Pixel Perfectionist – Part I

This post was originally published on my previous blog, “Sara Cheats in Photoshop” (click here to visit) on June 25, 2014

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After the hurricane season of 2005, The American Red Cross began consolidating due to their losses and, by June 2006,  my long-time San Jose,  California.,  job was “centralized” to Pamona, California. As I needed a new position, I worked at a part-time temporary job while looking for something permanent. During that period I discovered  my mainstream computer skills were rather rusty.

First Encounter: Photoshop 7
By the spring of 2007 I decided to enroll in the self-paced Santa Clara Unified School District Adult Education program called Computer Office Specialist. After completing the entire Microsoft Office Suite (including Access) early, I decided to learn Adobe Photoshop.

I did so well with both the Beginning and Advanced Photoshop 7 courses that the Instructor pulled me aside and told me that Adobe Illustrator 10 was still available on the center’s computers.  Although she was unfamiliar with Illustrator, she said I was welcome to run through the lessons in the book.  I quickly completed all the lessons and, shortly thereafter, I landed a job at the Blood Centers of the Pacific (BCP) in November 2007.

I obtained a copy of Illustrator 10 and I also purchased a book on the software by Friends of Ed.  (The book has an entire chapter on the Pen Tool with ten lessons.  If you are having trouble using this tool, I highly recommend the book.)  I thought I might never use Photoshop again, particularly because there was little call for it at my new BCP job.

Second Encounter: CS3
The economic collapse of 2008/2009 caused a steady reduction in my hours at BCP and ultimately resulted in being laid-off in June of 2010.  This time, I decided to avail myself of some of state job retraining funding to gain “Second Act” career skills. I enrolled in a formal web design program, which included a course in Photoshop CS3.

Sadly, the economy had not recovered when I completed the Web design program.  For 2011 and about half of 2012 I completed freelance Web and graphics design projects as well as holding a series of temporary positions, only some of which utilized my new Web and graphic design skills.

Fortunately, things were about to pick up.

Next: Pixel Perfectionist Part 2

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