I started out college as a Broadcast Journalism major, initially hoping to be a news anchor. Along the way, I discovered there were aspects of broadcasting I really enjoyed and others that I really hated.
Enjoyed: shooting and editing video. LOVED editing video. Even though we received little to no instruction on how to use the software (we used Avid), it was so fun to play around with and figure out.
Hated: everything else about reporting.
Needless to say, I did not stick with it. But the whole point of this introduction is that I was able to learn some cool things along the way and have some great opportunities. One of those opportunities was working in the newsroom. BYU did (still does?) a live newscast at 4:00 PM every day. (When I was working there, we aired only on campus channels, but were in the process of getting onto Provo cable.) Anyway, I really didn't know anything about this opportunity, but I was interviewing for a TA job and told my professor about my interest in the technical side of things more than the reporting side. She then proceeded to tell me that they were looking for someone to be the graphics editor for their newscast that started airing live in one week and would I be interested? I said sure, and was immediately hired. Keep in mind, they did not ask me anything about my graphics background or abilities - I think they just needed someone, anyone. And that is how I accidentally became the "graphics editor" for BYU Daily News.
When I started, they gave me about an hour of training on the program they use to produce the show (basically, it's what allows you to choose which camera angle goes live and when, and which graphics to put on screen and when). I didn't need to know all the ins and outs of this program, because that was the producer's job, but I had to be familiar enough with it to get all my graphics on screen at the right time. For instance, when the weather person was talking, I had to follow her cues and change the graphics from the nationwide map to the 5 day forecast at the appropriate time. In addition to the whole hour of training I received, they told me I could/should use Photoshop to create/edit graphics and pointed me in the direction of a Photoshop manual. So I had about a week to figure out how to create quality looking graphics for over-the-shoulder shots (when the anchors are talking and there is a graphic over their shoulder), CGs (character graphics - names and titles that appear below reporters and sources during a story), and weather. It was quite intimidating at first, and never really stopped being nerve wracking, especially when something went wrong during the newscast and a graphic didn't load properly and I had to scramble to find something and put it on screen manually. While I appreciated the trust they placed in me, I hated that I received basically no training, because I could have done such a better job if I had known more about Photoshop and the other program (I can't remember the name).
Anyway, fast forward to today. I don't remember anything about Photoshop. Seriously, what are all those layers about and how the heck do I work with them? I have such a terrible memory. BUT, I use a simple program called Photoscape to edit photos sometimes and even though it is not nearly as capable as Photoshop, you can get some decent results if you play with it long enough. I've been trying to figure out how to make my blog look better and finally decided to download a free banner and background. I used Photoscape to edit the banner and make it my own.
Here was the original banner:
And here is my new banner!
I'm kind of excited about it. ;) So for any of you who feel like you aren't quite up to the challenge of Photoshop, I recommend Photoscape as a great way to get started on photo editing. I also just downloaded paint.net which I've heard wonderful things about, but I haven't really used it yet. What do the rest of you (non-techies) use?