The Non-Joy of Photoshop

Program cover for the upcoming Music Inspires 2017 concert.

Unless you’ve been following me on Facebook, you may not know that I have become Girl Friday for a friend who is a fine arts chairman at posh college preparatory.  I point out the poshness because it’s the only way the school can afford the many concerts and productions it has a year.  Aside from assisting in musical production (such as Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables), I’ve taken over creating programs for her musical events. 

It’s not just a matter of slapping information on a flyer.   Oh no – you know me.  Each flyer must be a production in itself, a work of art, starting with the cover.  It must have acceptable graphics.  In the past, I was content to surf the internet looking for freebies.  But since the music department has upped the ante with lavish musicals, I realized that I needed to take the covers to the next level.  In other words, create my own graphics like the one in the picture on the left.  Looks pretty simple, right?

Let’s talk about Adobe Photoshop.  I used the program for years to perform simple sharpening, cropping, etc.  Then the program became increasing exorbitant and too rich for my blood.  Now Adobe allows users to pay a monthly subscription for the software that’s always kept updated via uploads.   Okay, I thought.  I can teach myself how to slap some elements together and voila, my vision will be realized.   I downloaded Photoshop CC 2017 and opened it. 

Let me say, right out of the box, the program isn’t the least bit intuitive.  Adobe prides itself on saying there are 10 different ways to do one thing.  I had trouble discovering one.  The software has become so bloated and involved.  The drill down menus have drill down menus.  I had to google how to turn off the splash screen.  The Adobe site had tutorials but not the ones I needed, of course.  So I visited for lessons.  What was I trying to do? The music bar in the picture did not have a transparent background which meant I had to cut it out or mask it.  Masking is an action Photoshop has always done and it even has magic masking that failed to work like magic despite control tweaking.  And – you know me again – I’d picked a graphic that required detailed painstaking masking around the bars, between the lines and notes and flowers.   Then I discovered that only keyboard commands worked some of the actions, so simple clicking would not do.  Fun. Fun. Fun.  By the time I realized properly adding text to the graphic wasn’t really intuitive either, I was ready toss everything out the window (but the desktop is expensive and really heavy).  Eventually I broke down and added the text using Microsoft Publisher.  And that was just over masking. There was still the zillion other things Photoshop could do chirps Adobe.

I may have to bring my visions down a notch.  Sheesh.

3 thoughts on “The Non-Joy of Photoshop

  1. I know your pain… Photoshop has indeed become rather bulky and difficult to use. That’s why a lot of people have moved on from it – or should I say “regressed”? Instead of the full version, they use “Adobe Photoshop Elements” which bundles the core functionalities. But this info may not help you if you have just forked out for the full suite… Hopefully you’ll get used to the new PS version.
    (Incidentally, Adobe is putting on a product call today which I will listen in to. Curious to hear what they are planning to launch soon…)

  2. It’s a pleasure to know how much actively involved you are in the Arts, particularly in this Age of Profit Greed. I no longer have the old discounted student Photoshop, so cannot try to offer any help. I rely on various image source downloads to fuel amateur art for family/facebook/Christmas cards and amateur political cartoons, and struggling to make pixels the right size for the purpose. You, on the other hand, are contributing in a far more substantial form – to the Arts. Carry on, Judi! And thanks to Guylty for the ADOBE heads-up.

  3. Remember when bcc got everyone to try Photoshop?

    I didn’t at that time, but I got free access to it when I became an academic advisor. It was so complicated that i gave up after two hours. For my purposes, I’d use a free template in MS Word, then import into Acrobat and fiddle with it so it didn’t look like a template. So much easier. Nowadays I use a combination of the free tools on the web. I feel PS became something for the professional (sort of like Final Cut Pro).

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