Self-Taught or Taking A Class?
Several years ago, probably when I was roughly about 11, I started learning Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere, mostly from a suggestion via my dad. Back then, we were looking at maybe Adobe 4.0 and now, we're at least past the double digits as far as versions. It was then that he predicted that these tools would be vital in the coming years but at the time, being the young and the "WHATEVER, DAD" person I was, I complied, but only out of making him happy. However, that rebellious attitude was cut short when I realized that he was right. I think it might have been a whole five minutes I realized after jumping right into the programs, that this stuff was cool AND fun. A winning combination. Adobe Photoshop and the accompanying programs would continue to evolve. I was right in it, learning it all from an early age. I took to it pretty well and loved every minute of it. It was a class full of people of all ages and it was one of those things that I remember fondly.
However, it was maybe about a year or two later that I stopped using the programs. Ironic, considering how much I loved them and loved using them. Why? I honestly, can't remember. It was probably because life and college or whatever probably got in the way. However, Photoshop was still on my mind and I wanted to come back to it. It was a skill that was becoming more and more vital in a variety of fields and I wanted in. However, nothing happened for many years and I was never able to get back into it.
Fast forward about 20 years, I found myself doing cosplay and for some reason, I felt that I had to do something more with it. I decided to get a copy of Adobe Elements version 11. While it was a much pared down version of the big beast that was Adobe Photoshop, I ended up tinkering, finding a variety of different online tutorials, and did what I could with the limits of the program. I found myself getting back into something that I had loved so many years ago. I created a variety of edits and manipulations that while I was learning step by step, I came up with some real winners.
However, like with any limited program, there was only so much I could work with. I needed to get the full version of Adobe Photoshop CC. Luckily, my mom already had a subscription (as opposed to the old system where people spent upwards of 700 bucks on each piece of software) and gave it to me. This was amazing and VITAL to the coming days and months. Adobe Photoshop CC was again, A BEAST, especially because of all the bells and whistles. Tinkering and playing around, I used this for my minimalist posters and other edits, which I would rely upon the online tutorials for.
All was well and good, but I started hitting a wall.
Enter the American Graphics Institute.
I struggled with the idea of spending money on something that I could very well teach myself. I mean, I know a lot of us feel that way about any investment. Is this worth it? What will I be getting out of it? Will this really help? Adobe Elements is great, so why do I need to try something that is just fancy shmancy? I even went as far as asking those same questions to someone at the institute as well. And, of course, they told me that while it's good to learn about it on your own, it's probably better to sit in a class and learn as much as you can. While I was still hesitant, I decided to bite the bullet and enroll in a class.
I will just say this now: if you have the time and means, take a class at the American Graphics Institute. If someone told me before I took the class with the same amount of certainty that I have now, I would have listened. Plus, they have dozens of courses. I want to take them all. But I digress...
I don't want to get into too much detail about the inner workings or specifics of the class, but I will say that taking a class in Photoshop is a great move. While you can look at HUNDREDS of tutorials online for the big, fancy and crazy things you can do, you HAVE to know the basics. Learning the foundation was key to understanding the why behind so many of the things you use in Photoshop. Learning how things work and what they do and how to use them appropriately is key. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to learn meticulous things and make giant, sweeping composites, that's all well and good, but it's important to be aware of how to get there. It's VITAL. I have used VITAL a lot but I stand by it. I am of the mind that while you can be self-taught for many other things, this is one that again, if you have the opportunity to take a class, DO IT. Like Shia said, "JUST DO IT!" I never expected to get as much as I did out of that class. It was fantastic and I learned A TON. Because of that one class, I ended up enrolling in their Digital Marketing Certificate program where I am learning more programs and the classes are just as good as when I started. The technical skills are so important. I do not regret investing in any of this. It was well worth it.
Now, if you DON'T have the means, then yes, online tutorials might the best way for you. The Creative Cloud is about 50 bucks a month, so it's not that bad. However, it's still important to learn the basics any way you can. Go to a Community Center. Read a book. Something. Jumping in and trying to learn is one thing, but getting an understanding is probably better.
As I feel that this is turning into a soap box rant, I will try to bring it home as best I can.
I love Photoshop and I love the fact that after many years, I have come back and really gone nuts creating new and exciting things. Where I was a few years ago just re-learning and where I am now, there is so much improvement. However, there is so many things that I still need to learn and while I am not an expert, I feel that having a basic understanding has helped guide me. I will keep pushing and learning and even go back eventually and take more classes.
So, in short, learn and push ahead. You'll thank yourself later. I know I do. Here's to the next skills I can learn.
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Sterling arts & Design
Creating, getting inspired and reflections.