The World of Tuts

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Play button.

Adobe Creative Cloud, which came into being in October 2011, uses a software subscription method which means you purchase and download the products over the Internet. Because of this instant method of updating the software, you always have the latest version available. 

I said in an earlier posting that there were 23 different software packages available in the CC version, but the ones I use most are Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Bridge, InDesign, and, to a lesser extent, Dreamweaver.

For sure there are alternatives to Adobe products that are cheaper, and some are even free. But if you want the always new, Rolls-Royce of graphics-based software, Adobe is where you belong. Here’s where you can find the latest prices.

Presently  Adobe allows for either a monthly or annual subscription of either individual products or the entire suite of software.  We at webclearly found that we wanted so many of their offerings that it wasn’t cost effective to cherry pick so we get the whole package. We’ve purchased them for several years now so we’ve had a lot of opportunity to learn the ins and outs of several of their products and we are happy.

Probably the software with the most features, and therefore the one that takes the longest to learn, is Photoshop. Of course, it’s best to start off simple – try manipulating an image or two of your own: crop, resize, save – these are the basics and what you should look to accomplish first. There are tutorials on YouTube for these manipulations, heck there are tutorials on how to open Photoshop and set up the workspace, everything you’ll ever need to learn can be found via a search engine. However, if you live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area there is an alternative: your local library.

The public libraries of Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Prince William County, all offer free access to Lynda.com where you can find tutorials for Photoshop – and so much more. Lynda.com is reason enough to get a library card.

If you still want to go the Google route, just enter Beginning Photoshop tutorials and you’ll find literally millions of results for you to peruse. The ones I come back to include:

Dansky (https://www.youtube.com/user/ForeverDansky) nice, measured tone, explains at a reasonable pace;

Unmesh Dinda (https://www.youtube.com/channel/unmesh) the opposite of Dansky, excited, fast talking, interesting use of English, strangely compelling;

Anthony Morganti (https://www.youtube.com/user/AnthonyMorganti), Goes into lots of detail at a steady pace (some would say slow) covers many types of software and puts out more videos than anyone else I subscribe to; and Helen Bradley (https://www.youtube.com/channel/helenbradley), very pleasant voice, explains complicated procedures in a simple manner, and, like the other people I just listed, she also covers Lightroom and Illustrator. 

There are other YouTube creators that I see sometimes but the list above contains my go to people to explain everything Photoshop and it’s less formidable than ploughing through Google search results.

My experience with YouTube tutorials (and I’ve seen a LOT) is it’s really a matter of finding a presenter who goes at a speed that suits you, teaches at your level, and whose accent and presentation style you can live with. There are lots of YouTube presenters out there and the accents and style range from transfixing to fingernails on the chalkboard.

Do you have a favorite?

Art Show

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Art show table.
Art show table

I recently entered some of my photographs into an art show, something I’ve been pondering for a while. I have a boatload of photos and it’s been bothering me about what to do with them. Letting them sit on my hard drive meant doing nothing with them, plus, it was annoying me that I’d gone through the process of shooting, post-processing, and in some cases, printing of those photos, and now what? It’s not that I thought the world was lacking something by not experiencing my portfolio – but it sure was starting to bug me that I was the only one looking at them.

An opportunity came along recently when a neighbor wrote to see if I wanted to exhibit in her December art show. She would provide a six foot long table and a chair, the rest was up to me. I realized this was my chance to finally do something with my work so I set about preparing. Here’s what that preparation involved and the learning experience:

Get the prints made – a huge learning experience that deserves it’s own blog entry;

Buy easels to support three or four 16×20 prints;

Buy 8×10 mats to hold 5×7 prints – you may have been to art shows where someone may have several large pieces on display and then a box or two of smaller ones for leafing through? Well, that’s what my 8x10s were for. Preparing them involved taping together a front piece with a 5×7 window and an 8×10 backing board. I also had to buy hinging tape to hold the two pieces of board together and sticky corners to hold the photos in place;

Put these photos and boards together – I had more than 60. I learned to only use the sticky corners on the top two corners of the photo, and tape it to the front board (the one with the hole in it). Use 1 3/4 inch hinging tape, not the skinnier variety, and try to cut that tape to exactly the length needed for the board because cutting off excess linen hinging tape is a bear.

Greeting card snow scene.
Foldable greeting card

Catalog my images. This took the longest time of course because I’d never organized my collection in any meaningful way before. It involved giving each photo a unique ID number, a filename, a description, and a location on an external hard drive for the original image plus the 5×7 version. The original was required in case someone saw a 5×7 but asked for an 11×14, then I would need the original to make a larger version.

Buy a decent pen so I could write that ID number on the back of every print. Write it on a label, not the print itself.

I had two types of greeting cards made, one foldable which means you could open it and write your inscription inside, and one flat – both came with envelopes. The front of the cards each had a snow scene of mine – it was December after all. Next time I would just get the foldable type.

Flat greeting card.
Flat greeting card

I put together a montage of DC monument shots into one image to make a Washington, DC postcard arrangement. I sold zero of these so I wouldn’t do that again.

Get a rubber stamp made that gave me credit for the photos. Stamp onto a label, not the print.

What if I actually sold something? How would I handle a credit card? I bought an attachment from Square that plugs into my phone, connected it to webclearly’s bank account and was ready for almost any credit card. In the end, one person wrote a check and the rest paid cash. The Square experience was still worth it though, for my peace of mind and any future art show I might participate in.

If I sold one of those 16x20s how would I wrap it up? I bought a roll of bubble wrap from the drug store, some big bags to hold the big prints, and plastic bags for the 8×10 photos.

I printed notices for how much the various items cost. I bought tiny stands to hold those price announcements.

I bought a couple of clear plastic containers to hold the 60 mats so people could ‘leaf’ through them. Lydia loaned me a tablecloth to cover the table.

It took the best part of a month to put all this together but it was worth it! The whole experience was fun because it interested me – much better to spend your time doing something you’re interested in than a) doing nothing, or b) doing something you don’t care about. I sold seven matted prints and 12 cards. For me, that was well worth it.

Rose Mosner.
Rose Mosner and her artwork

I had a good time with my fellow exhibitors one of whom is a webclearly customer, Rose Mosner, plus it was her 92nd birthday! Happy birthday Rose. As someone pointed out to me, you don’t exhibit for money, you do it for the ego boost. I guess they are correct – it was a great ego boost to have people say, “I like this, I like that, etc.,” and I’m now well prepared for another art show. Know of any?