Today we have a review on a series I've been watching for a while and I've felt somewhat prompted to write about now that Time Magazine has voted it into their top 10 best TV episodes of 2008. Additionally I like to try and mention the odd web based video show (quick props for Zero Punctuation) as I do feel web based shows are worth supporting.
- The act or process of educating or being educated.
- The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process.
- A program of instruction of a specified kind or level: driver education; a college education.
- The field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning.
- An instructive or enlightening experience: Her work in the inner city was a real education.
- The act of entertaining.
- The art or field of entertaining.
- Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.
- The pleasure afforded by being entertained; amusement: The comedian performed for our entertainment.
- Archaic. Maintenance; support.
- Obsolete. Employment.
- An almost meaningless buzz word used in some educational circles and bandied about elsewhere without real understanding
- The effect of watching "You Suck At Photoshop".
You Suck At Photoshop is a series of short web tutorials which follows a well used educational psychological principle, if you make something enjoyable and fun while learning then those you are teaching will interact with and absorb more of the information you're trying to transmit. Photoshop is a complicated tool with thousands of possibilities, but it's not exactly intuitive or easy to use.
Enter Donnie Hoyle; who's brought us this series of tutorials, each episode of which teaches a new method or methods that can be applied on Photoshop. But Donnie is not your average dry straight talking instructional teacher. No he's a man with problems; a lot of problems and as each episode unfolds these problems encroach into the episode and provide the comedy. You see Donnie is a man utterly crushed by his own life, it's spiralled out of control and he's ended up trapped in a marriage he hates and a job he loathes. His life is dished out to the viewer in little snippets each episode as the next unfortunate event hits him and sends him spiralling off into a panic attack. It's a great blend of dialog comedy combined with an honest to goodness tutorial that might just teach you a new feature of Photoshop.
There are two ways to rate You Suck At Photoshop, the first would be looking at how well it instructs the viewer. I'm no Photoshop expert; I understand a bit beyond the basics, stuff like layers, levels, paths, masks, filters, opacity etc. But I couldn't claim to know enough to even be considered a rank amateur at the thing, I still find myself struggling with it at times. So I can only talk about what it's like to learn as a novice, I can't state for certain that you're being taught the best way to do things. I can only say that the methods taught work.
On the other hand there is the comedy in this show; Donnie is best described as (and this is the official term) a complete loser. He's a hapless victim in just about every situation he lands in and is unable to handle any confrontational situations that arise. He's quite literally walked on by everyone and has this desperate layer of anger underneath it all. He's the kind of person who just suddenly snaps one day and goes out on a spree, then later on when being interviewed all his friends, co-workers and neighbours would say "He was such a quiet man."
There are a few other characters who make "appearances" (vocal appearances at least) in the episodes, the most prominent of these is Sn4tchbuckl3r, a member of Donnie's online guild. Sn4tchbuckl3r will often interrupt Donnie's tutorials with Skype and hold brief conversations, either about things that are happening in their MMO (I think it's probably World of Warcraft, but I'm not sure) or circumstances that have been happening in Donnie's life itself. It's clear from the short conversations that Sn4tchbuckl3r is Donnie's closest friend and confident, it's also clear that Sn4tchbuckl3r doesn't exactly respect Donnie.
You Suck At Photoshop set out to do two things, teach people how to use the various features in Photoshop and also provide comedy and entertainment at the same time. Honestly it's succeeded on both counts and is well worth watching even if you're not a Photoshop user.
You Suck At Photoshop is written, starring and created by Matt Bledsoe and Troy Hitch, and is available to watch at My Damn Channel. The first episode is located here.