Ever since I was little, Photoshop has always been my personal digital playground. In its UI, I pushed around pixels into avatars, banners, and layouts to cultivate an online identity in forums. In doing so, I began to engage in a form of social computing, even though everything I made was intangible. I would creatively manipulate photos into collages, completing actions every time I made something. After awhile, all the commands of the interface, whether it be Ctrl + T or selective coloring, became instinctive operations.
When I interacted with its UI, I noticed that much of it pulled from reality. Many tools were named after tools: brush, lasso, pencil, etc. The software carries effects that imitate watercolors, graphite strokes, and mosaics. Photoshop referred to the tangible world for a better user experience much like how early computers utilized symbols like files and trashcans. Even the documents are called canvases, as if to reaffirm that even though the work is behind a screen, it is still a piece of art.
My mother and aunt, as graphic designers, were the first ones to introduce design to me, and perhaps the personal connection is also why I love the software. I learned it through not only solo experimentation but also by studying their working process. In that sense, my education began in an interpsychological manner; I would create characters from circles and squares under their guidance until I was adept enough to study tutorials and learn intrapsychologically.