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Photoshop learning curve
Seened too steep for rme Using intuition and trying HELP I "masterd" cropping, downsamplig, basic use of tools such as brush, lasso, stamp etc. I felt sophisticated using levels, curves etc, but failed repeatedly attempting to use Layers and Canals. I even tried a course but that was really no good at all..

By coincidence I stumbled at Amazon on a quite recebtly published book by Richard Lynch: The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book and at last Im beginning to see the light. It is not easy but it makes sense and Im making real (if slow) progress..

My question for experience users of Photoshop (not necessarily guru[): Hoe did you arrived at some real proficiency, and am I clearly not talented enough ...

I am using version 7 and think of upograding to CS3 if I get some real results with the book.Thanks in advance for any comments, Jara1..

Comments (16)

I have had Photoshop on my computers since Photoshop 3, but it was only a couple of years ago that I really knew how to use Photoshop. I took a college Photoshop that was teaching how to use Photoshop CS2 and things started to click from that class. I also learned from online tutorials and podcasts (The Photoshop Guys is a good) that I download...

Comment #1

Believe it or not dual monitors made a big difference. My normal Photoshop working display puts all the tools on one screen and the full sized image I am editing on the other..

But the big advantage is to compress Photoshop onto one screen and follow tutorials on the other. Many tutorials are better than a book for learning specific techniques because so much more space can be devoted to intermediate images and tools. It is a hassle switching back and forth between a tutorial and Photoshop and the second monitor makes it a lot easier. So you tend to turn to tutorials more often..

The second monitor doesnt have to be great. Just something to display the tools or tutorials..

Ive never done well with books for Photoshop. There are some very good books and I bought a couple back in Photoshop 3 and 4 days. But I never had the patience to get through them...

Comment #2

I share your frustration. For many years, I simply could not "get" what layers was about..

Unfortunately, my advice is to start with something simpler than full-blown PS...something like Elements and LightRoom. I'm using them in tandem. I start with LR and adjust all the basic IQ parameters and crop. Then export and edit in PSE5...if needed. Then import the result back to LR..

My breakthrough came when I started "hanging out" on the Retouching Forum here on DPR. Those guys and gals are GREAT! The light finally came on....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #3

Thanks all posters for their response as that encourages me to fight on. I alsp use Matrox Dual Head graphic card with two monitors. I feel now Im getting some real, sound understanding of the Layer Aproach on which it should be possible to develop own logical structure..

At any rate, the potential of PS is awsome for anyone who beliieves that digital photography does not end in the camera but processing digital data further on may be used for more personal participation in the whole process.Of course, this wil not be a general statement but my own personal view.I hope for further inputs, Jara1..

Comment #4

Slipe wrote:.

Believe it or not dual monitors made a big difference. My normalPhotoshop working display puts all the tools on one screen and thefull sized image I am editing on the other..

Can you help me with how you set up two screens? I have seen a number of posters who adopt this approach. I have a IIyama Vision Master Pro454 19" CRT but my old IIYama 17" is sitting in the loft as a spare..

I have a feeling I would need to change my graphics card (128MB)..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #5

I quickly picked up the areas of PhotoShop that I need for photo editing, including layers. But Photoshop has one of the worse user interfaces that I have ever come across. The order of placement of items in menus is strange, the analogies and metaphors are strange, it isnt very customizable, and there is no macro language..

Photo filters, for example, arent in the filters menu, they are in the Adjustments menu, which is a sub menu of the Image menu. Unsharp mask, which is clearly more than a filter, is in the filters menu..

The main selection tool is called a lasso, The lightening and darkening tools are called dodging and burning (from darkroom days). And then there is the magic wand..

There would be much less need for two screens, if the interface were more customizable. How many years has it taken Adobe to make the toolbox dockable? Rarely do I have images that fit the screen (when working with the whole image visible). In portrait orientation I have room at the sides, and in landscape I have room at the top or bottom..

Brian A...

Comment #6

Jara,.

Thanks for mentioning the layers book. I hope it is helping you along your way..

As far as how I learned to use layers, I think I pretty much outline that in the book, but proficiency was a long hard road in the time before there were even books on the subject, no real internet to speak of, and few people brave enough to even go digital (pre-press). I was in the front lines working for a photography book publisher doing layout in some archaic layout program on PC...and trying to run an early version of Photoshop off a floppy on a Mac 512. The only thing I had was a little black-and-white darkroom experience. I fussed with plugins that promised the world and delivered very little, and made a lot of painful errors, but learned from every mistake..

I think you have a great advantage trying to learn now where there are books, videos, courses and more to help get you going. Taking advantage of those you find interesting and challanging will help you shave real years off the learning curve..

Don't forget to contact me through the website if you have any problems!Richard Lynchauthor of seven Photoshop and Photoshop Elements booksgalleries:http://aps8.com/gallery1.htmlhttp://aps8.com/gallery2.html..

Comment #7

Richard,.

I appreciated your encouraging kind remarks as, along with experiences of other contributors, I did realize that PS is really a complex piece of software, not always very user friendly. Some aspects of it, do remind my old experiences with original Unix, Motorola Assembler etc. Howver, the tenacity pays, as the power of PS is reallyy impressive.Should any further relevant items emerge, I will post under Retouching.Regards, Jara1..

Comment #8

Photoshop, except for design professionals, is a silly product. Hard to learn, too expensive, over-powering, etc..

Photoshop Elements, on the other hand, is a great product, and there are lots of books about it that don't assume you are greating full page montages for American Art, or somesuch..

I have people who do Photoshopping for me; they've been doing this for more than a decade..

And I use Elements myself, which will do everything important Photoshop will do, for photographers..

For collage artists and illustrators, Photographop is more useful;..

BAK.

BAK..

Comment #9

BAK wrote:.

Photoshop, except for design professionals, is a silly product. Hardto learn, too expensive, over-powering, etc..

Photoshop Elements, on the other hand, is a great product, and thereare lots of books about it that don't assume you are greating fullpage montages for American Art, or somesuch..

I have people who do Photoshopping for me; they've been doing thisfor more than a decade..

And I use Elements myself, which will do everything importantPhotoshop will do, for photographers..

BAK you are absolutely correct. Full blown PS is absolutely too much for beginners and hobbyists. Elements has progressed to the point where you can do most things with it in a very capable manner. I keep it on the laptop for field previews..

As a design professional, I need to have funtions like CMYK conversion, proper layer masks instead of havng to fake them in ELements, and as I do a lot of product work for catalogs etc, the pen tool and alpha channels are a miust. New people, if you have to ask what these things are, you don't need them. Save your money and get Elements. Version 5 is pretty darned good..

I finally just bit the bullet a few months ago and upgraded from PS7 to CS2. I do like the ability to put text on a path without having to go to Illustrator, but that's about it for the new features. I may have used the warp layer too a few times. Other than that, it's really no big deal for me..

Learning curve I have been working in PS for 10 years now, and I still learn new things..

For collage artists and illustrators, Photographop is more useful;..

Thanks! Being in my own little bubble here at times I forget to look elsewhere. I will check out..

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

See my throwaways on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/niagaragirl/..

Comment #10

Niagaragirl wrote:.

Proper layer masks instead of havng to fake them in.

ELements,.

How do you fake layer masks in Elements? I use Photoshop CS1, but I have a couple of friends who use Elements and would love to be able to selectively apply the effects of some functions (Unsharp Mask for example)..

Brian A...

Comment #11

Just keep playing with the programme. Keep a copy of whatever file that you are working onand you can do no harm. Just keep experimenting. Use all the tools one by one and see what they do. if you get stuck put the name of that tool and PhotoShop into Google and you will get lots of help..

Advising you to get two screen when asking how to learn PhotoShop seems a bit dumb to me and not necessary until later..

I taught myself the basics and then went on a few courses here in the UK and then in the US but I don't know if you have such courses in Czechlosovakia. I also read a photoShop magazine which had a Turorial disc with it each month which was very helpful. In fact I still have a pile of them, but I guess they would be a bit expensive to send to you..

But don't give up, just experiment and if you have a specific problem post it here. someone will always answer.jules.

Black moles do not destroy information...

Comment #12

BAK wrote:.

Photoshop, except for design professionals, is a silly product. Hardto learn, too expensive, over-powering, etc..

While I can easily agree that not everyone needs Photoshop, it is hardly 'silly'. it is not very much harder to learn for image editing than Elements, and in fact all of the courses I teach allow students to use Elements or Photoshop (PS 7, CS, CS2 and CS3; Elements 3, 4, and 5 though even these boundaries are not hard and fast). Most of Photoshop will remain without use even for the most demanding power user...but again, not using something means you don't have to learn those features..

I think most of image editing can be summed up with about 30 tools/functions, all of which are available in Elements or Photoshop at the same level of difficulty. I think the question becomes more "why buy Photoshop" for image editing than to steer clear of it because it is 'too hard'..

As far as 'easy' being a value...It was always easy to send out pictures to a photo lab for printing, but there was far more art in controlling prints in the darkroom. I think that analogy works for the digital darkroom to some extent: if you are going to try and learn to do it, don't expect that it will be 'easy'..

Richard Lynchauthor of seven Photoshop and Photoshop Elements booksgalleries:http://aps8.com/gallery1.htmlhttp://aps8.com/gallery2.html..

Comment #13

Hugowolf wrote:.

How do you fake layer masks in Elements? I use Photoshop CS1, but Ihave a couple of friends who use Elements and would love to be ableto selectively apply the effects of some functions (Unsharp Mask forexample)..

No need to fake them. You can use layer masks in any version of Elements. I have layer masks available with free add-ons from my Elements website: http://hiddenelements.com.

Another way to do it is with clipping layers. Group the layer you want to mask with a blank layer (this will mask it completely) then paint in the areas (with any color) on the blank layer where you want the image areas to show. Solidity of the 'blank' layer will act as viewable portions of the mask..

Richard Lynchauthor of seven Photoshop and Photoshop Elements booksgalleries:http://aps8.com/gallery1.htmlhttp://aps8.com/gallery2.html..

Comment #14

JulesJ wrote:.

Advising you to get two screen when asking how to learn PhotoShopseems a bit dumb to me and not necessary until later..

I agree it might not be a good first step, but I don't know that it is 'dumb'. When you have two monitors you do have flexibility to view your images better and make better use of palettes. My intro course on Photoshop starts with navigating the program, includding moving the palettes and getting comfortable...in reality it doesn't have much to do with editing images, but it is helpful to not trip over the furnature .

Richard Lynchauthor of seven Photoshop and Photoshop Elements booksgalleries:http://aps8.com/gallery1.htmlhttp://aps8.com/gallery2.html..

Comment #15

Hugowolf wrote:.

Niagaragirl wrote:.

Proper layer masks instead of havng to fake them in.

ELements,.

How do you fake layer masks in Elements? I use Photoshop CS1, but Ihave a couple of friends who use Elements and would love to be ableto selectively apply the effects of some functions (Unsharp Mask forexample)..

Since I don't do it very often, I always have to look it up, but I basically set up what is a clipping mask in PSE. There is a way to do it (just see the help files), but it is awkward. And yes, as in the following reply, I have hear the Hidden Elements is good but as my need for masking on the proofing laptop is sporadic at best I have not investigated it..

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

See my throwaways on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/niagaragirl/..

Comment #16

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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