First Day Of Class

Today was my first day of class.

Monday I signed up for “Photoshop CS Basics,” which hopefully will give me the necessary skills to navigate this monstrous application I’m not running. See, I do all my wuss-grade flood-fills in LView Pro, and while it WORKS, most of the “how to color your comic all kewl-like” tutorials out there are geared towards Photoshop users. And don’t even get me started on the file-format issue. You want layers, you have to ship people PSD. The LVP format is unreadable by any app except LView Pro.

Up until Monday I’ve not had time to ascend the learning curve, and since the strips have to be colored, I’ve just stuck with what I know.

So I registered for the class, in hopes of being able to start doing all my coloring in Photoshop in a month or two, and start doing some really TASTY coloring shortly thereafter. Maybe just for posters and book covers, but certainly tasty.

Tonight was the first class. I showed up 20 minutes late, because Sandra told me it began at 6:30pm when in fact it started at 6:00. Fortunately for me, the teacher was also late. Like, a WEEK late. He was a no-show.

My arrival was a little uncomfortable. I sauntered in thinking I was 10 minutes early, and was greeted by a UVSC staffer who looked at me with angry anticipation.


   I said “No. I’m Howard Tayler.” I gestured at an empty PC in the corner. “Sit anywhere?”

   “Yeah. The teacher’s not here yet.”

   “Oh.” I went and took a seat, wondering why everyone was here 10 minutes before the start of class.

I still didn’t realize I was 20 minutes late. Fortunately, by the time I figured out that I looked like an absolute slacker bozo, everybody was completely peeved at Paul The No-Show Teacher, who had raised the bar for “slacker bozo” beyond my clearance.

I had just enough time to log in to the lab PC and enable a Dvorak keyboard layout on it before the UVSC staffer announced that the class would be extended a week to make up lost time, and that we should all go home now.


24 thoughts on “First Day Of Class”

  1. Someone’s in trouble…

    Yikes. As one who’s at least somewhat privy to the inner workings of a college department, I can tell you Paul is on the hot seat now. I wouldn’t trade places with him…

    1. Re: Someone’s in trouble…

      Indeed. And the room was not full of easily-cowed kids who want an easy credit learning to put Paris Hilton’s face on an ostrich. This is the community education track, full of grown-ups who want to figure out how to get their money back after learning that they already knew almost as much as the teacher did.

      I look forward to meeting Paul, but I do not plan to stand too close to him.

  2. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation….

    I bet you’ll find out that there was an emergency or a mis-communication somewhere. Poor slob probably spent the evening on the side of the road somewhere….or will show up tonight and start teaching photoshop to some really confused-looking would be Word Perfect users.

    Bryan “defending the indefensible” Paschke

  3. Sorry to hear about your no show teacher. I hope the rest of the class goes better than that. And as a fellow Dvorak user, I just feel the need to mention that I use Dvorak. And that’s all I got.

  4. Ah photoshop. I’ve taught so many new ‘spacers how to use and how to better use that application. Using my age old method of yelling blue murder at them till they get it right. Never fails.

  5. They have classes in how to use photoshop ? *looks confuddled*
    And here was I thinking that you had to figure it out for yourself.
    I mean, I don’t even have a manual or anything…

    *points to icon*
    Thought I was doing alright, I wonder what I’ve been missing ?

  6. photoshop’s a lot easier than people make it out to be.
    That said, it’s a LOT easier if you have someone to show you the tips and tricks.
    Here’s to hopin that paul knows his stuff.
    Otherwise I’m sure you can send out a request and someone in your area will be able to fill you in on what Paul misses.

  7. Howard,

    I’ve tried teaching a few folks how to get started with Photoshop. If you like, I can try and give you some tips and useful tricks and stuff.

    One thing I’ve noticed: Photoshop 7 has a lot more bells and whistles attached to it, but the actual learning curve seems to be better. It’s not only more powerful, but more intuitive as well.


    1. To preface this, I am not an artist. I am SOOOO not an artist! I am colorblind and have no sense of proportion, but I have used both photoshop and Gimp (I used to do technical support for a bunch of artists at a game company).

      Photoshop seems relatively straightforward to use. I have some criticisms of its user interface in places, but I found simple tasks to be relatively simple to do, and harder tasks to be at least conceivable.

      The Gimp I find impossible to use at all. I can’t figure out how to do the simple tasks, and trivial tasks often take me 2 or 3 hours. (Things like — I want a 250 by 650 canvas with a solid green background.) I have read through the various manuals I have found, and I STILL don’t have a clue how to do anything that I want to do. I never even peeked at the manual for Photoshop and was able to get things done.

      1. Mark and I tried to use The Gimp to make Linucon flyers. Twice. Both times we ended up pulling photoshop so mark could demonstrate how easy something was in photoshop ath the gimp just fundamentally failed to do, and then we finished the whole flyer in photoshop (starting over from scratch) in less time than we’d already spent playing with the gimp.

        The gimp was designed by people who don’t use photoshop. For example, the text layout tool is so brain damaged, it can’t even wordwrap in a box. (I mean cannot. Period. At all. As far as we can tell, it simply never occurred to them. Let alone having more than one font in the same block of text, you need two layers to have two fonts in play, and you position each stretch of text as a separate graphics element, by hand, with the mouse. Yes, it really is that bad.)

        One thing you figure out after a while is that the whole user interface is an afterthought. What the gimp really is designed to do is transform images from the command line via libgimp. (And it’s good at that. Some video editing people love it because once you’ve worked out a transform, it can apply that same transform to 5000 images, and voila you’ve composited a scene of a movie…) But working out that initial transform involves writing a script in a text editor and debugging it, which is WAY easier than trying to get the darn GUI to do anything useful. The gui exists to debug libgimp and script-fu stuff.

        I say this as a devout open source advocate. Attempting to use the gimp even as a simple drawing tool is _painful_. It shouldn’t be, but it is. (And before you say that’s a bad use of the tool: 90% of all spreadsheet use is making lists, and your average word processor user usually just wants notepad with slightly better font support, page numbers when they print, an maybe the occasional bullet point list. If a tool can’t handle the simple stuff, it has no business messing with the hard stuff.

        If I can’t use the 8000 blade swiss army knife to cut the little plastic tag off my new blue jeans in under an hour of fiddling with it, I don’t care that it’s got a dog whistle, tuning fork, and eyeglass repair kit in it. This is the situation with the gimp, it has a large number of capabilities that don’t interest me, and makes what I need to do virtually impossible every time I’ve tried it. (Import three graphics, resize and reposition them relative to each other, touch one up with a little zoom and freehand drawing, put text near them in different fonts and a box around the text… Try it sometime. Have something handy to bang your forehead against repeatedly, it helps…)

  8. What I really like about Photoshop is its capabilities. I used to work for Hewlett Packard, in their Plotter (Large Format Printer) division. I had used Photoshop for a number of years and found that I was capable with it, getting the things done that I wanted. As HP’s plotters became more advanced in color reproduction (when I left they had just started releasing proofing units) Photoshop skills became more important. Architects were no longer the target consumer, printhouses and sign shops were becoming more important. Anyhow, the result of this was numerous Photoshop classes so we wouldn’t sound like idiots talking to customers. I was amazed at what Photoshop could do that I hadn’t been doing. As an aside, I had been using Photoshop 5, someone pointed out 7 was better, that is so true on so many levels.

  9. I got Photoshop 7 with my iMac because I wanted to use it to produce DVD menus. (DVD Studio Pro has a really neat way of doing menus from Photoshop layers.) I’m not using a very large part of its capabilities. It’s a really powerful program, but like so much else, it’s not hard at all once you get the basic concept.

  10. The Triad speaks:

    *raises hand*

    May not have spoken here before, but on the subject of Photoshop (and with it mentioned in so many of the comments)… is there any way to obtain a (presumably older) version of it (presumablly legally) without purchasing one? My financial status hasn’t been very secure lately, but early attempts to use Microsoft Paint to create pictures have been particularly unproductive. Any help, from anyone, would be appreciated. *bows*

    1. Re: The Triad speaks:

      Not likely, my experience with Adobe (actually worked 6 months with the CEO about 5 years ago, on a handheld scanner project) is that they are extremely protective of their intellectual property (i.e. Photoshop). I’m not faulting them for it, that’s just the way things go. You don’t see Microsoft giving copies of Windows 95 away for free.

      1. Re: The Triad speaks:

        Head on out to eBay and shop there. I can’t vouch for the legality of all the copies you’ll find there, but that’s where I bought MINE, and it came with all the original licensing stuff.

        An alternative is the educational discount, which you might be able to get through your school if you’re a student.


        1. Re: The Triad speaks:

          I have visited a lot of educational (edukashunal?) institutions that teach Photoshop in their classes, and the best deal I have found is $5 Windows XP and super cheap Microsoft products. No Photoshop deals though. Which stinks as it runs a couple of hundred dollars.

          I think that’s stupid of Adobe to do that. Most graphic application jobs and careers I the world today are using Photoshop, and as a student if I can’t use it in my home I can’t learn it as fast, or explore all the nooks and crannies. The result is crippled artists entering the graphic art gladiatorial arena with a really sharp sword and being introduced to an Abrams M1.

          Yeah, I almost ended up at UVSC but wanted to stay closer to home. Then my family moved. Wish I would have gone now.

          1. Re: The Triad speaks:

            The $5-for-XP deal sounds like it’s either:

            1) An Illegal copy, or

            2) The school is part of the M$ educational partnership deal, and in exchange for something like $800 they get pretty much unlimited M$ products – except for the Office Suite. Students enrolled in a course teaching an M$ product – again, the Office Suite is an exception – can get one copy of that product for free. We’re supposed to get the student information, verify they’re a student, and make it available to M$ upon demand. As far as I know they’ve never request to see the info. I think the dept is turning in a report each year of how many copies were distributed to students, vs how many were used in the training labs. The $5 might be some kind of handling/tracking fee in that case. I know we don’t charge anything, because the dept chair has decreed it’s covered by the Technology Fee, and we’re requiring students mail the CDs back.

            Where the Photoshop deal can hurt the company is that charging big $$ for trainees to get a particular package is helping ensure there is always a supply of people trained on alternative, cheaper packages 🙂

            Heck, I’d be using Photoshop if it weren’t so pricey. But at this point, I can’t see it adding $290+ of value to my business. StarOffice & OpenOffice have done everything I’ve asked of them so far.

          2. Re: The Triad speaks:

            To all those who have replied, thank you for the information. *nods sadly; goes to look for more information on Painter or openCanvas*

          3. Re: The Triad speaks:

            *shakes his head* I have no need to do anything with photographs taken with a camera besides crop them; attempting to learn to draw, preferably via software. Using pencils or similar apparatus usually causes my hand to hurt after a very short time.

    2. Re: The Triad speaks:

      Unless you’re doing professional work, you can get away with the LE version (or the light version, or whatever they’re calling it this week) for under $100. It doesn’t have the ultra high end stuff, but it works fine for those of us who don’t need the utlra high end stuff.

  11. By the way…

    By the way, anyone using photoshop for graphic aplications (like not photos and junk) would do well to invest in a cheep piece of software called WOW Styles.

    I’m not selling it, I’m just saying.

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