If you are in the middle of taking your first step into the world of Adobe Photoshop, things can seem daunting, to say the least. All of the terms are new, so you don’t know how to describe what it is you’re hoping to do with your image, and you certainly don’t know where to begin figuring that out. You don’t know what any of the icons mean or what they do. You don’t even know if what you were imagining can be done to your image.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Anyone with any Photoshop skills started exactly where you are today. Some of them even started before the internet was so good with tutorials and guides, meaning they had to figure a lot of things out the hard way: with trial and error. Nowadays, things are a little easier than that, but still, Photoshop skill takes time and practice. The following will break down the things you should keep in mind if you want to get started on the right foot with Photoshop.
Get Your Copy of Adobe Photoshop
You can’t use Photoshop if you don’t have it. There’s a phone app version, a free online “express” version, and the entire program (which is one of several programs in Adobe Creative Cloud). If it’s the full program you want, there’s likely a free trial you’ll be able to play with for a week or so. Keep in mind, Photoshop is pretty big, so it might take a few moments to download and install. You might be able to get your employer to sort out your membership for you if the program is used for your work.
As a side note, now might be an excellent time to learn some skills that can provide you with an income from home. Consistently, studies are suggesting that the remote and virtual working habits we developed during the COVID-19 outbreak are here to stay. There’s never been a better time to make yourself more employable with at-home skills.
Accept That Things Are Going to Take Longer Than You Previously Thought
As with learning any skills, it can take longer to develop muscle memory and mental understanding than you first expect. Life isn’t always like a movie training montage, practise takes hours upon hours of dedicated time. This is especially true when it comes to Photoshop, as there is so much that you can do with the program. Consistently Photoshop Wiz-Kids emphasize how long it took them to truly master the program. It takes time to become comfortable and intuitively understanding of working in layers instead of a single image. It takes time to understand how light and color influence images.
Take a Day to Study Photoshop Actions
There are so many different things you can do in Photoshop, it’s hard to figure out which is best for different types of effects—especially because there’s some overlap. Take a day to review some of the most common photoshop actions for free. This way, when you begin creative projects, you’ll have ideas about what you can use different actions for. This will save you a lot of time and frustration later on down the road.
Practice Working with Layers
This can be one of the strangest hurdles to jump over when beginning photoshop. But the basic tenant is this: you rarely alter the image itself. You duplicate the image and alter this newly created layer. Once you get used to this, you’ll begin to be able to flow with the program. As a bonus, this also prevents you from permanently making a change to an image that later you decide you don’t like.
Keep in Mind the Ethical Implications of What You Can Do
Just because you can create fake news headlines and make it look like certain politicians are doing certain things doesn’t mean you should. With great power comes great responsibility and Photoshop skills certainly qualify as a superpower in today’s digital world. Beyond the ethical reasons for not manipulating or tricking people with what you make in Photoshop, it’s important to note that many law enforcement teams are becoming tech-savvy as well. You might find yourself in deep water if you’re not careful about the sort of images you alter and your honesty about these alterations if you’re posting them online.
The above tips and perspective shifts should set you up right for diving into the magical world of Adobe Photoshop. Remember, take your time, enjoy the learning process, and, as with any creative endeavors—make sure to save your work often! There’s nothing worse than spending hours perfectly cutting out a detailed and extravagant image only to lose all your work when the laptop dies.