If there is one thing The New Job is doing for me, it is teaching me fairly rapidly the mundane BUT extremely necessary Photoshop things that somehow I never learned in school, like MASKS and CLIPPING PATHS and how to adjust GRADIENTS.
I know. I know. Shouldn't I have already known this??? Nope! And it hasn't been until recently that I've begun to actually understand the whole way the program works. Once I found out it is based on film developing, the lightbulb clicked on. Ohhhhh! So THAT's what BURN TOOL means. And now I understand why you have to DODGE to lighten things up. (Dodge?? Isn't that what you do when all the faster, more athletic kids in gym class throw those nasty red gym balls at you and when you don't move fast enough the balls bounce off of you with a sickening *pong* sound that reverberated in your ears and turns your cheeks red with shame when you know that you had just been affirmed, once again, as "the easy target.")
In my alma mater's defense, I will point out that I wasn't in the artsy graphic design classes. I learned practical things like how to lay out large portions of text without losing content, and how to recognize Franklin Gothic from a mile away, or what is most important when choosing an opening photograph for a photo-journalism piece. There was no lessons in making TIFFs have "transparent" backgrounds, because, quite frankly, we were supposed to find that out for ourselves. We had a professor who not only encouraged us to be self-starters (after all, that's what the real world requires), but also INSISTED on our ability to learn what we needed through trial and error, one of the surest ways to have how NOT to do things burned into your neural pathways.
Anyway, now I'm learning voraciously on my own, just like I had always been encouraged to do (Thank you, Professor Wong!!!), and it's really paying off. Just the other day, while using the LEVELS ADJUSTMENT LAYER to clean up the colors in a photograph, I proceeded to follow the directions I read in a how-to column. And today I made my very first clipping path, all on my own, by following directions from the COLOR SELECTION advice I read in a book to create a WORK PATH that I could convert to a CLIPPING PATH to make the TIFF "transparent," and, therefore, the logo I was working on could be placed on any colored background, not just white, as it was originally designed to be.
I am on my way to Photoshop guru-ness!!!
So now I want a scanner. Because now I can scan in my sketches and trace them with the PEN TOOL in either Illustrator or Photoshop to make line art out of my designs and get started producing product, already!!!