How Difficult is it to Learn Photoshop?

Ready to dive into the world of Adobe Photoshop? Discover how to leverage this powerful tool to enhance and create digital images, design logos, advertisements, or even entire websites, and learn about the challenges and strategies to make mastering Photoshop easier.

Key Insights

  • Adobe Photoshop is a versatile tool with capabilities ranging from editing and enhancing digital images, to designing graphics for social media, logos, and entire websites.
  • Despite the learning curve, Photoshop is an industry-standard software for photo editing. Mastery of its features can open doors to careers in photography, graphic design, and web design.
  • Learning Photoshop involves overcoming challenges like using Photoshop's Pen Tool, working with layers in images, and enhancing images without making them appear overly edited.
  • Adobe Photoshop is often used in conjunction with other applications like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, and mastering these programs can expand your career opportunities in the creative industry.
  • Strategies to make learning Photoshop easier include learning in the proper order, connecting with a mentor, setting up shortcuts for frequently used tools, and volunteering for design opportunities to gain more practice.
  • Noble Desktop offers a range of Photoshop classes that cater to different learning styles and schedules, providing opportunities for hands-on training under expert instructors.

Are you curious about learning how to use Adobe Photoshop but worried that it might be too hard? The difficulty that comes with learning a new computer program is, of course, somewhat subjective. It depends on your current understanding of the topic and the amount of time you have to devote to the process; someone with a lot of spare time will probably have an easier time than someone who already has a full-time job.

No matter your current schedule or comfort level with photography principles, plenty of tools are available to help make learning Photoshop easier than you might think.

What is Photoshop?

Photoshop is a software program available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Its primary functions include editing, enhancing, and creating digital images from scratch. The program has a wide range of impressive capabilities. Creative professionals across nearly every industry can use Photoshop to design anything from graphics for social media, logos, and the interface of an entire website!

You can use Photoshop to adjust lighting and colors and to create a single image from your favorite components of existing photos. The program comes loaded with plenty of retouching tools, enabling you to remove anything you feel makes your image less than perfect. If you’re scanning a physical photo into the program, you can edit it to remove stains, tears, and wrinkles. Photoshop also contains rudimentary animation capabilities, meaning users can create GIFs with the program as well.

Read more about what Photoshop is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Photoshop?

Photoshop is the industry standard software for photo editing. The program can make virtually any adjustment you can think of, and you can add or remove almost anything you want to create your perfect final image. For example, photographers who work with large groups will often use Photoshop to make a composite of several images; this way, they can combine the best photo of each individual into one picture.

But Photoshop is used for so much more than enhancing images! Graphic Designers frequently use the program to design logos and advertisements for their clients. Because the program allows users to combine multiple images, designers in any industry can use Photoshop to quickly demonstrate how a proposed design would appear on a product. This helps their clients get a clear picture of the final product and quickly make changes, saving both time and money.

It’s also commonly used in web design. Although you can’t code a website in Photoshop, you can use it to create mockups of interfaces, backgrounds, and graphics that designers will add to a website later. Photoshop also contains powerful image compression tools, ensuring the images on a website are clear rather than pixelated. Web Designers can also use the program to build the layout of a website, though other tools are more capable of creating a responsive design.

What Are the Most Challenging Parts of Learning Photoshop?

When you’re learning a new software program, there will understandably be some aspects that will come more easily to you than others; Photoshop is no different. The things people find most challenging are somewhat subjective since different people have different abilities and strengths. For example, someone with some photography experience might find cropping or color enhancements simpler than someone without a design background.

Learning to use Photoshop’s Pen Tool is notoriously tricky for beginners, and it’s also one of the most commonly used tools. It essentially functions like a regular pen on paper and is used to draw complex shapes or outline selected portions of an image. It takes a lot of practice since there are several accompanying tools to learn, but learning the different pen functions will make your editing process smoother.

People also report that working with layers in images is hard to get used to. In Photoshop, edits are completed in individual layers, so the original image is unchanged. While this type of editing makes it easier to make changes in the long run, it can be difficult to master at first. Many people have a hard time conceptualizing all the different layers since it intuitively makes more sense to edit the whole image simultaneously. Layering gives users a great deal of control over their work, so it’s important to push through any initial frustration.

When first starting, many Photoshop users also feel that it can be difficult to enhance your image without it appearing overly edited. If you’re editing images of people, it’s essential to make them look their best without changing their appearance completely, even though removing every scar or wrinkle can be tempting.

How Does Learning Photoshop Compare to Other Applications?

Because most creative professions require the use of multiple tools, it’s rare for anybody in this industry to only learn one program. If you’re interested in learning Photoshop, you might wonder what else you should learn and how the process will compare. Two of the programs that are most commonly used with Photoshop are Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. The cost for these programs is the same as Photoshop ($20.99 per month to access one program and $54.99 for access to the whole Creative Cloud), but their functions and learning processes are very different.

Like Photoshop, Illustrator is used to create professional-grade visual designs. Illustrator is a vector-based program, meaning the designs created with this program are scalable; they can be embedded in an email or on a billboard, and the quality will remain the same at any size. Most experts agree that Illustrator has a steeper learning curve than Photoshop, so it’s recommended that people learn Photoshop first; with similar interfaces and tools, familiarity with Photoshop will make Illustrator easier to master.

InDesign is a desktop publishing application that creates beautiful layouts for things like magazines, books, and posters. It is considered one of the most user-friendly programs offered by Adobe, but there are plenty of different tools to get comfortable with before you can use the program to its full potential. While many industry professionals feel that beginners can learn the basic features in a matter of weeks, true mastery of InDesign can take years. Learning more about publication layout practices is one of the main challenges associated with learning InDesign, so getting familiar with concepts like pagination and text flow can help speed the process along.

Ways to Make Learning Photoshop Easier

Unfortunately, there are aspects of learning Photoshop that can be pretty challenging. Thankfully, there are also plenty of resources and techniques that will help you overcome these difficulties. Here are some ideas that experts suggest:

    • Learn in the proper order. Some people are tempted to open the software and immediately start playing around with the tools to see what they do, but this is actually one of the least effective ways to learn Photoshop. If you plan on self-teaching, do some research beforehand to find a resource that works for you. You can use a learning guide, read a few books, or follow video tutorials. These tools will outline the steps you should take when learning Photoshop to ensure you learn the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced topics.
    • Connect with a mentor. While finding an in-person mentor might be a challenge for people, virtual mentors are becoming more common. Many Photoshop beginners connect with fellow designers through online forums like DeviantArt and Reddit. If you find someone whose work you particularly admire, there’s no harm in sending them a message! They may be interested in providing you with long-term guidance or at least be able to introduce you to someone else who can.
    • Set up shortcuts for your most frequently used tools. This step might come after you’ve familiarized yourself with Photoshop’s interface and had a bit of practice, but it will make your workflow much more efficient. To decide which shortcuts you want to create, try thinking about the actions that are slowest for you or which tools are most complicated for you to locate.
    • Volunteer for design opportunities to get more practice. Once you feel comfortable with Photoshop’s essential functions, the most important thing is to get regular practice. You might volunteer your services to a local business or offer to help friends and family with a design project.

These are just a few things that can make the process of learning Photoshop less overwhelming.

Learn Photoshop with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers a range of Photoshop classes that are sure to meet a variety of scheduling needs and learning styles. Whether students attend in-person at Noble’s Manhattan campus or virtually from anywhere in the world, they’ll learn from expert instructors in small groups. All Noble courses also include a free retake option within one year, giving students additional opportunities to hone their skills at no additional charge.

For students who only have a few days to spare, the Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp is an excellent way to move from beginner to intermediate in just three days. This course guides students through various projects that each target a specific skill within Photoshop. By the end of the bootcamp, students will be able to complete tasks like adjusting colors, creating a composite image, and removing components of an image to make the end result more appealing.

Photoshop is also covered in a few of Noble Desktop’s more intensive certificate programs. There is a Graphic Design Certificate that teaches Photoshop and two other Adobe programs– Illustrator and InDesign. If you are curious about using Photoshop to design web and mobile interfaces, the UI Design Certificate might be a great fit. You’ll incorporate several design principles to create stunning and accessible interfaces using Figma and multiple Adobe programs. Participants in these programs will add their coursework into a portfolio they can show off to potential employers.

How to Learn Photoshop

Master Photoshop, the industry-standard application for photo retouching, color correction, and more, with hands-on training.

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