Thursday 26 December 2013


I've said many times before that I'm a technophobe .. and its true.

I was thrilled when David bought me Photoshop Elements 12 but didn't realise that even the basic Adobe Photoshop stuff is ... well pretty technical.

Me, being me, dove straight in and looked at the gimmicks, rather than the basics.   So 3 days later I'm totally disillusioned and frustrated with my lack of understanding.

Here are some of the wonderful effects I've been playing with .. but I still dont know how to do the simple basic stuff I need for my portrait business ... like combining 3 dogs from different photos into one composition.      In the past I've had to rely on David doing it for me on the basic PaintNet program we have.    I've read and re-read the pages of Adobe 'How To' guidelines on using layers but it goes in one ear and out the other.   I need to be shown step by step.  Can anyone recommend a video tutorial - maybe Youtube which will help me learn this process?

Basics aside ... some of the effects I've been playing with - even if I don't really understand the technical bits  LOL.    These are some more of the photos taken at the zoo on Fuerteventura last month.

I love the way you can pull part of a photo 'outside the frame' ...  I added a blue background to the area outside the photo here

I did a similar thing here but used the existing photo background and simply turned it red so you can still see the trees in the background

and again, pulled the giraffe's muzzle outside the frame and then added a black/grey background.   fun eh?

experimenting with making the background more 'fuzzy' in these two photos

and with 'vignettes' in these two to focus the light on the central characters

So .... I have lots of things to work on in the New Year.      How to use my camera more effectively, how to use Photoshop Elements (particularly layers) and cracking on with artwork, stone painting and driftwood objects ....


  1. Fascinating Sue. I love the 3D effect of the giraffe in particular. Love all the animal pix anyway, but it's interesting what you can do with them. Just read a story where a meerkat was a famous wandmaker. I've always loved meerkats.

    Was that the giraffe that stole David's ice cream?

  2. I had fun playing with that particular function ... about the only one I managed to work out for myself (so far). Whatever happened to 'the camera never lies'? I've found a function where I can move an object around in a photo and the space vacated gets filled with a background based on the surrounding area. spooky eh?

    Not sure about the giraffe as there are about 20 at the zoo - all of them very inquisitive and friendly and we visited them several times during this trip.

  3. Hey Sue, I think the only way to learn any software is to play with it and do tutorials. There are quite a few on YouTube about layers and even if the version isn't the same as yours, the software doesn't change all that much from one version to another.

    Here's one I thought interesting:

    And this is a good one that explains things pretty well:

    There are lots of them - just google Photo Shop Elements layer tutorials then pick one that appeals to you!

  4. Dagnabbit! I hit send before I told you how good your special effects look. I haven't played with any of them yet but maybe I need to! They do add to the photos the way you've done them! I'm with Jo on the giraffe - he looks great.

  5. Thank you Jan
    I struggle when faced with pages of instructions so much prefer to watch videos. The videos I've found so far look easy till I try to do the same thing .. then it all goes to pot.
    I'll try your suggested ones tomorrow

  6. Because it's my day job I tend to think of photoshop as a chore more than as fun! I found the very best way of learning it is to have a very specific goal in mind before you start out.That way you discover what each tool is capable of as you try to use it to reach your clearly defined objective. Don't hesitate to contact me if you want help understanding stuff. Oh, and get yourself a graphics tablet and a whole new world will open up.

  7. Hi Mike Happy New Year to you and yours. You've hit the nail on the head - I need to clearly define my objective and work from there but I've always been a 'gung ho' type rather than thinking things through. Will try harder (and thanks for the offer of help if/when I get stuck) :-)
    I think maybe a graphics tablet at this stage would just add to my problems LOL

    1. A tablet really makes life easier for you when using photoshop, it's just much more intuitive and it gives you much more control too.

  8. That's interesting. I didn't realise you used it in conjunction with Photoshop, I assumed it was an 'extra' editing programme. Bearing in mind how much I struggle with 'tech stuff' do you recommend any make/model for a beginner?

  9. Wacom make the best range of graphics tablets. The entry level one is a 'Bamboo'. They are not too expensive, I've never used one so I can't say how good they actually are.

  10. Thanks Mike. Its on the list of things to buy/study in 2014 :-)

  11. Sue, I have to agree with all Mike said. I got a new Wacom Intuos Pro (the Bamboo are now called plain Intuos)as an early Christmas gift in November. I got my first Intuos tablet back in the early 2000's and now would hate to be without one! They're an input device (like a mouse) but use a pen-like stylus which makes it so easy and more intuitive to work with PS or other graphics software as well as navigate the web or the rest of your computer. You would love one and they're easy enough for any techno-phobe - if you can operate a mouse and a pencil, then you can use a tablet! It also helps prevent carpal tunnel and other maladies caused by gripping a regular mouse.

    Oh, and the Wacom tablets seem to last forever. I know my old tablet was over 10 years old but still worked just fine. I just wanted a wireless one and my granddaughter was thrilled to get my old one.

    Check them out at

  12. Sue I can so relate - I also bought PSE12 and found myself totally at sea. I'm trying the course for it at this link
    One month is $25 and I figure I'll devote January to learning the software - other than the occasional free video this is the most reasonable thing I've found. I'm also looking to combine animals from different photos and to change backgrounds in photos for my drawing. I'll let you know how it goes.

  13. I seem to have lost my post. I'm in the same boat - bought PSE12 to edit photos for drawings and found it incomprehensible. I'm going to try the tutorials at the link below. $25 for one month and I'll devote January to learning the software. I figure this is the least expensive option out there other than a haphazard series of videos for free. Good luck!

  14. Thank you Mike and Jan. Turns out David (hubby) has a very basic Medion tablet hidden away in his 'office' ... and if you could see his 'office' you'd know what I mean by 'hidden away' - he isn't a tidy man LOL He has never used it but has was persuaded to try it this afternoon. So far so good - he agrees its a tremendous help so maybe after our Indian trip we'll be investing in one.

  15. Hi Sandra.
    Sorry, I turned our garden lights on tonight and tripped the whole circuit indoors so maybe your post was lost then ...

    Yes I'd love to know what you think of Simonsezit. I followed your link and looked at the 'free' bits, but they are exactly what you can pick up on the internet anyway. I quite like the Rick Peterson videos I found on Youtube. He explains things in a very simplistic way - though I did find a couple of his tutorials mentioned functions which we don't have on Elements 12. You might like to Google him and see what you think.

  16. I have problems with photoshop technology too and when I ask my son who incidentally works in the industry about something his first reaction is to snatch the computer from me press a few buttons and say you wouldn't understand all that and for something simpler he will say Mu-um (exasperated voice!!)I told you how to do that 3 months ago!!! So online tutorials for me too. I could do with being able to complete the artwork for business cards, posters, greetings cards etc prior to getting them printed then I can do them in my time not his!! Might have to make it a New Year's resolution to get to grips with it!!

  17. Hi again Sandra. I've just found some Simonsezit tutorials on Youtube and I agree they're very good. Just watched 'How to use Layers' Part 1 - 3 and going to carry on with the rest later. He explains things very well - just need to test how much has sunk in so far.

    If you haven't already 'paid up' try looking at this link which is the first session. At the end there's a link to lesson 2 etc. You might find that's enough to get you going without signing up for the whole package

  18. Haha Judith!
    I get the same reaction from my Grand-daughter (aged 3) who knows how to operate her mum's iPad etc .. and I haven't a clue
    Happy New Year to you and good luck with the tutorials in 2014

  19. Oh wow, you really had fun , didn't you ! :-)) Amazing what can be done ....if you know how to . Wish you a wonderful 2014 ! xx

  20. Hi Sue - yes I had looked at the free ones and that was what decided me - the first chapter is free but I want to learn the more advanced stuff - it's my New Years resolution - and how I will be spending free time in January. Thanks for the lead though

  21. Sandra its possible to get Elements 10 free of charge. 61 lectures, 17 chapters. I'm working my way through it at the moment. I know there are some extra bits in Elements 12 but most of it is unchanged.

    This is what 'Simon' says about it:

    Yes, the course is free and I make no money when take the course. If you're wondering why I'm offering a $77 course for free: it is with the hopes that you will enjoy the course enough to recommend it and my other courses to your friends and colleagues.

    As promised, here is the link to the free course:

    In the next few of days, I will be sending you a downloadable and printable list of keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop Elements.

    I sincerely hope you find that my training courses demonstrate what it is you aspire to learn.



  22. Oooo thanks for the link Sue - I just signed up and will give it a whirl. Ain't the internet great;-)

  23. Sure is :-)

    Hi Jane. Thanks for commenting and I wish you a Wonderful New Year also.

  24. Just wanted to add how annoying it is for me and my Mac to see everything on a PC. Oh well. . .

  25. And a happy New Year to you too!


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