You must consider several factors when choosing digital image processing books. This process is rather complex, but a good instructional manual offers comprehensive tutorials, a CD with video demonstrations or interactive tools, and coverage of several types of digital image processing software. There are several digital image processing books that meet all of these requirements, and new books are published continuously. If you know that you will be working with only one type of program, make sure that you get a book that covers the specific version of that program. There can be a big difference between two versions of the same software.
Look for digital image processing books that are fully illustrated and that feature a multimedia component such as CD, a DVD, or an online registration link that takes you to an interactive tutorial Web site. The best manuals offer interactive guidance, rather than simply text, since many people learn better through experience than memorization. Also, be sure that any of the digital image processing books that you consider offer tutorials rather than troubleshooting guidelines or basic user instructions. In a book that uses a tutorial approach, each chapter or section of the book directs you step-by-step through a particular process, guiding you through both interface navigation and proper technique.
Several elements of digital image processing are nearly universal. For example, printing metrics are standardized, and a cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) print process requires an image to be manipulated in a particular way, regardless of the digital image processing program that used to accomplish the task. You must convert the image from red, green, and blue (RGB) color settings to the CMYK color standard, then convert the dots per inch (dpi) to the industry standard of 300 dpi for four-color printed materials. It might be helpful, if you plan to perform a lot of print work, to find one of the digital image processing books that detail general processes rather than focusing on a particular program.
That being said, and especially as the image processing industry shifts toward the Internet, it is generally best to select the software that you plan to use and then to acquire one of the digital image processing books that cover that program in-depth. In 2011, with the prevalence of the Adobe® Creative Suite®, which includes Photoshop® and Illustrator®, you should choose a book that offers specific tutorials for these programs. The drawback is that the Adobe programs are priced toward the high end of the market. With the level of technical support available, however, choosing these programs and the tutorial books that go along with them, may make your digital image processing tasks go more smoothly.