Wolfku Musing 11

A thousand strange rules
An alternate universe
some call Photoshop


If I’m not mistaken, you can actually get a Master’s Degree in Photoshop these days, if not a Doctorate. Seriously. This, of course, should surprise nobody since that’s pretty much what it takes these days to wrap your wits around this (monstrous and ever-expanding) thing.

Me, I’ve stood at the doorstep of this strange universe a few times (using, or attempting to constructively use, Photoshop Essentials) but I’ve never quite made it past the vestibule of this mighty software and its many tentacles.

Then it dawns on me, it’s a conspiracy, a plan most evil.

In fact, the human race can now be divided into two distinct and very separate (as in light years apart) factions: whose who understand and use Photoshop and those, like me and the other seven and a half billion plus normal folks, who don’t.

The Photoshop race is small and exclusive and they are not native to our solar system, much less our planet; I have come to that conclusion. In fact, they are a subtle (or not so subtle—once the scales have fallen from your astonished eyes) invasion by aliens who will soon make their move to take over this Earth of ours.

The first alien who landed (and took human form—his/her/its name was Adobe) invented Photoshop as the gateway of communication between him/her/it and all who were to follow and did (and still do). Only they really understand what Photoshop is all about and what it can do, and it is what keeps them organized, up-to-date on their plans, and synchronized toward that big Orson-Wells-like day ahead.

Yes, I have a feeling that they will strike soon, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that if you have tried to understand and use Photoshop, and failed, well, then (at least) you are not an alien. Good thing to know, yes?

Alien conspiracy theories aside, why do we need Photoshop? (Realize that a Photoshop-pro thinks me crazy for even asking).

I  am not a good photographer by any stretch and were it not for the digital camera I would hardly ever take a good picture—but when you can take a hundred or so shots of that one subject and all it costs you is time and heavy use of the delete button to rid the world of the ninety-nine or so that look questionable at best to keep the one that might do you proud—well, then even I can come up with somewhat respectable shots.

And so, with the one good frame in the digital bag, what do I do next? First and foremost, I used Windows 10’s “Photos” which gives me all the tools I need for cropping, color-tweaking, etc. at least ninety percent of the time. It’s made for photo-dummies like me. I understand “Photos” and I can apply it. The designers did a good job, with guys like me in mind. They are all from this planet, these guys—and like it here.

Should I need to edit the image further (say for more effects) I turn to one of four (or more than one) different very good photo-editing apps:

The old, proven standby “Paint” for resizing and text;

“Fused” for merging (overlaying) two images into one;

“Photomatix” for bracketed pics, or single pics (this program provides excellent effects); and

“Polarr” for additional fine-tuning and effects.

That said, “Photos” and “Paint” does it for me just about always, and when I look at the result, I’m happy. Some other people, too, look at the picture and seem happy with it. Would Photoshop make it better?

I guess the Photoshop-pro would say yes, and possibly, he or she could. But would the improvement be detectable by anyone not stemming from the Photoshop universe? I don’t know.

My other thought on this is that with the advent of programs as powerful as Photoshop, where you can (I believe) rescue even badly taken shots and make them look wonderful, is not the skill, the art of photography itself being made redundant/obsolete? Again, I don’t really know.

What I do know is that I’ve tried to wrap my wits around this massive program and I’ve always come up short and confused and very much of this world.

And always very happy to return to “Photos” and “Paint” — my two old and trusted Ps.