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Learning Photoshop - A Blog for the Newbies

Masks, layers, cloning, lasso tool, quick selection tool, filters, spot healing brush, etc. Wow! The first time I opened a photograph in Photoshop I was overwhelmed by its complexity; that is, Photoshop’s complexity (not my photo)! And I thought… “How in the world am I going to learn all of this? It’s going to take forever!” Well, that’s the thing with Photoshop; it takes time because there is a lot to learn, and just when you think you have it mastered, there‘s more! Of course, there are the whiz kids and other genius types of the adult variety who maneuver their way through the program sapping up its intricacies at a robust pace; however, for a few folks like me, it’s an investment in time. But once you learn this multi-faceted program, even a portion, you will be glad you did.

Long ago, (I won’t say exactly how long ago), when I had my first close encounter with a computer, intimidation made me afraid to even touch the keyboard! I had just started a new job and working on a computer containing the companies various programs was an essential part of the position. I had to get past my fear. Upon realizing my unease, the department supervisor said, “Look, anything that you do can be undone. You’re not gonna blow it up!

So if you make a mistake, it can easily be corrected”. That was all I needed to hear. Knowing that a misplaced stroke on the keyboard would not send the company into a tailspin, thereby costing me my job, the nervousness vanished and I became quite proficient. It’s the same thing with Photoshop; anything you do, you can undo. And if in the end you do not like the final product, you simply close out the program without saving the modifications you made to the photograph.

My initial approach to learning Photoshop was in the form of play. I would experiment with a tool to see what function it performed and learn how it could be applied. My photo of choice for this playful learning of PS was “My Sweet Dove”. What I ended up with no longer looked very much like a photograph, but I liked the finished product and decided to keep the (revised) photo. It remains one of my favorite creations. So…go ahead, choose a photo, and have some fun. Dive in! Take the plunge! That’s the only way you’re going to learn, which reminds me of a past learning experience that involved a pool and a very cute lifeguard. But I digress; that’s another story.   No lifeguards in Photoshop, just a very handy “step backward” button under edit from the application menu bar. And who knows! You may even end up with something you like.

Linda S. Montgomery

There are many great online courses and e-books that offer Photoshop training and tutorials. You can also find a number of Photoshop software packages that differ in price range to accommodate various budgets. Listed below are but a few of the extensive resources to be found: “31 Days to Understanding Photoshop”, by Kent Weakley - An indepth, video tutorial to PS (a personal favorite of mine that has been very helpful in learning PS) “Photoshop Elements” - basic Photoshop package “Lynda.com” - website that offers a variety of Photoshop tutorials “Adobe TV” - collection of video-based tutorials produced by Adobe “PhotoshopEssentials.com”

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