Discoveries in Photoshop

With spring break around the corner I was looking forward to some brief relaxation, but then I remembered I’m in grad school and spring break isn’t what it used to be. I’ll be spending the next week with Photoshop and Dreamweaver as I attempt to improve my website. I spent several hours yesterday working on my Type page, trying to fix up some of the design issues that were commented on in class. Chief among those was proximity. I noticed that my site felt like it was just floating on the page with no real boundaries. In an attempt to resolve that problem, I created a <div> .container within the body. This tightened up the overall look and added some more color (another issue altogether is finding a good color scheme). Of course, the main issue with creating a .container was that I then had to change the rest of my dimensions to make sure the content fit in the page. This was good practice to remind me of how to make changes in the CSS.

I also finished up watching the Photoshop CC tutorial on Lynda.com. I didn’t find this tutorial as informative as the others I have watched. It seemed like this one was aimed at an audience who would work on Photoshop and then send it to a web developer. Many of the segments were about addressing the client’s needs and less about the specifics of Photoshop. I’m really trying to learn the nuts and bolts of the software so I know what it is capable of, and I don’t feel I got that from this tutorial. I’m thinking I’ll look at some other Photoshop videos that might be more specific to my needs. However, I did find one cool bit of information! I noticed that several of my classmates have made their .containers with rounded edges. I really like that look, but couldn’t figure out how to do that for the life of me…until I watched the Photoshop video. Apparently all it takes is adding a border-radius. In a nutshell, that’s what I like most about this course: when things make sense. It’s a very satisfying feeling to have those light-bulb moments. For me, it’s like doing a crossword puzzle and all of the sudden the right word clicks into place. I’m hoping for more of those along the way.

As we approach the half-way point (or are we past that?) of the semester, I want to get some of my final website ideas out there. Right now, I’ve got this idea that focuses on the reaction to a homicide that took place on May 8, 1856 in Washington, DC. Philemon T. Herbert, a Democrat Congressman, shot and killed Thomas Keating, an Irish waiter at the Willard’s Hotel, after some heated words were exchanged, plates were broken, and punches were thrown. Herbert was tried in court for manslaughter on July 10, but during the 2 months leading up to the trial, the details and reaction to the case appeared in newspapers across the country. I’m interested in providing a visual platform to emphasize how quickly this news spread from DC all the way to California (the state represented by Herbert). I’d like to use a map with pop up points that the viewer can click to see the newspaper and the date of specific publications. My hope is to show how the reaction to the Herbert case reflected the sectional divide that dominated the nation in 1856. Some of my other pages would focus on the account of the homicide, descriptions of the main characters, and why this was a significant moment for the growth of the Republican Party. I’m still hashing out the details of how I’ll make this an intriguing website, so any suggestions are certainly appreciated.

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