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Photoshop is hard. There are all kinds of commands, actions, effects, and tools that you’ve got to figure out, and the learning curve is one of the steepest you’ll ever encounter. (But it’s still better than the alternatives!)
Fortunately, the web is chock-full of amazing resources that you can use to catapult yourself past the dreaded newbie/intermediate phases. With deliberate practice, you’ll be a Photoshop ninja in no time and your confidence will shoot through the roof.
Here are 10 such resources for learning Photoshop on the web.
Lynda one of the best educational sites on the web. If you’ve never used it before, then you’re missing out! If you have used it before but never for learning Photoshop, then you’re also missing out. This should be the first stop for any and all Photoshop newbies.
Searching for “photoshop” results in over 450 unique tutorials, most of which are video courses that you can go through at your own pace. As of this writing, about 115 are categorized as Beginner, about 320 are Intermediate, and about 55 are Advanced. There’s something for everyone.
Lynda’s Basic plan costs $20 per month but comes with a 10-day free trial, so give it a try and see if you think it’s worth it. Note that you can get free access to Lynda if you have a participating public library near you.
TutsPlus is simply incredible. The Design & Illustration section is packed with so much content that you’ll never be able to get through it all, and the Photoshop subsection itself has over 2,500 free tutorials to explore.
The site also offers in-depth tutorials (called “courses”) that usually cost anywhere from $3 to $9 each, but you’ll be able to learn a TON of stuff without ever paying a cent.
Phlearn is probably the most popular Photoshop-centric resource of them all. You’ll find over 700 free tutorials that you can chew through, and the site continues to produce a new tutorial every few days. Most of them are quite excellent despite being free.
But if you want the top-notch stuff, you’ll have to pay for courses. Photoshop 101 and Photoshop 201, for example, cost $50 each, but most courses aren’t as expensive — Fashion Retouching is $35 while in-depth individual tutorials are about $25 each.
4. PSD Dude
PSD Dude’s website isn’t the prettiest, but the information is more valuable than gold. He produces a new tutorial at least once per week, but often more frequently than that, and he covers everything from basic tips to advanced manipulations.
What’s even better is that the site also doubles as a resource repository, where he offers all kinds of brushes, shapes, textures, templates, etc. that can be freely downloaded. It’s an amazing place to start for absolute newbies.
Spoon Graphics is the site you want if you prefer quality over quantity — in this case, that means one new tutorial every month, but each tutorial being both unique and full-featured. You’ll learn so much from each one.
The site also has a section for freebie downloads, including brushes, textures, photo effects, shapes, and more. But with a premium subscription, you’ll gain access to thousands of member-only resources that’ll crank up your Photoshop versatility by several notches.
6. PSD Vault [No Longer Available]
Nearly every article on PSD Vault is written by James Qu and he’s been at it since 2008. Photo effects, text effects, drawings, and abstracts — you name it, he’s probably done a tutorial on it. Becoming a premium member ($7 per month) gets you access to 30+ super tutorials.
The thing about PSD Vault is that his works are highly stylized, so the kinds of tutorials you’ll find here won’t be like anything else on the web. That’s great news if you aspire to his kind of work (and his work is fantastic).
There are aspects of this site that I personally don’t like, such as the general feeling that I’m being sold something at every corner, but the tips and guides are good so you should at least check it out once.
New posts are published once every few days and there are hundreds of existing tutorials to explore already. This one is definitely more for the “absolute newbie” end of the spectrum, but who knows, even veterans may find something worthwhile.
8. PSD Box
PSD Box is neither the highest quality or the most frequent producer of tutorials, but you can find several gems if you’re willing to dig around. A lot of the tutorials are related to photography in some way (e.g. retouching) but not all of them are. Worth a look, at least!
Reddit is the go-to community for a lot of specialized niches these days and Photoshop is no exception. Of the many Photoshop-related subreddits that exist, this one is the best for newbies. Just think of it as a user-generated aggregation of all the different tutorials on the web.
Multiple tutorials are posted every day, and most of them are YouTube videos that you can watch for free. You can also ask questions, like how to replicate the effect in a given image, and you’ll often get answers from knowledgeable readers who can point you in the right direction.
It’s one thing to consume a billion tutorials — it’s another thing entirely to put all that you’ve learned into practice. At some point you need to stop following tutorials and try to do things on your own. You need to synthesize and solidify your skills.
And that’s where this subreddit comes into play. The concept is simple: users upload interesting images, and all you have to do is Photoshop them. You can create whatever results you want, but most are edited for comedic effect.
Check out some of the more recent threads to get a sense of what the subreddit is all about. It’s an excellent way to practice and hone what you’ve learned, and you’ll laugh a ton along the way.
Being Bad Is the First Step to Being Great
If you aren’t sure if learning Photoshop is right for you, we recommend trying it out anyway. Give it a full month of daily practice (whether using the above tutorials or through some other resource) and see how you feel at the end of it.
Digital art with Photoshop is one of those creative hobbies that could make you happier. Just remember that it takes a while to become great and persistence always trumps innate talent (we learned that from Pixar).
Which of these sites looks most appealing to you? Know of any other sites that are great for learning Photoshop? Share with us in the comments below!
Originally written by David Pierce on 29th Jan 2009