Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners

We frequently publish posts on this blog that feature tutorials for learning how to do various things with Photoshop, but we have rarely focused on just the basics. This post is intended for designers or aspiring designers who either want to get started with Photoshop or have limited experience and are looking to improve.

While there are plenty of great learning resources available online, it’s often difficult for beginners to know where to get started because everything seems to be scattered. With this post you’ll find links to plenty of resources to teach you all the basics and fundamentals of Photoshop.

Most of the resources and tutorials listed in this post will focus on teaching one particular aspect of Photoshop, such as how to use a specific tool. Everything is broken down into sections so you can find exactly what you are looking for.

Intro to Photoshop’s Tools and UI:

The resources in this section will serve as an introduction for those who are new to Photoshop. They will help you to learn your way around the interface and with some of the basics of Photoshop.

The Photoshop Workspace (video)

The Photoshop Workspace

The Ultimate Guide to Customizing How You Work in Adobe Photoshop CC


Customizing Photoshop CC

More resources for learning the tools and UI:

Layers, Layer Styles, Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers:

In order to be able to efficiently and effectively work with Photoshop you will need a solid understanding of layers. The resources in this section provide guides for working with layers in Photoshop, as well as layer styles, layer masks and adjustment layers.

The Ultimate Guide to Adjustment Layers (series)

Ultimate Guide to Adjustment Layers

Introduction to Photoshop Adjustment Layers

Intro to Photoshop Adjustment Layers

Intro to Photoshop Layer Styles (series)

Intro to Photoshop Layer Styles

How to Install and Use Photoshop Styles (video)

How to Install and Use Photoshop Styles (video)

A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Masking in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Masking

More resources for learning about layers, layer styles, layer masks, and adjustment layers:

The Pen Tool:

Photoshop’s pen tool can be used for impressive results, but it can be very difficult to use if you don’t understand how it works. The following resources will provide helpful guides to explain the pen tool and how you can use it in your own work.

Photoshop’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide

Photoshop's Pen Tool

Photoshop Pen Tool Guide

Photoshop Pen Tool Guide

Making Selections with the Pen Tool

Make Selections with the Pen Tool

Become a Master of the Pen Tool in Under 30 Minutes

Become a Master of the Pen Tool in Under 30 Minutes

More resources for the pen tool:

Brushes and Other Presets:

Brushes, patterns, shapes, and the other presets are an essential part of Photoshop. Whether you are using the presets that come with the software, downloading those created by other designers, or creating your own, learning the potential of these presets and how to work with them should be a priority.

Photoshop’s Brush Tool – Basic Guide

Photoshop's Brush Tool

How to Install and Use Photoshop Brushes (video)

Install Photoshop Brushes

Installing and Managing Brushes and Other Presets

Installing Brushes and Presets

How to Install and Use Photoshop Actions (video)

Install and Use Photoshop Actions

More resources for brushes and presets:

Type Tool:

The type tool is a little more straightforward than some of the others for beginners, but it still helps to have a firm grasp of how the tool works and what you can do with text in Photoshop.

A Comprehensive Introduction to the Type Tool

Intro to the Type Tool

More learning resources related to the type tool:

Transform:

With Photoshop’s transform capabilities you can edit and manipulate objects in a variety of different ways. The links provided below with get you started.

Photoshop CS6: Scaling, Skewing, and Rotating with Free Transform (video)

Free Transform Tool

More learning resources related to the free transform tool.

Selections:

The are several different ways to make selections in Photoshop, and each technique has certain situations where it works better than others. Here you’ll learn about the basic selection tools and when to use them.

Basic Selection Tools in Photoshop CS6 (video)

Basic Selection Tools

Quick Selection Tool (video)

Quick Selection Tool

Introduction to the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop

Introduction to the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop

Introduction to the Lasso Tools in Photoshop

Lasso Tools

The Selection Tools

A Comprehensive Introduction to Photoshop Selection Techniques

Master Photoshop’s Selection Tools in Under 30 Minutes

More resources for selections:

Clone Stamp Tool and Content Aware Fill:

The clone stamp tool allows you to duplicate, or clone, an area. The resources below will explain how to tool works and how you can use it.

Using the Clone Stamp (video)

Using the Clone Stamp (video)

How to Use Content Aware Fill in Photoshop

Content Aware Fill

More learning resources related to the clone stamp tool and content aware fill.

Blend Modes:

Photoshop’s various blend modes give users a lot of potential to create different results quickly and easily. The links in this section will explain how you can play with the blend modes of your layers and what types of changes it will have.

An Explanation of Photoshop Blending Modes

Blend Modes

More resources for blend modes:

Filters

Photoshop has a number of different filters that you can use, and each has its own purpose and use. These links will explain some of the different filters, how they work, and when you should use them.

Photoshop CC Filters Help Salvage Photos Once Deemed Unusable

Photoshop Filters

How to Use the Camera Shake Reduction Filer in Photoshop CC

Camera Shake Reduction Filter

Create Vignette Effects with the Radial Filter in Photoshop CC

Radial Filter

More learning resources related to filters:

Smart Objects:

Photoshop smart objects can help you to save time on repetitive tasks, and these links will show you how to use them.

Save Time Using Photoshop Smart Objects

Smart Objects

More learning resources related to smart objects

Efficiency and Performance:

If you use Photoshop a lot you will want to make the most of your time with it. The resources here will help you to work smarter with as little wasted time as possible.

How to Tune Photoshop CS6 for Peak Performance

Photoshop Performance

Photoshop CS6: Improving Performance

Photoshop Performance

Manage Your Layers More Efficiently with Photoshop CS6

Efficient Layers

More resources for efficiency and performance:

Saving Images:

These links will show you how you can save and optimize images that are going to be used on websites, for maximum performance.

Saving Images for the Web in Photoshop CC

Saving for the Web

How to Save a Photo for Print in Photoshop CC

Save for Print

Working with Colors in Photoshop:

Colors are, of course, an essential part of any design. These resources will explain the basics of working with color in Photoshop.

Color Settings in Photoshop CC (video)

Color Settings

Color Replacement in Photoshop CS6 (video)

Color Replacement in Photoshop CS6

More resources for working with color:

Now that you’ve learned the basics of Photoshop, here are some tutorial collections that you may want to check out:

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86 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Joseph McCullough, March 15, 2010

    This is an amazing collection of resources, I’m definitely bookmarking this, thank you so much! I need to learn from Layer Masks down.

  • Triboda, March 15, 2010

    Great Resources! Will defiantly send some of the designers we work with here to answer some of their questions.

  • Justin Carroll, March 16, 2010

    These are great resources for beginners to be sure. I remember my first copy of Photoshop 4. I learned by way of the school of hard knox; I just opened up PS and screwed with everything until it made sense.

  • Matt Ward, March 16, 2010

    That’s an incredible list of resources! Don’t have time to look through ALL of them right now, but I am definitely staring this one in my reader. Great resource!

    Also, thanks so much for including a few of the articles from the Echo Enduring Blog, and the stuff I’ve written over at MyInkBlog. Honoured to have those pieces included here!

  • Mars, March 16, 2010

    perfect collection for the beginners, and refreshing for the masters

  • otmar, March 16, 2010

    thanks a lot for your contribution. it’s very helpfully for beginners. U rock my Design world!

  • BBL, March 16, 2010

    Great list

  • Brian, March 16, 2010

    Nice collection, I’m trying to learn about layering. thanks

  • Alex Aguilar, March 16, 2010

    I`ve watched around 30 hours of Photoshop tutorials from Lynda. They are awesome, explain in detail

  • Overseas, March 17, 2010

    Thanks for all the great resources! Can’t believe it’s for free!

  • recomended, March 17, 2010

    Thanks for this useful information. There are a lot of links in your article that I have studied. Yes, we have discovered the excellent strength.

  • SOLUTT, March 17, 2010

    great list… lot of good resources

  • TechyMinds, March 18, 2010

    Great tutorial! covers all photoshop tools.

  • Jochen, March 19, 2010

    Thank you so much for this elaborate post! This will definitely help improving my Photoshop work – merely efforts at the moment. Also the links to the other resources are very very useful.

  • bala s murali, March 19, 2010

    great collection!

  • John, March 19, 2010

    A most excellent list of resources. I have already XMarked this page. Thanks.

  • Richard, March 19, 2010

    Wow! Great set of resources – now nicely stashed in my bookmarks. Thanks very much.

  • Hoerr, March 19, 2010

    Beautiful!

    Now for the Illustrator and InDesign version of this post! =) Pleeeeeze!? =)

    • Vandelay Website Design, March 19, 2010

      Hoerr,
      Thanks for the feedback. The Illustrator version is on the to-do list, InDesign is always a possibility for the future too.

  • Nick - freelance designer, March 19, 2010

    Really handy reference for when people ask for help in using Photoshop! Now I can point my junior designers to this article and save some time. Very helpful as a refresher too!

  • Web Resources.eu, March 20, 2010

    Best tutorial ever.

    Thank you so much :)

  • Ap, March 20, 2010

    The best list ever about Photoshop. Bookmark!
    Can’t wait to read some ultimate tutorial about Illustrator and Indesign too.

  • DaveK, March 21, 2010

    Nice post, this would be good in a PDF as a cheat sheet type thing!

    Will look forward to seeing the illustrator version, have never quite got the hang of illustrator.

  • Doug, March 22, 2010

    One word: AWESOME! I know my way around photoshop pretty well, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. This is a great compilation of tutorials and tips.

  • Ash Blue Web Design, March 23, 2010

    A better title for this article would be “What it took me 3 years to learn, bundled into 1 article.”

  • Chicago Web Design, March 24, 2010

    Bookmarked this right away! What an amazing repository of info. Next time anyone asks me to train them on basics of photoshop all I’ve to do is to forward this link!

    I’ve used photoshop and I would classify myself as an advanced user but after years and years of hard work. If I had my hands on this, I probably would have saved 2 years!

    Keep posting great stuff like this

  • Ray Crimsonheart, March 27, 2010

    I was looking for this for a long time, never thought i will stumble across it here. Thanks for your effort

  • Very helpful – thanks. I have to use photoshop from time to time, and I find it extremely frustrating. I think if you’re used to a MAC then it may be easier!! I really need an itdiot’s guide, not because I’m an idiot, but becasue the product’s interface is so unintuative.

  • el terminali, April 8, 2010

    its amazing collection, they are great works

  • Scott Corgan, May 24, 2010

    Wish I had this list when I first started. It could have kept me busy for weeks learning what took me years to learn!

    I’m curious as to who uses which technique the most…

  • chicago seo, June 25, 2010

    Great Resource and this is going to be very helpful for beginners. Please keep adding more for advanced users. I’d like to see some new tricks that I’m not aware of yet.

  • raju, June 30, 2010

    i have just collected these resources.
    can u send some other difficult examples?

  • Tess, June 30, 2010

    Very comprehensive for beginners and everything one needs to know when taking first steps with photoshop. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pitch, August 12, 2010

    one word: awesome!

  • Online Classes, August 18, 2010

    Fantastic, Really very great post and impressive information regarding Photoshop. Good Job, I am sure this would be very useful for those students and people who are interested in Photoshopa and Graphics. Everything is well mentioned and explained by the images. I would like to know some more information regarding Photoshop and animation. Thanks for sharing.

  • QIP Download, September 16, 2010

    Very useful selection for beginning designers and those who only has started to master Adobe Photoshop – now it is not necessary to search for lessons on different sites – all is in one place! Huge to you thanks!!!

  • Website Design London, September 23, 2010

    Very good tutorials. I usually recommend this site to my new staff to start learning here :)

  • Anjan, September 25, 2010

    Very helpful.It is very difficult to get something for beginners in one site.Please keep me posted.

  • sanket, October 14, 2010

    Thanks a lot for your contribution. it’s very helpfully for fresher in photoshop

  • Brett Widmann, November 4, 2010

    This is a very helpful post for those who are beginning to use photoshop or need a quick refresher on some of the tools and features. Thanks for taking the time to put all these together!

  • Web Design Hull, November 15, 2010

    Excellent tutorials, very handy having all these resources in one place… thanks!

  • Computer Science Degree, November 20, 2010

    I call this mastering Photoshop basics in just one single blog post. For the last several years I have been outsourcing all my graphic design and photo editing needs. After going through several of the tips mentioned on this page I decided that it might be a good idea to try learning something on my own. My wife will definitely like the idea, since she literally has thousands of pics that always need some kind of improvement. You know… go out, take pics, edit them, post them on Facebook and then waste another month rambling about them with friends… Anyways, this might be helpful for us, but I guess the learning curve is still huge after all..

  • FreeSoft, December 20, 2010

    Excellent lessons for beginners: everything is simple and clear. Thank you!

  • Fight Store, February 4, 2011

    This is a pretty comprehensive overview of Photoshop tutorials, ive been going through the list one by one for ages, i need a new design for my site, this is helping a ton !

  • Jenny, February 6, 2011

    A big thanks to you because this is always an easy starter for a beginner in photoshop. Thanks!

  • Aage, February 17, 2011

    Photoshop never seizes to amaze me. It’s incredible what you can do with that program.

  • Swapnil, February 28, 2011

    Thanks. It’s been of great help.

  • nantaPD, March 8, 2011

    That’s great sharing for beginners .. Basic but complete tutorials……. thank alot….

  • Jimmy Tran, April 2, 2011

    Very useful basics for me in learning PSD.
    Thank alot for sharing

    Jimmy

  • chuks, April 19, 2011

    this so great i am a starter but from what i have seen here i dont think i will have much to worry about anymore. thanks

  • Lomas, April 27, 2011

    I need a new design for my site, this is helping a ton…

  • Sush, August 7, 2011

    Thanks a lot ! This is an amazing collection of resource for starters to understand the concepts.. thanks a ton for putting this up!

  • Raj Mehta, September 9, 2011

    Nice collection and resources for Photoshop beginners

    :)

  • Doug, September 14, 2011

    Amazing collection of tutorials – thanks so much! I’ll be using this often.

  • Donna, September 28, 2011

    Awesome! This is what I’ve been looking for. Thank you.

  • isaacB, September 28, 2011

    I think its interesting to see how others do the same things in completely different ways. I taught myself how to do most things in photoshop before college, and thus i was doing a lot of things the wrong, or long way :). I say, once you improve to the point where you cannot learn anything new, you’ve begun your journey to being obsolete.

  • Jamie V, September 28, 2011

    Been using Photoshop for years and you can always go back and re-learn the basics. Fantastic.

  • yumant, September 29, 2011

    yeahh, i can manipulate my photos

  • Swamykant, November 11, 2011

    Very useful post. It is more than basics.

  • Joesanti, November 19, 2011

    I’m planning to write an introductory photoshop module for my students, and your post’s really helpful. thanks!

  • tuba, February 26, 2012

    No doubt a great tutorial for all photoshop beginners. Thank you for sharing!

  • Amy, September 6, 2012

    I am just a beginner and this tutorial has really helped me a lot. Thanks a lot.

  • Anurag Aggarwal, September 9, 2012

    I had to get a new flyer designed for my public speaking and personality development course and I used Photoshop to make it. I took help from this tutorial and it has turned out really nice.

  • mukoool, August 30, 2013

    its really goooooooooooood but i didnt understand to use gradient tool

  • Eduardo Caballero, August 31, 2013

    Excellent information! how I can get a .pdf file to print it out ? THANKS!

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