Monday, March 9, 2015

Class is over

I've been taking two classes in Photoshop Essentials from Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt, aka the Pixeladies; the second one ended three hours ago (not that I was awake to be there at the bitter end).  This was my first experience in online learning and I absolutely loved it.

There were 12 lessons in each course, generally staged up as four lessons per week.  You could take your time getting around to the lessons if you had to -- for instance, I missed the entire first week because I was out of town -- but you couldn't start the next set of four until Monday morning of the appointed week.  There was a final week with no new lessons, just time for people to complete their work and ask questions.

selecting part of a photo; making a gradient background

The Pixeladies have an excellent interface that you log on to at your convenience.  For each lesson, you start by watching a video of somewhere between 10 and 40 minutes; it shows the Photoshop screen and you see Deb's cursor move around as she explains what she's doing.  You can download a handout, but I almost never consulted mine; I just took notes during the videos.

doctoring a photo: in this case, to see whether I would like these formerly white walls painted charcoal

Then you post your homework for each lesson, and if you have questions, you can post them too.  The genius of the teaching plan is that either Deb or Kris, or usually both, seems to be working at all hours of the day and night; sometimes only a half hour would pass before one of them had looked at your post and responded.  If you couldn't get the program to work as you wanted, you could post a screenshot of what you were looking at so they could find the problem, and they might post a screenshot in return to show you where to click.

testing different filters

Best of all, we'll have six months of access to the website, to review the videos and re-read the posts and questions from everybody in the class (amazing how much you can learn by eavesdropping on other people's frustrations and successes).

fixing your photos: before


The course is geared to quilters, and some of the lessons were specifically aimed at quilting-type issues, such as how to turn a photo into a simplified value-scale posterization that you could use to make templates for piecing or applique, or the pros and cons of different companies that will print your designs onto fabric.  But especially as we got into the more complicated lessons at the end of the course, it was just general knowledge of how the program works.

Friday was Deb's birthday so I used my new skills to make her a card.

I can't recommend this class highly enough.  I plan to sign up for the intermediate-level class that they are hoping to get ready for sometime this summer.  Meanwhile, they're teaching the two beginning classes again in a few months.  Details not available yet, but I'll give you a heads-up as soon as they announce the schedules.  I can't imagine that you would be disappointed in any of their classes.


  1. I so agree with you about the quality of both classes. My only frustration was that I wasn't able to post towards the end because of an intermittent internet connection. I now have plenty of time to finish and to do some eavesdropping of my own.

  2. Following your recommendation and one from another very helpful blogger, I have just signed up for both the Elements classes starting at the beginning of June so I may see you on Elements II in July! I think it will be just what I need.