Why & How I became a Photoshop Adobe Certified Expert

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hi I'm Tom from Tomica photography and

today I'm going to reveal why and how I

got to get this paper so for the past

couple of years I've been thinking of

taking the Photoshop Adobe certified

exam but I never got around it just not

enough time and all the commitments and

it's only when I was about to leave

Adobe last summer 2016 that I said to

myself actually I should buy a couple of

vouchers to pass the exam the reason why

I thought at that time was because as an

Adobe employee I was going to pay a lot

less to to attend the exam but in mind

that if you want to attempt the exam it

cost you one hundred and eighteen

dollars whether or not you feel if you

try each attempt will cost you one

hundred and eighty dollars so it's quite

expensive to do that so I thought well

let's do it literally let's take the

vouchers and why to first is because I

thought I was going to do the Lightroom

certification exam as well and without

much preparation I thought it was going

to be a joke but I would do it I would

be fun little did I know that several

months later in December 2016 Adobe

would retire the Lightroom certification

program so at that time I said to myself

well it's not a big deal I've gone now

to more chances to pass the Photoshop

certification exam and before I dive

into how I prepare myself and what in

the exam itself let me explain you why I

really wanted to undertake this

certification I think it's for two

reasons really the first one is that

I've been using Photoshop for over 10

years now and it was a way to prove to

myself that I kind of know what I'm

talking about when it comes to Photoshop

but more importantly it's because I've

been teaching photography and doing

workshops around Photoshop and I'm going

to be doing more workshops around

Photoshop and I thought this was a great

thing to them something I would add more

legitimacy to

to my teaching so that's why I did it

and lastly there's actually a third

point which was that I knew that

although I was using Photoshop for many

years I had a tendency of always doing

the same tasks in Photoshop and that

meant that and now I know that I was

using about 30% of the potential of

Photoshop and so by undertaking the

certification I would really deep dive

into Photoshop and discover more more

techniques more features of the tool

that would improve my own image

retouching skills and these are really

three reasons why I wanted to do it um

and so the exam itself how what is it

well it's basically a computer-based

exam so you've got to take an

appointment with Pearson VUE Pearson

Gia's an adobe partner they facilitate

the exams not only for Photoshop and I

should mention as well that the Adobe

certified expert exum does not only

exist for Photoshop or for the creative

products he actually works for a bunch

of other products within the Adobe

solutions and and it always being

facilitated by Pearson VUE so they have

offices all over the world and I believe

they train as well as letting you do the

exam and the exam consists of 57

questions covering 11 topics and I'm

going to go through them in a map and

although all this exam takes place on

the computer you do not have a copy of

Photoshop running at the same time so

you're really entering all these

questions blindly which trust me is

extremely difficult and clearly the exam

does not represent real-life usage of

Photoshop let's be clear the exam itself

will not judge you on your ability to be

a great creative or great artist

with Photoshop it will not make you a

greater artist either it doesn't judge

your skill with Photoshop the exam will

only judge you upon your knowledge of

Photoshop and that's very important to

understand this and and so going through

the topics you have them here on the

screen there's 11 of them and first

start with starting the project in

Photoshop but I'm not going to go into

the sublevels but basically navigate and

customize the user interface if you use

the tools and tool fitting so all the

tool that you have in Photoshop you know

like selection tool the paintbrush and

so on create work with layers so I'll

just like Photoshop is a tool that

really relies on layers so you need to

understand what layers are and how to

use them efficiently and then finally

modify image dimension that makes sense

apply global tone and color adjustment

to images and also local adjustment to

images work with filters as well this is

a great feature inside Photoshop use

pixels pixel and vector based tools we

tend to forget that you can do some

vector tool vector based work inside

Photoshop so it's important to to know

how and what you can do knowing how to

create selections and finally getting

your images out of Photoshop so these

are the 11 topics that you could and is

very important to understand is that you

could be questioned on it doesn't mean

that in the exam itself all the topics

will be covered but you will not have

any question asked outside the scope of

those 10 topics here so that helps you

narrowing down your preparation in a way

but that it's pretty broad anyway and so

I mentioned a number of questions 57 and

you need to in order to pass you need to

have 63 percent success and it's not it

is not easy at all viii you have 19

minutes to

to complete the exam and the rules are

pretty strict when you go to the

examination room and they even have

lockers because you're not allowed to

bring any notes with you which is

obvious you cannot take your phone with

you you cannot have a watch you cannot

even wear a watch with you you cannot

have any food with you any drinks at all

they will give you a not bad which is

kind of a it's new is able not party can

wipe it out afterwards kind of a

whiteboard type of notepad they give it

to you when you enter and they take it

back afterwards so there's no way for

you to bring in and out any note of the

exam and the questions you've been asked

and as a matter of fact before

undertaking the the exam they make you

sign some kind of confidentiality

agreement about the the questions inside

the exam so then how do I prepare

because you know my first idea was that

I was going to have a whole year to

prepare for for the certification and it

was in the case it wasn't because by the

end of May I realized that actually I

only have about a month before before

I'm leaving the country because I'm

about to leave Chile for four months and

so they didn't give me much time and so

I basically decided that I would book a

first appointment for the exam on the

8th of June and the reason why I said

the 8th of June is because I could not

book a second one just in case I had to

wait to pass the exam fail it and book

the second attempt and so I said to

myself well if I book it on the 8th of

June if I when I fail because at that

time my mind was set on failure when I

failed then I go back home and I book

the second appointment and I should have

enough time to book I've got about two

weeks before I leave the country so that

should be fine and so the 8th of June

that was basically a witch from that

moment when I said to myself actually I

need to work I really need to revise now

and I went online and tried to figure

out how I could prefer

the exam the best and you've got capital

options well I would say is three

options really first off you need to

bear in mind that when you look at the

prerequisite for the exam Adobe tell you

you need to have between two and five

years experience with the tool and so on

which I reckon it's true but any old

depends of you how much you use

Photoshop if you've been using photo

help for a year but you use it

absolutely every single day and you tend

to do a multitude of tasks inside

Photoshop then you know feel free to go

for the exam you you may as well succeed

but on another hand you can be using the

tool for ten years like I've done and

always using the same to doing the same

tasks and so you don't know much about

the tool and so I looked online and

there was three ways to prepare the

first one was the hard way which was

basically going through all the help

files because no secret the exam

questions are based on the help files of

Photoshop so if you read all of them and

you absorb all of them then you should

succeed however we're counting about

hundreds of pages with tons of

subtleties in each one of them which

will make the tack extremely difficult

and you will not train you at the type

of question you would get you would only

get the knowledge but trust me that does

not prepare you to the exam itself and

I'll get to it in a second then the

other option is to take a course there

are a few courses out there online that

basically prepare you for the exam and

the way they do it is that the course is

covering the 11 topic that I've just

mentioned and then in between courses

you get some quizzes and and I've done

one so I've taken the course that was

done by a guy called Martin hip nack I'm

sorry if I'm not pronouncing the name

correctly and in the detail all the

course buys by the way is in the blog

article and the link is up here and also

in the description and so I took his

course and I was really great but

the certification that I did was full

Photoshop CC 2015 and his course was

made full Photoshop CC so a few years

ago so there was no other features

changed dramatically in Photoshop but

the way they designed the certification

exam is that it will ask you a lot about

the basic function of the primary

function of Photoshop as well as a focus

on the new features inside Photoshop so

there were a few things inside Martin's

course there were no relevance such as

behance for example that was no longer

relevant to the exam but I did it and I

liked the course I was made I like the

fact that there was quizzes and I took

all of them and I I did then several

times but one thing to me was that I

didn't want to rely on a single source

to revise so I found online the tool

made by eggs Ahmed's an exam it seemed

to be pretty popular in creating those

tools and I'm going to show it to you in

a second because although this is not an

endorsement of XML but it is clear that

I would not have succeeded

I would not have passed the exam on my

first attempt in especially having only

a week to prepare if I didn't use XML so

let me show you what examine is really

it's similar to when you want to revise

for your driving test a theory one and

you know those computer-based

program that you can run and it helps

you to learn and basically it's a mock

exam well that's basically what XML is

and so the good news is that I could I

got a copy of eczema

there was exactly the certification that

I was doing the same version 2015 so

that was that was great so let me open

the program here and by the way I've

bought the program right so um here is

loading exists on PC exist on Mac and

exists also for illustrator and a bunch

of other

Adobe certified expert exam and and the

way it works is that you basically have

three modes you have a study mode which

is the one that we're in now and this

basically enables you to kind of play

you basically assess your you answer the

question you basically select an answer

and I'm just going to go around on me

I'm not even looking at the UH the

question here and you can click the

answer here and you can see where you go

wrong where you go right and you can

actually see some information that will

help you understand and learn and this

is what I mean that this is really where

the greatest value of this tool and

because it's a subset of what you have

inside a help file and you have a HIPAA

link here to go directly to the Adobe

help file which mention exactly the

point of that question so you can go

through all the questions and that's

great that's the sturdy mode you can

also check and select the topic you want

to cover and if you start at the

beginning where you can go through all

of them you've got a practice as well

the practice mode is really a mock exam

so as you can see you will have a

certain amount of time to do it and you

have 57 questions and you go through all

of them and you will not know whether

you answered correctly or not

when slight exception is that you can

see here the status which is not

something that I quite liked because on

the day of the exam you have no idea

about the standards you don't know as

you go through the exam you don't know

if you did good or not here that kind of

gives you an indication of whether or no

you've been doing good or not and and to

set the practice you can go to the

settings here so I'm going to exit this

and in the settings you basically have

all the topics here and you can see all

the questions the tool I believe has

about three hundred and sixty questions

so that's quite a big pool of questions

especially given that the exam you're

going to be asked on fifty seven so it's

good in able you to practice and get

quite a good variety of questions and

you can select which topics you want to

include in

the practice exam that you're going to

run and you can also define how many

questions you want in the exam so when I

started I focused on the one focus on

one topic at a time and for example when

I started I did the start project in

Photoshop and I went through the 23

questions so I would put 23 questions

instead of 5 and then once I would pass

this one then I would do the second one

but I will still do the first one as

well so I did it incrementally and so by

the time like the day before the exam I

remember doing about 3 tests and that

was the 360 question each time and it's

important and it's important to

understand that the questions that are

in the quiz from a course that you would

take online all the questions you have

here on the air excellent these are not

the questions you're going to get

exactly in the in the exam because the

questions in the exams are confidential

but they will cover all the topics you

will be asked on and given the pool of

questions even if you they tell you do

not learn the questions but you're bound

to remember them you're bound to

remember the questions you're bound to

remember the answers and that's not a

problem because on the day of the exam

you get a question on a theme or a topic

or certain feature inside Photoshop that

you miss travel and figure out what the

answer is but you remember there was a

question in the in the mock test and you

remember what a question was and what

the answer was and from that you it

helps you finding the right answer

during the exam so it's very useful even

if you not learn but remember all these

questions and finally the last mode

which I honestly did not use is the

review and the review is basically kind

of a cheat sheet of all the questions

you see I said 360 in fact there was 350

so you basically go through each of them

and you can see without taking the test

you can see which one is right which one

is wrong and what why the answer is the

way it is so I love exam ed and I've

been in contact with them afterwards

because I first off I wanted to give my

feedback on the tool there were a few

questions that they asked among the 350

which puzzled b1 was wrong look at well

a couple of them were they were not

necessarily wrong but misleading and not

very precise and so I just thought that

it was it was a bit tricky to get a

right answer he was a bit like a flip of

a coin so they really appreciated my

feedback and they actually took on board

what I said and sent me the copy of the

new questions that I wanted to readjust

and they were about three or four and

I've validated them and I was pleased to

be part of it to help them with that

because they helped me a lot and the

tool itself cost seventy pounds so it's

not that big of a deal really to prepare

the exam so one thing to bear in mind is

that and I've mentioned earlier that you

don't have a copy of Photoshop running

while you do the exam and that's already

no really real life scenario right and

unless you could say well yeah but what

if you work for Adobe in support team

and you try to help somebody over the

phone you don't see their screen yes but

you would have your own copy of

Photoshop and you would actually see the

screen in front of you and trust me for

having worked in the support

organization at the lobby for ten years

I kind of know how things are done and

you will not do it blindly so the exam

in that respect is no real-life

representative however my biggest

problem with the exam itself is with the

questions and the questions are clearly

not they are tricky

they're not here other said earlier

there now we're here to judge whether

you're a great artist with Photoshop

they're here to judge how much you know

about Photoshop the interface the


of the interface as an example they may

ask they're not going to ask you how to

how to open a new layer they may ask you

we want to open a new layer how can you

do and then it's going to be multiple

choices and multiple answer would be

correct and they will say well you can

use the menu you can also do a

right-click they're gonna ask you if you

can do a right-click they can ask you if

you can open a new layer from the

contextual menu of the layer panel

they're going to ask you if you need to

press a key like command ctrl alt option

on your keyboard while you hit the icon

on the layers panel and there's a bunch

of questions like this where you may

have one answer correct but they want

all of them correct and and sometimes

it's very tricky because they're going

to ask you ok to do this task do you

need to press shift plus that command or

do you need to press out shift or our

ctrl shift or and that is where it gets

very confusing because when you do

things you may never use shortcuts

shortcuts are great but this thousands

of them I would say in Photoshop so you

not gonna remember all of them you're

going to remember the one that you do

all the time and maybe you're not

someone who's relax shortcuts you like

to use menus and well you tend to always

access a specific feature using a

contextual menu but you don't know

exactly what the path would be if you

were to use the menu so it's a lot of

tricky questions like that they they

even trick you like for example there's

a question that's going to ask you you

want to place a document that it's in

bridge and you want to place it in


in your Photoshop document how do you

are you going to do this are you going

to drag and drop the document are you

going to do file place in Photoshop or

fireplace or file a place slash link in

Photoshop there's got to give you a

bunch of options like this and it all

things they're all aimed at confusing

you this is where this is where we can

argue there are the relevance of the

tool however back to the goal as to why

I did it at the first place it helps you

really go inside out in tool and once

you pass well suddenly it gives you you

have some confidence that you know the

tool very well you know where everything

is you might not be the best at using

all the tools all the features but you

know where they are and if you need to

do an action a specific path you'll know

where to start and that's that's

important so what I like to know is

whether you would be interested have you

actually tried any certification whether

it's a Photoshop or Lightroom maybe when

it was or even illustrator I'm actually

thinking of learning illustrator and and

maybe undetected the test in a year or

two so I'd like to know what you think

and if you haven't done that is this

something that you'd be interested in

doing so let me know that in the comment

section whether on youtube or in the

blog article and until then this is Tom

mega saying if you like it well capture

it and use Photoshop afterwards Cheers