photoshop (v.)”to edit an image using a computer program,” 1992, originally in ref. to Photoshop, a bitmap graphics editor trademarked and published by Adobe, released in 1990.”
I don’t blame Adobe, far from it, their advertising and position in the market has led to their product becoming a verb, like Google, Hoover or Sellotape. Here’s the rub though, if I get asked to Hoover, Google or Sellotape I’m quite confident that I will manage (yes even as a male I know how to vacuum, don’t be sexist).
Because ‘Photoshop’ has become such a common word it is widely believed that it’s an easy thing to do – well, it is a computer thing so the machine does most of the work right? Ahh, dear reader, we know better. You’ll know that to truly use Photoshop you’re going to need to put in some serious learning time.
Odd then that I keep coming across advertisements offering “Master Photoshop in Two Hours” or “Learn Photoshop in a Weekend”. Coincidently, Deke McClelland’s course “Photoshop CS4 – Getting Started” runs for two hours and his entire CS4 One on One is 48 hours, so I guess the latter could be true so long as you eat at the computer and don’t sleep.
If you’re just starting on your Photoshop journey you’ll see these adverts but the reality is somewhat different, which can be a bit disheartening. I’m honest with people that ask me about learning Photoshop and I tell them that I’ve honestly lost count of the hours I’ve watched tutorials, altered images (ahhh Claire Grogan) or masked something for no reason other than for practice.
I’ll leave you now with a little story:
An 81 year old lady recently asked if I could look at a photograph of herself when she was a young lady, sadly it had got some sort of damage to it and she’d love to pass it on to her granddaughter. Of course I agreed to do what I could.
I collected the photo and soon realised this was going to be quite a tricky job, but a challenge and practice. So I got to it. A couple of evenings and much swearing later I took the finished picture round. The tears of delight on this lady’s face were worth every pixel-push, every thrown away level adjustment layer.
I told her how fascinated I was by the photo and she told me she had others in a collage type thing in a frame upstairs, I was welcome to have a look. Up I went and found the collage. In the middle was a perfect, undamaged copy of the photo I had been working on.
The morals of this tale?
1. Always ask if there is an original or at least another copy of a photo you can use for reference.
2. Make sure you enjoy what you do
3. When you think that all that learning and pixel-pushing is too much, remember, people could be moved to tears by what you do.
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