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I must be an idiot! - Elf M. Sternberg
I must be an idiot!
So, I spoke with my manager earlier this week. Isilon is growing and we're implementing a formal education reimbursement plan and all that goes with it. I have a very strong grasp of the entire stack of C/Python/Ruby/Perl/Appservers/Webservers/Databases on the server side side and HTML/DOM/ECMA(Javascript)/CSS on the client side. But I told him that I was never quite happy with my grasp of visual design. I can do it, but mostly without much inspiration. It's not something that comes naturally to me, and it takes a lot of practice to wake it up. He thought my graphic design sensibilities were fine for the industrial applications I wrote for Isilon (and F5, and Carbonwave, and all the contracts I did for CompuServe), but agreed that if I thought that was a skill I need to improve then, by all means, I should take a class and submit expenses and all that.

I am an idiot because today, while I was playing with my wacom pad, I figured out what layers are for.

I mean, if you're a graphic designer, let that sink in. I've been doing this for ten years and only today did I figure out just how useful layers could be. I've always done all my prototyping on paper and then just scribbled it into photoshop all at once.

Bleah. All that wasted time.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

11 comments or Leave a comment
nbarnes From: nbarnes Date: April 26th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figured out what layers were for when I was looking at the box art for some version of the Marvel Super-Heroes RPG. It was this group scene of all of Marvel's top heroes charging the camera, with the camera slightly below looking up at them. And I was thinking that drawing a scene like that must be hell on the artist, 'cause what happens if you draw, like, the Thing in back great, and then you're doing Spider-Man in front of him and you mess the perspective all up and now you have to start all over again? 'Wouldn't it be cool,' I thought to myself, 'If you had, like, layers it'd make it really... ah, THAT'S what layers are in Photoshop.'
(Deleted comment)
elfs From: elfs Date: April 27th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reason I've had so much trouble with layers is because of the concept of the 'floating layer,' which is what you get when you paste something from another image during composition. It always seemed to just merge with whatever you were working with. I didn't think that was very useful. I had to figure out, on my own, because for some reason the words just didn't stick when people tried to explain it to me, that you had to create a new, transparent, "real" layer, then paste the floater on top of it, then merge the floater down onto the layer, and then you could handle the layer and its pasted contents independently and persistently without having to 'freeze' it to the existing image.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 27th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Completely off-topic

Sorry to hijack the thread, but angharads_house posted something to her LJ that might be useful to you: a link to USGS earthquake and other seismic information for the Seattle area.

From: (Anonymous) Date: April 27th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, that demonstrates that you're spot on thinking that some classes for designers would be helpful -- in productivity alone as you pick up tips and ideas like that one.

That said, your door is WIDE open! I'm so envious -- you can make a good solid claim for ANY decent art class! ENVY ENVY ENVY And if Tufte comes through...WOOT

Ah well, I'm awash in my own opportunities. Still...art and design classes.
srmalloy From: srmalloy Date: April 27th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think what may have happened to you is getting caught in the gap between 'all done on paper' and Photoshop when you picked up your habits. I remember seeing and reading about the process for various types of rendering, with the various elements of the image done on onionskin (or, for example, in books on anatomy, transparency pages with the 'layers' of structure that you turn to expose deeper structures). If you didn't get exposed to it before you started using graphics editors, I expect you were accustomed to only having one layer to work on. What was more of an 'oooh' moment for me was seeing that, with layers of an electronic image, you could do more than simply laying one on top of the other -- that you could combine layers procedurally. I still have little actual artistic talent, but I think I use what I have fairly well.
lisakit From: lisakit Date: April 27th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
pat pat pat

So should I not tell you that as a mere admin I know about layers?

Don't worry 'bout it, we all have something, even in our own specialties, that we've somehow missed. Cool for finding one!
kyriani From: kyriani Date: April 28th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Meep... I don't think I could live in a world without layers!
Still, its not like they just jump out and grab you and say "THIS IS HOW YOU USE US!". ^_^
mg4h From: mg4h Date: April 28th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm... sorry. Wow.

I don't know how I survived before layers.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: April 28th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are thousand and thousands of straightforward obvious already available things that would make my life and work hugely more productive and comfortable, that I know that I "dont know that I dont know".

It's enough to make me want to sit and cry.

Instead, I try to keep learning.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 30th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Even if you might be able to do nearly anything*, you still can't do everything.

- - -
*I'm sure you're modestly all too aware of your own limitations and that you'd never claim that you can do nearly anything.
11 comments or Leave a comment