Things I’ve Learned #2

Howdy. Good Tuesday evening to you. Yes, I realize that there was no Monochrome Monday yesterday. It was 90% intentional what with my having had such a ridiculous week putting up with myself (long story), but it was also 10% unintentional since I spent the majority of my day at work running about campus doing, well, work. Never fear, though. MM will be back next week (unless something tragic happens…like the internet ceasing to exist or something). Until then, I have this here post to say I’m sorry for leaving you all hanging yesterday:

So back in June 2011, I had come up with this idea for a segment called Things I’ve Learned (and then life happened and I got sidetracked by other things). The point was to showcase the many things I was teaching myself about photography, namely that of editing photos. I am, after all, a self-taught Photoshop user, and because of this, I know a lot of completely random things that are, ultimately, completely useless (somewhere in the world, real photographers and graphic designers are crying). But I think it is safe to say that I don’t use Photoshop in the way that most people/professionals do (you know, to remove blemishes and airbrush stuff and make people look too good to be true), nor do I want to use Photoshop in that way. Instead, I prefer to find tutorials that teach me how to do completely random and useless things like the following:

Things I’ve Learned #2: Super Cool Watercolor Effect (Part 2)

Like I said, completely random, completely useless, but completely COOL! What is this? A valid question indeed. It is abstract. It is colorful. It is my amateur ability to turn a regular digital photo into what, with a bit more practice, looks like a watercolor painting (or something more complicated that I can’t quite seem to explain). Now clearly, the first time is not the charm. In all honesty, this was actually attempt number 5 with the second picture I decided to use. And even then, I was still just getting my feet wet and trying to figure out the layers and brushes and textures. But, as I have begun to figure out about myself as of late (and much to the joy of my surrogate mother), I’m not a quitter. I don’t give up. Not even when working in Photoshop.

So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Third picture total, 6th or 7th time rereading the tutorial and putting it into action. If anything, I was more intrigued by the fact that I was starting to understand what was being done rather than worrying about if it was perfect (and that’s saying a lot considering how much of a perfectionist I am). I think the fact that I could swipe my brush tool over the canvas and see the results was fascinating to me. Forget perfection. Sheer entertainment trumped that.

But out of my persistence was born something oddly incredible.

Oh, that picture. That’s me. If you notice, it’s the watercolor version of my Gravatar that can be seen in the sidebar. It’s funny because this picture of me was actually featured in the first Things I’ve Learned post from last June. And since I decided to play with watercolor effects again, why not revisit an old technique? This here little amateur masterpiece is not what I ever expected to produce. It’s not perfect, but it’s cool looking (I mean, it was cool looking before I even put the extra watercolor behind it). In theatre way back in high school (man I’m old), my “mom” would always tell us that we shouldn’t do things just because they look cool. Everything that we do should serve a purpose. For instance, it may be totally awesome to have a disco ball onstage casting sparkly rainbow lights everywhere, but if your play is set in Nazi Germany and Hitler is coming after you, then the disco ball, despite how cool it may look, just doesn’t need to be there.

Though I agree with that sentiment for most things artistic (theatre, writing, even photography), I will disagree with it for a second to say that when it comes to teaching myself how to use Photoshop, having a purpose means absolutely nothing (save for my main purpose of learning how to do random, awesome stuff in Photoshop). Because let’s just face it: the things one can do in Photoshop are just down right AMAZING! And maybe one day this will actually serve some sort of purpose when I own my own photography business.

Of course, this will probably always be completely random and completely useless. But you have to admit, it is pretty fun (and yet another procrastination tool). Then again, these are just the things I’ve learned. 🙂

Want to try this technique in your spare time? You can find the tutorial I used here: Super Cool Water Color Effect.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. nonoymanga
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 21:58:11

    Terrific photos!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga


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