Review: Skillshare Basics of Photoshop

Skillshare Photoshop Review

I purchased the Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners ecourse over at Skillshare so I could start learning how to use the program and help with my blog redesign.  I paid for the course myself and was not compensated for my opinions.

Background

I’ve been procrastinating about learning Photoshop for a long time.  I still use Microsoft Word to lay out and print my photos and to design things like this Project Life-style card.

I purchased the Blog Design Love 2.0 course, which assumes students can do basic image editing.  I wanted to get the most out of that course so it was time to learn Photoshop.

I tried Skillshare because of the emphasis on creative classes.  It felt like the content was geared to me.  You can pay a monthly fee and have unlimited access to a library of courses (but not all of them, check to make sure) or pay a one-time fee per course.  This was my first Skillshare course, so I paid for it individually.

This fundamentals course is taught by Meg Lewis and is for Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements.  There are fifteen videos broken up into five units.

The Pros

At first, it didn’t seem like the course covered a huge amount of content.  But wow, I’m really impressed at how much I can use Photoshop now!  It feels like this.  I designed my header image for this blog and the social media buttons.

One of my biggest problems with Photoshop is not knowing what any of the buttons do and not knowing how to do what should be something really simple (such as resizing a photo).  This course was great.  It started off with the very basics including how layers work and keystrokes to make things easy.

My favorite thing I learned was how to draw a shape and then insert a photo to fit that shape.  It’s how I made my circular profile photo in the sidebar.  I even took it a step further and learned how to insert photos into text!  Learn how here.

Scrapbook Letters by Natalie Parker

I made that!  Look forward to some gratuitous pictures-inside-shapes because I’m going to reuse this skill until it goes out of style.

The Cons

Just a couple of small annoyances.  All the keystrokes covered in the course are for a Mac.  I was able to figure out the PC equivalent (it’s usually Alt or Control) but it would have been nice for the instructor to cover both.

The resolution for the videos wasn’t that great.  It was hard to see what she was doing unless I went full screen.  It was hard to follow along that way because I had to constantly pause, minimize the video, and then go into Photoshop and practice what she just covered.  If the resolution was better, I could have had the video and Photoshop open on the same screen.

Summary

I really liked the course and was surprised at how much I learned.  If you have no idea where to start with Photoshop, I recommend it.  I’m planning on taking Meg’s other Fundamentals of Photoshop courses to learn more.

There are a bunch more courses I want to take at Skillshare generally, like how to hand letter.  I haven’t purchased a membership yet, mostly because I don’t know when I will have time to start them and don’t want my membership to end up like a Netflix DVD subscription.  Have you tried Skillshare courses?  Let me know in the comments!

Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners at Skillshare, $29 or by monthly subscription

Skillshare Review by Natalie Parker

Review: Blog Design Love 2.0

Blog Design Love Review by Natalie Parker

I used the Blog Design Love 2.0 ecourse to help with my blog revamp.  Below is a summary of my experience with it.  I paid for the course myself and I was not compensated for my opinions.  This course covers the Typepad, Blogger, and WordPress.com platforms.

Background

I’d been eagerly awaiting the launch of this course.  I’ve wanted to redesign my blog for at least a year but never found the time.  The course was a great impetus for me to get going!

I do know some HTML and CSS but you don’t need to know any to take the course.  You do need to know how to do some basic image editing.  I took a beginning Photoshop course at Skillshare before starting this course and will post about that in a separate review.

What I Liked

The course has a ton of content in it and is a great roadmap if you want to totally revamp your blog from concept to design.  I liked how the lessons were divided up.  I really liked having all the tasks in front of me and I used them as a checklist and got things done.

Even though I know how to code, Elise explained everything very clearly.  If you don’t have coding experience, you should be fine.  There were a few things in the course I never would have thought to do or didn’t know how to do.  I had a couple “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

There are some things in the course that I’m surprised were included, such as how to sell stuff on your site or create an affiliate network.  I mean surprised in a good way though and I’m glad I have access to this material if I want to sell anything.

Things to Consider

If you are a WordPress.com user, some of the design parts of the course won’t be customizable for you unless you purchase the WordPress $30 Custom Design add-on (such as picking custom fonts or coding your navigation bar).  I ended up purchasing the add-on so I could get it to look how I wanted.  Even with the add-on, you cannot edit a theme’s HTML so you have to make sure the basic bones are where you want them, such as where the navigation bar is located.

Some of the things you see here on my site I coded myself and did not use the course (the way I designed my buttons, for example).  If you’d like to learn more about coding, you can take this free online course which is how I learned.

Summary

This course was a great jumping off point for me and I’m glad I bought it.  Even though I knew how to do some of the stuff already, it was a great way to organize my thoughts and get going.  There is a ton of content and I definitely learned things!  If you’ve been wanting to redesign your blog, I recommend it.

Blog Design Love 2.0 ecourse at A Beautiful Mess, $45

Blog Design Love Review by Natalie Parker

My New Blog Design

Hi, my name is . . .  new blog design.  If you are visiting from yonder lands such as blog readers or email, click over to my homepage to check it out.

I’m not finished yet, but I’m launching anyway.  If I waited until everything was perfect, I’m sure life would get in the way.  I’ll keep you updated as new things are added — I have some really exciting plans to showcase content and make finding things much easier.

Organized Categories

Check out the new category list on the right sidebar (click through to the homepage to see it).  I rejiggered the categories and recategorized all 400+ posts.

How this was Designed

All I’ve ever wanted was a very simple clean blog design and I’m really happy that it’s here!  I used the Blog Design Love 2.0 course as an impetus and jumping off point, but coded many of the things you see here myself.  I’ll be writing up a review of the course and my thoughts on coding very soon.

Plans for Future Content

My tagline at the top now incorporates travel.  Incidentally, writing a tagline is hard if you want something other than “I write about stuff.”

This is still primarily going to be a memory keeping and crafty blog.  However, I want my writing to be a creative outlet in and of itself rather than simply writing about a creative outlet.  I enjoy writing the travel posts.  When I enjoy the writing, the writing is better.

Travel has become a big part of my life since I started blogging.  Back then, I had just left the country for the first time.  I’ve spent a lot of time searching for other people’s insights en route to becoming a world traveler so I will pay it forward.

New bloggers are always admonished: “stick to your niche!!”  Just like I scrapbook the way I want to, I’m going to break the rules a bit and inch outside my niche.  You’ll see me adding a couple more personal things, especially if you follow me on social media.  This is not a personal blog, but I haven’t sorted out exactly what the future is.  It will continue to evolve.

If you have comments or there is something you’d like to see more of, I’m all ears!  Or eyes, rather, given that this is on a screen.

Away we go!