Tuesday, November 8, 2011

H is for How-to

I love to combine Photoshop with drawing, or use it to make digital pictures look like paintings, or enhance an image, or design a card, or, or, or ....

Photoshop is not an easy tool to master (in my opinion). Though I was adept at many other graphic and photo editing programs, (often self taught), I needed real help to learn how to make the most of this tool.

Even after years of use, I have only scratched the surface of its potential. I first learned how to use it by taking an online course. This was a great - I had all the time I needed to practice the lessons and the techniques on my own computer and my schedule. It was kind of an art everyday challenge in itself. When I was done with a lesson I posted it to the class website and had the benefit of class and teacher critique. Not only did I learn a lot, the positive comments really boosted my self-confidence, and the results of the lessons often became the basis for graphic design projects for my business.
Now, one of my favorite ways to expand my skills and try out new techniques is to explore Photoshop tutorials online for inspiration.  Sometimes I look for something particular (once I needed to create bubbles with faces inside - and yes, by combining several tutorials, succeeded.)  Often, I just happen upon an idea that appeals to me and try it out. 
Today's image is built on one of my favorite photos. I took this at sunset one night at the beach - I loved the warm light of the original, so I decided to try the process described in a tutorial I Stumbled Upon to enhance the light and see what happened.

Which brings me to a caveat about tutorials - not all of them actually make sense to me - this was the case with the one I worked from. I don't think I did it right - but, I accidentally created a beautiful texture layer which, when I combined it with the original image, added a depth of light and warmth that I really like. Sometimes the mistakes lead to the best outcomes. When I completed the tutorial steps, I began to play with this using some of my favorite tricks - and this is the result.
I see lots of comments from other AEDM participants about  the challenges of using Photoshop. I suggest googling Photoshop Tutorials (or go to the Adobe website) and see what you find. Try them out ... share what you create. And, don't be afraid to mess up - you never know what might appear.