Why is Photoshop so Hard?

Many people will wonder why it is so difficult to learn Photoshop. They install their copy with high expectations and aspirations to make incredible works of art. They might want to create a stunning space scene, they might want to touch up their personal photos, or they might want to create a logo or website. Whatever it is, most people often find themselves in trouble. Where do I start?

What makes Photoshop, so "difficult" is the fact that people expect it to be a walk in the park - one click will give me magical results and the desired effect. Unfortunately, nothing in life is that easy and Photoshop is no exception. However, once we are uprooted from this mindset, we can start to get serious and really start doing real things in Photoshop.

So where do we start? There are so many buttons, it's so overwhelming, and I have no idea what NOTHING does! What many people try to do is search for random tutorials on the internet.

"How to swap faces" or "How to make a logo".

The problem with this approach is that the user has no idea what he is doing but somehow gets the desired result because he went through the steps without thinking. Sure, you may think your 'learning' Photoshop is like this, but the only thing you're really learning is how to COPY. And I'm sure that when you bought Photoshop, you didn't want to learn to imitate others, you wanted artistic FREEDOM to do whatever you wanted in Photoshop.

So how do we earn this artistic freedom? We learn the ESSENTIAL, the BASIC. These fundamentals are the foundation of everything you do in Photoshop, and with a clear understanding of how they work and what they do, you can really do anything in Photoshop. Are you tired of feeling frustrated because you've been copying what others have been doing for so long?

It's hard to imagine a version of Photoshop without layers, but versions prior to version 3, not CS3, but three did work without layers. However, layers must be the most important feature of Photoshop that has made it the great program it is today. If you make the use of the latest version, you need to understand the principles of Photoshop CS5 layers.

Within Photoshop, you can add layers, remove layers, merge, save, and delete layers; in fact, there is little you cannot do. The CS5 version of the program has seven different types of layers to work with, each with a different purpose, and each one is an integral part of the program.

The most used layer within Photoshop is, of course the pixel image layer, and this is the one that will open as soon as you import an image into the application or simply paint on a blank canvas. Therefore, this layer can be seen as your blank canvas and also the most important layer of all; without it, your image or photo would not really exist.

The next layer you have to deal with is actually non-pixel based type and text. This layer will allow you to write texts on your base layer and edit them with different fonts and styles. If you want your texts to look good, you shouldn't just write on your canvas; open text layers in your text options and save the final image in EPS format.

The next layer to pay attention to is the fill layer, which like the image layer is a pixel-based layer. With this layer, you can add color, fill areas of the canvas, and use gradients and patterns to overlay your canvas and image. With little more than a click of the mouse, you can add and remove color within this layer.

The shape layer within the CS5 version is a vector-based layer, and within this layer, you can create and predefine shapes, move them and resize them as you see fit without losing any of the excellent quality. There are shape tools within this layer by default, created by Photoshop.

You need to acquainted and get with the adjustment layer that will allow you to add special effects to your images. Within this layer, you can play with the hue, brightness, contrast, and other levels until you get the desired effect for your image or canvas. This layer is pretty nifty as it will allow you to play around with all of these attributes without affecting the image itself.

The next layer you come across with CS5 is actually quite advanced and will be one that you will only start using once you have become familiar with how Photoshop works. The smart object layer is a special type of layer that will allow you to integrate and work on files that were not created within the program, such as Raw or Vector files. Within this layer, you can resize and swap content without affecting quality, and you can make as many changes as you like as long as the pixel size does not exceed that of the original.

The last layer you'll find in Photoshop CS5 is the video and 3D files layer, one that you didn't find in previous versions of the program. In fact, this layer is only available in the extended version of the program and is a special layer that will allow you to import 3D and video files in special layers, allowing you to work on the video frame by frame.

Understanding Photoshop CS5 layers is actually not as difficult as you might expect, and Adobe offers great online tutorials to walk you through the process. Photoshop without layers would be like a PC without memory. Although photography experts use the latest versions of the program, there is no reason why a novice cannot learn to manipulate layers and thus create exceptional photos and images; with just a little careful practice, you can soon start creating beautiful, professional photos and images.

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