If you don’t want to spend much money but want to learn Photoshop, then head online and you will find a variety of tutorials – both paid for and free that will help you out.
But a word of advice – don’t just jump in and start watching and trying to learn without a plan. Why? Because Photoshop is a beast and it is very likely you will learn out of sequence and only get frustrated.
You need to start with the basics. Sorry – before you can tweak images to make fat girls look thin or make your puny body look buff you need to know your way around.
So a structured plan is definitely recommended.
First thing is first. Do you know the difference between working and exported files?
The Photoshop image file you work with is good for nothing except for just that – working with Photoshop. You need to export images into print and/or web friendly formats. You also need to have an understanding of image size and resolution. Very important!
There are three main file types you will be exporting. GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs. GIFs are a great format for the web. It is a simple file type limited to 256 colours but can support transparency and animation. JPEGs are a more versatile image, with greater colour support but by nature are compressed files and do not support transparency. PNGs are the perfect file type taking on the best of both GIF and JPEG but if you are using for the web, beware that stupid Internet Explorer – especially the older versions which unfortunately so many people around the world is still using – do not support this file type.
After understanding the basics of file types, it is onto the layout of Photoshop and setting up your workspace. You need to seek out tutorials covering Photoshop’s “workspace and interface”. Do a search especially on YouTube and this will yield exercises to learn about the menu bar, the options bar and the toolbox.
Your first search for free Photoshop tutorials should focus on the following subjects: Introduction to the User Interface, Creating opening and saving files – Bringing in files into Photoshop, Saving files and file organisation, Managing multiple files, Workspaces, Selections, Refining and modifying selections and Creating illusions.
Next you want to learn about the Toolbox. The toolbox in Photoshop is split up into 4 sections which are the Selection, Crop & Slice Tools (VERY useful for the Photoshop beginner), Retouch & Paint Tools, Drawing & Type Tools (Vector Tools) and the Annotations & Measurement Tools.
When you first look at the toolbox, some of the icons have a small arrow in the lower right corner. If the button has this arrow, it means this tool has a variety of other options under it. For example if you have Photoshop open right now, hover over the Marquee told for a good example of this.
Seek to learn Photoshop tutorials on each of the sections of the Toolbox listed above. Do NOT jump ahead because as previously warned you will be doing the tutorials ahead of your time and get completely lost and frustrated.
So once you are familiar with the layout, then look for tutorials centred on the Tools.
Maybe in this suggested order: Healing and Retouching, the Pen tool (this is a very important tool to master – simple but effective and not enough people spend the time learning this one properly), painting tools, colour replacement, layer masks, layer styling, blending modes, filters, custom shapes and smart objects.
Following this order one after the other will give you a good basis to learn Photoshop via tutorials.
But another little piece of advice before wrapping up this short article. Consider investing in Photoshop courses – of the paid variety – not free. There are many available to you on the Internet and most follow a detailed and recommended structure. You don’t need to spend much – if you budget for $100, this is a good investment in making your Photoshop discovery process a little less frustrating!