Hi Gang: I really want to tell you about my shoot yesterday at the Atlanta Falcons playoff game, but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow because today I’ve got some really big news about our launch of full-length, in-depth Photoshop & Lightroom classes for members of the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), the association for Photoshop users that I head.

Here’s a quick Q&A on it:

Q. Didn’t NAPP always have full-length training classes?
A. Actually…no. We have an insane amount of tutorials on the NAPP member Website, but our thing has always been quick, to the point, tutorials covering a particle topic or effect. This is the first time we’ve launched this type of in-depth, full length online classes.

Q. Is there just one class?
A. Nope. We launched with 20 full-length classes, starting with the basics and moving to more in-depth topics, including Layers, Paths,  Shapes, Brushes, Printing, Selections, Blending Modes, and a bunch more. The cool thing is: this is just the start — we’ll be adding new classes all year long.

Q. Is there anything for beginners?
A. Actually, beginners were our main focus for this launch — we wanted to make sure we didn’t leave anyone behind, so if you’re brand new to Photoshop, man do we have you covered!

Q. So who does the teaching?
A. The Photoshop Guys (of course). The online classes are from me, Matt Kloskowski, Corey Barker, Pete Collins, and RC Concepcion.

Q. Where should I start?
A. Well, I’d love it if you checked out my brand new four-part Portrait Retouching techniques class. I cover an amazing amount of stuff, but it’s not for absolute beginners — you kind of have to at least know your way around a bit, but once you do, I really think you’ll get a lot out of it. I also have a whole new series on learning Camera Raw (Lightroom’s Develop Module) there, too!

Q. How much extra does it cost?
A. Nothing — it’s included free as part of your annual NAPP membership.

Q. Hey, just to break things up, how about a Pop Quiz?
A. Sure. OK, “how many fingers am I holding up?”

Q. Three? No…four!
A. Oh, I’m sorry…it’s two. See, you would have gotten that right if you had taken our new online classes.

Q. Really, you guys teach that?
A. Well, not that per se, but taking these classes just generally makes you smarter. Kind of like staying at a Holiday Inn Express.  

Q. So, what’s the difference between NAPP and Kelby Online Training?
A. NAPP is for people who want to learn Photoshop (everyone from graphic designers to Web creators to photographers to artists). Kelby Online Training is for people who want to learn photography. We have thousands of folks who subscribe to both, because they want to learn both (Do you know what we call these people? “Our favorite people in the whole wide world.”). ;-)

Q. But what if I don’t belong to NAPP?
A. We can fix that — you can join right now (membership is open to anyone who wants to learn Photoshop, regardless of your skill level). Here’s a link with details on how to join (and I hope you do — you’ll love it, and you’ll be joining more than 70,000 other Photoshop users around the world who are a part of NAPP already.

Q. What if I already belong to NAPP? Is there a special deal to renew?
A. You bet. If you renew your existing membership by Feb. 1, 2013 (so, in the next three weeks), then you get two bonus gifts: (1) A complete digital collection of all 10 issues of Photoshop User Magazine from 2012, and you’ll get 2 extra months added to your membership free! Sweet!

Q. What is Photoshop User magazine?
A. It’s a very cool print magazine that comes out 10 times a year (you can choose a digital version if you like — see above), of course I’m a bit biased because and I’m the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher but it is awesome! It’s like getting a Photoshop book mailed to you 10 times a year! Inside the magazine, is our “magazine with magazine” on Lightroom, so if you use Lightroom and Photoshop, you’re totally covered. We’ve got all the best writers in the industry, great columns (I write a column on Camera Raw), and people totally dig it.

Q. How much extra is the magazine?
A. It’s not. It’s part of the annual membership, which is (and has always been), just $99 (US), and that includes the online Photoshop training classes, too (and lots more cool stuff).

Q. Seriously?
A. Seriously!

Q. So, I get the magazine, and the new online Photoshop training classes?
A. Yup. You also get exclusive access to our kick-butt members-only website, with very cool tutorials, articles, reviews and tons of great learning resources. I honestly think it’s now, hands down the best Photoshop site anywhere. The content is real world stuff you can really use in your daily work.

Q. Do you guys arrange discounts for members?
A. Man, am I glad you asked that. Absolutely! We have TONS of discounts, everything from free shipping from B&H Photo to discounts on Adobe upgrades just for NAPP members, to Mac and PC hardware, Photoshop plug-ins, you name it. We hear from members all the time who have paid for their entire membership using discounts the first time they even try one.

Q. Did you just say you offer discounts on Apple hardware products? Really?
A. I know, it’s crazy right, but we have a special version of the real Apple Store just for members. Want to see how much I saved myself using the member discount? I wrote about it on my blog a while back (even took a screen capture) right here.

Q. This is starting to sound like an ad for NAPP
A. Starting to? Are you kidding? This started sounding like an ad back at Question #6.

Q. Well, isn’t that bad?
A. Look, I’ve spent my entire career building NAPP, along with an incredible team of very passionate, genuine, and dedicated professionals, and adding these online classes is one the coolest, biggest, and most important things we’ve been able to do for our members, and:

(a) I’m really excited about it, and…

(b) I want as many people to take advantage of it as possible. NAPP is where people go to really good at Photoshop, and I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far and for the great things we have planned for our members this year. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing (even if it does sound a bit “ad-y.” OK, more than a bit but you know what I mean).

Q. So when do we get to see the stuff from the big Falcons win of the the Seahawks playoff-game yesterday?
A. Check back here tomorrow, where I’ll have full coverage, photos, and other stuff.

Q. But you feel like I should join NAPP first, right now, and start watching these full-length online classes, right?
A. Oh, absolutely. I feel strongly that’s what you should do (Hey, it was worth a shot, right) :)

Q. OK, I’m convinced. I’ll go join right now.
A. I knew I liked you. There’s just something about you. Something different. You’re not like the other kids. ;-)

See you all back here tomorrow! Cheers, –Scott