Something about the ACE in photoshop

Hello there!

I’ve been spending the last few days dealing with photoshop users who want to be certified and I had to hear a lot of things that I really disagree with so once and for all I put somewhere my opinion on it. I am sure I’m about to gather a huge amount of enemies but believe me, I don’t care. You have no idea the names who have me in their black book and I am still doing what I love to do. Honesty before everything else is a very uncomfortable card but even the best card one can use.

I am not out to be popular, I am out to be honest. The one might exclude the other at times.

There’s a lot of confusion around the ACE and that depends on the fact that many people talk about it out of their personal need to gain something about having an opinion on it. Which easily said is: they lie because it fits them.

Let’s start with what the ACE is: it is an expertise. A certificate that tells you are an expert in Photoshop. What an expert knows is that being an expert is not about wowing about the solution you choose to make a black and white picture or whatever that pleases you. Because there are thousands of solutions that work and that you have a favorite one tells nothing at all, just that you made the program work for you. You might as well have no idea what photoshop is for the whole so expert is not: I know how to make it work for me. Expert is: I know the reasons behind the structure. And it is a lot about the companions of Photoshop too.

I collected a gazillion of comments like “the ACE is stupid because they ask you things that tells nothing about you skills”. And I start feeling very tired of these comments.


People who say things like that are rather out to get a clap on their back because they are so proud of themselves for discovering that you can use curves to do things that others do using some automatization or whatever in that line.

IF you are an expert you know THIS IS NOT what being an expert is about. Photoshop IS a program that you can absolutely use in more than one way and get perfect results. Would that be enough to call yourself an expert, wow, the world would be filled with such!

The expertise is not an ego boost on your solutions. Those are your solutions, it has nothing to do with being familiar with the program, it is being familiar with your routines.

So people who tell the ACE is a stupid thing because it tells nothing about how good you are either they don’t know what being an expert means or they are in bad faith.

The ACE is a very hard certificate to take, as it requires that you KNOW THE PROGRAM besides what you normally do. And that is WHAT BEING AN EXPERT means. Regardless the fact that you have discovered different solutions the thing is: do you really know Photoshop? It is not about being a good and fast photographer who edit fast, because photoshop is not just an enhancing editing program for photographers. That is rather limited a thinking.

Secondly I met another gazillion of educators who own schools, gain a lot of money teaching Photoshop, call themselves the best around and who claim “I don’t have the ACE because I don’t need it, as it tells nothing about me besides it is not required, no one asks for that, so I can live without”

Lie 1 and lie 2. That one can live without it is absolutely true. Just don’t spit on the effort of those who went that way because the fact that one doesn’t feel engaged and committed enough to get an expertise does not automatically means all those who have it are stupid for they invested their time on it.

These people who are in the education field – in that case I see a justified fear. These people are terrified with all reasons. They own schools, they call themselves excellent users. Think if they sit take the test and fail. How would they explain that miserable result compared to the money they want from people who want to learn photoshop with them? And honestly, to teach someone to use the layers and adjustments, you do really not need the ACE. But you are not an expert in Photoshop either. So yes they can do without (but stop turning down competitors who ARE better as they HAVE the ACE).

And they can too do without keep on telling that the ACE is nothing worth. If it is too much pain to say “I would never do that, I’d fail, so I stay away” don’t say that. But don’t even keep on preaching how not important that is. It is just so lame and show really no respect at all for all the experts around. The real ones.

There is nothing wrong in being a proficient user and not being a certified expert, but these people are out on bad waters when they say it is useless. It is useful for your career as there are schools who want to be certified Adobe school, and in that case they would search for those who own the ACE. Or the ACI.

I don’t own the ACE, I am studying since one year and a half to get there and it is by far the hardest thing I put my brain onto since I am alive. Besides I had nothing to loose when I started now I have to loose if I think about it the wrong way. But you see, I am not scared to fail: I’ve grown up in a comfortable education system where we were taught that failing is an important part of success. I failed a lot of times before I became very good to best in many things.

To be afraid is human. Somewhere you need to start from and if the fear to fail stops you, you are really in the wrong field. Even the masters at jumping in the boat of the winner will take a wrong step sooner or later. And they leave in the fear of that step, loose their sleep on it. While accepting it can happen will set you free: it happens, it’s normal it is even the way things MUST go. Here the one speaking is one who went very wrong at least twice in my life – look, it did not kill my business. It did not even kill my self-confidence because I was taught to be strong and I am very strong and self-confident. Accept self-criticism means accept the risk to do wrong and learn a school from that.

Besides it is not compulsory to fail a text just because it is very difficult. Just continue studying until you know the manual, until you are not just a proficient user but an expert in all aspects of photoshop.

If you are to take this journey don’t listen to the detractors. If they speak, that’s because they have a lot to loose and as usual, the only way for those to feel safe is to denigrate what they know they would not get, or are too lazy to even try.

Many people who are not capable or avoid the effort to reach hard things that depend on months of study and frustration, they just need to say this or that is not worth, just a useless piece of paper. And they find their own kind to support that opinion. Read through it that they are just not able to deal with fear and failure and I personally feel pity for them. It must be hard to live believing you must be perfect.

But I get angry too, as denigrating the ACE they spit too on the efforts and bravery of other people who did put whatever those others lack to gain that result.

As a professional it offends me. As a teacher, it makes me outraged.

This is what I have in my black book: all those who since they can’t do something, they preach that it is useless.

It is not: and it is not just a journey to professionalism, it is a great school for yourself on how deep we must know things and how many times we have to fail and be frustrated before we call ourselves experts, besides how little important it is to clap your smart solutions – it is really not about you, it is about photoshop.

In 1,5 years I got highest on 90% on the simulators and now I am back to 60%. As soon as you drop it, if it is not digested, it disappear. What can I say? I am a proficient user, I am not an expert. Yet.

I as everybody else, though accepting failing easily, I don’t like it at all and do my best to avoid it. I would never go to the test until I made 100% on the simulators for at least 3 months. Because I too suffer the malus that I under-deliver when I am tested. I know that and I get myself prepared to that. That’s how I arrived to a carriage of 30/30 cum laude so often, which is the highest result an Italian university can give you on a succeeded exam.

When I am asked 100 I get prepared for 180 because I know that in front of a test I give less because of stress.

Which means I have no hurry to get to that ACE and yes it freaks me out like being in love and not being able to share the feeling with the loved one. Elas both things happen, so deal with that 🙂

Since I know how hard it is to know a program that well, as 17 years on PS gave me a lot of proficiency but not the expertise yet, and I respect those who took the ACE before me- believe me those people have attributes and bravery and commitment and will beyond the average people, I will NEVER go around telling how stupid that is to have a pride and feel you want the ACE for yourself too.

Fed up with useless comments indeed.

It is still the Aesop’s story of the fox and the grape. Don’t listen to the people who are too scared for what they have to loose. They don’t understand where dignity lies, they think it’s in being faultless. Good for them, but being an expert means dealing with failure and frustration. Means do clean the road step by step. Means challenging yourself. Means take the risk others are not willing to take.

This world is filled with people who are not good at accepting failure, it tells a lot on the bravery they bare at heart, I would never be proud to be that way.

I wear all my bad choices as medals and I sit with my manual and learn to be an expert as you do. Don’t give up, it takes time and it gives a lot in terms of knowledges and self-confidence. Whoever tells you the ACE is a stupid thing, believe me you are better than those. They know and they denigrate your efforts because they can’t do that on their own and don’t like those who are brave. Brave ones challenge the safety of the world they have created for themselves. Don’t care about such.

The ACE is a journey inside the program that will give you expertise exactly as it promises to. You just need to accept that it is a fatigue beyond imagination and it is frustrating. It requires a lot A LOT A LOT of modesty, time and patience.

Be very proud of you the day you decide to go that way and deal with that fear of failing. Avoid instead all those who are out to tell you how useless that is. They have something to loose and no will to loose it. Respect their fears (I honestly gave up on that as I find it offensive but that is just my temper, you be better) and go a step ahead.


One thought on “Something about the ACE in photoshop

  1. For me to do the ACE, is like sending my car for a yearly audit. If there are areas of the program where I need to work I like to know about it. As a teacher it should be possible to wake me in the middle of the night and ask me anything about photoshop and I should be able to guide you without having to get to a computer or turn on the lights. I want to know the software inside and out… that is my ambition. And, yes… unlike teaching certificate or driving licence that you get once and it’s good for life, the ACE needs to be retaken with new versions. So I make sure I also am up to speed and current so that I can teach my students the smartest most efficient ways of using the software.
    I don’t need the ACE, but I am glad to have a tool to audit my knowledge.

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