Thursday, October 21, 2010

Persevering Through Photoshop Elements; or I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

I spent the last week immersed in trying to learn Photoshop Elements. I mean totally immersed, stopping only for meals and a few hours of sleep a night. I don't think I would have really comprehended it had I not vowed to do that. A couple of years ago I discovered GIMP, another image manipulation software for graphics editing and a close facsimile to Photoshop, but unlike the hefty price tag for Photoshop, GIMP is free and downloadable online. I spent a couple months tryng to understand the software program but it was hopeless and I was intimidated. A few hours here and there wasn't getting me anywhere. Finding tutorials online that were basic enough for me was not an easy task. There was even a downlodeable how-to manual to help me acquire the necessary knowledge but I was missing the basic understanding I needed - so nothing made any sense to me.

Then I heard about Photoshop Elements, a smaller and much more affordable offering than Photoshop which included all the most widely used elements of Photoshop, without the extras, that a lone artist like me would not need. Soon I had it installed on my computer, and there it sat for 2 years. I was terrified to open it. Now I had paid for it, I was financially invested in it, and I couldn't afford to fail again. If it was so much like GIMP and I couldn't master that, what made me think I would grasp Elements? So I tried to ignore it but it kept calling me. There were techniques, like layers, that I wanted desperately to acquire so that I could broaden my art work. Finally I couldn't wait any longer. A week ago I decided to dive into Elements and resolved not to quit until I had a handle on it.

Day and night I persevered. There were times when I felt like crying but I wouldn't let myself give up or even discontinue for a time. I knew if I walked away from it again I would never go back. And I wanted overwhelmingly to use some of the tools and techniques that were there just waiting for me. I reached the point of frustration where I had gotten with GIMP and felt there was just some one thing I was missing - if I could just discover what that was, I knew I could achieve it all. I just had to keep trying. Time and again I went back to my fellow Melange Team Etsy mixed media artist friends online with my questions and they were always there with encouragement. I read over a hundred online tutorials for Elements, some of which were exceedingly helpful but many that were really useless. I bookmarked the ones that I felt would help me the most so that I could listen to them over and over and eventually hopefully they would make sense. I was waiting for a eureka moment, but it never came. Instead, to my astonishment there came a slow subtle confidence from doing it over and over. There came a point where it was all making sense, I was finding the instructions understandable and wondering why it took me so long to fathom. My resolve and determination had paid off. I realize there is still plenty for me to learn with Elements, but I now have a handle on the basics and am also confident that I will be able to achieve whatever it is I want to do with it.

I am sharing wth you here a few of my recent results of my exploration with using layers in Photoshop Elements. I feel like I am at the beginning of a new adventure, but at least now I am starting out able to speak the language.





15 comments:

  1. Maureen, I am so proud of you! I'm proud that you hung in there and kept going until you mastered Elements! Your results are absolutely beautiful, so haunting, yet peaceful.
    Way to GO, Girl !!!1
    Linda
    ps: I have Elements too, but have never tried it...maybe I will now.

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  2. Well done Maureen! You are getting there. It IS a lot to learn and the only way is by doing a little every day. And the results are well worth it - love that last picture. It feels really spooky!

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  3. Fabulous results! Love the transparencies! Don't you love it now?! Aren't you confident and excited about the possibilities?!! :)

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  4. Yay! Good for you! Fun pieces - love the blur on the bottom ghosts. Makes them creepier

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  5. Yes I am sooo excited about the possibilities! And I am confident now. I discovered that pixels don't have to be perfect for ghostly layers - it helps even, creates the blur!

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  6. WOW!!!!!Maureen, I knew you would have an "aha" moment soon. I am so impressed with what you have done. Emotional pieces that have something to say.

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  7. Look at you!!! Way to go! The work looks like you're an elements pro.

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  8. Really cool ghostly effects!!! Congratulations! You'll be a pro before you know it!

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  9. Liz-AnnasOnTheLake has left a new comment on your post "Persevering Through Photoshop Elements; or I think...":

    Wow! Incredible results, Maureen.

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  10. Maureen, you did such beautiful lovely pieces! All your hard work and studying has paid off.
    Gail

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  11. The last picture looks alot like ghosts. Hauntingly beautiful I must say.

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  12. Good for you, keep at it and have fun.
    There are no mistakes in digital art.
    Cheers Barbara.

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  13. I was in the same boat of Fear with you a few years ago and you have so much to look forward to. This program is amazing and addicting!

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  14. Outstanding!!!! I am so proud of you!
    Love your determination!
    This is just the beginning!

    Big Hug!

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  15. Maureen, Using Layers in Photoshop was daunting for me -- but haunting for you:)!ha! OK, bad joke...but seriously, for me, the healing brush is my favorite indispensable item. I found it by accident thinking I had clicked on the regular clone tool. I LOVE my healing brush!

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