Photoshop Prerequisites

What to Learn Before Photoshop

Photoshop is a versatile computer program, widely used by professionals to enhance digital images and put forth their creative ideas. It has a myriad of applications, from designing graphics for social media to creating an entire web interface, making it a valuable tool for careers in various industries.

Key Insights

  • Adobe Photoshop is a sophisticated software program used extensively across almost every industry for editing, enhancing, and creating digital images.
  • It is the industry-standard for photo editing, allowing users to make almost any adjustment imaginable and even create composite images from multiple individual photos.
  • Photoshop is not just for image enhancement but is also widely used in graphic design for creating logos, advertisements, and providing clear demonstrations of proposed designs.
  • It is also used in web design for creating mock-ups of interfaces, backgrounds, and graphics, and even for image compression to ensure clear, non-pixelated images on a website.
  • Learning Photoshop requires a basic understanding of computer skills, color theory, composition, and current photography trends. A good starting point is familiarizing oneself with the interface and commonly used tools.
  • Noble Desktop offers comprehensive Photoshop classes for all learning needs, including a three-day Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp, a Graphic Design Certificate, and a UI Design Certificate. These courses are taught by expert instructors and help students add their coursework to a portfolio for potential employers.

Adobe Photoshop is a state-of-the-art computer program that all sorts of professionals use to make digital images more appealing to a viewer. Whether you want to retouch an existing picture or create an entirely new image, Photoshop contains powerful tools to help you reach your creative potential.

With its dozens of available functions, you might worry that Photoshop will be too hard to learn. Plenty of people get easily frustrated when they start working with this program, but that’s because they unintentionally attempt more advanced processes without learning the basics first. This guide will help you understand the best methods for learning Photoshop so you’ll be successful however you choose to apply your new skills.

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?

Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, Learn From Experts, Free Retake, Small Class Sizes,  1-on-1 Bonus Training. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

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.

Is Photoshop Easy to Learn?

The first step when learning to use Photoshop is to familiarize yourself with the program’s interface. Learning where the most commonly used tools are will spare you loads of time hunting for them down the road. Photoshop's most essential tools include the Crop Tool, the Lasso Tool, and the Move Tool. The tools in Photoshop are organized according to their basic functions. You’ll notice that all the retouching tools are grouped together, all the moving and selecting tools are grouped together, and so on.

From there, you’ll want to get comfortable using each tool as you practice some of the most basic functions of Photoshop. Some of these smaller projects include making minor color adjustments, resizing and cropping photos, and adding layers to your photos. Layering your work allows you to edit one aspect of your image without changing the whole thing, almost like “stacking” your edits on top of each other. Once you understand these fundamental aspects of Photoshop, you’ll be more comfortable working with the more advanced tools.

The difficulty of learning Photoshop is also somewhat subjective. For instance, it may be easier if you’ve already worked with other Adobe programs or have experience in photography. People with more time to commit to the learning process might also find it easier than those trying to learn between work, school, and other commitments.

What to Know Before Learning Photoshop

While Photoshop itself is one of the easier Adobe programs to quickly get the hang of, any beginner should still have a few additional skills before they’re ready to learn this versatile tool:

Basic Computer Skills

Since Photoshop is a relatively intricate software program, a working knowledge of basic computer skills will prepare you to learn successfully. When using Photoshop, you’ll frequently need to upload files to your computer, use keyboard shortcuts to streamline your processes and convert your work to other file types depending on what you plan to use them for. While you can learn to do these things and use Photoshop simultaneously, it might be overwhelming.

It’s also essential to research the type of computer needed to run Photoshop efficiently. This and other Adobe programs require a lot of memory and processing speed. A subpar computer may crash or glitch more often and cause you to lose valuable work. Investing in a suitable machine is critical if you’re serious about learning Photoshop.

Color Theory and Composition

Color theory and composition are two fundamental principles of photography. Even if you’re only editing photos, you’ll want to understand how things like time of day, lighting, weather, and equipment can impact the colors that show up in your images. Regardless of the colors in your work, editing them to create a harmonious image is vital in digital editing. Learning how different colors complement each other (and clash with each other) is an important step toward creating eye-catching images in Photoshop.

Composition describes the objects or people that are included and excluded in the final image. Photoshop allows you to crop images and add or remove items entirely, making the overall composition more pleasing to the eye. Some essential elements of composition include symmetry, leading lines, and negative space.

Current Photography Trends

Of course, trends change over time, but it’s good to familiarize yourself with current industry standards so you aren’t practicing outdated techniques. Consumers are also becoming more passionate about supporting ethical businesses whenever possible. You can consider sharing this information with potential clients on your website. For instance, photographers can note how they use sustainable equipment in their work rather than pollute the environment with additional plastic waste. If you’re only planning on editing, you might share that you’re against major photo retouching and encourage your clients to embrace their natural beauty.

Since trends and techniques can vary by industry, it’s very smart to check out the social media feeds for other photographers and artists who do similar work. For example, if you’re an aspiring wedding photographer, you can browse related hashtags on Instagram and TikTok for additional inspiration and learn more about what audiences enjoy looking at. This is also an excellent way to see the types of posts that don’t receive a lot of engagement or positive feedback.

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.

Key Insights

  • Photoshop is a professional-grade digital editing program with an impressive range of functions and applications.
  • Photoshop can be challenging to learn, especially if you unintentionally start with more advanced features without learning the basics. There is a specific order for learning these tools that most experts recommend.
  • Success with Photoshop is more likely if beginners study fundamental design principles and photographic techniques.

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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