Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photoshop: An Overview

Adobe Photoshop is a digital painting program manufactured by Adobe. Photoshop, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite (something I lust for), is lauded as great photography software. (My college advisor once pointed out that it doesn't take pictures and is really more like a digital drawing and painting program, since that's sort of what it's for. I'm on his side, of course.) The most recent version of this software was released at the end of 2010 and is called CS5. (The CS) stands for CREATIVE SUITE. 

The program is often used to edit images. It crops, resizes, rotates, and adjusts the balances of light and color. The program also allows users to create collages using layers, and provides a variety of filters for tweaking and manipulating photos. You can also build Web sites in Photoshop, though I would recommend skipping Photoshop and using Dreamweaver. The program gets very advanced, and provides users a wide range of editing options. As a result, the program is very popular, but also misunderstood. (It does not, for example, take pictures.)

Photoshop released Photoshop Express in 2008. Express is a free flash-based service that lets you edit photos online. The services Express provides are very basic, and it's likely that these are more of the services you need. In theory, once you've finished editing your work, your photos will be blog- and Web-ready. Express also backs up your work, which is pretty handy. (Of course you are also using an external hard drive to back up your work.) The software is expensive, so exploring Express is advised before making the investment. (You can also download a one-month trial of the software.)

(Adobe also has a program called Lightroom, which is sort of like a digital darkroom. Combined with Adobe Photoshop Elements, the three make the "Photoshop Familiy.") 

I think Adobe programs are pretty great, but I can see how Old People might find them confusing. The software can do a lot (and take up quite a bit of your hard drive). Luckily, there are tutorials through Adobe, and the software comes with a great Help section. 

That may be my biggest tip for you. Take a deep breath, relax, and try the help section. Adobe explains what filters, layers, and masks are. (Masks and filters will likely sound familiar to dark room photographers.) Adobe explains its software in language that is easy to understand, and provides step by step directions, just like this blog.

Additional Resources:
Adobe Support

Photoshop Support

Photoshop.com tutorials
Photoshop Express

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