As of late I have been trying to learn Adobe Illustrator along with a video and photo editing software. These are huge programs to try and self teach. One thing I have realized is that they are very similar. What I have been doing wrong is spreading myself across a few different programs thus confusing myself which has slowed me down considerably. These programs have been around for quite sometime but I have never really had the necessity or drive to learn them. I now find myself in the nice position of having plenty of time to learn them.
Here are a few observations that I think are of some importance for someone trying to do the same thing that I am attempting. One is that Photoshop seems to be the gateway to all the other programs. By this I mean that Photoshop will set you up with a good foundation and make you a better video editor or a web page designer. Photoshop is a huge program that is not just a photo editor. You can develop wire frames or whole web pages and even edit some video as well as manipulating your stills. You can mess with text and even do some drawing all with this one program. Now don’t get me wrong there are better apps for some of those things but if you have to you can get away with just this one app. It has taken me awhile to come to this conclusion. As you are reading this you may say to yourself “A yea duh”! I just did not know. I have been a construction worker for the last 25 some odd years and haven’t had the time to dive very deep into this sort of thing. I didn’t even buy a computer or even use one until 2001. Like I said very late to the game. Another thing is that to make any web page or even to post a good article with great pictures you need Photoshop(PS)! I have looked around and noticed that the pages I like the best and respect the most have been very carefully crafted and I believe Photoshop is a big reason why they look so good. I have also realized that to make a good web page and or site that it all starts way before you even get into your web editor. You have to sit down and get all your files together so you can add them into your wireframe. A huge part of this can be done in PS. Your images and your header or logo even has to be realized and edited before you can apply them. What I have been trying to do is go in without a plan or anything ready and make up a site from nothing. I have been getting my images and designs from around the web. This is the wrong way to go about this. The reason I thought this was the process is because of all these website building businesses that are out there. They are advertising how easy it is to build a site and do not want to let you in on the secret that it takes much more than hitting a few keys and using photos off your phone. Now this can be perfectly fine for a lot of sites and people do not care but if you plan on developing a professional looking page then that is not the way to go. The images and fonts need to be processed and manipulated to look good and blend with the design and feel you are trying to achieve. I have tried those sites and have never come away with something that I was proud of. They all look the same because for the company to make money they can only give you very few options and templates. They all say they have a thousand or more templates but when you really look at them they are all basically the same just a different header or maybe the sidebars in a different spot. Nothing fluid or crisp and different looking. People are going to see your page and be lees than impressed so may not come back. It definitely needs to have some continuity and flow about it. The only way to achieve that is to do it yourself or have a pro designer which costs a lot more money than I have. I am using WordPress.com now but when I get savvy enough I plan on moving to WP.org. I can have all the freedom I need to manipulate my site to exactly how I envision it and it’s free!
So that brings up my final point and that is that you do not have to lay out a bunch of cash to get this all together. I can have my site on WP for 13 bucks a year and post videos on You Tube for free with a link to them so I don’t need a bunch bandwidth or space. My domain name is only 10 bucks a year so after I learn how to get this together it will be very cheap to sustain. I have a cheap still and video camera that are allowing me to capture high quality images and my computer is a middle of the road one as well. It’s not the fastest one out there but it isn’t a netbook either. So I am going about this as cheaply as possible and you can to. The digital age is an awesome thing. Like I said I am late to the game and things are changing at break neck speed so hopefully I can learn fast enough to become relevant as a web designer. Wish me luck!