In another interview with the team behind City’s Short Courses, today we meet Pete Polanyk, our Introduction to Photoshop short course tutor.
Please tell us about yourself and your background
I’m Pete Polanyk and I’ve been working in the design industry for near on 30 years and have been teaching at City for 20 years. How I actually got into the field was in the early 1980’s I wrote a music fanzine and sometime later undertook a night class in Magazine Design & Production at The London College of Printing (now the LCC) and it evolved from there. I’ve worked in national newspapers, advertising agencies and publishing houses as well as working for myself.
In my spare time I write a music/gardening blog, compile musical mixes for a shortwave radio show and produce electronic music, self-releasing it on my own label and designing the associated visual material.
What do you teach at City?
I teach the Introduction to Adobe Photoshop course on a Wednesday evening. The course is an introduction to one of the industry’s top image creation and photo editing software.
Over the ten weeks we learn the fundamentals of the application, how to create and edit your own digital image/artwork using a variety of techniques and I also cover some Graphic Design related topics. We start right from the bottom and work our way up.
Why do you think it’s important to learn skills like Photoshop?
It’s a very versatile programme. By learning it, you could add it to your present work skills, you could develop your own creative output or it could be a way of getting your foot in the door into the design industry. Who knows where it might lead you.
Over the years we’ve had students wanting to learn it for many reasons. We had a person who wanted to use it just to do some simple amends on promotional material for her own business as she was fed up with paying a designer an extortionate amount for doing small corrections. We had a deep sea diver who wanted to learn the skills to make a poster to promote his local diving club and a vicar who wanted to correct photographs for a parish magazine.
What are your top three tips for learning Photoshop?
- Learn the keyboard shortcuts rather than using the pull-down menus, it’s a lot easier and will save you a lot of time.
- Set yourself tasks like simple design jobs, something that may be useful for yourself or your workplace and take it from there (promotional material, a simple web banner or greetings card etc). If you’re working on a project with a purpose it will keep your concentration and hold your interest for longer.
- Practice, practice and practice! It’s like anything, you get better by putting more hours into it. Little and often is a good thing too. Keep at it and you’ll get there.
Why would you recommend learning Photoshop at City?
The application is taught in small groups in a friendly atmosphere over ten weeks, two hours a week. I set three simple projects that you can complete over the term which gives you more practical skills with the programme as well as some work to show for the course.
It can be a diverse class with students from different walks of life (it’s not just people from a design related background) and it does you no harm being around people from other disciplines who take different approaches when it comes to learning something new or tackling photoshop projects.
Thank you, Pete!
Pete Polanyk teaches City’s Introduction to Photoshop Short Course. For City’s other graphic design short courses, visit this page.
To see our full range of Computing Short Courses, visit our short course home page.