Tag Archives: Photoshop

Mike Lee Smiles on Me

Okay, so it’s not exactly a masterpiece, but it’s a good first step. The first project for FA2000, Computers and the Arts, was to create a Surrealist collage in Photoshop. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to create an image of my family and I escaping Utah as a smiling Senator Mike Lee (one of our fine, fine Congressional Tea Party demagogues) looms overhead in the manner of, say, Lord  Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Unfortunately, we’re driving in a 1960 Citroën DS wagon and getting passed by a Galapagos tortoise (although we have made it to the Bonneville Salt Flats and are therefore just a few miles from Nevada, where a Democrat is in the Senate).

Here’s the end result:

The whole thing, though, reminds me of a 2008 article I read about the Photoshop spoofs of Sarah Palin entitled “Photoshop for Democracy Revisited: The Sarah Palin File.” In it, the author, Henry Jenkins, argues that such creations are actually a useful way of investigating the collective beliefs and prejudices of the nation. As a researcher, therefore, it may be premature to throw such dross in the junk mail folder but, rather, to use them as social indicators. Fascinating.

I must say, however, my all time favorite is the one of Obama and Palin as contestants in Dancing with the Stars:

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I ❤ lynda.com

Okay, after my Photoshop meltdown, I decided I had better get some extra help. While our teacher is wonderful and has given us some excellent written materials, I felt I needed more. Fortunately, I knew where to turn: The fabulous, miraculous, life-saving, lynda.com! (By the way, while the founder, Lynda Weinman, spells her name with conventional capitalization, the company’s name is all lower case.)

[Immediate disclosure: I only learned about lynda.com when they invited me to create a course for them on the statistical package SPSS, which I gladly did. You can see a preview of it here. As one of the authors, I both get money each month from royalties (but not a lot) and I get free access to the site, which is normally $25 per month. That said, I love it and I would gladly pay.]

Anyhow, it’s just fabulous to have video lessons that I can pause, back up, repeat, and so on. Now I understand why my statistics and research videos on YouTube have been so helpful. (You can see those at youtube.com/bartonpoulson.) I’ve been going through lynda.com’s introductory courses for Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks. When I have a little time, I hope to go through the courses for Python, CSS, HTML, Google Analytics, typography, etc. Also, the “Creative Inspirations” series is a gem, too. It has extended interviews with prominent professionals where you/I can see all of these tools in use. My personal favorite is with one of my high school heroes, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo. Whee!

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Photoshop-Induced Cognitive Failure

[The above image, “Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Francis Bacon is illustrative of my current mental condition.]

Well, my last post was all about how wonderful Photoshop is. This one is about how overwhelming it is. Ay yi yi! It’s all very, very confusing – masks, channels, layers, fidgets, blotters, who knows what. I can’t keep it straight. I guess the upshot of this is that it gives me much more compassion for my statistics students when they get lost.

(On the other hand, I DO intend on going back over all of the class materials, the PDFs, Adobe’s own online tutorials and some of the tutorials at lynda.com. I’m sure I’ll get this all straightened out.

I am, however, excited to be working on my collage!

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Adobe and Me

We’re getting started with Photoshop (and the Adobe Creative Suite in general) in FA2000: Computers and the Arts. Very exciting! It’s an overwhelming program; so many choices, so many buttons. Ay yi yi . . . But I’m thrilled to have put the lettuce and beans on their own layers in the salad photo! Very cool to move things around so easily.

To quote the theme from The Love Boat: “So exciting and new!” (Well, new to me, anyhow.)

Also, in FA3000: Design for the Net I, we’re doing some manual HTML coding to create very, VERY simple websites (at least, local pages that open in browsers). Kind of tedious to do it manually, but I think it makes things much clearer. And I’m finally learned about putting the pages in a folder with relative references . . . if only this simple fact had been made clearer to me a few years ago. But I’m looking forward to working on our next assignment, which is to create a web page for a favorite artist. I may cheat and do mine on Edward Tufte, who IS an artist but is known much, much better for his work on data visualization. Here’s the man himself:

For reference, here are his major publications, all of which are gorgeous and should be required reading for all designers and data people:

Anyhow, it should be fun.

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