Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners
We frequently publish posts on this blog that feature tutorials for learning how to do various things with Photoshop, but we have rarely focused on just the basics. This post is intended for designers or aspiring designers who either want to get started with Photoshop or have limited experience and are looking to improve.
While there are plenty of great learning resources available online, it’s often difficult for beginners to know where to get started because everything seems to be scattered. With this post you’ll find links to plenty of resources to teach you all the basics and fundamentals of Photoshop.
Most of the resources and tutorials listed in this post will focus on teaching one particular aspect of Photoshop, such as how to use a specific tool. Everything is broken down into sections so you can find exactly what you are looking for.
Intro to Photoshop’s Tools and UI:
The resources in this section will serve as an introduction for those who are new to Photoshop. They will help you to learn your way around the interface and with some of the basics of Photoshop.
More resources for learning the tools and UI:
- Learn Photoshop CC (video series)
- Photoshop Basix (series)
- The Photoshop CS6 User Interface (PDF)
- Introduction to Photoshop CS6 (series)
- Customize the Way You Work in Adobe Photoshop CC
- Photoshop Toolbox Reference
Layers, Layer Styles, Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers:
In order to be able to efficiently and effectively work with Photoshop you will need a solid understanding of layers. The resources in this section provide guides for working with layers in Photoshop, as well as layer styles, layer masks and adjustment layers.
More resources for learning about layers, layer styles, layer masks, and adjustment layers:
The Pen Tool:
Photoshop’s pen tool can be used for impressive results, but it can be very difficult to use if you don’t understand how it works. The following resources will provide helpful guides to explain the pen tool and how you can use it in your own work.
More resources for the pen tool:
Brushes and Other Presets:
Brushes, patterns, shapes, and the other presets are an essential part of Photoshop. Whether you are using the presets that come with the software, downloading those created by other designers, or creating your own, learning the potential of these presets and how to work with them should be a priority.
More resources for brushes and presets:
- Creating and Modifying Brushes
- Creating Custom Brushes (video)
- Photoshop Brushes: The Brush Dynamics Options
- How to Use Scripted Patterns and Fills in Photoshop CC
- Mastering the Preset Manager
- Quick Tip: How to Load Photoshop Brushes
- Guide to Patterns in Photoshop
- How to Customize the Results of an Action
- How to Use Patterns
- Creating Custom Patterns
- Photoshop Tip: Rotate Brush Between Use
- Creating Custom Shapes in Photoshop (video)
The type tool is a little more straightforward than some of the others for beginners, but it still helps to have a firm grasp of how the tool works and what you can do with text in Photoshop.
More learning resources related to the type tool:
With Photoshop’s transform capabilities you can edit and manipulate objects in a variety of different ways. The links provided below with get you started.
More learning resources related to the free transform tool.
- Free Transform Essential Skills and Shortcuts
- Using Transform in Photoshop
- Transforming Selections in Photoshop
The are several different ways to make selections in Photoshop, and each technique has certain situations where it works better than others. Here you’ll learn about the basic selection tools and when to use them.
More resources for selections:
- The Selection Tools
- A Comprehensive Introduction to Photoshop Selection Techniques
- Master Photoshop’s Selection Tools in Under 30 Minutes
- 5 Quick Selection Tools in Photoshop
Clone Stamp Tool and Content Aware Fill:
The clone stamp tool allows you to duplicate, or clone, an area. The resources below will explain how to tool works and how you can use it.
More learning resources related to the clone stamp tool and content aware fill.
- How to Use the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop (video)
- Introduction to Content Aware Fill in Photoshop
Photoshop’s various blend modes give users a lot of potential to create different results quickly and easily. The links in this section will explain how you can play with the blend modes of your layers and what types of changes it will have.
More resources for blend modes:
Photoshop has a number of different filters that you can use, and each has its own purpose and use. These links will explain some of the different filters, how they work, and when you should use them.
More learning resources related to filters:
- How to Use Filters in Photoshop CS6
- Filter Effects Reference for CS6 and CC
- 10 Photoshop Filters You Definitely Should Know
Photoshop smart objects can help you to save time on repetitive tasks, and these links will show you how to use them.
More learning resources related to smart objects
- Genius Ways to Use Photoshop Smart Objects
- Making Non-Destructive Transformations with Smart Objects (video)
- Transforming Smart Objects (video)
Efficiency and Performance:
If you use Photoshop a lot you will want to make the most of your time with it. The resources here will help you to work smarter with as little wasted time as possible.
More resources for efficiency and performance:
- 14 Tricks & Tweaks to Speed Up Photoshop CS6 Performance
- Optimize Photoshop’s Performance
- How to Set Preferences and Memory Usage for Peak Performance – Photoshop CS6 and CC
- Adobe Photoshop CC – Essential Preference Settings (video)
- Photoshop CC Keyboard Shortcut Cheatsheet
- Batch Processing (video)
These links will show you how you can save and optimize images that are going to be used on websites, for maximum performance.
Working with Colors in Photoshop:
Colors are, of course, an essential part of any design. These resources will explain the basics of working with color in Photoshop.
More resources for working with color:
- Photoshop Color Profiles for Web Images
- RGB vs. CMYK
- Essential Color Settings for Photographers
- New Color Lookup Adjustment in Photoshop CS6
- Create Custom Photoshop Color Swatches and Sets
Now that you’ve learned the basics of Photoshop, here are some tutorial collections that you may want to check out: