For Spring Break 1966, my wise old grandmother helped me set up my very first company. It was a typing company and would begin operations as soon as the spring semester concluded. In other words, instead of mowing lawns and washing cars for the summer like my friends would be doing, I would be typing papers, mostly for students at Texas A&I University, which was just two blocks away from where I lived with my wise old grandmother.
I named my company “Just Your Type” to play on the raging hormones of college-age adults. The company was such a success that I expanded its mission to include research and writing. Thus, a college student could pay me to research, write, and type his (or her) term paper, and many did. My services were in such demand that it became more than just a summer job. It operated in Kingsville, Texas, through the end of high school in 1973; College Station, Texas, from 1973-1977 while I was at Texas A&M University; 1977-1983 in Houston; and 1983-1993 back in College Station.
By the time I was back in College Station in 1983, personal computers had stormed the world. Typing was now “word processing” and “desktop publishing.” Desktop publishing meant the use of pictures, graphics, and charts. My first business computer was an Everex running at 8 HZ. I installed every software I could find that would make word processing and desktop publishing easy and fun: WordStar, WordPerfect, Word, Lotus 1-2-3, Aldus PageMaker, Photoshop, Corel Draw, Corel Photo-Paint, and several others whose names are forever lost in the past because they didn’t survive.
I still use Photoshop, Photo-Paint, Draw, and Word. Lotus 1-2-3 has been replaced by Excel, and PageMaker fell by the wayside when Adobe bought Aldus and then declined to maintain, upgrade, and support PageMaker in favor of their own product, InDesign. One of the great facets of capitalistic competition is that if you can’t create a better product, buy the better product and then destroy it.
My goal right now is to use only three products for what I need to do each day: Word, Excel, Photoshop. I know that Photoshop can do everything that I currently do in Draw, Photo-Paint, and PaintShop Pro. One area that PaintShop Pro really has Photoshop beat is in its presets for picture frames. One of my favorites is this one:
Now that I’m really getting a grip on myself, er, I mean a grip on layers and masks in Photoshop, I found it pretty easy to create that frame. I explored a little more since I didn’t want to create exactly what PaintShop Pro had, and came up with this:
Once I decided that I really liked that, especially the black & white outer section of the photograph, I practiced on some more pictures and then created a Photoshop Action to do everything for me automatically. Using the Action, framing the following eleven pictures took all of 33 seconds. It took me another couple of minutes to name them….
Picture 1 – Hibiscus
Picture 2 – Hisbiscus
Picture 3 – Chrysanthemum
Picture 4 – Unknown wildflower
Picture 5 – Orchid
Picture 6 – Orchid
Picture 7 – Orchid
Picture 8 – Orchid
Picture 9 – Orchid
Picture 10 – Unknown flower
Picture 11 – Thunbergia mysorensis
Once you learn how to do something and think that you might like to continue to do that same thing in the future, create an Action for it. See my post, “Action (or, Recording macros in Photoshop).”
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