I received a copy of Shelley Powers' new book, Painting the Web about a month ago. Sadly I was pretty busy with work and other projects so I wasn't able to devour it as quickly as I'd hoped - though I did take a moment to squee over the fact that my SVG Support page is in the book. Ok, this review might be biased 😉

The first thing that struck me about the book was how thick it was - clocking in at over 600 pages. I had expected the book to be something I could take with me on the train to work each day. However, I prefer my vertebrae unfused, so I had to be happy with reading it at night. Maybe I should have investigated the eBook side of things...

The second thing I noticed: Every image in the book is full color. I don't think I've ever seen a tech book do this, though I haven't bought a tech book in a couple years. Usually there will be a few glossy pages in the middle of the book that show some color plates, but not every image. It's a delightful surprise that must have been costly for O'Reilly. Yet the book is actually reasonably priced at $45 USD at Border's - even cheaper on Amazon.

Ok, moving on to actual content... I'm actually only just a little over 1/3 of the way through the book and only have just begun reading the vector portions (beginning of Chapter 7). But here are some notes/thoughts so far:

  • I like that Ms. Powers has made it a point that the contents of this book should be accessible to everyone - even those that have no budget for graphics tools. The focus of the book is that the web graphic artist must have fun. In fact, this is the title of the first chapter.
  • Photography and photo manipulation are not big parts of my personal web experience, but it certainly is a wildly popular thing for a lot of people. Chapters 3 and 4 contain a lot of info about color profiles, curves/levels, image formats, photo editors, online photo galleries (including an introduction to Gallery2) and more.
  • Some interesting bits about web design in Chapter 4. I actually did not realize that Opera comes with a 'mobile emulator'. Now that I actually have a mobile data plan, I've begun to realize how important this is. For example, my site will not currently load up on my mobile browser, though I wouldn't exactly call my mobile browser 'modern'. My next theme redesign will definitely take into account the mobile web.
  • Chapter 5 discusses lots of really interesting effects (3D and aqua buttons, reflections). By describing how these effects are generated using layers, gradients, blurs, and masks, one starts to visualize how these individual techniques can be combined to produce other effects seen on the web.
  • Chapter 6 gives us a good introduction to some vector graphic formats, including a glimpse at VRML and X3D. I would have liked to learn a little bit more of X3D, maybe I should find some time to do that.

All in all, it's been an interesting read. Now on to what I'm most interested in: Vectors. More to come...

§484 · August 17, 2008 · Technology, Web · Tags: , · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Painting the Web, Having Fun”

  1. Brad Neuberg says:

    I just bought this book too a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed the up-to-date introduction to SVG. I also noticed that your compatibility tables are in there 🙂