Even though I have been using Adobe Photoshop since version 4.0 (way back while working at The Minnesota Daily), I have never actually learned how to use the program. Sure, I learned a lot of ways to do certain basic things as passed on by other photographers, including a few people that gave me the Associated Press way of doing it. I never really explored what else the program could do besides color corrections, lightness/shadow enhancement and removing dust spots from an image. After all, I am a journalist, and dammit, we don't do that type of thing (*read that with a over projected voice and a lot of self-righteous indignation- grin).
Anyway - after more than 11 years at this newspaper, and the almost weekly announcements of other newspapers cutting staffs or shuttering their doors (Seattle just announced 200 jobs are on the block; the Albuquerque Tribune ceased publishing and so on) - I have been looking long and hard at what my career options are. Now, because of the issues with technology, heck - even getting electricity - for our readers on the Navajo Nation, I believe that we will be one of the last daily newspapers still publishing in the traditional way. I could certainly choose to sit tight and wait for the collapse. Or, I could look around and see what my options are for diversifying or changing fields entirely.
Whether I decide to leave this newspaper or not, I still have grown a bit stale on my creativity. So I began looking around at what things I am interested in learning. Perhaps a MFA is in my future? In the midst of it all I realized that I have not really explored the potential of this program - CS3 - which is the backbone of my work flow on a daily basis. I found a couple of places that offer online video classes on Photoshop. One was Kelbytraining.com (of Scott Kelby fame - the guy who writes books like Photoshop CS3 for Digital Photographers). I decided to instead sign up for courses from a company/website called Xtrain.
The way the company used to do things was to sell books and DVDs. These are still offered, but their new option is to be an online student. For a monthly fee of $20 or an Annual fee of $179 you can "attend" whichever classes you like. I also got an additional 20% of the annual fee for taking a short survey when I enrolled.
So now for the last few days I have been spending all of my spare time staring at my laptop screen and studying the lessons/videos on Adobe Photoshop CS3. I even went through the basic courses on CS3 and figured out a lot of little details and items that I had never known about or not fully understood.
I recommend taking a trip over to xtrain.com and watching a few of their previews - and they have some free classes/videos as well. Good stuff.