Thursday, March 25, 2010
Using Photoshop for Mini Making: Part 1
Adobe Photoshop can be a bit daunting to learn. But it truly gives you the most control and options for editing images – photos, printies, etc. I use Photoshop on a daily basis for my work. Although I feel very comfortable with the software, I know that I'll never master it completely. It is a tool with unendless possibilities; many of which are unnecessary for most users and tend to make learning the software an arduous task. Luckily, Adobe and other software developers have realized that not everyone is a hard core Photoshop aficionado and have developed alternatives for the home user.
Let's first discuss the different types of Adobe Photoshop software available. The solutions below are listed from the most expensive to the least expensive:
The soon-to-be released version is CS5 (Creative Suite 5). This is the must-have software for photographers, graphic designers, and web designers. If you are a serious amateur or thinking about going professional in those fields, Photoshop is the solution for you. Just be willing to dish out approximately $699 USD. An education discount is available if you are a student or teacher. You can download a free, 30-day trial version of Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop Elements 8
For hobbyists who don't need such a robust application, Adobe Photoshop Elements is a smart solution. It does not have the advanced features of its big brother, Photoshop CS5, but may not be so daunting to use. The $100 USD price tag is a bonus. A downloadable, 30-day free trial is available.
If you are a hobbyist who doesn't have the time to learn Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and would rather drop the cash on minis, this may be a great solution for you. Photoshop.com allows users to manage, edit, store, and share photos and videos online, with tutorials, inspiration, and more. With Photoshop.com, you can organize, tweak, create, e-mail, display, and store your photos and videos. You are limited to the things you can do with the image editing features, but many hobbyists may find it sufficient. Did I mention that a Basic membership is free? Photoshop.com uses your web browser. Therefore it's available on any web-enabled computer, compatible mobile phones, and directly from within Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or Adobe Premiere Elements 7 software. If you want more storage space, the Plus membership is available for a fee, but you must have Photoshop Elements software. Also, Photoshop.com is only available in English. Here is an FAQ on Photoshop.com.
If you are looking for more robust features than Photoshop.com and wish to save your cash for mini purchases (in other words, you want the best of both worlds), check out GIMP. This software is not an Adobe product, but has advanced photo editing features like Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is a free, open source, downloadable image editing program that has a large user-base, multi-lingual documentation and a good support network. It is PC and Mac compatible. I have not used GIMP, but here is an informational site with a tutorial video that may be of help.
I will write about editing images using Adobe Photoshop in a future post.
If you enjoy using other image editing solutions or have questions or comments about the ones I mentioned, please feel free to leave a comment.