King On Track, On Track Publishers, Other Projects, Technology

Back to School

My vest-making projects came to halt in late July, when I enrolled in an online course “Introduction to Photoshop.” My previous attempts to use Photoshop had been unsuccessful, despite doing the tutorials and watching YouTube videos, so my husband suggested I look for a class. The course was offered by through my local community college.

Little did I know that the class would pretty much take over my summer—I spent many hours completing each of the twelve lessons; however, I can honestly say that I learned a lot and now love creating artwork in Photoshop.

I knew from my past attempts to use Photoshop that some of the basic concepts were layers and masks. These features allow you to combine elements from different photos while leaving the original photo unchanged. I learned how to create a basic photo composite and then added complexity by applying various effects (filters) and adjustments. For example, when creating a composite you would need to add shadows to make the picture look realistic.

My primary goal was to improve the pictures on my blog and create a portfolio of my hand-made items. I found that many of my pictures had distracting backgrounds. By the end of July, I could successfully replace the backgrounds and create simple composites for my post A Year of Vests.

Other topics included photo editing and retouching, color theory, and the difference between raster and vector images (graphic files that are infinitely scalable, while raster files are composed of pixels so resolution is lost when scaled up in size). My favorite topic was digital painting, which I used to create virtual costumes for our dogs, which you can read about in my post Happy Halloween! I recently started using my new skills to design custom greeting cards for friends and family, as well as our annual Christmas card.

One of my other goals was to develop a new logo. I purchased my crown logo from Fiverr earlier this year, but I wanted to create a new logo that would combine the various elements of my website/blog. My new logo design started with the traditional railroad crossing signal (to focus on my father’s ALCO books I have for sale in my On Track Publishers Book Store). I created a more abstract design by eliminating the R R and replacing the yellow and black with custom colors to represent my interests in cross-stitch and quilting. I chose a triadic color theme using the mauve color from my crown logo. I am gradually introducing my new design to my blog and social media accounts.

About halfway through the class my new Apple MacBook Air finally arrived, so that made the class even more fun!

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