I almost called this, "Why I Hate Photoshop," but you can't hate something that can accomplish miraculous transformations like the one above. Maybe it's more accurate to say that I hate learning Photoshop from books, which is what I've been attempting to do.
What I hate about these books is how it's possible to follow the directions and still not get the same result as the author. When it doesn't work, you have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what's wrong. I hate having to do that constantly. Sometimes the answer's buried in some other chapter that dealt with photographers' issues, and which I thought an artist like myself could skip. Very frustrating. Artists need their own book.
The most striking thing about these books is that the authors never thought to stick ordinary readers of the books in front of the program to see what problems they have. Of course that would be a big undertaking. Photoshop is a big, lumbering behemoth (above) of a program, and reader-testing every part of it could be a chore. Even so, somebody should attempt it, at least for the chapters dealing with the fundamentals.
It's that big, lumbering thing that I want to talk about here. I almost feel sorry for Adobe because every new idea they come up with has to be built mostly on existing architecture. That lumbering architecture is what they own, what they have unassailable patents for. If some third party comes up with something new, say an intuitive, drag and drop version of the same thing, then Photoshop is sunk.
Their answer to third party challenges has been to keep adding functionality to the hippopotamus that they already own, but how long can they continue to do that? What happens when their manuals are 2,000 pages long? Some simplifying revolution is bound to happen.
[NOTE: I don't wish the program was dumbed down, I just wish that it would do what it already does in a simpler, more intuitive fashion. That way I could learn the basics from a book and get on with my life.]
It's interesting to imagine what would happen if Photoshop decided to build a new architecture based on more current ideas. A lot of the new ideas are open source or have legally uncertain paternity. It would be hard to build something really big and exclusive on a mess like that.
It's interesting to see how many current non-Adobe programs also use layers and filters and all that. I wouldn't be surprised if Blogger offered some much simplified, open source version of some of that for free to its users. My favorite non-Adobe Photoshop-type program is Pixelmator, which is a sort of reduced Photoshop for mac users. It does some of what Photoshop does, but it appears to be easier to use and costs a tenth of the price. I say "appears" because I haven't tried it yet.
Here's (above) a nine minute video showing how a composite is done on Pixelmator. Compare it to how the same thing would be done on Photoshop. Pixelmator is so cheap that I assume it's based on open source. It shows how far open source has come in legally approximating what Photoshop does. It's only a matter of time before this OS method is merged with iPad-type drag and drop simplicity.