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THE IMAGEMAKING JOURNEY

Before you start digging into image pixels, it's a good idea to have a plan. The foundation of my Photoshop strategy is to work flexibly, nondestructively, and safely. I never work on the background layer because it is my original image data. Photoshop layers, layer masks, and alpha masks offer you tremendous flexibility, and you are working nondestructively, as long as you don't flatten the file. I am also a compulsive “save as” and data backup person. While I've never regretted having too many layers or file backups, I've always regretted not having an image backed up when I needed it or when the client wanted a change made.

Removing Creative Roadblocks

If you are too busy making excuses to work creatively, or if cleaning the bathroom just sounds better than working on images, do not lose hope. We often put off creative work out of fear of failure, perceived lack of ideas, or personal inhibitions. The first thing I do to get over empty computer-screen phobia is to “just work through it,” something I learned from an experienced photography teacher. When I felt empty or uninspired, he encouraged me “to get out there and take pictures.” The actual act of working often frees me up to keep going, and once I have momentum, there's no stopping me.

I learned another helpful concept from Julieanne Kost at Adobe Systems. In a nutshell she advises, “Identify the primary distraction that keeps you from your creative work and deal with it. If you have an issue, be it weight, lack of exercise or family worries, do your best to resolve that issue or reduce its power of distraction on your time and energy.”

It's important to remember that creating images is a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself. Being creative, expressing yourself, and learning about the world we live in through imagemaking is a positive way to spend your time. So turn off that nagging voice of distraction and doubt and get to work.



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