After seven successful years in Brooklyn, coworking and education space 3rd Ward has brought their maker magic to Philadelphia, and they’re offering an assortment of digital media classes in their stunning new space at 1227 N. 4th Street. I was lucky enough to snatch a spot in one of the first classes to be offered in the Philly location — Photoshop.

Photoshop is integral to the workflow for everyone from web designers to photographers to bloggers, so I knew I could benefit from a class to freshen up my rusty skills. The Photoshop class at 3rd Ward lasted three hours once a week for three weeks. Though I had to skip out on the last class session due to another commitment, I learned and relearned a ton during the two class sessions I spent with instructor Tom Ryan of I Create Stuff. He is an incredibly experienced designer who clearly knows his way around the program. In addition to following the standard syllabus and going over commonly used tools and tricks, Tom emphasized learning keyboard shortcuts and other ways to speed up our workflow. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose wrist has gotten sore from switching back and forth between tools, so I’ll definitely keep a cheat sheet of those shortcuts handy while working.

3rd Ward Instructor Tom Ryan | FEMME & FORTUNE

During the first class, we got better acquainted with the workspace and tools. Tom explained how to choose the best tool for the task and showed us how to customize our workspaces to our liking. Photoshop began to click for me in a way it never had before, even after a quick intro class at a local university last fall. After that first class session, we had some solid skills and the charge to come up with our own personal projects to work on the following week. By choosing personal projects, Tom could tailor his instruction to exactly what we wanted to learn. Since I knew I’d have to miss the third class, I wanted to work on something simple but gratifying. I’d been admiring certain effects on my favorite blogs for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to make them happen for myself or how to get them to fit my own aesthetic. During the latter part of the second class session, Tom walked me through it, then set me free to work on a couple images on my own. I embellished a few photos I took in Iceland, and I’m really pleased with the results.

3rd Ward Photoshop Class | FEMME & FORTUNE

3rd Ward Photoshop class | FEMME & FORTUNE

The Photoshop class at 3rd Ward certainly achieved its goals of building fundamental skills, delivering an exercise-oriented approach, and encouraging critical thinking skills and creativity. I’m really excited to continue to experiment and practice the techniques I learned to spruce up my own work and flex my creativity! Be sure to check out the rest of 3rd Ward’s Digital Media classes. You’ll likely run into me there, coworking and learning as much as I can in that beautiful space.