Photoshop is one of the best software programs for editing and manipulating photographs, but learning how to use it can be fairly complicated. This piece of software is a suite of many tools and applications. It can take some lessons and tutorials to really get your head around the program’s ins and outs.
The best way to get used to Photoshop is to take an online course to learn the fundamentals of how the software works. The courses listed below are some of the best places on the Internet for gaining a working knowledge of the Adobe Photoshop program.
Keep reading to learn more about these online courses and what they have to offer for teaching you how to master Photoshop.
What Is the Best Online Photoshop Course?
Many Photoshop courses online claim to be the best course available. However, if you want to take the best Photoshop course, you’ll need to look at what courses are available and what they have to offer. Here are a few considerations to think about when you’re choosing a Photoshop course online (Source: Tech Radar):
- Price: The price you’ll pay for a Photoshop class will vary from course to course. Some courses are more expensive, depending on the depth of knowledge they have to offer and what they teach you to do. Your budget will be a determining factor in which online course you eventually sign up for too.
- Level of expertise: Some Photoshop courses are geared towards beginners who have never worked with photo editing software before. Other Photoshop online courses are created to teach high-level photo manipulation to advanced users. The course that is best for you depends on how good you already are at Photoshop.
- Project load: Some Photoshop online courses are heavy on projects because they serve as good examples of how to best use the software. Some classes emphasize class projects where the instructor gets directly involved, while others are more hands-off. The best option for you will depend on what teaching style you prefer in online coursework.
- Function: Are you planning to use Photoshop to touch up professional wedding photos for a living, or are you trying to make photo-manipulated concept art? Different Photoshop courses go into various aspects of how the software can be used. Look carefully to make sure the syllabus of your online Photoshop course matches up with what you want to get out of the software.
What is the best online Photoshop course? The answer is that it depends on who’s taking it. Further down, we’ll go over five of the best online Photoshop courses available so you can see which ones are the closest to what you want out of the program.
Is It Really Possible to Learn Photoshop Online?
Even though Photoshop seems like complicated software (and it is), there are plenty of options available for you to learn the Photoshop program online. Unlike some other subjects, learning how to use a piece of computer software is relatively simple in an online course.
The main issue that people run into when learning Adobe Photoshop is that they try tackling the most complicated functions too quickly, without taking the time to understand the more essential tools of the software. This can be a frustrating and discouraging experience to the point that some users may be turned off from using the software altogether.
This is where online Photoshop courses come in. The great thing about an online course is that it gives you an organized breakdown of how to learn the software in manageable chunks, working your way from the most basic Photoshop fundamentals to the more advanced aspects of the software.
Like learning math, this allows Photoshop users to build on their previous knowledge as they go along. If you take the time to learn Photoshop from the ground up, you’re more likely to know how to manipulate the software into doing just about anything you desire. This is better than just cherry-picking a few tools in the software, as it gives you a more comprehensive understanding of how it works.
The 5 Best Photoshop Courses Online
Below you’ll find five of the best Photoshop courses available online. Some of these courses cater to the novice Photoshop user, while others delve into more advanced parts of the software. Read on to learn more about the unique aspects of each of these online courses. Then you’ll be able to decide which one of these courses is the right one for you.
This Photoshop online course teaches users all of the basic Photoshop fundamentals. The final project is to create a fantasy poster. Here are a few of the concepts that this online course covers:
- How to use basic Photoshop tools
- Concepts of poster composition
- Concepts for costume design
- How to use blending modes and other adjustment tools
- How to adjust shadows and lighting
- How to finalize a poster in Photoshop
This course might seem a little too specialized for some Photoshop users, but one of the significant advantages of it is that it covers everything a photographer needs to know about fantasy portraiture and basic photo manipulation. These are skills that can come in handy in other Photoshop applications.
This Photoshop course doesn’t go into the more advanced tools available in the software, but it does give beginners a good foundation in how to use the program. Making a fantasy poster is a helpful project to anchor the rest of the course on. This Photoshop course is best for beginners, but it can also act as a good inexpensive course for anyone looking to brush up on their basic Photoshop skills.
This online course by Dave Cross teaches users the most essential tools in the Photoshop arsenal and acts as an introduction to the software. This makes it a good choice for anyone who is just beginning to work with Photoshop. Here are a few of the skills that are taught in Discover’s 2020 Essentials class for Photoshop:
- Open files
- Import RAW files
- Create new documents
- Change your view
- Work with layers
- Adjust and retouch photos
Learning all of the menus and tools in Photoshop at once can be overwhelming for beginners, so this online course pares Photoshop down to its fundamentals. This is a good course to get your footing with the software before you start to take on more advanced techniques.
Photoshop is an extensive suite of tools, and the courses at Pluralsight under the “Photoshop for Creative Professionals” path reflects that complexity. Broken down into three major categories—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—these courses take Photoshop users through the entirety of the software, starting from the basics and ending with advanced techniques for seasoned users.
Here is a breakdown of the different categories of online courses available through Pluralsight for Photoshop:
- Beginner: The beginner courses at Pluralsight for Photoshop touch on the basics of Photoshop use and cover things such as developing a workflow, manipulating Type, making selections, understanding how Camera Raw works, and learning the fundamentals of CC Bridge.
- Intermediate: The intermediate courses at Pluralsight for Photoshop assume some basic working knowledge of Photoshop and consist of a deep dive into Photoshop’s most important functions. In these courses, Photoshop users will learn everything from retouching portraits to using Photoshop for web applications.
- Advanced: The advanced courses at Pluralsight for Photoshop concentrate on the most complex tasks that Photoshop can perform. These courses cover concepts such as Color Management, 3D photomanipulation, and editing video in Photoshop.
The great thing about Pluralsight’s curriculum for Photoshop is that each major category of coursework for the program is broken down into courses that cover specific Photoshop techniques. This allows the user to slowly work their way up to a more complex understanding of how Photoshop works.
Another advantage of Pluralsight is that this company offers a free quiz for Photoshop users to assess their starting skill level with the software. This makes it easier for users to start taking Photoshop coursework without having to go back over fundamentals the user already understands well.
The PS Crash Course is another beginner Photoshop course that is designed to teach new users how to navigate within the Photoshop software without drowning in complex concepts.
One of the great things about this course is that it makes a point to teach you which Photoshop tools are most relevant for your skill level. For instance, it will indicate which concepts to spend the most time on and which probably aren’t worth exploring until you’re much further along.
This crash course in Photoshop teaches the following concepts:
- Making realistic product mock-ups
- Creating custom fonts and letters
- Keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop
- Creating graphics and templates
Even though this online course is geared towards beginners, it offers a comprehensive look at the Photoshop software. It teaches users how to use all major aspects of the software, from identifying the basic tools in Photoshop to creating GIFs and masks. The course also offers a variety of bonus templates that help to give users a jumpstart in creating things in Photoshop after they’ve completed the course.
This course may be the most expensive Photoshop online course on this list, but with good reason—it teaches some advanced concepts with the software and allows users to perform complicated operations with it. Here’s a handful of the things that this self-paced Photoshop course teaches users how to do:
- Use vector graphics
- Create web banners
- Create images for social media
- Resize images
- Remove objects from a photograph
- Composite images
The content in this Photoshop course is too advanced for most beginners. However, it does teach some of the basic concepts of the software, such as using layers and adding primary effects. But the bulk of the concepts taught in this Adobe Photoshop Course are meant for users who already have a solid foundation in the software.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Photoshop?
The length of time it takes to learn Photoshop is dependent on the user and how much time they have available to dedicate themselves to it. Most of the concepts in Photoshop can be learned in around 15 to 23 hours. (Source: Glamour Retouching Studio)
However, there is a difference between learning the basics of a software program and learning how to manipulate it fluently. It takes users months and sometimes years to figure out all the things that advanced software programs like Photoshop are capable of. Much of this is learned through the process of trial and error.
The benefit of learning Photoshop through an online course is that many online Photoshop courses are self-paced, which means you can learn the software as slowly or as quickly as you like.
Can I Teach Myself Photoshop?
It is possible to teach yourself Photoshop or any other software program since many programs like Photoshop include tutorials to help you become acclimated to the software, Photoshop included. Adobe even offers a free tutorial on its website to help you familiarize yourself with Photoshop.
However, there is something to be said for learning how to manipulate a computer program under the watchful eye of someone who already knows how to do it. These are a few of the benefits you can expect if you decide to learn Photoshop through an online course (Source: ELearning Industry):
- Accountability: Since many online courses require you to turn in class projects or other examples of work, signing up for an online course can be a good way to keep yourself accountable and make sure that you’re making progress in learning how to manipulate the software.
- Advice: It’s one thing to have to troubleshoot a piece of software by Googling solutions to a problem. It’s much easier to be able to ask an instructor specific questions about the software and how it works. Rather than waste time looking for solutions, an online course lets you pinpoint exactly what questions you need to answer about how the software works.
- Flexibility: Online courses give you the professional expertise of a traditional college-level class while allowing you to work around your schedule. This is great for professionals who are already working a full-time job or have to learn Photoshop while caring for family members.
There are plenty of free online resources available for you to teach yourself Photoshop, but few people have the discipline to teach themselves enough of the software to use it at the professional level. For advanced techniques in Photoshop or just to get your feet under you as a beginner, going through an online course is the better option.
Online Photoshop courses are a good investment because Photoshop itself is an expensive software to use. If you’re going to pay a subscription fee to use Photoshop applications or going to pay hundreds of dollars for the licensed version, shouldn’t you be getting your money’s worth out of it? Learning how to use Photoshop through a course can make it more valuable to you.
How Much Does Photoshop Cost?
Photoshop used to be too expensive for many creatives to afford since buying a licensed copy would cost well over seven hundred dollars. Luckily, Adobe has now set up Photoshop as a subscription service through the Creative Cloud. For the full suite of Adobe applications, a monthly subscription costs around $10. (Source: GCF Global) This is affordable on virtually any budget.
What if you want to buy a permanent copy of Photoshop? This used to be a possibility, but not since Adobe swapped over to a subscription-based service. Even if you still could purchase a copy of Photoshop, it’s not a good idea.
The reason is that Photoshop is constantly being updated. By subscribing to the Creative Cloud, users are automatically eligible to get access to any new updates or tools that Photoshop releases.
While you can buy an older version of Photoshop for several hundred dollars, they lack the same technical support of newer iterations. When it comes to specialized software, it’s imperative to make sure that you’re working with the latest and greatest version of it.
If you’re serious about using Photoshop, a subscription is the better option. By the time you have Photoshop for twenty months, you’ll likely be good enough at the software that you could use the skills you’ve learned on it to help it pay for itself.
Photoshop Online Courses Can Be Helpful
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to use Photoshop but have found the software intimidating, there are many online courses available that can teach you how to use the software. The scope of these courses changes drastically depending on the price and level.
Whether you’re a newcomer to Photoshop who wants to learn the basics before moving on to bigger projects, or you’re an old hat at the software who needs a refresher or to learn some advanced skills, there is a Photoshop course available online for you.