Children of our time are digital natives. And they are surrounded by all gadgets such as iPhones, iPads, laptops, PC’s and many more. The next generation handles mobile phones as a matter of course (and drops them), already long before the ability to speak first words. They are scrolling in phone contacts, shooting selfies and switching unerringly between apps as if they had never done anything else before.
My little niece is not only part of the described generation Z, she is moreover a fairly typical representative. She can count the word “Apple” to her first ten words vocabulary just behind “mama”. With just six years, she has recently teached me how to elegant wipe youtube movies off the display. I use youtube very often, but I didn’t know this new function.
As long I still have a lead over my niece, I try periodically to quench her immense thirst for knowledge, in this context with my Photoshop skills. Although Photoshop is an extensive application, it won’t last for a long time. Whenever there is an opportunity we sit down for a Photoshop lesson or two. I explain her how to open files, the functionality of the tools and how to handle levels. For color management and luminosity masks it’s still too early. Though Photoshop is mainly a picture editing program, my niece is not fussed about that. She is not interested in image editing, unless it’s a picture showing herself. She loves to put on digital make-up or changing her eye’s color and has no objections for a new digital hairstyle. But she could surprisingly not yet understand the benefit of skin retouching. She asked me why I removed a itty-bitty birth mark on her neck. I explained to clean the skin a bit and so demonstrate the functionality of the removal tool. She replied “buy why did you remove that? I like it”. I had no answer and was beaten.
When did I last drop a brick in such a way? I had to restore the birth mark and I tried do it with the most easygoing face possible. But in that moment I realized that my clever little niece and I were still living in different worlds, albeit we share the same passion for Photoshop. In her world is still all at the right place, there is no war, no refugees, no retouching. All the things are authentic and that’s fine. Everything else will come soon enough. In that moment my niece teached me an important lesson.
Finally we have stopped retouching and I opened a new white document. She boldly activated the brush tool and a selected a lurid purple color tone. Then she painted with a laugh on her face and she continued painting the whole afternoon. She loves the concept of adjusting colors, intensity and shape with a single digital pen. Moreover she loves pushing the undo hot key. With the use of this combination she can easily go back and bring her world back in best order.
When I visited my niece some days later, she was very excited and wanted to hand me an envelope. Of course, I was curious to open it.
She was so excited about the last Photoshop lesson that she wanted to give me a brand new drawing.”That’s Photoshop!” She called out loudly while laughing, when I did not recognize at once, what the doodle should be. As soon as I put the drawing back in the envelope, she was already waiting in front of the computer and has started Photoshop without any help.
The drawing is well done for a child of six, I guess. With the reserve that I probably might not be enough objective. Nevertheless, it’s all on the drawing, what could be found in the real Photoshop. Instead of the detailed tool bar on which it’s hard to remember, she just added one heart under the other. I love Photoshop!
It’s a pleasure to seeing my niece playing around with Photoshop. I’m convinced she has all skills to become a real Photoshop kid in the near future. And she seems to feel intuitively that Photoshop is more than just for pink paintings or photo editing. It’s sometimes much more that I myself am aware of.