Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Online video training with VTC


By David Gewirtz

Imagine you could have access to an entire library of training resources on nearly any computer-related topic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For $30 a month, that's what VTC (the Virtual Training Company at offers.

As the name implies, VTC is an online training company that offers 349 individual courses on topics as diverse as animation & 3D, audio, business applications, databases, graphics and page layout, multimedia and video, operating systems, programming, Web design and Internet.

Of the courses VTC makes available, those of most interest to you Connected Photographer readers will be the photo-related courses, which include:

  • 100 Ways To Get More From Your Digital Camera
  • Adobe ImageReady 7
  • Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry
  • Adobe Photoshop CS
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Adobe Photoshop for Photographers (3rd Edition)
  • Adobe Photoshop for the Web
  • Adobe Photoshop Image Restoration
  • Adobe Photoshop Special FX
  • Digital Photography
  • ICC Color Management in Photoshop
  • Paint Shop Pro 7
  • Painter 7
  • Painter 7 Techniques
  • Scanning and PrePress

Overall, the courses are reasonably comprehensive. The Photoshop CS2 course, for example, is 10 hours long, broken up into 148 individual lessons. It's this lesson-based structure that I find most valuable.

For example, let's assume I want to learn more about Photoshop CS2's new Smart Objects feature. All I need to do is watch the two Smart Objects lessons, a total of about seven minutes worth of training. This is great, because it's possible to pick up some key tips very quickly, without having to dig through the entire course structure. As Figure A shows, all you need to do is click the lesson you want, and it'll play.


Just pick the lesson you want and learn the technique. (click for larger image)

If I have any issue with VTC's courses, it's that they're all produced in QuickTime. Although I like QuickTime as a video format, I've found that Apple's been rather predatory about installing QuickTime. Newer versions of QuickTime often don't play older versions properly.

Unless you know how to find the very well-hidden link, Apple requires you to install iTunes when you install QuickTime (that hidden link, by the way, is This is far less friendly than the warm and cozy reputation Apple likes to wrap itself within.

The tutorials themselves are of good quality and the lessons themselves are quite informative. It seems clear that VTC chose its instructors for product knowledge, rather than vocal skills because some courses feature rather monotonic speakers and others have instructors with less than pleasant voices.