Saturday, 13 June 2015

Pixeladies PSE course 1

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm currently doing the Photoshop Elements 1 course with the Pixeladies. I can't recommend this course highly enough - it is clear, covers all the basic aspects of Photoshop (especially the dreaded layers feature which had always somehow eluded me) and is thoroughly enjoyable.

Before I began the course, I had been using Photoshop for some time but was accessing only a very limited range of the functions - mostly cropping images, adjusting and reversing colour, playing with contrast and occasionally adding special effects.

I think it has been a great help being familiar with the general layout of the programme before I began as I've been able to focus on those things that were new to me. Indeed, there have been many times when I've found much easier ways of doing things. However, for those who are completely new to PSE, everything is very clearly explained and the Pixeladies (Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki) give a lot of help through the forums where you can post questions and examples of your work.

Having discovered how to use brushes with layers in a previous lesson I went a little 'off piste' this morning and played with using the functions to make drawing and painting marks. I had somehow missed the enormous range available. I treated them as I've been treating my own mark making tools and made abstract marks. A small selection of the results is shown here. In each case I've explained the brush function I used for anyone interested in following this up. In almost every case, I applied the function very large as I was interested in seeing what marks would result.

Wet media brushes - watercolour heavily loaded - with eraser lightly applied in the centre.

Thick heavy brushes - smoother round bristle.

Natural brushes - thick pencil - with eraser lightly applied on bottom edge.

Wet media brushes - watercolour heavily loaded - eraser semi-transparent and applied in the centre. 

Special effects brushes - drippy watercolour - eraser semi-transparent gently applied. 

I am very conscious of the very soft focus of most of the marks I've chosen to use today, despite choosing the harder edged brush and pencil marks. The overall effect of this post seems to be rather mesmerising. It leaves me wanting to adjust my glasses! I think I will have to investigate all this further when I have more time. 

Back now to lessons and homework!


  1. This is all so very interesting. I looked at the Pixieladies site but I am using PE 10 and am defeated at the thought of trying to get all my photos into an upgraded 13 version. Is it difficult?? Does one have to re-install all one's earlier photos?? Oh my poor wee brain....
    I do love what you're doing here however and am enjoying following your journey.

    1. Thanks, Marny. It is all most interesting - and excellently put together with plenty of opportunity to ask for more explanation. I really recommend it. I now understand LAYERS!
      You certainly need PSE11 or 12 (I'm working on PSE12 with no problems so far) but PSE 10 won't do it I'm afraid. I don't know what happens to the photos you already have in your PSE 10 when you upgrade. I had a measly PSE3 and my old PC died a terrible death so I had no choice but to start again from scratch. For a very modest fee, our friendly computer expert set everything up for me,including moving across all my photos.
      I'm sure if you went onto the Adobe website it would tell you (somewhere). Let me know how you get on.

    2. Hi Marny, I stopped by to see Margaret's brush work, but saw your comment. No you don't have to do anything to you photos to use Photoshop Elements 13. I have multiple versions of PSE on my computer at the same. time. You can email us, if you want more information on how this works.
      Okay back to the brushwork. Awesome, Margaret. They are very mesmerizing. I especially like the last one. The transparency is great.

    3. Hi Deb. Thank you very much for both your comments - and especially for your most helpful comment about converting to PSE13. I know that Marny will appreciate your taking the trouble and will make sure she knows of your answer by posting a comment on her blog.

    4. Thanks Margaret and Deb. Question sent to Pixieladies and prompt reply received. Gosh, this online world is great!! Thanks again. Onward....

    5. Sorry to take so long to reply,Marny. You can imagine what I've been doing!
      I really hope you are able to do this course. I've now almost finished the 12 lessons for the first course and will be starting the second at the beginning of July. As you say ... Onward ...!


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