I’ve undertaken 2 new challenges recently in learning how to use Photoshop and speaking German. I knew it was going to take some time to get proficient and my readers might find it interesting how long it takes to learn. It makes for an informative post because it essentially applies to any new thing that you are trying educate yourself to. I’ve been at it for 6 weeks now.

Learning Photoshop
Week 1 – Learning what the buttons do. I viewed the most basic youtube videos and learned how to select objects, use the brush, erase, add text, and other basic steps. At this stage everything is difficult to use and messages pop up galore about not being able to move the background, wondering why you are erasing the picture and not the one behind it, and enjoying the different blends, filters and adjustments features that you have no idea what they do.

Week 2-4 – You get the hang of how the program works and start learning some various hot keys which make life easier. There are so many ctrl-alt-shift variants that it’s overwhelming. I continuously watched youtube videos on people adding effects, text, and making changes to pictures to improve them. This helps immensely as it starts to build your understanding of the program. Even though it’s impossible to remember everything that you view, you begin to watch videos and learn, rather than repeat.

Week 5-6 – I’ve begun watching more complex videos and if something takes the instructor 10 minutes and he isn’t pausing, it would take me half and hour to follow along. With layer masks, filters, blending options, and all the other variables, it’s hard to keep up. You could click on something instead of ctrl clicking and everything will snowball from there. I have a relatively decent understanding of the functions but still not proficient in designing work myself. I would be unable start from scratch and design anything that looks professional but can select items cleanly, content aware fill, and join images. I still get very confused with masks and when to add new layers.

So far it’s been fairly rewarding although I’ve begun to get frustrated with my limited skills. I can make interesting photos when I follow along a tutorial, but on my own wouldn’t amount to much.

Learning German
Learning a foreign language has never been something I’ve had much interest in. I took 3 years of French and had a basic understanding but never pursued it past that. Without any reason to use it, it goes away. With this upcoming trip to Germany and Austria, I don’t want to sound like a complete tourist and find it necessary to at least learn the basics within a 3 month span. Here is my progress over 6 weeks.

First of all, I hate learning it. I can’t sit there for more than 20 minutes at a time which makes progress extremely slow. I’ve watched youtube clips and have a dictionary of verbs, adjectives, and phrases but I forget words as quickly as I read them. Even learning that I is ich has been hard. Then you start throwing in all the verbs and how they alter with you, him, her and all the rest. All I can say is that I’m going to have to spend more time on German and less on Photoshop. Fortunately I have about 2+ more months of practice and will hopefully make some faster strides after the initial understanding of German. Schmerz im Arsch.