Thursday, March 25, 2010

Using Photoshop for Mini Making: Part 1

This is going to be a multi-part tutorial. The first part will discuss the options available in image editing software. Later posts will contain information about using Photoshop and editing images.

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:

Photoshop CS 
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. allows users to manage, edit, store, and share photos and videos online, with tutorials, inspiration, and more. With, 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? 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, is only available in English. Here is an FAQ on

If you are looking for more robust features than 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.


  1. Greatly appreciate your taking the time to put this together Carol. I'm a real novice at this sort of thing altho I mentioned to my brother just days ago that digital image 'manipulation' is something I would like gain some proficiency in but it's still in the 'too hard basket'. (He is the family whizz at old photo restoration and is about to upgrade to Elements 8). Have you seen the Paris stencil on my blog? That's the kind of thing I'd like to be able to do, take elements of an image from 'here and there' and put them together for something like that.

    I'm really looking forward to this tutorial developing - is it ok to post about it on my blog because I think there are many others who don't know about your blog yet who would also appreciate this info.

  2. Norma, I would feel honored if you posted this on your blog. Your Paris stencil would be a great example to use on a future "how to". Thanks for the idea!