Adobe Photoshop CS2 One Click Wow! is a bit of a difficult thing to classify, because, while it looks like a book, it’s actually more correctly a set of style additions for Photoshop, which should classify it as a piece of software. However, since it’s published as a book, I will review it as such.
Basically, One Click Wow! is a set of styles, actions, shape overlays, and gradient presets that, when used creatively, will allow you to create over 900 different types of effects, materials, lighting, borders, and mouse-over buttons. This can really speed up the time it takes you to come up with new looks and layouts for everything from your fonts in your film, to your film’s website, to your DVD, to whatever else comes to mind.
Much of the information in the book is largely an explanation of how to resize the styles found in the book and encouragement to explore and try out the different styles. Additionally, it includes some easy to follow instructions for applying the different styles to your pictures. This is all very easy to comprehend.
Because of the amount of software in this package, we’ll also look at the ‘Ease of Use’ (which we normally include in software reviews) in this section. While more complex effects take a lot of exploration and messing around, the basics are as simple as pie. Anyone can load these effects into their computer and be turning shapes into glass, chrome, plastic, and wood in no time. Unfortunately, resizing your pictures when you get the look you want is a bit more complicated, but we’ll cover that in the ‘Depth of Information/Depth of Options’ section.
Depth of Information
The book itself was a bit lean on information. While it gives you the basics of what you need to do to use the styles, an introductory tutorial, and a general gallery of ideas for customization, I would have liked to have seen a full chapter of nothing but specific combination recipes that show some examples of how to precisely combine the different styles to create very unique total effects. This would be especially helpful for beginning photoshop people, who are more likely to overuse the most blatant examples of these style options, like the Glass and Chrome options, much as beginning video editors have a tendency to overuse gaudy transition, like the ‘page peel’. Specific recipes would get them into the habit of subtly blending styles for a much more professional effect.
For the software side, let’s look at the ‘Depth of Options’. Virtually limitless, the amount of combinations of styles is quite impressive in this set, so long as you realize that you can’t put multiple ‘Style’ looks on a single layer without flattening the layer first. One option that was chosen which was a little cumbersome, which I mentioned in the Understandability/Ease of Use section is the sizing. For all the styles to work properly, you must first set your workspace to 225 pixels per inch. This is a rather awkward resolution that was likely decided on due to the fact that it falls in between 72 pixels per inch (web/video resolution) and 300 Pixels per inch (print resolution). Unfortunately, neither use will find this resolution seamless. The reason for this is that, even though you can resize a picture up or down, you have loss issues when you do this, as well as a shift in application to resized styles on non-flattened images. This means that, if you resize your 225 pixel, non-flattened picture to 300 pixels for print, you’re going to lose some of your resolution and, even if you scale your styles with the resize, the style effects are going to look slightly different after the resize. Likewise, when you downsize to web resolution, the layer effects again change slightly on you.