Photoshop Part 1: Images for the Web

I attended this course from BBC Training yesterday. I’ve been using Photoshop for a couple of years already, but have never had any formal training (mainly learning by doing, or from various online sites), and as I will be using Photoshop for web graphics and images my manager agreed to send me on a course.

I searched around for a while online trying to find a course that a)didn’t cost over £400 and b)was somewhere sensible for me to get to, and came across this – it only cost £180, which is quite a bargain for this sort of thing.

I was the only attendee not associated with the BBC in some way, but everyone was friendly, and it didn’t prove to be a disadvantage. The session started out simply, with explanations of different image file-types, and a look at the Photoshop toolbox. We then proceeded to create a new image, and played around a little with layers, opacity, selections and moving things around. We looked at saving images for the web, and the trade-off between quality and file-size. We created 3D web buttons with text and drop shadows. I didn’t learn too much that was new at this stage, apart from a couple of little things (such as using the tick button to accept transformations and text) which I probably should have known about anyway.

We then moved on to working with photographs – resizing, changing contrast, sharpening, brightening, and changing colour levels – after mucking about making the trees blue and the wooden house bright red I actually tried to make the picture clearer, and was quite pleased with what I got. We then moved on to a portrait image (apparently of one of the trainer’s friends, though I don’t think she would remain so if she knew what we were doing to her picture!). We learnt how to remove spots, create magazine style images, and remove wrinkles (I have obviously since tried this on a picture of myself – may have to treat all my photos that way in future!). Someone pointed out how rich we’d be if we could do this in real life (if only!). We then played around with the different filters. The guy sitting beside me gave the poor woman a fantastic spiky look, while I contented myself with making her glowy and neon. We then moved on to making thumbnails, using various Dr Who images (past and present Drs), then made an ad by cutting out a picture of Peter Davison (kind of fiddly, but not as hard as I thought it would be) and adding some text.

All in all the day was quite fun. I learnt some useful things, gained confidence in the things I had been doing before (always gratifying when someone suggests the best way of doing something – and it is how you do it already), and got inspiration for what I can do with Photoshop. The trainer was very good – friendly, knowledgeable, and he gave me his card afterwards in case I have any questions.

I didn’t know before I found this that the BBC ran training courses like this (and they do a whole load of other courses), but I would recommend the course, and am considering going on the second part myself. There is also a Flash course I quite fancy.

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