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28 May 2013

Learning to decipher the mystery that can be Photoshop

I'm trying to become more versatile at Photoshop.  It has to be said that this package doesn't come naturally to me.  Which is a bit of a nonsense because I've been using it for awhile, but using it without using any of the fancy tricks it can do.  I used to sit and watch somebody really good at it with genuine envy.  And ok, I am even envious of those who are just better at it than me, without being really fabulous at it.  I'd watch while someone would show me little tricks, pointing out an area of an image, and saying that this part could use 'a little tickle', for example to lighten it up, or darken it.  And they knew all the tricks to make it look envious.  I'd try to follow what commands they were doing, but the problem with watching someone who's good at it is that you get a bit lost and I can't follow which tools they are using, and which buttons like Option and Command or Control to use to get the other features to happen.

Right now I'm trying to teach myself how to deep etch an image.  I don't currently have anyone's cleverness to sit and watch, and feel envious about, or just to feel pleased for them that they are so clever at it.  I'm trying to do it myself, and figure it out myself.  It has to be said it's more fun doing it the other way.  I've just watched, for the 2nd time, a little tutorial on deep etching, which is a technique I'm currently trying to master.  I'm trying to deep etch an image of a chair I took last week.  I thought I'd done it, and I had the whole chair outlined.  I'm not fast, so it took me a good half an hour to do this.  And it makes my eyes hurt and strain just a little bit.  I got all pleased with myself when I saw in the "Path" diagram and little cut out shape of the chair I'd just deep etched.  Then I tried to correct a couple of the more wobbly anchor points.  And somehow I ended up losing the entire thing I'd done, my clever little cut out vanished, and I think I've just lost half an hour's work.  Probably because I didn't save the Path?????  I don't know.  So I'll put the kettle on, make myself another cup of tea, try to suppress the expletive  and try not to tell myself that this is learning and not me being dim.  And I'll have another go. 

As a little side issue, I'm a bit stiff from riding yesterday, but not too bad.  Most of the soreness is in my neck and shoulders and that's to be expected, because my neck is dodgy.  I've been reflecting on how good an instructor Grant is.  How he could tell when I was trying to over think it and growing tense as a result.  He just made me busier.  And showjumping involves lots of changes of directions, lots of different transitions, and I like that.  Walk, now trot, now quick canter, now trot, then walk, then off into the canter again.  Get the right lead in the canter, look up, make the turn, get the horse straight, legs on, and yes, legs on over the jump!  I liked that he said "super" a lot, as I started finding some rhythm, and actually riding my horse, and not being a passenger.  I liked the feeling of cantering strongly around the arena, first on a circle, then large, going from the '3 point' seat where my bum is in the saddle to my '2 point' seat where I stand in the irons, and then riding strongly into the jump (saying 'wheeeeeeeeeeeee' to myself as we flew over it), and then changing direction and going on again. It was fun, and it's made me start thinking more seriously about the type of horse I will buy next.  What a lovely thought that will be.  It has to be said that I feel an almost childlike excitement at the thought of a new horse.  One day we will get that horse float too..  One day...

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