For some it's the best thing since sliced bread and for others it's a necessary evil, either way there's no getting around the fact that the Adobe Suite isn't going anywhere in the creative industry. For those of us just starting out as students, it can seem an impossible task to get to grips with programs as complex as Photoshop and with the vast capabilities of After Effects.
To give you a bit of background about my own personal experience, before I started my degree last September, I only had experience with two Adobe programs, Photoshop and Lightroom. My mum is into photography so we have the photographic package at home. I had a decent knowledge of Photoshop but I'd never even laid eyes on programs such as Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects. So far, first year has been a crash course on all of the above and more. There's still programs in the Suite which I have never opened, but with each project that goes by, I learn a little more. Today I'm going to talk about a few things which have helped me when faced with the daunting task of learning a whole new program from scratch.
Learn By Doing
Probably my biggest tip when you set out to learn a new program would be to have an end goal, be working on a project of some kind which will require you to learn how to use it. If you are a design student, this will probably come in the form of university projects, if not, set yourself a mini project. If you want to learn After Effects, set an aim to make a 10 second animation video. If it's InDesign you're wanting to master, set out to make a poster of some kind. It can be very difficult to break down the sheer capabilities of Adobe programs into more manageable and learnable (is that a word?) chunks. Learning by doing is, in my opinion, the best approach.
Collect Pieces Of The Larger PuzzleThis connects nicely to my first point, but I think learning a new Adobe program from scratch is much less daunting when you think about it as little mini pieces building up to the larger puzzle. There's not many people out there who would claim to know every single feature of Photoshop, these programs are just so vast that it's virtually impossible. If you're working towards a project, you might learn one or two new functions along the way which you'll then be able to use in the future. Before you know it, you'll realise that you're no longer a beginner!
To summerise, it really is all about practise, practise, practise! I'm learning new programs all the time, and new fuctions in programs I am already confeident with too. Becoming a self taught expert takes time and work, but eventually it will fall into place, just keep working at it little by little!
How confident are you with the Adobe Suite?
What helps you when you're learning to use a new program?