Photoshop is arguably the best graphics editing software in the world. It has incredible capabilities and a fairly easy learning curve.
It’s quite easy to learn Photoshop. You need to follow a certain path though. You need to structure your learning. You need to pick your sources of knowledge.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say we have 2 people called Tom and Jerry. Both of them want to learn Photoshop.
Tom starts looking at random tutorials. Whatever fancies his interest, he watches. Since he’s a beginner, he doesn’t completely understand what’s going on. But he tries as best as possible to imitate what he sees. He’s eager to learn fast but gets disappointed on advanced tutorials.
After 3 months Tom is frustrated. He knows some techniques, true. But he doesn’t know how to do new tasks.
Jerry on the other hand uses a more structured approach. He starts by watching a short introductory tutorial from Skillshare or Udemy. He knows that short articles and videos don’t have the best structure and completeness.
After that first course the starts experimenting on his own, for couple of days. Afterwards he picks up a more advanced course. There he learns the 80% most used features of Photoshop. He experiments some more.
Finally he ends up watching specialized courses, when he needs to.
After 3 months Jerry is confident in his abilities. He knows the basics very well. He continuously builds upon his solid foundation of Photoshop knowledge.
What does it mean?
The moral is simple. Make a game plan. Start with the basics. Practice. Then learn the medium stuff (used 80% of the time). Practice some more. Finally, watch specialized tutorials when needed.
In 3 months you can be a capable Photoshop user. All new knowledge will have a solid foundation to grow. You’ll be confident and happy while using Photoshop.
This is the “true” fast way of learning Photoshop.
The desire to learn “fast” it’s common. How many “learn in 24 hours SUBJECT” books exist?
You have to be smart about it. Jumping into an advanced tut without understanding the basics – not good. It’s a recipe for frustration and limited learning.
And it’s not even that hard to learn the basics. Photoshop may seem daunting at first. But once you understand the concepts it’s fairly simple. It’s just pixel manipulation and some common tools. After you understand that, you can improvise on your own.
How long it took YOU to learn Photoshop?
In 6 weeks I learned the basics and advanced Photoshop features with Deke Mclelland’s “Photoshop one on one” course. Another 2 weeks I solidified the existing knowledge. 4 more weeks I used to follow various specialized tutorials (photo manipulations mainly). Total: 3 months.
I went from 0% to 80% in 3 months. Over the following years I’ve kept improving my skills, of course. But those 3 months were the most important step I took. I did this full time. Part time would’ve taken 6 months, maybe 9.
Without that structured approach I wouldn’t have a solid grasp on Photoshop.
Do I need to become a Photoshop “ninja”?
It’s important to ask yourself this question. How do you intend to use Photoshop during your life/career? Is it something you’ll be using heavily? Or you’ll be using it sparsely, here and there for a quick edit?
If you need it sparsely, you probably won’t need to get really good at Photoshop. Just following tuts will probably suffice.
If you need it heavily then you WANT the structured approach. Without it you’ll waste time.
Do I need to follow your plan exactly?
No, you don’t. That plan worked for me but it might not work for you. Make your own plan. But make sure of 2 things:
- Start by understanding the basics really well.
- Follow a structured approach.
- Aim to learn 20% of features used 80% of the time.
- Use quality and structured tutorials, not articles. Articles are good for specialized knowledge, not so good for complete training.
How hard is it to learn Photoshop well?
95% of the time it’s very easy. It’s just new knowledge. Photoshop is well thought in terms of usability and features. With a good instructor you’ll have no problems learning Photoshop with ease. The rest of 5% will be harder. Usually it will consist of arcane features. Or concepts that are hard for you personally.
All in all it’s quite a fun experience. I remember the joy of learning during those 6 weeks. Every day was fun and adventurous. I was feeling really good about going this structured and solid way.
I also remember the bad times. The first time I opened Photoshop I closed it after 30 seconds, haha. It just seemed so alien and complex.
Just after I’ve made a serious commitment to learn Photoshop, I ended up enjoying the process. And learning with ease.
What courses do you recommend for learning Photoshop?
For learning Photoshop basics/medium I’d recommend the one I used, “Photoshop One on One” by Deke McLelland. It was a complete beast of a course, starting with the basics and continuing well into the advanced. Deke was a great teacher too. The version I used though was for Photoshop CS6 (or 5?).
I haven’t watched the updated versions (so I don’t guarantee anything), but I guess they’ll also be good. Who knows, maybe even better than the originals.
Here are the links for Photoshop one on one (the 2021 version):
You can also learn Photoshop basics following these courses on Udemy. I haven’t tried them but lots of people seem to like them.
For specialized and advanced knowledge, check out my courses. I’ve written quite a few of them. I’ve made them easily accessible even to beginners. So you could jump directly into them. But like I said, it depends on what your goals and current skills are.
- Do you already know the basics? Cool, then check them out.
- You don’t know the basics AND you don’t care about learning Photoshop completely? Cool, check them out.
- You don’t know the basics AND you want to learn Photoshop really well? Start with a basics course. Afterwards check them out.
(they are paid courses mostly. But I also have a very good completely free course.)
Here are some things you will create while following my advanced but easy to follow photoshop courses:
You can also check out my YouTube channel. It has a continuous stream of Photoshop quick tips & techniques.