How to Use Your Extra Time at Home to Finally Learn Photoshop

By David Nield on at

A mastery of Adobe Photoshop can help streamline your workflow in all kinds of fields, from web design and online publishing to digital art and photography. The software dominates the image-editing space (though alternatives are available), and no matter what your level – from beginner to expert – there’s always more to learn about using the program on Windows or macOS.

Amidst the global pandemic, many of us are stuck inside with more time on our hands. One way to use that time productively is to improve your Photoshop skills. It might help you in your current job, open the door to landing a new one or give you the foundation you need to start up a new side hustle.

Adobe


Adobe designed and coded Photoshop in the first place, so you would expect that the company knows a thing or two about how the software actually works. If you head to the Photoshop tutorials page on the Adobe website, you’ll find a host of different exercises and lessons to work through, from the basics to more advanced fare.

These tutorials are all video-based, and they’re all free to watch. They range in length from a couple minutes to a half-hour-long session. They’re perfect if you can’t sit down for hours on end and just want a lesson you can get through quickly. Even the tutorials for more experienced users aren’t all that involved in terms of what you learn.

The videos themselves are well organised and well narrated, and have the professional sheen that you would expect from Adobe. There are sample files included to help you practice as well, which we like. You can’t quite go from beginner to expert with the tutorials (though there are more than 120 of them and counting), but you can go a long way.

YouTube


Is there anything YouTube can’t teach us? In addition to hosting countless videos on how to unblock pipes, play the guitar, deal with problematic pets and hang paintings, YouTube also offers a plethora of Photoshop tutorial videos, which you can plunder for free (or pay for YouTube Premium and get them without ads).

YouTube being YouTube, there’s a lot of noise out there. As with many other categories of videos on the platform, you’ll have to sift through a lot of so-so material to get to the good stuff. However, once you’ve found a series or a YouTube tutor or two that you like, you’ll find it easy to learn.

Photoshop Tutorials is definitely worth a look, and offers a lot of content that’s easily explained. Photoshop Training Channel is another of our favourites – again, a whole host of topics are covered in a friendly and approachable way. Of course, you don’t have to stick to the same channel or series, and you’ll still find plenty of options if you search for a tutorial on a particular tool or technique.

Udemy


You can learn from all sorts of tutorials on Udemy – topics include coding, design, photography and more – and it has a strong Photoshop section, too, which includes a good amount of free material. Tutorials are video-based, so you watch a lesson and then try to follow along, and they cover all sorts of Photoshop skills and tricks with lessons of all different lengths.

You have a wide range of Photoshop experts to pick as your tutor, though you don’t have to pick just one. That also means the quality of the teaching and the tutorials varies, too, so be sure to check out ratings and reviews from people who’ve previously tried a course to see which ones are worth your while.

You can learn a lot for free, but there are also paid courses running into the hundreds of pounds – that gets you some extras, like the ability to message the instructor directly. Most courses offer some free content or at least a preview or two, so you know if the tutorials are presented in a way that you find helpful.

Photoshop Essentials


Photoshop Essentials is often listed as one of the best Photoshop resources on the web, and it’s packed with material. It’s not quite as professional or as polished as some of the other resources we’ve put in this list, but you can learn all kinds of skills for Adobe’s image-editing software, and it’s all free to access.

The tutorials are written out as step-by-step articles (you can even download PDFs if you need to), though some come with an accompanying video as well. This means they’re great for working at your own pace – you’re not constantly having to pause and rewind a video while you work out how to catch up.

A range of different skill levels are catered to on the site, though there isn’t much in the way of truly advanced tips and techniques. The Basics course offers a solid foundation for beginners, though after that you might have to hunt around a bit for what to do next. It’s definitely worth a bookmark if you want to hone your Photoshop talents.

Phlearn


There are some free tutorials on Phlearn, though the platform emphasises its Pro-level subscription that will set you back around $12.99 (£10.68) a month or $99.95 (£82.15) a year. But if you’re serious about upgrading your Photoshop and general photography skills, then it’s worth the price of admission. The content here is all well presented and easy to follow, and includes all the sample files you need, too.

The lessons are led by a small group of experts, and all the videos have high production values. Alongside the video clips, you get step-by-step instructions as text, which makes moving at your own pace a bit easier. Everything is made friendly and fun.

You should be able to decide if a Pro subscription is worth your time from the free tutorials that the site offers, but we don’t think you’ll be asking for a refund if you can afford the subscription. Almost every aspect of Photoshop is covered, as well as Adobe Lightroom and photography skills in general.

Envato Tuts+


Envato Tuts+ doesn’t have the same sort of structure and course flow as some of the other options we’ve mentioned here, but it’s still packed with plenty of useful guides, and much of it is free to access. It’s a good option to turn to if you want to know how to do something specific in Photoshop, though there are longer courses, too, if you need them.

Tutorials on Envato Tuts+ are put together by different experts, so the quality and teaching style vary, but the bar is pretty high overall. The guides come with both step-by-step instructions and an accompanying video, so you can combine them in whatever way suits your learning style best. Where needed, sample files are made available for download, too, and some material is offered in ebook format.

The site covers all kinds of photo and design software, not just Photoshop, so there’s lots of room to expand if you need to – you’ll probably learn some image processing techniques that you didn’t even realise were possible. To get access to everything on the site, you’ll need to pay for a subscription, which starts at $16.50 (£13.56) a month.

PhotoshopCafe


One of the busiest and most comprehensive Photoshop learning resources around, PhotoshopCafe lets you drop in on a quick bite-sized refresher or take your time with a more detailed, in-depth tutorial. There’s a range of pricing here, too, from free materials to courses typically in the £40-£80 range.

The tutorials take the form of video walkthroughs alongside text, and the majority of them are easy to follow and learn from. The quality can be a bit hit and miss in some places – PhotoshopCafe isn’t quite as slick and carefully curated together as some of the other sites on this list – but there are no real duds. Spend some time on Photoshop Cafe and you can’t help but improve your skills.

Paid content comes with a detailed preview of what you’re going to learn, as well as reviews from users who’ve previously worked through the guides, so you know what you’re getting for your money before you part with any of it. PhotoshopCafe works best as a place to fill in the gaps of your Photoshop knowledge, rather than as an all-encompassing guide to everything.

All images: Gizmodo