Adobe Certified Expert

Back again today for another blog post, a bit late but I have some exciting news. This afternoon I took my Adobe Photoshop ACE exam at a local Pearson VUE testing center and passed! Woohoo!

The ACE exam stands for Adobe Certified Expert and comes in handy for multitude of different situations. An Adobe Certification helps me to stand out amongst amateurs and professionals who all think they are “really good” at Photoshop stuff. In reality, most of those people have very little knowledge of image editing and unless they have an immaculate portfolio I seriously doubt they know what they’re talking about. It sounds mean but there are literally TONS of people like this and it gets obnoxious arguing with them if you’re trying to orchestrate image preparation for printing or something like that. So now that I have an Adobe Certification I can say, “Yes I am qualified to do what you’re asking, I’m certified by Adobe…..(and you’re not HAHAHA)” instead of having people take my word for it or have to convince them otherwise.

In terms of the actual ACE exam itself it was much easier than I anticipated. I downloaded test prep materials from Adobe’s online store and studied for a month in advance. All the questions on the Mock-Up exam were very technical and wordy. Then I get to the real test at the Pearson VUE testing center and most of the questions are very straightforward scenarios with logical responses. I felt as if the test gave me the benefit of the doubt and I probably could have passed it years ago.

For me personally this is a HUGE accomplishment although I only wish I had done it sooner. I remember in 2008-09 getting interested Photoshop and finally setting out to try it for myself. I have always thought Photoshop was like the coolest thing ever and I am still fascinated by the work that artists can make with it. Even now that I know a lot of the techniques that people use for compositing and retouching it still feels like magic to me.

I think the reason I’ve gotten to my current skill level is that I have always enjoyed my postproduction work. There’s something I’ve found very therapeutic when editing an image digitally that I don’t quite get with anything else. At first I mainly used Photoshop as a part of my workflow to fix issues with the images I had captured. This is certainly still a part of my editing process but as my skills with photography have increased there have been fewer instances of “fixing” bad photos and simply making great ones better. For my personal work Photoshop has played an integral part in my image making from beginning to end. Now I conceptualize an image knowing from the beginning how I have to shoot it in order for things to come together cleanly during editing later on.

Photoshop has definitely enabled me to make images that go far beyond what I could have captured in the camera. There are people who think that “Photoshop is bad” and “it’s not as good as editing in darkroom on film”. I don’t want to point any fingers but that’s completely incorrect. You can do basic compositing in a darkroom but not anywhere near what you can accomplish inside of a computer. Already I feel as if there are very few things I can’t create with the proper planning and postproduction. It’s been crazy to experience first-hand the Photoshop interface becoming more and more transparent as I continue to play God with my images and close the gap between my skillset and my imagination. I’m looking forward to integrating more applications into my workflow until I can make anything I want.

If you’re looking to get into Photoshop there’s a lot of books you can buy that I would recommend but Phlearn is probably my favorite online resource. All the PRO tutorials are top notch and worth every penny. If I really had to account for my Photoshop skills apart from an obvious over-the-top talent and lack of modesty today I’d say about 50% of my skills come from Aaron Nace at Phlearn. Aaron is an amazing teacher with a good attitude and consistent, in depth teaching style that leaves no stone unturned. After this I should probably head over there and write a beaming testimonial on his website.

Anyway, so much for keeping this post short. All my ACE certification info should clear and be visible in the ACE Finder on Adobe’s website in about 4-6 weeks. High fives all around guys, drinks on me, let’s do brunch. Cool, sounds good, I’m awesome.

-Alex

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