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Working in the creative arts you have to grow with the industry and where ever it might take you.  Technology is always advancing and you don't want to be left behind, so if you can learn the programs while they change you already will stay ahead of the game.  Just try to keep with it.  Take a few hours a week to stay ahead, view tutorials and ask questions.  

Pixel, Bitmap, Raster. These are common terms used in association with photo based imagery. Unlike vector based art (see my Blog on Adobe Illustrator), Photoshop is a raster (pixel/bitmap) based program that allows us make changes to an original image. Photoshop offers a vast toolset to create some truly incredible imagery. Most Photoshop work is in taking an existing image and altering it to the needs of your project. Changing sky color, moving someone’s arm, removing foreground from background, saving as a different file type, transparency, are a just a few ways this program can change images. Photoshop is a core graphic asset generator that is used everywhere. Chances are every image you see in print, advertising, merchandise, the web, etc. has been polished by Photoshop in some way. Selections may be the most important feature this program has at its disposal. With an array of selection tools to fit your needs Photoshop’s ability to distinguish an object from... read more

Below are some helpful tips to consider before starting a new document in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop. Customizing a document’s preferences can be done anytime in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop while a document is open. Changes made to preferences while a documents is open will be exclusive to that document. However, if you open the preference window (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows) in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop with no open documents in the viewing window, it will change the preference defaults for all future documents. This can be very helpful to eliminate time tweaking all your preferences with each document. EXAMPLE: Adobe Illustrator – With Illustrator on screen and no documents open in your viewing window go to (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows). Here you can change your preference settings for all future Illustrator documents. Some things I change are the General/Double Click to Isolate (leave unchecked), Guides... read more

Earlier this year I started tutoring Graphic Design, Drawing, and Painting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a lovely student who is excelling in her work as an artist both in Drawing and Photoshop. After the end of the 3rd quarter, we will be going into Painting with Acrylics, Gauche, and Oil Paints if there is time. Because I am a full time student at UALR and only have one car to share with my spouse, I have a bit of a strict schedule. So I will have my availability up for those of you seeking a tutor in any area of Graphic Design, Drawing, and Painting. These times are for physical (face-to-face) tutoring. Monday - 1:30PM to 3:00PM Tuesday - 10:00AM to 3:00PM Wednesday - 1:30PM to 3:00PM Thursday - 10:00AM to 3:00PM Friday - 7:00AM to 10:00AM / 1:00PM to 3:00PM / Anytime after 5:00PM Saturday & Sunday - 10:00AM to 4:00PM Schedule is subject to change seeing as life does happen. I am also available for online tutoring over Skype / G+... read more

The left brain is logical, organized, and generally believed to be the domain of science. When math is considered to be "science" along with biology and physics, therein lies a flaw. Though elementary math may seem to be part of the science world, advanced math which I studied in college is better handled by the right brain. This is the brain of imagination, art, and emotion. My enjoyment of photography using Adobe Photoshop is no surprise to me as it provides for a creative outlet with a definite pedigree of mathematics. Algorithms of math in Photoshop generating my artistic results is a match made in heaven. W.L.

Recently I've been finding that many of my students who purchase both Lightroom and Photoshop end up discovering that Lightroom is all they need. With a comfortable learning curve and easy to comprehend basics, Lightroom provides digital beginners (and advanced photographers as well) the perfect opportunity for "developing" digital photos: exposure compensation, color correction, cropping, basic retouching and spotting, creative effects and gradients, rescaling for email and the web and, of course, printing and much more. Lightroom is also an image library that allows you to keep your digital images organized and searchable. Once a student has gotten over the first challenge of Lightroom, which is to understand the protocols and methods of Basic processing, it’s hard for them to stop wanting to improve everything they shoot. The good news is that these changes are always “non-destructive.” Non-destructive, meaning that every change they make (exposure, crop,... read more

One of the most important things I try and teach students is the difference between white point and white balance. Most believe if you grab your eye dropper and hit the area you believe should be white and click the mouse you will have established your white balance. What you have really done is establish a white point. While the colors might appear to be more "on target and corrected" you actually just through quite a bit of information away. By clicking on what you believe to be white, you have actually created a "white point" A white point is where there is no information at all in the white. If you look at the info palette it will read 255R, 255G, 255B - This is also the same as "paper white" if printed not ink will be seen in this area. White balance is a color neutral point where there is still detail in the white area. Yes you can hold detail in the snow, or the white dress, or the white shirt, but often it is a very delicate area to retain... read more

The concept of image creation often takes many directions that lead the artist into individual choices. We often hear that because of this flexibility there are no rules to the process. We are told to forget all the rules of design and go with the flow of our feelings and just create. But I wonder, how can you forget what you never knew? I think that one must learn the rules first in order to forget them. To make them intuitive to the creative process so they become subconscious to the artist. In this way we can forget the rules and still make good choices. We can trust our gut feelings knowing that they are founded in deep design principles proven over many generations of image making. Keeping this in mind lets look at the blank canvas of the creative mind. Lets start by asking some basic questions. Where to begin? What is the content of the vision? What do you want it to communicate? How will we divide the space? These types of questions provide a direction for the artist,... read more

I just answered a poll about how often I assign homework for my tutoring sessions and I think my answer is probably a bit different than say a math tutor. I rarely assign projects outside of what we are working on in the traditional sense because, with Photoshop and Lightroom, the student can really get confused if they aren't exactly sure what they are doing and then can't get back to where they started. I prefer to to have my students go online and find samples of what they are exactly looking to accomplish and then go from there...there are some instances where I will show them exactly how to do it, but otherwise I want them to play around with my supervision because it can become very very frustrating when something you've worked on for hours just disappears!

Who is Amanda O.? Just another art teacher in Philadelphia? I am indeed an art teacher in the Philadelphia School District, but am so much more than that. While some students have the misconception that teachers just hatch from an egg as is, we know that's not true. I have many parts to me, as I am sure you have to you. I am a world traveler, who loves exploring new places, but also loves home more than anywhere. I also truly love helping others. During the summers of 2004 and 2005 I was able to combine these two passions by volunteering for a Christian service group called Project Serve. Our Project Serve team went to a small village just outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras those 2 summers to serve the people of a Christian Youth Camp. My team focused on building a dorm hall and establishing a clean drinking well. While it was incredibly difficult, both physically and emotionally, each time I traveled there shaped who I am today. While we worked 8 of the 10 days we were there,... read more

Whether designing a business card, posters or ads, color matters, more often than people realize. It isn’t a matter of selecting what colors appeal to you, but what appeals to your target audience. No matter what medium you’re designing for, color relationships are one of the first of design considerations you should keep in mind when first imagining what the end product is to accomplish. Color can affect mood, as well as physical reactions. For example, take a moment and consider -what are the predominant color schemes that are seen in most fast food restaurants? Red and yellow. Studies have shown that red actually speeds up the metabolism. Now think about what the purpose red might serve in a fast food place. Their goal is to get you in, get you fed, and get you moving out so that the next batch of customers can get in there. In contrast, think of the last time you were in a higher-end restaurant – there the colors are more subdued and calmer, their purpose is to... read more

I sometimes get requests to tutor in a particular design software where the goal is actually assistance toward a specific task as opposed to general education of that software. More often than not, this task has something to do with using Photoshop to remove a background or to cut someone out of a picture and place him in front of the Eiffel Tower. The truth of the matter is that the task of removing a background or copying a person from one photograph into another may seem simpler to do than meets the eye. Certainly this seems a reasonable assumption because we see it done all the time or, in the very least, hear reference to it. We have likely seen it more often without even realize we have seen it because it was executed so well. I think the main reason many people think it would be an easy task because they are visualizing the real life setting. If you are sitting at your dining room table and I don't want you in the picture, I simply ask you to step out of the room... read more

Being tutored is an effective way to learn almost any subject. Whether it is to replace formal classroom learning or supplement the same, it allows you to obtain some learning that meets your individual goals and needs. A request to be tutored shows me that the student has some level of commitment to growth and education - even if it is being required by some other authority. The areas in which I tutor center around Graphic Design software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Students have come to me from various backgrounds, some with basic knowledge but wish to get a handle of some aspects of the software and others are just getting started and want to make sense of what the programs can do. But the same principles will exist in any subject at hand. When looking into being tutored, there are a few things that a student can do to make the lessons more effective. 1. Have a clear understanding of what it is you wish to learn. The clearer you are about what... read more

A few weeks ago I was talking with a woman who had just taken a Photoshop Elements course. The instructor was a graphics design artist who had an impressive portfolio of work that seemed to indicate he was highly qualified to teach this course. She completed the course and showed me what she had actually accomplished after many weeks of struggling with this very powerful application. It was a rather nice piece of work - combining elements of one photograph merged with another to simulate a completely new photo. Unfortunately, not only was she unable to duplicate this feat after taking the course, she still didn't have a good grasp of what Elements can do or how it can help her create publications for her various clubs and volunteer activities. She was frustrated that she had wasted time and money taking a course that didn't give her exactly what she needed. This is a common problem when taking a course designed for a wide audience, particularly when mastering skills... read more

We are always looking for that Easy Button in Photoshop where you just click and magic happens. Well the only Easy Button I have ever found was at Staples for $5.99. There are some things that do work in the Auto Mode with one of them being the Match Color Tool. This is found under Image>Adjustment>Match Color (near the the bottom of the list). Here is how it works, have a couple of images open, one to correct and one to match it with. Select the soon to be corrected image and go to Match Color. In the bottom section is a box for Image Statistics. Here is where you will pick the Source (the other open image) and even the Layer if you want. Click Ok and you are done. Does a pretty good job of matching up the colors using complicated magic Adobe pixie dust. Bonus Tip...You don't have to use an image from the same session but any image you can find. In fact I have known PS dudes who use images of paintings, other captured images, even abstracts for wild colors.

It's amazing what you can do with photos and images now a days. Photoshop allows the ability to use your creativity, imagination and the tools to vision new works of art. You can change anything about a photo or image. You can add to or delete items, people, backgrounds. You can draw and paint your own ideas to screen. My latest work of art to my own photo was to add fairy wings. I recently created my cousins business card and logo design using Photoshop. I created photos for his web site I'm building based on what he imagines and request. I feel like this program has endless possibilities in the world of photography and design. I am tutoring in Photoshop if your interested in creating your own works. Thanks.

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