Photoshop: Seems over complicated to an amateur

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I absolutely despise Photoshop. I am an amateur photographer who does family and friend events. I edit my photos for photo albums, scrapbooks, and portraits. Everyone says I have an eye for a great shot and I love photography. I was using a simple editing program that has great simple features called "smart erase" where you can remove a person or a car or some other object to make it a perfect picture. You can "invert" the photo to defocus the background to make the people stand out more and so on. I can fly through editing 200 or more pictures in a couple of hours. I tried Photoshop and it is the most complicated, hard to use, over-technical product I have seen since I spent my career at IBM. I used to constantly review our IBM products and criticize them for how "over-developed" they were - programmers going wild adding all kinds of features too complicated for the average user. Smart programmers use their skill to create simple to use tools that provide great features anyone can figure out without going to a class. I have talked to many other photographers and they all agree with me. They hate Photoshop for its complexity and all use other editors. I am not a graphics designer or work in a professional magazine environment where I need very high tech graphics software. I can use Adobe with no problem but I prefer Word. As I always told my IBM co-workers. They over-thought and over-technologized our products. Products should be intuitive not ones only a programmer can figure out.
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Beverly Tatum

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  • frustrated, find it aggravating, a waste of my time

Posted 7 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Think about woodworking - seems simple if you don't know it. But walk into a master's workshop and you'll see hundreds of tools that you don't know how to use. Yet each of the tools has a purpose, and enables a woodworker to do a better job at some task. The master woodworker didn't learn all the tools at once: they learned a few basics, and added new tools as the need arose (or they took a class). Over time they accumulate a huge collection of tools that look intimidating to a novice (or that a novice could make a mess with).

Photoshop is not so much programmer driven as customer driven. But Photoshop has millions of professional customers in many different areas (retouching, prepress, games, astronomy, medical, comic books, web design, movies, etc.). They all want things that will improve the quality of their work, or improve their productivity. Over time it all adds to the available toolset in Photoshop - and many of those tools can be used by people in multiple fields. This does not mean that there are too many tools, or it is too complicated -- just that it needs to be learned a bit at a time instead of all at once.

Many people do learn Photoshop without classes -- either through exploration, or online tutorials. Many will take some classes to help master areas of interest to them - or just as a way to speed up their learning process. But classes are hardly necessary. (heck, my teenage niece and her friends just seemed to jump in and start editing their facebook photos in minutes)

But it does sound like your current needs don't require the professional tools in Photoshop. You may wish to try Lightroom or Photoshop Elements.
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Rob Reid

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Valid criticism.  Random crashes and bugs aside it should not be this complicated.  I have a decent enthusiast camera, I set up a tripod and take some pictures.  Take the SD card out of the camera and plug it it into the computer, import is grayed out no explanation is given, read through some tutorials and create a new library, because for some reason libraries are constantly corrupt,  (corrupt Liberians sounds like a bad porn flick plot) but no I can see the picture in windows but can't do anything in any Adobe app
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Konstantin Knutov

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Hammer should be simple - a hammer. and In any program designed for people it is,

photoshop makes you first - to find it, then you need to know how to use it . and then you need to use magic to hit the hammer once !.

and after that if you want to hit it more then once. find the tutorials.
tutorials for every action.

its not professional, its bad design. Most things can be used in any other good software by clicking\double clicking etc. not In photoshop.

Layers are whole different story.

Ctrl+c \ ctrl+v like in any apllication around the world is ctrl+J in Photoshop for some reason.

I could go on forever, about how alien they made it, but I have 0 mood and I try to avoid bad words & hate as much as I can.
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Chris Cox

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Control-J does something different from copy/paste (Control-C/Control-V).

Much like the woodworking shop - beginners can easily use a few common tools instantly, but it will take time to learn all the available tools and the best ways to use them.

If a professional product like Photoshop is too much for you, you might want to consider Lightroom, Revel, or Elements.
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Martin Smith

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Photoshop is too complicated - and it's hard to find what you want.
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David Stoter

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Waste of money, won't be renewing my subscription.
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Mike Bruemmer

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Utterly terrible, I like the wood working example, but it needs to be that simple. A hammer is a hammer, it needs to be easy, AND then I'm fine investing a lot of time to learn the table saw. Photoshop is horrible design. I just want to change the color of a block selection to another color I already have. It's a dang copy-n-paste procedure and I can't do it.... just terrible
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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> Utterly terrible, I like the wood working example, but it needs to be that simple. A hammer is a hammer, it needs to be easy, AND then I'm fine investing a lot of time to learn the table saw. >

There's another saying about hammers I've heard: To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  There are plenty of programs out there, many of them free, that have almost no tools other than the hammer with which to build your mansion. I'm not clear on what you're trying to do, but changing a selected area from one color to another is quite easy, provided you know the basics.

Copy and pasting one block into another is also possible, but the Copy/Paste commands aren't intended for changing only the color of an object.  That is an example of using only one tool for everything, and a simple tool requires that all tasks be one task—the only kind it can perform. One of these videos might help you learn how to change a color in PS. You won't want all of the methods described — not for the one task you want to perform. But sometime, you'll need those other methods to most efficiently get the job done, or you don't need a powerful program at all.

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/how-to/color-management-basics.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/how-to/change-color-object-photoshop.html

One task at a time, you can learn Photoshop as easily as any other program over time, but if you really want to limit what you can do with an image, then you should probably use another application.  Photoshop is intended for people who want as much flexibility as they can get for what they want or need to do.
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Mike Gunson

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totally agree........pretty smart adaptable person but photoshop is down right Maddening
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Felicity

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The issue I have with Photoshop/learning photoshop is you're right it's not beginner friendly, and here's what I say to one of the earlier comments about the master wood working tools etc.  Go into a woodworking shop knowing how to use a hammer.  You can probably use a hammer.  Go into photoshop knowing basics/some advanced techniques, use nothing, do nothing.  Everything is as mentioned before, alien, from the use of mouse commands being different, from the clicking inbetween tools.  Complexity itself isn't alien, the way they give it to us is.  It's just ridiculous, look up tutorial on how to change colours, look up tutorials on how to paste between pages without all of your edits spontaniously undoing themselves.  I get that you feel proud that you spent however long you did learning this.  But you have to admit that it could and should have been made FAR more user friendly.  I just scrapped a project I was working on because I got so frustrated using the most basic of tools in photoshop.  More tutorials I guess, explain to me what should have been easy to find out within the first few clicks in the program.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> It's just ridiculous, look up tutorial on how to change colours, look up tutorials on how to paste between pages without all of your edits spontaniously undoing themselves. >

What is "user friendly?" Something that makes use of artificial intelligence that does it for you (CAF, Quick Select, etc))? Or auto settings? PS is loaded with them. What if you don't like what they did to your artwork all by themselves? One-click filters? Lots of programs offer nothing but filters, though many have so many sliders to adjust, one wonders if that qualifies as user-friendly. What does user friendly mean, exactly? I'm used to the Adobe environment. Everything else is quite alien to me, even though I use some of it, but each is different from the other. Needless to say, I don't use a lot of keyboard shortcuts in the other applications.

Once upon a time, people took live courses, or went through books that required they complete tutorials to see what happens, rather than sit back and watch someone present on YouTube for 5 minutes. It is easier to learn when you learn in a somewhat structured environment. That's why people have been taught with some semblance of structure for millennia. But you do have to make the effort for the course. It's as close to being spoon fed as you'll get, but it takes time and effort to attend and do the basic work.

Automation is wonderful—when it works. Limiting choices is wonderful, too—think of the cereal aisle if you don't know what you like already. It's too much choice. But is it better in the long run to give you only one way to sharpen, only one way to change color and tone, only one way to make a selection? And if more than one way is good because it addresses different situations, how many is too many?

That's not to say there's nothing Photoshop engineers can do to make some aspects of the program easier, but they have to be very careful not to break professional workflows in the process. There's a lot I want that would make my life easier. I'd like to see some features less scattered about, and some, like Color, more consolidated and with more features, not fewer—more ways to affect color, not fewer. But legacy can get in the way of a lot of this pretty quickly. In some respects, it can be more difficult for them to innovate than a company just getting off the ground, no legacy and not many users to support.

I'm just saying, there's a lot of choice out there, but very little I've heard of that's also useful to professional designers, painters, and image editors that's any friendlier, if user friendly means it's easier right off the bat to get professional results. And I do use a lot of other programs besides Photoshop. I get frustrated with what PS doesn't have, doesn't do, so I use other apps, even if not as much as I use PS. So I'm not guessing they're no easier to learn.<g>
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Laura King

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Photoshop could only be compared to an expert woodworker's shop if the expert woodworker kept her tools in drawers (and drawers within drawers) labeled in the woodworker's own private language and if some of those drawers contained mad woodworking elves who popped out to effect random transformations that could not be undone. Even a rank beginner can find a hammer in an expert's shop, but Photoshop neophytes must watch 2 or 3 YouTube videos to discover that it's kept in a drawer marked "Variable Collisions." I regret splashing out for a subscription that I can't cancel for 9 more months.
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Joel Sigerson

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Yes, it's overkill for most people. It's too bad that since becoming a verb, everyone thinks that's what they need to use. I know photographers who do everything in Lightroom and don't even have Photoshop installed; often I don't open Photoshop for my personal photography.

But as a professional Photoshop user, it is not too complicated, and there's nothing you could take away without breaking somebody's workflow. I think Word is too complicated. I think Excel is too complicated. However, I work with people who would passionately disagree (well, to the extent that one can be passionate about spreadsheets). Photoshop is not my hammer. It's my hammer, screwdriver, arc welder, factory assembly line, mad scientist laboratory and playground. 

Adobe could be more proactive in educating the public that Photoshop Elements is probably the more appropriate application for 99% of serious hobbyists and photographers who won't see any payoff tackling the learning curve. But I'm sure a sizable chunk of their revenue is from people who are mistaken in believing they "need" I need Photoshop. If there were a program, or even a suite of programs, that did everything I need Photoshop to do, believe me I would be using it.