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Photoshop - Is it Overkill?

Photoshop - A Home Appliance?

Photoshop - A Home Appliance?

Okay! Photoshop is a lot of things but it is not a dishwasher. I will grant you that. But it can be very useful around the house. Maybe even indispensable.

Not long ago, I clicked my garage door opener and, after some screeching that sounded like derailing train, it shuttered to a stop in a painfully crooked position. Fast forward to the garage door installer showing my wife and me pictures of new garage doors. Lots of styles, lots of colors... and lots of indecision. But the solution was easy. I digitally scanned some contenders from the installer's brochures and albums and then took a digital picture of my garage from the outside. (I needed a picture for insurance anyway.)

Within minutes, we were in front of my computer and viewing images of our garage with all of the candidate doors. With a click of the mouse, we could switch between wood and aluminum, mocha and cayenne, and overpriced versus exorbitant. So what magic allowed this to happen? The magic of Photoshop of course. I put the scan of each potential door on an individual layer in Photoshop. Think a Photoshop layer as being a plastic sheet you can draw on (digitally speaking). Then I made a layer with my garage picture, erasing the existing, sickly door. When I erased the door, that area became transparent. So, one at a time, I had Photoshop display the garage door layer over each of the candidate door layers (after sizing them to just fit the opening). The result was very realistic and helped us to a quick decision. By the way, we went with the wood, cayenne, and exorbitant. (Yes, I painted the trellis.)

Garage Door Images

How often do we run across similar decisions where, if we could better visualize the outcome, our choice would be easy? Well around my house, it's pretty often. Planning a new photo wall? How many photos should you have? How should they be arranged? How about frame style? Photoshop can make quick work of of all of this. Have someone hold a frame up against the wall and take a digital picture. In Photoshop, create more frames, each on their own layer. Then arrange them on the wall, changing sizes and arrangement to suit your taste. You can even add perspective to your photo wall to see how it would look from an angle (using the Vanishing Point filter). With Photoshop, you can see it all before the first nail pierces drywall.

The possibilities are endless. Do you want to redo some landscape? Take a digital camera to your local nursery and snap photos of all of the plants that might work. Then come home and digitally plant them in a image of your garden, all in Photoshop of course. (No watering required!) How about a new built-in bookcase? How many shelves and what kind of spacing? Take a picture of the planned location but include a ruler or something with a known dimension. Now you can use Photoshop to draw in your shelves, changing spacing and so forth, and then take measurements off the winning design (with the ruler as a guide). Take another picture of some books. (You have some, right? After all, you are building bookshelves...) Use this book image to fill up your shelves. (Yes it will look like you have twenty copies of War and Peace but you get the idea.) Check it all out and get it right before you even pull out a sawhorse.

Bookshelf Images

Learning Photoshop can be a daunting task. But if you are ready, click here to Learn Photoshop. This short guide, "Photoshop-Just the Skinny", will have you up and running in a weekend, teaching you just what you need, just the skinny. So is Photoshop a home appliance? Well, maybe not. Maybe I should have titled this "Photoshop - A Marriage Counselor?"