Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fun and Frustration with Photoshop

Inspired by my post yesterday, which was inspired by Diane Lockward's post, I did a little research on Photoshop and how to create a collage.  I was also inspired by this post by Kelli Russell Agodon; in fact, I wrote to her and asked how she created the Pablo Neruda collage.  When she mentioned Photoshop, I thought, well, let me try a little something myself.  The websites I went to made it look so easy.

I don't have Photoshop on my work computer, so it had to wait until this morning.  Off and on through the night, I dreamed about creating layers, which I would then layer into a fabulous new image. 

I woke up this morning eager to get started.  I tried creating layers.  I couldn't figure out how to fuse them together--I remember having this problem in the past.  I figured out how to lasso an image, but not how to scale it down to a size I could use. 

In the end, I couldn't create what my brain dreamed about all night.  First, the original image:

For those of you who are curious, it's a photo of my husband's forehead after last year's Ash Wednesday service (if you want to know more about Ash Wednesday, see this post on my theology blog).

I tried adding a layer of a different cross made of ashes image, but I can't really see it in the images below--is that because I fiddled with the image, or because the layer is no longer there?  I don't know.

I figured out how to insert text--hurrah!  Here's the first version with text:

Then I tried to see if I could change the way the text looks.  I went with what you see below:

I tried to figure out how to do more special effects with the text, but I couldn't.  And I'd already been working for an hour, and I wasn't coming up with anything that took my breath away.

Here's my problem with Photoshop:  I know that it can do so much as a computer program, but I can't figure out how to command it to do so.  I know that if I used it a lot, it might become intuitive, but right now, the program doesn't behave the way I think it should behave.

So, I could teach myself; there are lots of books and online tutorials after all.  I've checked out a book before, but lost motivation along the way.  Maybe I'll try again.

And here's the really sad thing:  my school offers classes in Photoshop, and I could probably sit in unofficially, even if I didn't want to buckle down and actually take the class, which I could also do, if seats were available once the term started.

Well, I know more about Photoshop than I did in February of 2011.  My goal for the coming year:  to learn more, to learn how to combine images into an interesting collage.

Update (2 hours later):  I went back to play some more, and I came up with the following.  They're still not what I envisioned; in fact, I went a completely different way, a collage route instead of a layering and fading route.

And yet one more variation (1 hour later), with photo rotated and bottom cropped:

Well, time to quit Photoshopping and to turn my attention to other things:  creativity retreat planning and then administrator work.

1 comment:

Hannah Stephenson said...

Good for you, Kristin! Keep playing. It's wonderful to tap into other kinds of creative projects, right?

That's also how I feel about Photoshop--it's tricky but I keep learning one small thing every time I use it.

The challenge is fun, that's for sure!