What Is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop, commonly known as just Photoshop, is a powerful photo editing and graphic design program. Developed in 1988 by brothers Thomas and John Knoll, it was initially released as Image Pro, but as that name was already taken, they later changed it to Photoshop. The brothers sold distribution rights to Adobe, which released the software as Adobe Photoshop 1.0 in 1990.
Photoshop was originally intended to provide an easy solution for editing digital photos, and it has certainly evolved with each new release to become the most popular and powerful photo editing software in the world.
However, it is also a premium program for creating a wide range of digital products, from digital paintings to web design materials, posters, mockups, and more, and it's widely used by designers, photographers, artists, web developers, and many others. And with the addition of Photoshop add-ons such as actions, brushes, layer styles, and more, it definitely becomes the king of image editing software.
What Does PSD Stand For?
Now, you've probably heard the abbreviation PSD and you're wondering, "What is a PSD, and what does PSD stand for?" Photoshop files have the default file extension of PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document.
So, what is a PSD? PSD files store an image with support for most imaging functions available in Photoshop like masks, alpha channels, transparencies, etc., but you can also save to file formats like JPG, PNG, and GIF, among others.
What Is Photoshopping?
Photoshop has gained so much popularity over the years that now it's also used as a verb in the English language. If you're wondering what Photoshopping is, it means "to alter (a digital image) using Photoshop or other image editing software."
If you prefer video tutorials to learn more about Photoshopping, then follow along with this article over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
Learn How to Use Photoshop Effectively With This Free Course
What Are Photoshop Actions?
Let's talk about what Photoshop actions are. A Photoshop action is essentially a recording of a sequence of steps that you use to create a desired effect on an image. That recording can then be used over and over again at the click of a button to create the same effect on other single images or a batch of images.
For example, you could create an action that applies a particular effect to an image, changes it to black and white, applies a texture, and saves the file to the format of your choosing. Then you could apply that one action to multiple images.
Photoshop comes with predefined actions installed that help you perform common tasks. You can also create your own actions or buy complex actions that create spectacular effects. We'll explore a few of the best later on, and you can check out these useful resources as well:
Explore 8,000+ Photoshop Actions and Presets
- Photoshop ActionsDavid Appleyard01 Jun 2022
- How to Install an Adobe Photoshop ActionKirk Nelson26 Nov 2015
- How to Use Photoshop ActionsMelody Nieves21 Oct 2020
- 100 Free Photoshop Actions (And How to Make Your Own)Josh Johnson06 Aug 2022
What Are Photoshop Layer Styles?
Now we'll talk about Photoshop layer styles: what exactly are they, and how are they used? Photoshop layer styles are a popular way to add effects to layers in a non-destructive way. They were first introduced way back in version 6 of the software, so Photoshop comes with a variety of layer styles that can be easily recognized.
If you don't want to use what's included, you can create your own layer styles or download them from Envato Elements' library. Later we'll explore some Photoshop text effects examples, one of the most popular types of layer styles. And you can also check out these articles and resources:
Explore over 1,500+ Photoshop Layer Styles
- Introduction to Photoshop Layer StylesJohn Shaver22 Nov 2019
- Best Resources of 2022: Photoshop Text Effects & Layer StylesMelody Nieves03 Nov 2021
- How to Create a Realistic Neon Light Text Effect in Adobe PhotoshopRose22 Apr 2023
- 48 Best Photoshop Text Styles (Download Layer Effect PSDs Now!)Nona Blackman24 May 2021
What Are Photoshop Brushes?
The Photoshop brush is a tool located in the standard Photoshop toolbar that digitally reproduces the physical brush used by painters.
Photoshop includes several built-in brushes ready to use, but the real power of the brush tool comes when you add your own or buy Photoshop brushes made by other creators that create stunning effects.
We'll check out some top examples later on, and here are some great tutorials and resources on Photoshop brushes:
Explore 400+ Photoshop Brushes
- How to Make a Brush in Photoshop From an ImageDaisy Ein31 Jan 2021
- How to Create Realistic Watercolor Photoshop Brushes From ScratchIvan Gromov11 May 2021
- How to Make a Bokeh Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar02 Mar 2021
- How to Make a Galaxy Brush in PhotoshopIvan Gromov22 Dec 2021
What Are Photoshop Templates?
A Photoshop template is a document that has been pre-formatted with a specific layout, placeholder images, graphics, text, and colours.
Templates offer a starting point for you to create your own document. If you don't have strong design skills or are fresh out of ideas, but want to create an invitation, brochure, flyer, etc., a professionally designed Photoshop template gives you a solid base which you can customise with your own images, text, and colours.
When you customise the template, the layout stays locked in place, and you replace the placeholders with your own content. Photoshop templates can be used repeatedly, so you only need to buy a template once. Here are some great articles and resources to find inspiration:
Explore 50,000+ Photoshop Templates
- 50+ Best Photoshop Templates From Envato Elements (Download PSD Templates Now!)Nona Blackman06 Oct 2020
- 25 Best Photoshop Brochure Design Templates (PSD Downloads 2023)Brenda Barron27 Nov 2022
- 33 Best Wedding Program Templates (Examples and Ideas)Nona Blackman16 Jan 2023
- How to Create a Greeting Card Template in PhotoshopAnushka Shukla10 Feb 2023
Get the Best Photoshop Add-Ons With Unlimited Downloads From Envato Elements
Whether you're starting your journey with Adobe Photoshop or you're a seasoned user, you'll need a professional source of Photoshop add-ons.
Envato Elements has an unbeatable offer: for a flat monthly fee, you have unlimited access to a library of over 9,000 Photoshop add-ons.
That's right. Download as many Photoshop actions, Photoshop layer styles, text effects, brushes, Photoshop templates, and more. If you need premium fonts, stock images, or graphics, you'll find everything over at Envato Elements.
And the best is that this is a no-tie contract. You can sign up below to see how it works, and cancel any time.
Get a Subscription to Envato Elements
Next up, we'll explore some top Photoshop add-ons you can instantly add to your toolbox:
Top Photoshop Actions to Use in 2022
Charcoal Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
Creating this awesome charcoal effect is just a click away when you download and install this Photoshop action. The action is well organised in layers, all of which are adjustable.
Portrait Into Text Photoshop Action (ATN)
Deepen the meaning of your portraits with one click when you use this Portrait Into Text Photoshop Action. The action works equally well with black and white as well as colour photos.
Double Light Photoshop Action (ATN, PAT)
Want to add creative interests to your portraits? How about using this Double Light Photoshop Action? The action adds accent and emotion to your images with just one click. Great for magazine covers, posters, and album covers.
Desert Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
So you've taken some great action photos, but you want to increase their drama. How do you do that? With this action, of course. Just download it to your computer and add it to Photoshop, and then run the action with the click of a button to transform your image.
Winter Pack Photoshop Action (ATN, ASL)
Want to have a bit of fun with your photographs? Try this Winter Pack Photoshop Action. It offers tons of different winter effects, as well as 20 different glitter actions. Just download the action, open your image in Photoshop, click the play button, and you're done.
Painting Photoshop Actions (PSD)
Transform your photos into gorgeous paintings when you use this Painting Photoshop Action. The action works in a non-destructive way to achieve a high-quality look, so the original image layer will remain unchanged.
50 Newborn Photoshop Actions (PSD)
Take gorgeous photos of your baby and then use these awesome Newborn Photoshop Actions to create interesting and eye-catching effects with a single click. There are 50 different actions included, so have fun experimenting with various combinations.
SandDust Photoshop Action (PSD)
SandDust Action uses suspended sand particles and rays of light to create dramatic and stunning images. The action is as easy to use as one click, but there is a video tutorial included to help give you ideas of how you can use the action creatively to expand its possibilities.
Rain Photoshop Action (ABR)
Realistic rain effects can take loads of time to create, but with this Rain Photoshop Action, you can add the effect to your photos in just a few minutes. You can choose the angle of the rain, and there are ten colour presets included with the action.
Top Photoshop Layer Styles and Photoshop Text Effects
3D Gold Text Effects for Photoshop (PSD)
Gold text effect Photoshop layer styles are really popular. And this one is really cool because it combines a 3D effect! Get ten different layer styles that work with smart objects in this kit.
Open Night Neon Text Effect for Photoshop (PSD)
This one is for the fans of neon text effect Photoshop layer styles. It's really easy to use, and it comes fully layered and supports smart objects.
3D Text Effect Photoshop Add-On (PSD)
Make all the 3D text designs you want with this 3D text effect Photoshop download. The kit includes three PSD files in Smart Objects with three sizes (small, medium, and big).
80's Style Photoshop Text Effects (PSD)
If you love the 80s and retro vibes, you'll love these Photoshop text effects. Get ten amazing PSD files to create amazing retro designs in seconds!
Smoke Photoshop Layer Styles (PSD)
What looks cooler than a realistic smoke effect? This download includes 11 different Photoshop layer styles. All layers are movable objects so you can easily rotate, zoom, copy, or change the color of the smoke.
Best Photoshop Brushes for 2022
Geometric Photoshop Brushes (ABR, EPS, PNG)
Geometric Photoshop Brushes offers 50 high-resolution geometric Photoshop brushes. Use these versatile brushes to decorate your next project. The pack includes transparent PNG files and the original vector files (EPS).
Plastic Photoshop Brushes (ABR)
Plastic is such an ever-present part of our world, so why not have a bit of fun adding plastic effects to your work with these plastic Photoshop brushes. The collection offers 30 different brushes to keep you busy experimenting for a while.
Dust Photoshop Brushes (ABR)
Add mystery and intrigue to your photos and artwork when you use these ten dust brushes to add dust effects to your work. This brush pack is fully customisable, so you can change any brush parameters as you like to achieve the results you need.
90 Procreate Stamps & Photoshop Brushes (ABR, PNG)
What better way to add texture and interest to your work than with this collection of 90 stamps and Photoshop brushes. Perfect for creating posters, pattern designs, greetings cards, invitations, social media designs, and more, these brushes are high resolution so are suitable for both web and print projects.
Abstract Nature Photoshop Brushes (ABR)
Whatever kind of art you create, these brushes can help you take your work to the next level. The set contains a total of 1,500 brushes in high resolution.
Paint Splatter Brushes (ABR)
With 99 high-resolution brushes to choose from, this collection of compact, dense splatters and individual drops gives users maximum flexibility when decorating their work. All the brushes are high resolution, making them ideal for both screen and print work.
Watercolor Photoshop Brush Set
This collection of 48 naturalistic watercolour brushes will help you to create stunning artwork and backgrounds easily. This brush pack features a huge range of textured strokes that were sampled from real watercolour for maximum authenticity.
50 Photoshop Brushes (ABR, PNG)
With 25 brush line variations and 25 circle brushes, this collection of 50 ink brush styles can be used separately or mixed to create dramatic results.
Top Photoshop Templates to Try This Year
Wedding Wreath Wedding Invitation Template (PSD)
Wedding Wreath Wedding Invitation Template makes it easy for you to create stunning wedding invitations in no time at all. Each element contained in this template is placed in well-organised layers and highlighted to make customisation easy. All fonts are 100% free, and the download links are in the zip folder.
Style | Instagram Photoshop Template (PSD)
If you need help creating the eye-candy posts you've seen on Instagram, here's the secret recipe: just download this Instagram Photoshop template, add your own text and images, and get ready to watch the likes roll in!
Lookbook Photoshop Brochure Template (PSD)
Creating eye-catching lookbooks is now easier than ever, thanks to this awesome eight-page Photoshop brochure template. Just use the existing layouts, swap in your own text and images, and it's ready to print!
Summer Flyer 16 (PSD)
Whether you're planning a party, opening an art gallery, or need to create a fundraiser flyer, Summer Flyer 16 has you covered. With its cool, dissected circles and intersecting shapes, the template is yet another example of the on-trend designs you can expect when you sign up for Envato Elements.
Bifold Brochure (PSD)
This bifold template offers a professional and eye-catching four-page layout. Change the cover photo, and then add your text and business brand colours to make the most of the template.
Restaurant Photoshop Menu Template (PSD)
If you run a cafe or restaurant, you can use this Photoshop menu template to create a simple, eye-catching menu to advertise your dishes with mouth-watering images. The simple bifold design makes it perfect to give out as a brochure to generate publicity as well.
Photoshop Book Template (PSD)
This Photoshop book template gives you a fantastic foundation to work from, with 41 pages and eye-catching layouts and imagery. It's a great way to create a short but attention-grabbing ebook to communicate an idea and showcase your expertise.
Gift Certificate Template Photoshop (PSD)
Offering gift certificates is a great way to spread the word about your business, while offering your customers an easy gift for their hard-to-buy-for friends and family. Create one the easy way by opening this gift certificate template in Photoshop and customising it as much or as little as you want.
Choose Your Favourite Photoshop Resource
Now that you know what Photoshop is and have an idea of the kind of tools available to help you create great work using this powerful software, why not choose one of the above actions, brushes, or templates available from Envato Elements, and see what you can create in Photoshop?
And finally, if you want more information on Photoshop resources, check out Envato Tuts+ and the Envato Blog for more Photoshop resources! For example, check out this article on Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop: Top 15 Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and the articles below:
- 25+ Amazing Vintage Photoshop Filters & Old Retro StylesMelody Nieves10 Nov 2022
- 50+ Best Free Photoshop Actions of 2023Nona Blackman13 Dec 2022
- 28 Best New Photoshop Portrait ActionsMelody Nieves03 May 2023
- 1,000+ Best Photoshop Textures From Envato Elements (Textures, Overlays, Brushes)Nona Blackman08 Oct 2020
- 40 Best Light Effect Photoshop Actions, Brushes, and Photo Effects (New for 2023)Melody Nieves20 Dec 2022
- 100+ Best Smoke Effect Resources for Photoshop (Smoke Brush, Smoke Overlay)Andrei Marius31 May 2020
- 40 Best Postcard Templates (InDesign, Photoshop, and More)Nona Blackman13 May 2020
- 27 New Magazine Templates for 2023 (PSD & InDesign Templates)Melody Nieves15 Nov 2022
- 100+ Great Photoshop Tutorials for Clever BeginnersDanny Outlaw15 Aug 2022
Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is the Associate Editor of the Tuts+ Design channel.