Middle School Photoshop Experts Forge Revolutionary Flyers

Twenty years ago, a group of professional photographers and myself paid an Adobe employee to fly into town and explain their newest software package, Photoshop.

We were desperately working our MacIIcis over time to render the amazing capabilities of this remarkable new tool.

We only had channels, no layers, to work with and we were overwhelmed by the complexity afforded a serious user.

I’ve wrestled with Photoshop for all these years. I’ve seen it go from cutting edge status to mainstream, and now to middle school.

My 13 year-old came home with the old chestnut of a history assignment tonight: Create a flyer from the Revolutionary War taking sides with either the British or the Americans. Here is the result. Totally Photoshopped in one hour.

If my commrades in computing computing in the late 1980’s could have seen him work it up with layers, ink effects, levels, font selections, and saturations they’d have wet themselves with envy.

This is why visual literacy is so essential. We have these great tools. We can type-set, print, and distribute to the world in one sitting.

It is important to remember how insanely fortunate we are in the context of the history of communications. As one recent comedian put it, “I was sitting next to a guy in an airplanes that rolled out in-flight WiFi. He complained and whined that the connection was not that great. I wanted to say to him, ‘Isn’t it enough that you are flying at 40,000 feet in a chair going 600 miles per hour? You have to have flawless internet connections too?”

It’s an awesome time to be alive, and even more exciting to be able to help kids learn to use the tools.

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