With global collaboration and a flat world in mind, this group of Adobe Education Leaders (primary through post secondary education) is sharing their expertise and thoughts on the use of technology in the school classroom and at districts and college/university campuses around the world.
With the release of Photoshop CC as part of the Creative Cloud, Adobe has also updated the LevelUp for Photoshop extension with a ton of enhancements which focus on new Photoshop CC features!
LevelUp for Photoshop is a game of missions — and points and rewards — that guide you along the way of learning basic Adobe® Photoshop® CC software skills. If you are a photographer and are just starting to use Photoshop, this is the game for you.
This extension for Photoshop has been very popular with educators and educational institutions across k-12 and higher education for use in teaching and learning some of the core concepts around using the application. It’s a great way to get familiar with the product and teach others through an integrated learning experience.
New in LevelUp for Photoshop CC:
An additional level to attain – Level 4
A new set of Quiz questions
4 new PhotoShop CC inspired Missions (below)
It was a truly interesting experience working on enhancing this project with Adobe and it really is a unique resource for educators – I encourage anyone learning Photoshop CC to check it out!
I was privileged enough to be able to attend Photoshop World in Orlando Florida on April 16th – 19th 2013. It is worth some time to reflect on my experience to provide insight to others who may be trying to decide about the conference. I am approaching the review trying to be as neutral as possible. I am a beginning level photographer but a very avid user of Photoshop for Graphics design. I attended the conference to be able to learn about photography from individuals who understand photographs on a professional level.
Summary Photoshop World 7 of out 10
It was a good conference for a teacher but probably not a repeat because it is highly focused on individuals who already understand photography. As a teacher new to photography I was a little out of my element and didn’t know too many people. The information was relevant and will be used but in the end it just wasn’t quite right for a teacher. If you are a photographer by trade however it is a must go and it happens twice a year. The conference was well organized and easy to navigate once I found the right concourse at the convention center. I could not be happier with the staff and trainers they were pros in every aspect!
April 16th – Pre-conference Photo Safari with Moose Peterson: 8 out of 10
I chose this pre-conference initially because it was some time in the actual field taking pictures. Moose was the right person for this situation. He had many connections to Fantasy of Flight which was great! All the planes were pulled out of the hangar for us and setup on the grass. The sky was cloudy, the temperature was great, and he even had re-enactors come in to pose. There was help available from his two son’s who were very knowledgeable. Also Frank Doorhof came with us and provided some additional knowledge. The group of photographers was small and very friendly. The expertise was very high, all were helpful and the weather was great. I felt like it may have been a little long as we were there from 1:30-6:30 maybe about 1 hour less would have been perfect. We were all pretty wiped out by the heat which contributed to our anxiety to return. Make sure you have water and a couple snacks. In the end I would rate this as a 8 out of 10. Make it just a bit shorter, add some onsite shade/water (Or come prepared) and just a little more time in a classroom talking about the camera.
We could not have asked for better weather!
Opening Session April 17th: 6 out of 10
I’ve attended many opening sessions in my life, this one was not a bad session but it was not riveting. It started with a video they made at the NAPP headquarters and the used the Top Gun Theme. It was a good way to introduce the teachers of the sessions and see their personalities. Adobe’s Julianna Kost shared some sneak peaks into Photoshop and they gave out some awards to some very deserving people. The major down fall of the session is that it didn’t get me feeling super excited about the days ahead. For this the session earned a 6 out of 10.
Work Shops April 17th-19 7 out of 10
The workshops I went to were good for the most part. I attended one with Terry White about his Lightroom workflow and I was completely stunned at how amazing it was. By far the best session I have ever attended at any conference. Without fail I learned at every session I attended without putting forth very much effort. The speakers were the pros and it was obvious from the beginning of the session. I bought a speed pass which turned out to be the best purchase I made fro the conference. It allowed for seating in the first two rows that had tables not only chairs. I was able to put my laptop on the desk and follow along but there was no power so charge up! I was pretty disappointed that there were no computer labs to do training in. The tracks the offered were good: Lightroom, Graphic Design, Business, General Photoshop, Lighting, Photoshop for Photographers, and Photography Technique. I also liked that they had a workbook that had notes and instruction from most of the presenters. The work book is about 500 pages in length and a little heavy. Many people carried them around for the conference but Mine stayed in the hotel. All in all the conference workshops were good workshops, they were focused on a specific topic and didn’t deviate too far from it, you were given what you were told.
Photoshop After Hours Party BB King’s April 17th 6 out of 10
I give this one a six instead of my original five only because Scott Kelby has some mad skills on the piano and Guitar. The after hours party tickets were $70 and provided a very prominent exclusive area in Orlando as well as a nice buffet. They had a band playing comprised mainly of Scott Kelby’s family which was extremely talented. I think had it not been my first time and I felt a little more comfortable it could have scored a 7.
Expo April 17-19 5 out of 10
I was expecting a little larger Expo having attended Adobe MAX, ISTE, and TCEA. The key players were there; Adobe, Manfroto, Cannon, Epson…. I was kind of surprised that the conference didn’t have workshops going on during the Expo hours. I’m sure that was an effort to make sure the attendees went to the Expo. There were all kinds of trainings in the Expo but it was just a different setting from the workshops. I was expecting to see some pretty cheap pricing but short of the Cannon 60D being sold for $650 ($700 online) I didn’t see too much that kept my interest. I spent 3 hours of the first day in the hall and that was about it.
Midnight Madness Thursday 18th 7 out of 10
Midnight Madness was fun because everyone was just having fun. The hosts were relaxed and there was no expectations for the time we were spending together. There were games and my favorite part “Things to do in Photoshop to people you don’t like” There was some cool stuff shared and then there were doughnuts for everyone. They had an on the spot photo challenge where teams had only 5 min to get a perfect shot. I ranked this one a 7 because it was fun and a chance to relax.
As a final recap I’m glad I went. I had a chance to have some actual face time with the pro’s and it was good. I learned how my camera works and I think I can get a pretty good shot now.
This is inspirational. Watch developer Jesse Warden build out a game in 12 hours using Flash Professional, Audition, Fireworks, Photoshop, and Sublime Text. He is using the Corona SDK for development targeting mobile.
It’s great to see that the Creative Suite workflow is applicable even when targeting something non-Adobe like Corona! The big take-away though is what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’ve learned much from short game jams and such – students can gain lots of experience across applications doing the same. Game development is a great way to teach workflow and get students familiar with the tools and platforms.
I built a Memory game (like Simon Says) in Corona SDK in 12 hours over Memorial Day weekend, recorded it, and compressed it to 7 minutes here. I used Adobe Flash, Fireworks, and Photoshop to do the artwork, Audition to do the audio, and Sublime Text 2 to code the Lua in with Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK. I use Tower to check the code into Github.
If you want to get involved immediately – join the One Game A Month initiative! You don’t have to make anything complex… just hone your skills by building simple concept games. That’s what I’m doing. I know there are a few other AELs who have joined #1GAM / #OneGameAMonth as well – be heard in the comments and tell everyone how useful an effort like this is!
Over the US holiday weekend, I participated in the Charity Game Jam organized by Christer Kaitila, author of Adobe Flash 11 Stage3D (Molehill) Game Programming Beginner’s Guide and The Game Jam Survival Guide (for which I was able to serve as technical reviewer). The idea was to make a game inspired by the technical limitations of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). This means 256×224 pixels and 64 colors… though the pixel resolution was doubled and any constraints were made optional. The charity bit comes in where anyone participating would donate to either Make-A-Wish – which performs tangible acts of kindness for children who are suffering with terminal illness, or Kiva – which I’m still unsure exactly how they operate… I went with Make-A-Wish!
As expressed in the recent Adobe education article, Better Learning Through Game Design [alternate version], gaming and the skills involved in the creation of games are important to education. With the current focus on gaming for engineering behind the Flash runtimes, gaming is very important for Adobe. Take these two factors together and gaming is very, very important for the Adobe education team. As an Adobe Education Leader and lover of all things Flash: it is my absolute duty to dive into this stuff head first
The game I created was built using the Citrus game engine targeting Flash runtimes (Flash player/AIR). If you haven’t heard of Citrus before, it is a GPU-accelerated gaming engine (strongly directed at platforming) which sits atop your choice of view renderers, physics engines, and so forth. I chose to use Citrus + Starling + Box2D for my game. The engine is being actively contributed to, is free to use, and holds great promise for integration with tooling in the future.
I started off using Flash Professional and the Starling Sprite Sheet exporter for texture atlases – but considering the amount of time it would take to properly animate my characters, decided to use single-frame sprites instead. For this I fell back to Photoshop. Most of my assets included screens, overlays, characters and objects, plus one huge background image. Something super-cool about using a big background image like this is that it made it pretty simple to figure out platform and object placement through the Info panel.
In the figure above, you can see that I am using the Move Tool and hovering over various parts of my image (game stage) to determine coordinates using the Info panel. Cool, right? I chose to not even bother with some of the tooling integration with Flash Professional that exists and just go straight code using Flash Builder 4.7 beta – so this was a tremendous help!
What I got out of it
I got to pick up and learn another great gaming framework! For the previous game jam, I went with Flixel and the traditional display list. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at something that utilized Stage3D and after a few conversations with Tom Krcha about Citrus, thought that it would be the logical choice. Funnily enough, I wasn’t going to even participate in this game jam but since I planned to look at Citrus over the weekend, and it sounded like a really good cause, I decided to throw my hat in. After all, despite admonishments to the contrary – I’ve found game jams to be great opportunities for picking up new stuff and just diving right in. A warning though: that is the sort of learner I am… so it works for me. I can see how this approach could be disastrous for some people; so “know thyself”, kids.
What went well
Citrus was great to use. It has all sorts of base classes all ready to go for players, enemys, pickups, physics objects, sensors, platforms, et cetera. They are all easily skinnable and can be extended to override functionality and behavior. Similar to Flixel and other engines, Citrus has the concept of states which I employed to wire up the various game screens. The API documentation is great and there is a very active user support forum as well. The ability to use a variety of 2D and 3D render views along with swappable physics engines is such a great model. This could very well be my go-to engine for any future game work!
The game concept came together pretty easily this time as well. Friday evening I was able to get the basics of an unskinned platformer together. Overnight, I got the idea for what it became – basically a fetch quest for an infant who just won’t go to sleep. Parents of young children – we all share this nightmare together… now we can relive these early memories over and over and over and over… lovely, right?
In case you are wondering, the title and intentional misspellings originate with this meme.
What went wrong
Almost nothing! The entire thing went really quite smooth until the very end. As I mentioned before, I was using Flash Builder 4.7 beta for all of my development. Everything worked awesome when testing inside of the dev environment… but when I completed the game and began to prepare everything for publication… I encountered my one major issue.
Performing a release build rendered a .swf which CRASHED HARD. Absolutely unplayable… no amount of debugging or profiling seemed to create any suspicions either. Google searches… commenting out entire portions of code… no solution whatsoever. Until I thought to myself: “Joseph, you are using a beta version of the new ActionScript Comipiler 2.0 to perform a release build.” Establishing the project within Flash Builder 4.6 and performing a release build created a perfectly functioning .swf file. Thank goodness!
Only other issue is that when people approach the game for the first time, they don’t know how to play. I should have placed some quick instructions in-game. For reference; SPACEBAR = jump, L/R ARROW to move.
Happy I was able to participate. Christer is badass. Goal was set at $250 and we hit over $1500!!! Love the game I made. Love Citrus. Please play the game, learn from the source code, and share it with your friends
Adobe tooling and runtimes make this all possible!
I’ve just spent a few days taking Photoshop Touch for a serious run. Touch is only recently available for IOS users, a long wait, but a worthwhile one. Obviously Adobe have done their homework. Photoshop Touch performs well beyond what one would normally expect from an image editing app designed for tablet use. My only wish list (not really connected to reality) for Touch is a modest increase in the output file size and the addition of some functionality that mimics ‘add structure’ as opposed to ‘sharpening’.
I found being able to work with most of the layering capability of Photoshop a real pleasure, not because it replaces what I would normally do in my editing workflow but because I can work on ideas in ‘abstentia’ and make editing decisions on the go, then refine and finalise them for either printing or uploading to web galleries at a later point. The ‘scribble tool’ is a stroke of genius and the ability to refine the selection without stepping out of the tools functionality makes working with selections a real pleasure. Last but not least (amongst a host of features) is the ability to add and edit a layer directly from the camera. This means that I can paint directly into an image with a light source; combine that with the ability to paint that into a selection and blend via ‘layer modes’ and one might be able to do some light painting aka Peter Solness without having to step out into the bush in total darkness armed with only a torch. Aggh…. at least I can dream
I did some comparison tests converting a colour image to black and white using Touch and Nik’s SilverEffex Pro 2 plugin for Photoshop. Photoshop Touch performed admirably. You can read the post and see the images here
Thought I’d throw a link to the HSC Visual Art submissions of our Yr12 students (aged 17-18) here at Wyndham College, Australia. Sixty four students submitted works for assessment with the Board of Studies along with over 9,000 other Visual Art students across the state. Four were subsequently selected for the states prestigious ArtExpress exhibition. Over 80% of our students submit works that are developed and refined using either Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Premiere or a combination of these. Other media areas in this years group include painting, drawing, print and mixed media.
This image (part of a series of seven) created using Adobe Illustrator.
One of my favourite features in the current version of Lightroom is the ability to apply automatically detected lens profiles to make corrections to images. After years of manually correcting barrel distortion in Photoshop, I can now make these corrections with one click. An incredible time saver for myself and my students.
Each year our photography students produce a photo book using Blurb Books as part of their final year portfolio. The workflow between Lightroom and Blurb’s desktop software is now tighter than ever. Some while ago, Blurb released a plugin for Lightroom that allows you export directly to your book template from within Lightroom. You can also re-edit your images directly from Lightroom and see the updated changes in your Blurb template. Added to this you can customise your layout, change your image order, edit text, and make two-page photo spreads from inside Lightroom. For our students this makes Lightroom the ideal companion for their book projects. Combining this with soft proofing using Blurb’s ICC profile in Photoshop, (whilst a round trip out of the workflow) can yield good results on calibrated monitors.
Time flies when you are having fun. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring and what students and teachers will be able to do 20 years from now.
See the full time line of Adobe Photoshop’s 20 year history.
I remember the first time I saw Photoshop. I think it must have been about 1993 or so, when I got a free copy that came with a scanner purchased by my school. It must have been a “lite” version of Photoshop because I seem to recall that it didn’t support layers. Even so, I really enjoyed playing with it, and I ended up installing it on all the computers in the school computer lab (license? what license?) and I started teaching the kids how to create stuff with it. They just blew me away with what they could do with it, even without layers!
It was around the same time that I stumbled across an unused copy of Aldus Pagemaker in an out-of-the-way cupboard, and I convinced the school principal that we should use it to do the school yearbook; his agreement to my suggestion saw me suddenly escalated to head of the yearbook committee, a job that rolled on for many years and many issues beyond that. Of course, once you start working in Pagemaker (and now InDesign) there is a fairly fundamental expectation that Photoshop is a key part of that workflow.
From these accidental beginnings, I developed a long standing relationship with Photoshop. In the late 90s I was working with students to build collaborative websites, and of course all the graphics were done with Photoshop. We discovered all sorts of interesting features like batch processing, we learned to do decent colour corrections, to crop and manipulate images so that they fitted our needs. We discovered, often the hard way, about important concepts like pixel depth, image resolution, colour gamut, and of course the one that catches every self-taught Photoshop user out at some stage, RGB vs CMYK. We made images for the web and for print, we built graphics from scratch and we did weird things to existing photos. I’m just a teacher, not a graphic designer, but I’ve lost track of the hours and hours and hours I’ve spent inside Photoshop over the last 15+ years.
And here’s the thing about Photoshop. Heck, here’s the thing about pretty much all of Adobe’s products… the more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. Every time I learn some new technique or skill, the self-satisfied smug feeling of cleverness lasts about five seconds before I realise that there is just so much more I could know about it, that I could do with it. Whenever I taught kids a unit of work on Photoshop I used to conclude it with an in-class practical test, where I’d give them some images and a problem to solve – it might be to produce some CD cover artwork or a magazine cover, usually with a few constraints or requirements to make them have to think about it a little – and they’d just astound me at what they’d come up with. “Creative Suite” is a good name for these products, because they really do force you into creativity mode. Most of the time after one of these class tests, I’d spend the next few lessons getting the kids to deconstruct what they’d done, to teach me how they got certain effects. In my Photoshop classes I may have been the teacher, but we were all learners.
When I was offered a place in the Adobe Education Leaders program, I was thrilled to be part of it, and felt relatively well qualified to be part of it given that I’d spent over 15 years teaching Photoshop, Indesign, Dreamweaver and Flash to students. Of course, mixing with other AELs and seeing the fantastic things they do is a great way to reinforce just how little I do actually know, but it’s still been an incredibly valuable association for me.
I got thinking about this lately because I’ve been checking out the tutorials on the newly redesigned Adobe TV. It’s an awesome resource, with every application now having a Learn series, a set of basic tutorials that teach the essential skills required to get up to speed quickly… I wish this had been around when i started playing with Photoshop! As well as the Learn tutorials, there are a bunch of more advanced tutorials that delve into some of the trickier and more esoteric concepts.
And Adobe TV is not the only resource I turn to when I want to know more. There seems to be plenty of other places to learn the how-to stuff for Adobe’s products. Some of my favourites are the Layers TV podcast with Corey Barker and RC, the Creative Suite Podcast with Terry White, Creative Sweet TV with Mike McHugh, Instant Indesign with Gabriel Powell, The Russell Brown Show… the list goes on. I subscribe to all of these through iTunes and they just drop onto my iPhone for later watching. It’s a great way to learn. I’m sure there are many other fantastic resources for learning this stuff… perhaps you could leave a note in the comments about some of the resources you have found useful for learning.
Finally, I just wanted to mention a book I bought recently about Photoshop that is quite simply one of the most amazing Photoshop guides I’ve ever seen. It’s simply called Creative Photoshop CS4 by Derek Lea, and I’m just stunned at how incredible this guy is when it comes to Photoshop. I’ve been working my way through some of his exercises and have been discovering something new on almost every page. When you can use a product for over 15 years, and still constantly discover new things, it says a lot about the depth of the product and the open-ended nature of what it lets you do with it.
I realise more than ever that there is so much I don’t know about Photoshop (and most of the other Adobe products!) But I love that feeling of learning, of discovering, of digging deeper and just discovering that there really is no “bottom” to hit. Image Attribution: ’04.28.09 [#118] Feet Week – On the+Backs+of+Others’