What is Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop, developed in 1987, is the world's most widely used photo editing software. Learn how it is utilized by Graphic and Web Designers, how to download it, and the various careers that require proficiency in Photoshop.

Key Insights

  • Adobe Photoshop, which was first developed in 1987, is used by about 35% of people who require a program to retouch graphic images.
  • Photoshop is often used by Graphic Designers to design logos and advertisements and by Web Designers to create mockups of interfaces and graphics for websites.
  • An individual subscription to Photoshop costs $20.99 per month or $239.88 annually, while a subscription to all Adobe Creative Cloud applications is $54.99 per month.
  • Learning Photoshop can lead to several career paths such as a Graphic Designer, a Digital Designer, and a User Interface Designer. These careers offer competitive salaries and remote working opportunities.
  • Noble Desktop offers a variety of in-person and live online Photoshop classes to help students learn this skill.
  • Other comparable applications to Photoshop within the Adobe Creative Cloud include Adobe Illustrator. However, Photoshop is a raster-based program, and Illustrator is a vector-based program.

Originally developed in 1987, Adobe Photoshop started as a modest and simple image editing program. Since then, it has grown to become the world's most widely used photo editing software. In fact, about 35% of people who require a program to retouch graphic images will purchase Photoshop to meet their needs. In this overview, you’ll learn more about what Photoshop is, what it can do, who uses it, and how to learn it so you can determine whether to add this skill to your professional toolbox.

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.

How Do You Download Photoshop? How Much Does it Cost?

Like all other Adobe programs, Photoshop is only available through a subscription rather than a one-time purchase. This model allows Adobe to quickly upgrade its programs and learn how its customers respond to new features. An individual subscription to just Photoshop is $20.99 per month or $239.88 if you choose to be billed annually. If you want access to all of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, this monthly subscription is $54.99 ($599.88 prepaid).

These prices vary if you purchase Photoshop for a business since you’ll need to pay per license. If you’re a student or teacher, Adobe offers a significant discount for all their different subscription plans; here, the Creative Cloud All Apps plan is only $19.99 per month. Adobe also provides free trials for each of its applications. This way, you can experiment with Photoshop before making any financial commitments.

Once you’ve selected your desired plan and made your purchase, accessing Photoshop is as simple as downloading the program from the Creative Cloud website. While Photoshop is compatible with Windows and iOS operating systems, you’ll want to review the minimum system requirements before buying a subscription. You can find all of this information on the Adobe support page and other tips on how to troubleshoot if you encounter issues with the installation process.

What Are the Benefits of Learning Photoshop?

Businesses across industries use visual imagery to quickly grab our attention and entice us into paying for their product or service. This means that the ability to generate beautiful graphics is a lucrative addition to any resume, regardless of your ultimate career goals. Using Photoshop is an in-demand skill that can prepare you for several fascinating careers. Some options include becoming a Graphic Designer, a Digital Designer, or a User Interface (UI) Designer. All of these careers earn competitive salaries and can often provide you with flexible remote working opportunities.

Learning Photoshop can also give you a solid foundation to learn other design programs depending on your interests and professional aspirations. For instance, you might learn Adobe InDesign if you’re interested in publishing, or you could look into Adobe Illustrator to help secure a career in fashion design. Photoshop is highly compatible with other programs within the Adobe Creative Cloud, so getting familiar with any of these programs is an excellent way to continue boosting your skills.

Read more about why you should learn Photoshop.

Photoshop Careers

You might wonder what types of careers await you once you’re comfortable with the ins and outs of Photoshop. While any career will require more than one skill, proficiency with Photoshop is an excellent stepping stone toward landing a variety of creative jobs. Here are just a few areas you may find yourself working in once you’ve become more familiar with Photoshop:

  • Graphic Design: These professionals are responsible for designing images that quickly communicate a message or establish a brand to their viewers. These images are usually enhanced or entirely created with Photoshop. Graphic Designers can either work freelance or work for one company. Their work can be seen in various places, including company logos, social media campaigns, and digital and print advertisements.
  • Digital Design: This career path often gets confused with graphic design. While both roles contain similar elements, Digital Designers tend to work with more dynamic designs, such as animation, 3D modeling, and interactive pages. They use Photoshop to add effects and combine images to convey a message about their client or business.
  • User Interface (UI) Design: People in these roles create the interfaces for mobile applications and websites. These professionals use Photoshop to make their designs more appealing by creating static images and simple animations for the product they’re working on. UI Designers focus on creating products that are both visually stunning and accessible for anyone who uses the app or visits the website.
  • Web Design: Those who are comfortable with Photoshop and possess strong technical skills might enjoy working as a Web Designer. In combination with stellar coding skills, Web Designers use Photoshop and other design software to create visually pleasing images that have been optimized for display on the web. Web Designers can also use the program to create simple animated GIFs and website mock-ups. This allows them to easily edit their designs without sifting through lines of complicated code.

How to Learn Photoshop

If you feel you need the structure of a class to help you succeed at learning Photoshop, Noble Desktop has several options to help you find a course that will suit your needs. The school developed a class locator tool to help students locate in-person Photoshop classes in their area for those who prefer in-person learning. For students who prefer virtual learning, you can check out Noble Desktop’s live online Photoshop classes instead.

For those with an already packed schedule, the demands of a live class might be too big a burden. If this sounds like you, on-demand Photoshop classes might be a better fit. Some of these introductory courses are free, while others require a subscription to the platform that hosts the course. There are on-demand options for beginners who want to learn the basics and advanced students who are ready to learn some of Photoshop's more complex features. On-demand options are available through providers like LinkedIn Learning, Skillsoft, and Udemy.

Video demonstrations are another excellent way to begin learning Photoshop. There is an entire YouTube playlist devoted to in-depth Photoshop tutorials provided by Noble Desktop. These videos cover topics like photo restoration and industry-standard illustration techniques.You can also search through Noble’s free seminars to view courses related to Photoshop, like the Intro to Photoshop training. This two-hour course teaches viewers about the program’s essential functions and discusses fundamental principles of design.

Read the full guide on how to learn Photoshop.

A Brief History of Photoshop

Originally called “Image Pro,” the program we now know as Photoshop was developed by brothers Thomas and John Knoll in 1987. After struggling to market the program independently, the two formed a successful partnership with Adobe; the first version of Photoshop was released to the public in February of 1990. While it has changed significantly over the years, some of the earliest versions of Photoshop contained many of the same features that exist today, like rasterization and paths.

Since then, there have been dozens of versions of Photoshop. Adobe released the program’s most recent update, Version 23.0, in October 2021. This update included many exciting capabilities, most notably a beta web version of the program and improved security features. It also enhanced many of the collaboration tools within the app, making it easier for teams to communicate about a design regardless of their location.

Comparable Applications

Of all the other applications within the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Illustrator is the most similar to Photoshop. Illustrator is used to create a range of digital images, while Photoshop’s primary purpose is to edit and enhance images. These programs have similar interfaces, meaning those who know how to use one program can usually learn the other fairly quickly. Both programs also allow users to work on their images in layers and have multiple color correction tools.

The primary difference between them is that Photoshop is a raster-based program and Illustrator is a vector-based program. Raster images are made of pixels, meaning that zooming in or expanding the image will distort it and reduce its quality. Vectors are created using lines and points so that they can be scaled to any size, but the image remains the same.

Of course, every rule has its exceptions, but generally, each program is better suited to certain types of projects. When you’re starting with an existing photograph or image, Photoshop will likely be the better tool. If you need to create a design from scratch, like a logo or a social media banner, Illustrator is the way to go.

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 versatile image editing program commonly used by a variety of professionals, including Graphic Designers and Web Designers.
  • Since its inception over 30 years ago, Photoshop has been the most widely used editing program of its kind. It has undergone dozens of updates and improvements to ensure it remains relevant.
  • Those who work with Photoshop are also frequently skilled in other Adobe programs, like Illustrator.
  • Several resources are available for beginners who want to learn more about Photoshop’s many functions.
  • You can learn Photoshop comprehensively with live, instructor-led training at Noble Desktop.

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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