Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dave Cross in Richmond, VA

400+ of Dave's closest friends (for one day at least!)

Dave ponders a students question during one of the breaks.

Should you attend Dave Cross' Maximum Adobe Photoshop CS3 Tour?

I can answer that question in one of two ways: "Theoretically" and "It Depends..."
(Class joke - you'll know when you go)

Actually, I can answer with just one, it depends...

Do you want to have a great time, with a genuinely nice guy, who has a great sense of humor, and oh yeah - is a freaking master of all things photoshop? Well, then - the answer is yes!

The class was held in the very nice Greater Richmond Convention Center. The lobby was represented with Kelby Training, NAPP (shockers), Drobo, onOne, B&H Photo, and another software vendor selling templates and such, but I forget who. I was a little disappointed with this part of the tour this year, as there were not as many vendors - nor as many good deals as there has been in the past. But, NAPP was still offering their usual kick butt discount on books, DVDs and membership renewals! You should attend one a year just for the renewal discounts!

Pre-show, Dave was kind enough to let me chat him up on various topics and listened and conversed like we were old friends. Something I very much appreciated. It's nice when one of your heroes turns out to be a nice guy too!

As always when I attend these things - it began right on time. The first session was all about 7 (actually 8) things you never use in Photoshop - but should. I took a couple of my students with me, and one of them commented on the first break that if he had to leave right now, he felt like he got his monies worth off the first session. This guy's no newbie either - so that should tell you how good the first session is alone.

Session Two was all about selection secrets - or as Dave said, how to make really good selections. Which tool to use when and what steps to take after that. The hardest part of making any selection is getting started and Dave took most of the mystery out of that. Great explanations and demonstrations of all the selection tools and some undocumented tips on using the tools too!

Session Three was all about fixes to common Photoshop Problems. Or as Dave put it, "What to do when you get this from a client - 'Can you use Photoshop to just...'". I learned a very cool find middle gray trick, and colorizing tricks that fed nicely off the Selection Secrets of Session Two. There was much other coolness about fixing some common issues that are really tricky to fix.

Session Four addressed avoiding common gotchas in using Photoshop. The ole jump right in and paint yourself in the corner trick we all do from time to time. Also, as a fellow Photoshop instructor, I picked up some valuable tricks on how to maintain my classroom computers that suffer semester after semester and class after class abuse from the students. There were also cool techniques to "think" your way through using Photoshop.

The last session of the day was all about Working Smarter, and really - who doesn't want to do that? There were some really cool techniques for those not too brain fried to comprehend. Dave did a GREAT session on Variables - something I had seen, but surely never used or experimented with and I sat mouth gapped open as he demonstrated a technique in seconds that I recently spent a several days accomplishing the same thing! That's when I turned and told my students "If that's all Dave said today - I got my monies worth too!"

The day wrapped with door prize giveaways, and we hung around as Dave once again was gracious enough to pose for some pictures with us. Did I mention he's a great guy?!?

So in all seriousness, get yourself out to these seminars when they pass through town. We drove over two hours to get there and would have gone further. This is how you stay on top on your game in Photoshop. Even when you know some of the things being presented, he might mention a technique or present it in a way you haven't seen before that sheds light on ten other things you've been struggling with. Dave was almost apologetic explaining that this was only his second time teaching this course (the first one he developed by himself) - well you'd have never known it. "All ya'll" would have been impressed with this tour stop! Way to go Dave - see ya next year!

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