How to learn Adobe Photoshop 2020

Learn Adobe Photoshop with 3 measures

For many, Photoshop is the absolute must in the professional realm image editing. As Car photographer and Photo editor, Photoshop has of course become indispensable for me. It's my daily bread after all. But how did I actually learn to use the extensive software? I am asked this question quite often, especially on Instagram. That's why today I have a blog article on how to best learn Adobe Photoshop.

I'll tell you how I got my Photoshop skills and how I made the greatest advances in image editing.

What does it really take to learn Adobe Photoshop

Anyone who opens Adobe Photoshop for the first time probably feels downright stunned. This is how complicated the image editing program seems at first glance.

I was no different a few years ago. But how do I get to the point where I can make good use of Adobe Photoshop CC?

I haven't attended any basic creative education or any Photoshop course. I practically taught myself Photoshop. A classic autodidact, so to speak. Based on my experiences, I now have 3 tips for you. With these three steps, you are guaranteed to learn Adobe Photoshop.

1. Basics are the be-all and end-all

In my opinion, the most important thing to do is to learn the basics. Especially for Photoshop beginners. On the one hand, you have to familiarize yourself with the user interface. On the other hand, you should be able to use the most common tools and apply the standard corrections.

It doesn't take the most incredible tricks or complicated techniques to create great images. Personally, I also mainly work with the basics.

The user interface

Photoshop CC's user interface looks pretty similar for the most part. You can design the work area relatively freely, but usually photographers and image editors usually need the same tools. Just maybe arranged a little differently. Personal taste and so ...

My user interface looks like this.

Due to my large main monitor, the Eizo CS2730 (the successor is called CS2731 *), I have arranged the tool palette on the right-hand side.

The left area is almost completely reserved for viewing the image. Along with my second monitor, the Eizo Foris FS2333. For me, this serves primarily for viewing a reference image.

Here the use of both monitors in Adobe Photoshop.

On the right side (next to the main monitor) you will find my most important work windows next to the tool palette. At the top I have placed Info, Navigator and Histogram. In the middle there are my saved actions, the protocol and the corrections. Layers, channels and paths can be found at the bottom right.

The tools

In my opinion, the following tools are very important.

  • Move tool
  • Crop tool
  • pipette
  • brush
  • Mending tool
  • Repair brush
  • Copy stamp
  • Gradient tool
  • Pen tool

Not to be forgotten at this point is the mighty Camera Raw! So you can develop your Raw’s in no time at all. By the way, you can find out why raw photography makes sense in my blog article.

The common corrections

Photoshop has everything to be able to retouch your picture perfectly. The following common corrections are available for image processing.

  • Brightness / contrast
  • Tonal correction
  • Gradation curves
  • exposure
  • dynamics
  • Hue / saturation
  • Color balance
  • Black-and-white
  • Selective color correction

You should be able to use these in any case. Of course, tutorials on Youtube can also be helpful.

In my early days, I stumbled across a basic tutorial from Calvin Hollywood. Even today, as a beginner in Adobe Photoshop, you can still learn a lot with it.

In the meantime, of course, Adobe itself also offers a “Learn Photoshop” package. And for free. There are useful ones here first steps in Photoshop. So you can learn the basics in Photoshop relatively easily yourself.

Why are the basics so important to me? Quite simply, because without a clean base, even the best subtleties are of no use. Examples?

When building a house, you start with the foundation first and not with the details of the interior work.

Think back to the time when you had to learn to drive (if you are of course older and have a driver's license ^^). Question: Did you first memorize the individual menus of the entire infotainment system or did you deal with the basics such as clutch, gas, gearshift, brakes and steering ?!

Exactly. 😉 For this reason, it is also important to learn the basics in Photoshop first.

2. Copying helps

A duplicate or a copy has nothing to do with creativity ?!

No, but as a beginner in image editing it helps enormously. There are numerous tutorials on Youtube, as DVD or in renowned Photoshop magazines (DOCMA, Photoshop etc.) which impart good knowledge. Of course, there are also extremely informative blog posts on the subject of Photoshop.

If you play through these tutorials and follow the respective pictures, you will make tremendous progress.

The advantage of the story is that you can observe the individual details of the image processing in a much more targeted manner. What did the original designer pay particular attention to? How did he use the colors? What was used to increase contrast? And what tools did he use to make disruptive elements disappear?

I've never been the biggest YouTube fan. I actually liked magazines. And with these I was able to learn a lot.

Ultimately, however, you don't need a collection of magazines, DVDs or saved YouTube videos. It is only important that you play through these tutorials yourself. With such instructions, the learning effect is really great and it sticks better. Would you like a practical example?

Painting hair in Photoshop

Do you know how to paint hair using Photoshop? I personally didn't know. Thanks to instructions on the Internet, I could now paint you realistic hair relatively well thanks to the digital painting technique. No matter if on the face or on the head.

Here are the instructions to be able to paint hair with Photoshop.

This tutorial is not very useful for my vehicle photography. Nevertheless, it can be an advantage for a lifestyle photo series or a free project, for example.

3. Learning by doing

As the saying goes: constant dripping wears away the stone. This also applies to learning Adobe Photoshop.

Don't worry: the more you practice, the better you get. It's logical, isn't it ?!
But just you have to practice! Over and over again.

Practice, practice and practice again! Because nothing comes from nothing!

No matter whether you are a professional, ambitious hobby photoshopper or newbie in the field of image processing. Everyone has to practice. Because if you stop getting better, you stop being good.

So it is important to train continuously. Learning by doing is the key to success. In addition to gaining additional skills, you will of course also become faster through continuous training. You can edit your images more efficiently than you were at the beginning of your Photoshop career.

My workflow only solidified with experience. At the beginning I needed a lot more time for certain processes than is the case today. But that's completely normal. Even the fact that editing errors often occur is nothing earth-shattering when learning Photoshop.

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You need diligence and patience to learn Photoshop

To learn Adobe Photoshop you mainly need the following:

Diligence and patience! But if you are passionate about it and constantly invest time in image processing, you will soon make the first progress. As with most things, the same applies here: all beginnings are difficult. But not impossible…

Learning Adobe Photoshop is also fun. After all, as a “creative” there is nothing much better than having finished an “awesome” picture in Photoshop.

In order not to lose the fun despite setbacks, which are guaranteed to come, there is a small quiz to loosen up.

Photoshop quiz

PS has been around for almost 30 years now. There was a quiz for Photoshop's 25th anniversary.

That quiz was about recognizing whether a picture is real or whether it has just been photographed. Fortunately, the Photoshop quiz is still active. It doesn't even take 5 minutes to answer the questions.

Click here for the Photoshop quiz.

How many points did you get? I'm rather modest with 19 out of a possible 25 points. 🙂

FAQ

So let's summarize the most important things again.

Which 3 things are important when learning Photoshop?

1. Mastering the basics is essential. This includes understanding the user interface, knowing and being able to apply the most important tools and corrections (hue / saturation, curves, etc.).
2. Imitating pictures helps in the learning process. There are numerous learning DVDs, tutorials and informative magazines and blog articles that provide raw material and step-by-step instructions for copying. This trains your eye and develops your understanding.
3. Learning by doing. It takes practice to really get better and take your image editing skills to the next level. Practice, practice and practice. Because you automatically learn the most while doing something.

I taught myself Photoshop this way. After initially playing around, I dealt with the basics.

I then read numerous magazines and copied the tutorials presented in them. When I got stuck somewhere, I looked for a tutorial on Youtube.

And otherwise I continuously practiced with my own pictures and tried to improve my Photoshop skills.

My own development in Photoshop

Here's the proof that you can learn Adobe Photoshop yourself.

The picture comes from my beginnings. I took this picture in March 2012. As a reminder: my first DSLR arrived in 2011. 😉

And then a photo from 2020. Almost exactly 8 years later.

Not enough? Then I have another comparison for you. I had to look really deep into my Photoshop early days ... to be honest, even in the darkest corners of my data backup. ^^ But here is another comparison of 7 years of Photoshop experience. 2019 versus 2012. On the right, I was still a real Photoshop beginner.

Which is by no means bad. 😉 It only shows that everyone started out "small".

I think that's motivation enough for every Photoshop beginner. You too can acquire great skills in Photoshop!

With this in mind, I wish you a lot of motivation and enjoyment while learning Adobe Photoshop!

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