Electronic Book Review:
the 123 of digital imaging
by Chris Taylor
I have been
interested in photography for many years. I have shelves
filled with books on photography, darkroom techniques,
etc. Yet, when I bought a digital camera a couple of
years ago, I was a little bewildered.
Things are different enough between digital cameras and
film cameras that I felt somewhat lost. Too bad I
didnt have access to the 123 of digital imaging
Interactive Learning Suite v3.5 by Vincent
Bockaert back then.
123di is an electronic book that contains 138 topics in
16 chapters and has over 3,000 pages of information. In
the author profile section, Vincent says 123di
aims to synthesize the essential information
available today that you will need to make the most out
of your digital photography experience., which I
think is a very good description of 123di.
123di is broken down into three broad steps.
Step one has three chapters which cover digital
photography basics as well as digital cameras themselves
and how to choose a camera. There are clear explanations
of all aspects of digital cameras and how they differ
from film cameras. As well, general camera terms such as
aperture priority and metering are covered very well.
Nine chapters in step two teach about editing digital
images. 123di uses various versions of Photoshop
(Elements, v7, CS, & CS2) to show different
techniques. However, not having a copy of Photoshop is
not a barrier to learning. Most image editing programs
include similar functionality. I use Microsofts
Digital Image 2006 and I found I could easily apply most
of the techniques in step 2.
Step two is really the meat of 123di. This is
where digital imaging really shines. It is astounding the
degree of control you have over your images after having
taken them. 123di explains it all. There are sections on
choosing image editing software, colour management,
adjusting resolution, cropping, adjusting brightness and
contrast, removing chromatic aberrations and lens
distortion, changing the depth of field, sharpening,
removing vignetting, retouching, removing backgrounds,
and much, much more.
Step three is all about what to do with your images after
you are done perfecting them. There are 4 chapters that
help you organize, view, share, print, and process your
The Appendices contain interactive manuals for Adobe
Photoshop Album 2, Photoshop Elements 2 & 3,
Photoshop 7, CS, & CS2.
Information throughout 123di is broken down into three
levels of detail, starter, essential, and advanced. There
are icons at the top of the window that let you jump
immediately between the three levels. The starter
information is an introduction to the topic. It is really
useful if you are unsure of what a topic is all about or
whether you are really interested in it. Essential info
starts to get into the real substance of a topic and
covers the really important aspects. In the advanced
sections, the author digs deeply into the topic.
I found the interface to 123di a little quirky in the
beginning. But that is because I just dove in and started
clicking around without stopping to learn the way 123di
was designed. Once I took the time to read the sections
that describe how the electronic book works, it became
I still find myself distracted by the myriad of
cross-reference links. I find I seldom can manage to go
in and read on a single topic without jumping off in the
middle to related material. But at least now I dont
tend to get lost.
The topics covered in 123di covers are enhanced through
built-in animations where appropriate. They really help
in understand some complex topic such as histograms and
how you can use that information to adjust your images.
System requirements: Win95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP, about 110MB
You can download a demo version of 123di from
which contains a few of the
sections of the full product. You can purchase the full
product through a download at the web site for US$45. You
can order 123di on CD-ROM for US$58 (shipping included)
which adds the freeware Adobe Photoshop Album Starter
Edition 3.0, cdTree 3.1.4 Standard, and Panorama Tools as
well as demo or trial versions of Adobe Photoshop
Elements 3.0, Adobe Photoshop CS2, and PTGui 4.1.
After I saw how wonderfully useful 123di is, I asked
Vincent Bockaert if he would be willing to donate a copy
as a door prize at the OPCUG 2005 Digital Imaging
Workshop and he immediately agreed. So if you were lucky
enough to have gotten a spot at the workshop, you could
have had a chance at winning a copy of the 123 of digital
the 123 of digital imaging Interactive Learning Suite v3.5
CD-ROM US$58 (shipping included)
by Vincent Bockaert
You can download a demo version of 123di which contains a few of the
sections of the full product.
Originally published: December, 2005
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.