Is Photoshop hard to learn? It doesn't have to be! In this article, we'll take you through a huge collection of free learning resources that will help you master the basics of Photoshop in no time.
1. What Is Adobe Photoshop?
What is Adobe Photoshop used for?
In this section, we'll introduce you to Photoshop by giving you a brief history and describing its main uses.
We'll also include a video for you to watch, and we'll show you a few beautiful and varied creations, with links to free tutorials on how to make them in Photoshop.
Did you know that Photoshop has been around since the 1980s? It was created way back in 1987 by two brothers, Thomas and John Knoll, who sold the distribution license to Adobe the following year. Photoshop 1.0 was released, initially just for Mac computers, in February 1990.
Of course, the program has changed a lot since then. It now has a powerful set of features that millions of people around the world use every day to edit photos and create digital art. Learn more about the basics of Photoshop in this video:
What is Adobe Photoshop used for?
Photoshop is primarily used for editing images. So if you've taken a photo and want to move things around, or change the background, or make it black and white, you can do all that—and much more! Photoshop has a huge range of tools and effects to help you make the most out of your images.
But Photoshop is also much more than an image-editing tool. You can also use it to create powerful works of digital art, make flyers and posters, create cool text effects, and much more. We'll be looking at all of this in more detail later on, but here's a quick selection to give you an idea of what's possible:
2. How Long Does It Take to Learn Photoshop?
So you want to learn Photoshop, but first you want to know what sort of commitment you're letting yourself in for?
It's a natural question to ask! In this section, we'll look at how long it takes to learn Photoshop and introduce you to some resources to help cut that time in half!
How long does it take to learn Photoshop?
Photoshop is a huge program, with loads of advanced features. That's good because it gives you lots of power to create beautiful images and artwork, but it also means it can take years to truly master Photoshop and discover every single feature.
But don't despair! You can get up and running much faster than that. The best way to get started is to take this free course, Photoshop for Beginners. In just over three hours, Dan Scott takes you through all the key features you need to understand, from working with layers through to masking, smart objects, and more.
If you've already watched it, or if you're already beyond the beginner level, then try these two more advanced videos to get to the next level:
Advanced Photoshop for Everyone
Whereas the beginner course takes you through key features, this course goes to the next level by showing you how to create a mixed media piece of digital art from start to finish. You'll learn about editing images, using Photoshop effects, photo manipulation, and painting fantastical scenes.
A to Z of Photoshop
Or why not learn Photoshop from A to Z? This video teaches you a new Photoshop feature or technique for every letter of the alphabet. Whether you're a beginner or a more experienced Photoshop user, there's sure to be something new and useful for you to learn in this video.
If you watch all three videos, you'll have a very strong knowledge of Photoshop. With a total watch time of 4.5 hours, that's a pretty good answer to the question of how long it takes to learn Photoshop.
Another great way to save time in Photoshop is to use ready-made Photoshop templates and add-ons. Instead of starting from scratch each time, you can use these professional resources to help you get a head start. And the best part is, you can use them even if you're not a Photoshop expert.
Again, there's more to come later in this article, but here's a quick selection to give you an idea of what's out there:
3. Photoshop Basics
Let's keep things simple. What if you don't want to watch a three-hour course, but you need to figure out how to do something simple in Photoshop, like drawing a line or cropping an image?
In this section, we'll look at some great, simple tutorials covering the Photoshop basics for beginners.
How to Draw a Line in Photoshop
OK, it doesn't much simpler than drawing a line. But with so many Photoshop tools to choose from, it can be tough to do something simple like finding the Photoshop line tool. This tutorial will help you out.
How to Crop in Photoshop
Cropping is another of the basics of Photoshop that you'll need to master, and this tutorial shows you exactly how to do it.
How to Cut Out an Image
Cutting out an image from its background is another thing you'll find yourself doing a lot. This tutorial introduces you to several useful Photoshop tools, including the Lasso Tool in Photoshop.
There are plenty more tutorials on Envato Tuts+ to help you learn the Photoshop basics for beginners and master important Photoshop tools. Here are a few to start with:
- How to Draw an Arrow in PhotoshopAndrei Marius14 May 2023
- How to Make Shapes in PhotoshopAndrei Marius18 Dec 2021
- How to Deselect in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar11 Mar 2023
- How to Type on a Path in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna15 Aug 2022
- How to Create a Silhouette in PhotoshopAshlee Harrell08 Nov 2021
- How to Use the Lasso Tool in PhotoshopIvan Gromov11 Feb 2022
4. Photoshop Actions
Photoshop actions let you apply incredible effects with the click of a button!
Let's look at how to use Photoshop actions, where to find the best Photoshop actions, and how to create an action in Photoshop.
What Are Photoshop Actions?
Photoshop actions are a way of recording a series of steps so that you can play them back any time in the future, just by pressing a button or using a keyboard shortcut.
As you can imagine, they can save you a lot of time. And the best Photoshop actions also help you create some pretty amazing effects in no time at all. Learn more by reading our guide to Photoshop actions or by watching this video:
How to Add Actions to Photoshop and Use Them
OK, so next you need to know how to install Photoshop actions and start using them. Fortunately, we've got a couple of videos that will help you with that:
How to Create an Action in Photoshop
What if you want to get creative and record your own actions? No problem—here are some tutorials to help you create a whole range of different Photoshop actions.
- How to Create an Ashes & Embers Dispersion Action in Adobe PhotoshopIndranil Saha05 Apr 2021
- How to Create an Abstract Watercolor Effect Photoshop ActionMarko Kožokar21 Jul 2020
- How to Create a Photo to Art Text Effect Photoshop ActionMarko Kožokar16 Oct 2020
- How to Make a Photoshop Action to Create a Stitched Jeans Text EffectJan Stverak18 Feb 2022
- How to Create a Scribble Sketch Effect Action in Adobe PhotoshopMarko Kožokar16 Feb 2022
- How to Create an Instagram Filter Photoshop ActionMelody Nieves25 Jan 2021
Where to Find the Best Photoshop Actions
If you want to save time, the quickest way to create a stunning effect in Photoshop is to download an action someone else has created, install it in Photoshop, and use it.
Here are some of the best Photoshop actions you can find—they're all easy to use, so you can create these amazing effects with just a few clicks.
5. Photoshop Brushes
Photoshop comes with some basic brushes built in, and you can use them to create simple drawings and paintings.
If you want to go to the next level, however, you'll want to start customising the brushes or downloading and installing your own. Learn how to do that in this section.
Start by learning the basics of brushes for Photoshop in this video with Abbey Esparza. She covers all the settings in the Brush panel, showing you how to customise brushes and how to save and install brushes in Photoshop.
Then, take it to the next level by watching this video in which Melody Nieves gives you ten tips to master Photoshop brushes. If you want to get more artistic and use brushes for Photoshop painting, then this is the video for you.
Then you can explore the huge library of hundreds of free Photoshop brush tutorials on Envato Tuts+ to help you create and use a whole range of different brush types:
- How to Create a Stripe Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna08 Jul 2022
- How to Make a Hair Brush in PhotoshopAbbey Esparza29 Oct 2021
- How to Make a Cloud Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna08 Dec 2020
- How to Create Realistic Watercolor Photoshop Brushes From ScratchIvan Gromov11 May 2021
- How to Create a Custom Smoke Brush in Adobe PhotoshopKirk Nelson26 Mar 2020
- How to Make a Heart Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna14 Feb 2022
Finally, if you want to download ready-made brushes and use them right away, here are seven great options. Swipe in the gallery to see them all, and click to download!
6. Layer Styles
Photoshop layer styles are a cool technique you need to know about. They let you apply effects to images and text quickly and easily.
Learn all about layer styles and how to change a layer style in Photoshop in this section.
Photoshop layer styles make it easy to add effects, like shadows and textures, in a non-destructive way.
What's non-destructive? It means that you're not changing the image itself—you're just applying a style via a separate layer, and you can always change the effect or go back to the original if you want.
Learn more in this layer styles Photoshop tutorial on YouTube:
You can use layer styles for so many different types of effects. Here's a quick sample, and you can find loads more in the layer styles Photoshop tutorials here on Envato Tuts+.
- How to Apply an Outer Glow to Layer Styles in PhotoshopJohn Shaver18 Mar 2023
- How to Make a Graffiti Text Effect With Photoshop Layer StylesJan Stverak23 Apr 2021
- Create a Simple, Elegant Textured Metal Text Effect in Adobe PhotoshopJonathan Lam15 Mar 2022
- Introduction to Photoshop Layer StylesJohn Shaver22 Nov 2019
- How to Create Metal Textures in PhotoshopRowena Aitken25 Apr 2023
- How to Create 10 Different Useful Layer Style Text Effects in Adobe PhotoshopRose28 Feb 2021
And of course you can also download Photoshop layer styles to use in your projects. Here's a selection of some of the best options available:
7. Photo Effects
Another great use of Photoshop is to make photo effects.
Again, you can either create them yourself or download ready-made photo effects for Photoshop. We'll cover both options in this section.
Photoshop photo effects let you transform a simple photo into something very different and much more complex. You could create a cartoon effect, glitch effect, watercolour painting effect, and much more.
The best way to get an idea of what kind of photo effects you can create is to watch the videos below. They'll introduce you to some very cool photo effects and will give you step-by-step instructions on creating those effects yourself.
Or do you prefer written tutorials? Here's a selection of some of the best photo effect tutorials here on Envato Tuts+:
As you'll see from those tutorials, creating your own photo effects in Photoshop can be rewarding, but it's also very time-consuming. So if you prefer to use photo effects that other professional designers have already created for you, try downloading these:
8. Photo Manipulation
What if, instead of applying an effect to your photo, you want to change it completely, bringing in elements of other photos and mixing them up to create something new?
You can do that too—it's called creative photo manipulation in Photoshop, also known as creative compositing. Learn about it in this section.
The great thing about creative photo manipulation in Photoshop is that you can create complex works of art, without knowing how to draw or paint. You just bring elements of existing photos together to create stunning compositions.
To make your creations look realistic, however, you'll need to learn a lot of compositing techniques to help you blend photos and balance the lighting, colours, shadows, etc. Fortunately, this free course with Abbey Esparza covers all of that:
Photo Manipulation for Beginners | FREE COURSE
In this free course, you'll learn to create new landscapes from multiple different photos, how to extract people and objects, and how to blend them into your new environments. Learn the essential techniques of photo manipulation, such as how to blend in Photoshop, how to make a mask, how to cut out an image, how to select hair, sky replacement, how to create Photoshop custom brushes, and more! Chapters include:
- Creating a landscape
- Compositing a subject
- Adding details
- Colour correction
And here's an excellent free course on creative compositing in Photoshop with Dan White, aka Dansky:
Learn Creative Compositing in Adobe Photoshop
In this free course, you’ll learn some tips and techniques for compositing images creatively in Adobe Photoshop from instructor Daniel White, aka Dansky. You’ll use a 3D asset along with some stock imagery to create a post-apocalyptic robot scene in a disused industrial warehouse. At the end of the course, you’ll have learned about composition, scale, and lighting to help you combine multiple images of your own in Adobe Photoshop! Chapters include:
- Balancing colours and lighting
- Adding textures
- Shadows and glow
- Developing the scene
- Adding effects
If you're still looking for photo manipulation ideas, check out these wonderfully creative tutorials. As you can see, this technique gives you so much scope for making something surreal, funny, cute, or just plain weird!
9. Text Effects
Photoshop is great for images and graphics, but did you know you can also use it to create dramatic text effects?
If you want to set text on fire, make it glow like metal or have it shimmer like ice, Photoshop is the tool for you. Learn all about creating Photoshop text effects in this section.
It's easy to make cool text effects in Photoshop. All you have to do is take some text and use layer styles and other Photoshop tools to give it the desired look. You could make your text look like grass, party balloons, cartoon text, and so much more!
For example, here's how to create a neon text effect in Photoshop:
And that's just one example! There are loads more possibilities out there. Learn how to add effects to text in Photoshop by watching these videos:
Want more? Check out this YouTube playlist, which features dozens of free videos on a whole range of text effects, from embroidery to clouds, lava, and much more!
Or if you prefer written tutorials, here's a selection for you to sink your teeth into:
10. Photoshop Templates
Photoshop is also a great app for creating posters, flyers, and other printed products like magazine covers.
You'll learn how to make them in this section, and we'll also look at some cool graphic design templates to help you complete your projects more quickly and easily.
The best way to learn how to create your own Photoshop print documents is to watch a comprehensive free course that takes you through the full step-by-step process. Here's one on Photoshop poster design:
And here are some quick tips from our course on flyer design:
Photoshop Flyer Design Tips
Set Your Document Up Right
For a successful flyer design, you'll want to start by choosing the right dimensions and setting up the document properly.
Use High-Quality Imagery
Choose the best stock imagery or use your own images to give your flyer instant appeal.
Match the Style to the Purpose
Flyer design can vary widely depending on the purpose of the flyer. You'll see two very different examples in this course: a fun music festival flyer and an elegant, formal Art Deco invitation.
You can also learn from our huge selection of written tutorials on Photoshop poster design, flyer design, and more.
Photoshop Poster Design Tutorials
- How to Create a 90s Abstract Rave Poster in Adobe PhotoshopLaura Keung06 Sep 2022
- How to Create a Retro Boxing Poster in PhotoshopIvan Gromov20 Nov 2021
- How to Create a Happy Diwali PosterAshlee Harrell22 Jun 2022
- How to Make an Action Movie Poster in PhotoshopAbbey Esparza10 Jun 2023
Photoshop Flyer Design Tutorials
- How to Create a Fitness Flyer in PhotoshopJonathan Lam20 Dec 2021
- How to Make a Dia de Muertos Flyer in PhotoshopLaura Keung11 Apr 2022
- How to Design an Eid Flyer Template in PhotoshopMissChatz19 Oct 2021
- How to Make a Band Flyer in PhotoshopAshlee Harrell13 Jun 2023
Photoshop Magazine Design Tutorials
- How to Create Your Own Vogue Magazine CoverAshlee Harrell18 Apr 2023
- How to Make a Time Magazine Cover TemplateLaura Keung14 Apr 2023
- How to Create Your Own GQ Magazine CoverAshlee Harrell16 Apr 2022
- Create a Magazine Mockup Using InDesign and PhotoshopMohammad Jeprie29 Apr 2020
Photoshop Brochure Design Tutorials
- How to Make a Tri-Fold Brochure Template in PhotoshopAbbey Esparza13 Dec 2022
- How to Create a Brochure Mockup in PhotoshopAshlee Harrell20 May 2022
Get a Head Start With a Photoshop Template
Although these tutorials will help you create any kind of document you want, it will still take time to set up the document and create your design from scratch. A high-quality Photoshop template will give you a professionally designed structure, so that all you need to do is drop in your own images and text to create stunning results in no time!
Here are a few of the best graphic design templates you could choose:
We've covered a lot of ground in this article. If you've finished the whole thing and followed all the links to more detailed tutorials, you should now be in a great position to use Photoshop in all your graphic design projects.
You've also seen some great templates and add-ons to help you get the most out of Photoshop's powerful set of features. Just to finish off, here are a few more excellent choices for you.