s related to the occupation- as contradictory as this is going to sound…
      Web designer/developers spend a lot of time on computers- designing, emailing, social networking, developing etc.. sometimes it’s nice to be able to immerse yourself in a book to getaway from the glare of the pc.
      In the case of instructional books like this one, I prefer to have a printed copy of a book in front of me rather than have to juggle multiple windows between the book and the application or having the book on one screen and the application open on the other (and having to shift the focus of the active window in order to flick to another ebook page). Some people may find flicking through a book more awkward than this(?)..but that’s not how I feel.

      • 104

        That’s exactly how I feel.
        So, Smashing Mag, are you hearing the voice of your readers?
        *hint* *hint*

  60. 105

    The comments are correct… 20 dollars for an eBook is a bit much.

    And after paying and waiting months for your worthless smashing book I wouldn’t buy a coffee from you lot.

  61. 106

    The book looks very interesting, well done SM! :)

  62. 107

    Half the price twice the sales, twice the amount of satisfied customers?

  63. 108

    Discussions like this lead me to wonder how many readers of SM are doing web work as a hobby or as a job…

    • 109

      Chances are if they are doing it for a job they already know most of the books content. The book is more for students and hobbyists.

  64. 110

    I love these guys and I have all their 2 latest print copies. But I prefer printed copies. Let me decide if should get this one… hum!

  65. 111

    Do people not print things anymore? Last time I checked, I could plug in my printer, click print and voilà — pdf on paper.

    As far as price, how much does a coffee frappuccino cost? $4 or $5? Maybe we all take a week off from expensive coffee — voilà: ebook price justified (as well as the crankiness from lack of coffee!).

    • 112

      Uhm… printing out 178 pages, probably heavily illustrated…yeah…be my guest…

      • 113

        Our friend Brett is of course on a corporate printer and thinks everything is free. Printing a book like this on a consumer printer will empty a complete cartridge and cost you 15$ in paper, if you appreciate good paper that is.

  66. 114

    I have a very very tight budget. At least 50% discount, I will buy the ebook. Deal or No Deal!

  67. 115

    Hendri Nugraha

    July 27, 2010 7:25 pm


  68. 116

    Edgars Zagorskis

    July 27, 2010 9:22 pm

    Get a grip y’all FW lovers. Of course, FW is way far better than PS when it comes to the vectors and slicing, but on the other hand, there is totally no “design” in FW. Make 1920×1080 canvas with few overlapping gradient semitransparent layers, then put 10 complex paths with 500 points each and then you see.
    So this book is about (i hope :D) “mastering PS for web _design_” not “PS as the best tool eva to master web”

  69. 117

    I think you can price this book any way you want it, ignore the people who want it for 5$. They are useless customers. If this book would actually help somebody in their career, 19$ is nothing. A good designer makes 19$ in 5-15 mins.

    However, for 19$ the content has to be worth it. We can only judge that by the sample chapter. To me it seems of a good quality, although hardly original or unique. It does not seem to bring information that one cannot get from just the manual or online resources.

  70. 118

    I’ve only glanced over the preview chapter that you guys gave for free, and my opinion is this:

    1. With all of the price comments you could have started with a one week 5$ coupon like rockable press does, it would have been a bit cheaper for $15 and people just love discounts, therefore decreasing the price objections, at least by a small margin.

    2. Judging the preview… the chapter explained the brushes in photoshop in the same way that a manual would have explained or a non designers book.

    I think that since this book is portrayed as Mastering Photoshop for Web Design, it should have been a project based book, and from start to finish make a kick-ass template where you go over all of the tools that Photoshop provides to the designers, because the topics look alright, it just needed the content to pull it together.

    Next book you guys publish, go for a project based approach… I think it will serve the market better to see how a designer thinks and implements a design with the tool rather than just seeing what the properties of the tools do without any creative exercises… after all it’s easy to mess around with the tools and properties… it’s harder to have the mindset of making something useful out of simple tools… and that’s what is missing out of the market, not another photoshop manual (IMOHO).

  71. 119

    Guys @ Smashing- I just wanted to clarify… I commented earlier that I wouldn’t buy the book because I thought it was a little too expensive. I hope you don’t take that as a “dis”… SM is a great site, I love it… and I think that most commenters above would agree that your content is great and I have no doubt that the book is great as well.

    That being said, web design is a hobby/occasional freelance type thing for me. I’m not a beginner, but not a pro coder/designer either. That’s why I find your site to be such a great reference. I don’t know if you’ve looked into it before, but perhaps a large part of your audience is in a similar situation? There’s nothing wrong with that, cornering a niche is great for any business. However, reading the above comments, I can’t help but get the feeling that you’ve targeted – and priced – your ebook for professionals. If I was a pro, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop 20 bucks on a quality ebook. Not being a pro though, I probably wouldn’t go beyond $9.95. Again – not a knock – just trying to provide some honest feedback. I think that at this price point, your book would be a hit, because your professional customers would be thrilled at the great value, yet you would still pick up most of the middle-of-the-roaders like me.

    Above, Thomas compared buying your ebook to a buying a Mercedes. While I understand the comparison drawn, I think it’s worth exploring why Toyota Camrys and Honda Civics are the most popular car out there. I think that sometimes a compromise can be struck that can benefit your customers while remaining or even becoming increasingly profitable.

    Sorry to pontificate… just wanted you to know that despite the complaints about the price, we appreciate SM and value your efforts to provide such a quality resource.

  72. 120

    20 bucks for an ebook is a bit expensive in my opinion too, even if the writers’ work seems great.
    I would definitely buy it if it was a printed version, but for a PDF file, no way !

  73. 121

    Is not it better fireworks or illustrator for web design? managing objects in layers in photoshop is too cumbersome when you have many elements. I do not think is the best tool for Web design. Yes, it is for insurance purposes or specific details of a website, but not completely designed. (sorry for my english)

  74. 122

    Just saw this and thought, thats the next web design book I need to add to my collection. And given I just got an iPad I figured I may as well get it. Also, $19.95 really isn’t a lot to be honest, most web design books around are $30+ so I think its a great deal. Good work Tom!

  75. 123

    For anyone who says this is too expensive:

    This isn’t Priceline where you can “Name Your Own Price”.. Take it or leave it. It’s just like any product you find online. .

    Price can be determined by the value of the content. .

    In the meantime, give them some credit. I’d like to see your books.. Let’s get together and come up with a reasonable price in which we are willing to pay..

    Come on guys, really?

  76. 124

    Quite simple: your book and ebooks are awesome, I get a lot of of them and they save me time looking around. I’ll buy this one as I bought some others.

    HOWEVER, I agree that it’d worth looking into other distribution model. Hardcopy for $19.99 (leaflet type) and softcopy for $9.99. I’d buy the hardcopy for most photoshop or webdesign stuff. I’d buy the softcopy for CSS, PHP, WP and others.

    Now off to the checkout page.

  77. 125

    I’ll buy it when a printed version is out.

  78. 126

    Do you consider on creating a printable version (mean a real book, with cover and all that.)?

    PS: Sorry for my low english

    bye ,)

  79. 127

    I’ll buy it, but as others have said, it would be great to have a physical book. After a 8-10 hour day of working on a computer, usually the last thing I want to do when I get home and relax with a book is look at a screen of any kind (including phone/ipads!)

  80. 128

    thanks for deleting my post… whats the matter? Truth hurt?

  81. 129

    Drazen Mokic

    July 28, 2010 7:21 am

    Unfortunately its an ebook, i hate it to read something on the monitor. Will there be a hard copy?

    Anyway, congratulation on the ebook!

  82. 130

    WoW…. most everyone bit$^&h’s about the price. It’s amusing.
    I don’t care one way or the other. What would be cool to see are sales figures from the experiment. Or other statistics

  83. 131

    I have to agree. I purchase several (printed) computer books every month priced $20-40. I don’t mind paying good money for good content. This book certainly looks promising, but I simply cannot justify spending $20 on a PDF version no matter how much work was put into the book. Lots of work is being put into ANY good book, not just your book. I’d be willing to pay $20-30 for a printed copy, and maybe $8-14 for a PDF copy. $10 sounds about right.

    You only have to sell twice as many at $10 to make (nearly – because of payment transaction fees) the same amount of money. I am just speculating, it’s up to you guys to figure this type of stuff out. You should do whatever makes you the most money. I just think a lot of people have a hard time justifying a $20 PDF no matter how good the content is – it’s still just a PDF! We all know you are saving tons of money by not having to actually print, store and ship the books out – you should consider passing those savings onto your customers.

    Gone are the days when Smashing Magazine was small with one simple purpose: making your readers happy. Smasing Magazine has turned into a corporate lets-try-to-make-as-much-money-as-we-can machine. In all honesty, I enjoy reading the network posts more than the actual SM posts. I know you guys hired a bunch of people, but I feel like the site, including its content, was much better in the early days. Perhaps you guys ran out of ideas and creativity along the way.

    • 132

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 29, 2010 5:19 am

      Stefan, I am sorry but this is simply not true. We are actually inveseting much more time and resources into preparing articles published on Smashing Magazine now. The articles are written by some of the leading designers in the industry, and articles are carefully prepared and presented. And no, it’s not about money these days: we are truly passionate about what we are doing and what we are doing is building a business model for the maintaining and growing the magazine in the future.

      Can you please be more specific: what kind of posts are you missing here? What are you interested in? What kind of recent articles did you like / disllike and why? I would love to hear more feedback from you.

  84. 133

    When are you publishing a printed book again? I think I would like all your books that are pdf’s now if they were printed. Especially now in the summerholiday it would be very nice to have a couple of books like this to take with you on traveling…

  85. 134

    Okay, I bought the book. I read the book.

    I wish I had my money back. Far from being “mastering” anything, it was an introduction to Photoshop and photoshop tools. It almost read like a a big glossary.

    I hate to say it guys, but there’s more “how to” in the manual – if you’ve got the manual, and spend an hour googling for photoshop tutorials, you already have more information than is in this book.

  86. 135

    There are mistakes in the excerpt, which makes me nervous about buying the full ebook. It says to hold alt+shift+right click, and scrub to change brush size, then says ctrl+alt+right click to change hardness. These are backwards.

    ctrl+alt+right-click+scrub = brush size
    alt+shift+right-click+scrub = hardness

  87. 136

    I’m only interested in the first two chapters. It would be amazing if I could just buy those.

  88. 137

    I agree with holeycoww.

    I’d love to buy it but it’s too expensive for a digital book. Physical books have paper costs, ink costs, labor costs, distribution costs, shelf space costs and the million middle men that get a cut. $8 sounds like a deal maker to me. C’mon, you’ll still make a killing with how many people are coming in here.

  89. 138

    I’d love to improve my design technique by reading this book but, hey! €17 for an e-book!?

    I must be missing something. €9, to me, is the ideal worth for selling an ebook. What’s the point in selling 1000 books at €17 or selling 5000 at €9? And, more than that, production cost of an e-book wont change by selling it 6 or 6000 times. Yes i’m just talking about numbers, i respect all of the effort put in writing the whole thing down.


    You guys should practice marketing theories a little more.

    Keep up the good job here a SM.

  90. 139

    I bought the smashing book but this is waaay too expensive. Will pass, thanks.

  91. 140

    It’s so simple :

    We all love Smashing Mag but we want a PRINTED BOOK !

  92. 141

    david said:
    > Half the price twice the sales,
    > twice the amount of satisfied customers?

    actually, most of the time when you cut the price of
    an e-book in half, you get 3-5 times as many sales.
    sometimes even more than that, even a lot more…

    (and your customers aren’t just “satisfied” then;
    they are overjoyed because they got a bargain.)

    if you only get _twice_ as many sales, that means
    you probably shouldn’t reduce the price any farther…
    _unless_ your motivation is to gain more customers,
    that is, which you’ll then leverage with later products.
    (remember that _any_ sale, at _any_ price, is profit,
    as your variable cost for an e-book approaches zero.
    and repeat-customers are the _best_ you can have.)

    however… so as to preclude early-buyer resentment,
    it’s usually better to move in the opposite direction…
    start with your lowest price (for pre-orders and fans),
    and then raise the price for your later purchasers…
    and raise the price again when your sales stall out.
    (it’s weird, but a price-rise can often stimulate sales.)
    the same rule applies: when you double the price,
    and you get fewer than 25% more sales, you have
    surpassed the maximum wise price for your product.

    i’m not telling anyone how to price their product,
    but it is important to understand the dynamics…


    p.s. and if you really have 200,000 readers and
    200,000 followers on twitter, then i’d think you
    would definitely benefit from giving that solid base
    a big “pre-order discount” for their word-of-mouth,
    most especially if you genuinely believe in the book.

  93. 142

    This book definitely fills a void. The majority of photoshop books are aimed at photographers. I agree that this would be a good book to get printed though, not just because it would be handy but it would have little competition in the book store.

  94. 143

    After reading of the comments here I decided not to buy.
    Seems to be an overpriced book as a PDF. A few comments show that the book is more like a glossary rather than anything to learn from.

    I bought the smashing book for 23E and you Expect me to buy this for 17…

    Also most of the stuff thats in the book you can find on-line.

  95. 144

    Painting Straight Lines? Are you kidding?

    Oh, if only I could figure out how to change the diameter of my brush… I could be a master!

    Rename this to The Complete Idiots Guide to Photoshop Tools and I’d pay, like, 5 bucks for it. Maybe.

  96. 145

    I have loved the last couple of books I have purchased from you guys. 1x printed book and 1xeBook.

    I just have to chime as a tech and gadget nut and say I I too would also love if this came out as a printed book. I have an excellent ebook reader and large quality monitors but ultimately having a printed book is a much more enjoyable experience than reading an eBook for me. I just like to get away from an electronic screen no matter how good it is and turn the pages of a book.

    If you opt to bring this out as a printed book I would definitely buy it even at a higher price point as I really liked your last one and thought it was absolute quality.

  97. 146

    this is amazing … i love smashingmagazine… but could you please introduce some more option for buying this book… like moneybooker.. because paypal isn’t available in Pakistan yet… :(

  98. 147

    Worth every penny :D

  99. 148

    Good thing I read all the comments here. Thanks to everyone for your feedback – I was going to purchase the book but now I realize its way too expensive.

    Hopefully they will reduce the price to $4.99 – $9.99

    $20 is a rip off.


  100. 149

    Nice one – but do one with Fireworks also :-)

  101. 150

    I as well will vote for the printed copy.. It is a bit overpriced for an eBook but this is not the biggest problem. Reading long pieces of text on screens is just not for me.
    I have the SM book and really like it..

    Sorry but I will personally skip this one..

  102. 151

    If that was $10 I’d buy it. But considering all of the amazing stuff you write on here FOR FREE, I just can’t justify spending 20 bucks on an ebook.

    But I hope some wealthy designers out there do buy it. The effort you guys put into this site is unbelievable! :)

  103. 152

    Support the authors everyone, if this were in stores it would be $40+ for sure.

  104. 153

    In other news, who’s forcing you to buy this book?

  105. 154

    Vitaly. From the comments, compare how many people would have bought the book at $10 to how many people have actually bought it. Do the maths. You are losing money.

    I thought one of those “how to improve your brand and sales” posts preached listening and acting upon customer feedback.

    On another note, is there an affliate system in place for your books? I’d be interested in that.

  106. 155

    Yet another “would have” reaction haha. Well i dont mind the price (and i don’t understand soo many people complaining about it, geuss creatives must be paid really bad) but i don’t read e-books because im in front of a screen too many hours a day allready.

    SM look after the eye health of your community and sell printed!

  107. 156

    Your previous book was very great.
    Good work sire !
    I’ll buy this one.

  108. 157

    When I was trying to purchase this book using PayPal .. I got this message because I put my home country Libya in the billing details. This book will be delivered electronically, So why the shipping details.

    Unable to process payment. Please contact the merchant as the shipping address provided by the merchant is invalid, and the merchant has requested that your order must be shipped to that address.

  109. 158

    This looks awesome. Gonna have to wait until I have a bit more spending money, though…and maybe when I can finally get an iPad to read it on. Like some of the others, I don’t tend to read at my computer often because I work at it all the time. Looking forward to buying this in the future. :)

    P.S. It’s not a limited time offer, right? I can still buy this a few months from now?

  110. 159


    August 7, 2010 11:51 pm

    Youre guys so funny – “buy now” 3 times? You really wanna say “dont buy this shit” right?

  111. 160

    Vaclav Bedrich

    August 9, 2010 12:25 pm

    This book is so cool. I bought it 2 days ago and I am in more than half. Thanks SM !

  112. 161

    Nice book…….thanks a lot to share these experience.

  113. 162

    I bought this book and read it. This is just a basic introduction to PS, not a guide to making better designs. I’m not very satisfied as I just got ripped off.

  114. 163


    August 11, 2010 2:00 pm

    I was really interested in the chapter discussing shape layers as a means to create web objects. Unfortunately, not much information is provided beyond an explanation of what shape layers are.

    I realize this book is for intermediate to advanced web designers, but I still think a few simple tutorials or examples of using shape layers to creating buttons, backgrounds, etc. would have been helpful. I have found myself on multiple occasions reading this book, then searching the web for tutorials on how to use the features it talks about (in which case I might as well have just read the table of contents).

    One last thing. Note that many of the 178 pages are tables of keyboard shortcuts. Note there is still a lot of content, but this is not the end-all-be-all book for designing with Photoshop.

  115. 164

    As someone who was under the impression this book would be a guide on how to design websites using Photoshop, it surely is not.

    All summed up, it takes you through the program and how to use the basic features and tools…

    And having only skimmed through the book, I will still read it; however, I would suggest for $10 more you get a printed copy of Photoshop: The Missing manual, at over 800 pages long — four times as much information than this 177 page book.

    On another note, video has always provided the best understanding possible and tends to speed up the learning curve a bit.

    Although, the Smashing website is a great and I would recommend maybe buying to support the website.

  116. 165

    Hey Smashing Mag,

    Thanks so much for creating a book on Photoshop. I’ve been waiting for a while to return back to you guys for the awesome free articles on your site. Previous titles didn’t sound to attractive to me except for this one and the Smashing Book (which I really wish was sold in ebook format).

    I’m no great designer, just a programmer who knows HTML and CSS by spending time every now and then at SM. And after reading this book for a while, I’ve learnt some design principles that I would keep in mind for future projects.

    The price isn’t expensive if you compare it to other proper ebooks out there (such as There’s no price to knowledge, anyway. And I’m not paying for this ebook alone, but for the other stuff that the SM team has given away for free before.

    IMO, Mastering Photoshop hits the sweet spot, in so many ways. Thanks!

    – Andrew

  117. 166

    Looks great, but $19.90 is expensive for PDF.

  118. 167

    Is this book ever going to be published as a pocketbook or similar? I would like to have but reading an entire book of a computer screen is not appealing. And i think this book could really help me alot.

  119. 168

    Fireworks is/was a good idea when it came out but sadly PhotoShop is the best graphics package for pixel based design of any kind, and this includes screen based web design. I know Fireworks is what we are told to use but we know better! p.s $20 is fine for an ebook but I have a horrible feeling its not a project based book but a manual that goes through things like color mode and brush dynamics…I may be wrong?

  120. 169
  121. 170

    Cracking blog post!!


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