My blog post on How to improve your Photoshop skills in 9 seconds has gotten a lot of views and responses. It seems that I struck a chord with many people, "reminding" them of the value of quick little experiments as a way of learning new things.
Let's take this a step further, inspired by a presentation by Joe Glyda at Photoshop World. Joe talked about how he tries to keep his photography (and creativity) fresh through self-assignments. He chooses a theme and runs with it, for example "circles" or "shadows". His slide show of the results of his assignment was really interesting and got me thinking.
First, I've tried to do the same thing with my photography. So far I gave myself a relatively easy assignment: textures. I ended up with a card full of really cool textures that have come in really useful in Photoshop. Then when I did the Worldwide Photowalk I decided to bring only a prime/fixed lens. Boy, when you're used to zooming in and and out whenever you want, it's a real eye opener to shoot with a fixed lens - and makes you look at things differently.
What does this have to do with Photoshop? Well, why not apply the same theory of self-assignments to Photoshop? Along with those 9 second experiments, if you find yourself with a little time on your hands, give yourself an assignment such as "the Pen tool" or "design a logo in 2 minutes", or find an old photo and give yourself a set amount of time to fix it as best you can in the alloted time.
So, what are you going to give yourself for your first Photoshop assignment?