Since returning from Finland in 2013, I have gained my Master's in Online and Distance Education and have transitioned from teaching, via adult learning and management, into eLearning design.
Although I mostly design online training materials for government agencies, I still have a keen interest in all forms of educational technology and love learning new skills.
A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a year of Adobe Creative Cloud. I'd been looking at it for a while, as a professional development activity, but the price had put me off. Then a special offer came along, which made it a wee bit more affordable, so I splashed out!
It comes with more than twenty apps, which is more than I can process in one go, so I decided I would start with Photoshop and Illustrator. I watched dozens of the online video tutorials, which were a great introduction to Photoshop. I haven't really touched Illustrator yet, though I will be doing. What I have discovered, which I really like, is Lightroom.
Lightroom stood out because, as well as the app, there is a web version of it, so I can use it wherever I happen to be. It will take a while of playing with the different sliders to know what works best, but it certainly helps solve one of my main photography problems.
I have a black dog. Black dogs are a pain in the backside to get good photos of. To make it worse, my sister brought her new puppy round yesterday and he is light coloured. So I was trying to photograph two contrasting coloured dogs in bright sunlight, neither of which was ready to stand still!
The original photo
The main problems with this photo are:
Liggy is just a black mass, with no detail
Buddy is also rather dark (he's not in real life though)
The whole photo looks a little dull.
The first thing I do is click the 'auto' button. This does some automatic adjustments, which are sometimes quite big, but often rather subtle. In this photo, Liggy (black dog) has been lightened a little, making her face more distinct.
Then I play with the sliders:
There are others, but these are the ones that are making the most difference to my black/light doggy issues.
I prefer this photo now. Liggy is more distinct and less of a black shape. Buddy has a little more colour and doesn't look so dark. He also stands out from Liggy better, I think.
Another advantage of Lightroom is that you can create albums and store all your photos in the Adobe Cloud, which means they are easy to access and edit on the go. Of course, some of this can also be done in Photoshop. There seems to be a fair bit of crossover. And Photoshop does a whole lot more, giving the ability to correct things, delete unwanted items, clean it up a bit, etc.
For everyday photo editing though, I think Lightroom is the most useful app I've seen in ages... and possibly the least well-known.
Quick bit of background explanation for anyone who's here for the first time:
I've recently started working as an e-learning designer and the main software we use is Articulate Storyline. I got started with it back in December and have had to pick it up quite quickly, in order to get rolling with my new job.
I'm pretty confident with most aspects of Storyline now but want to extend my skill set and learn how to do things that aren't necessarily related to my main work. One really good way of doing this is by participating in the weekly Articulate community e-learning challenges. This week was a good one for learning something new - progress bars.
In my last post, I briefly touched on this subject. There are so many jobs where we may find ourselves searching for images online, that we want to include in some piece of work. When I was teaching, and making learning resources for my class, I frequently needed images to bring content to life. Can you imagine teaching children about life in Kenya without showing them any photographs or images of Kenya? Similarly, when preparing a PowerPoint presentation for a business meeting, you might want icons, logos, images or other graphical content. How do we do this in a way that is legal and ethical? Whilst there is a lot of information out there, most of it is not licenced for reuse and if we just help ourselves to it and use it for our own purposes, that is a big no-no!
The Creative Commons (CC) licencing system enables photographers and artists to upload their work and have control over how others can use it. There is a lot of information on their website and it is defini…