Photoshop for Beginners


I generally do all my work in Adobe Audition, Premiere, and After Effects.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of Photoshop, but more and more I see it recommended that we use Photoshop for making thumbnails for our YouTube videos.


When we started making YouTube videos, we didn’t have any choice about the thumbnails.  YouTube gave us 3 images to choose from, automatically generated from somewhere in our video. As you can imagine, they didn’t make for the most interesting, eye-catching thumbnails:


This is pretty…terrible.

Thankfully, after a couple years of this, YouTube relaxed the restrictions and allowed us to generate our own thumbnails.  Video thumbnails can almost be thought of like mini movie-posters.  How can you tell the story of your video in the blink of an eye?


This might be easier if we made videos about strawberries.

At some point, we need to go back and make decent thumbnails for all of our old videos. Fingers crossed we can raise enough money on Patreon to be able to hire an assistant to help us with this kind of work!

But for now, we’re on our own, so we need to carve out a little time and energy to make sure all of our newest videos get the royal Photoshop treatment.

Now we’re not planning on going crazy.  We don’t need to look like fashionplates or anything:


These are both quite terrifyingly beautiful.

No, no, we just need to make our thumbnails stand out a little more. Do a little colour correcting, add some text, and layer in a relevant image. Sometimes we can pull this off in Premiere right in the same file when we’re editing our video, like this thumbnail we made for Black Holes:


But all our sources say Photoshop is the way to go. It’s just more flexible and you can do so much more.  I’m ready to learn!

Today I read a book called “THE ULTIMATE BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR MASTERING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP!”  I wouldn’t call it the Ultimate guide.  I was able to read it in about an hour, and it walked me through the basic menus and toolbars.  It did let me know that the toolbar was roughly broken into sections: selection tools/ pixel editing tools/ text & vector editing tools/ and navigation tools.  See, I didn’t know that.  But it didn’t tell me nearly enough to MASTER Photoshop.  I think they oversold the title a little. It didn’t even tell me what’s the point of flattening layers, and I really want to know what that’s all about.

Anyone have a set of #photoshop tutorials they can recommend? Much obliged!


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Welcome to Socratica

A year ago, I left classroom teaching and focused my attentions on creating content for Socratica Studios, a company started by Michael Harrison (my tall dark and handsome husband).  We’ve been making “green screen” videos out of our own studio – on a variety of subjects (math, chemistry, art, opera, etc.) and in a variety of different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portuguese).  We are dedicated to making beautiful, high-quality learning materials available to everyone.  This is an offshoot of our original venture, making educational phone apps.

Here’s our English YouTube channel:

Socratica Studios

Our other channels are

Socratica Español,

Socratica Français,

Socratica Deutsch,

Socratica Русский,

Socratica Português, and

Socratica Kids.

And here are our phone apps in the Google Play store:

Socratica Phone Apps

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Our Spanish actress Liliana De Castro in the studio


After a little work with Adobe Premiere and After Effects, Liliana is now in the French countryside, talking about art.