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Since Designlab was founded in 2013, we’ve provided design education to over 4000 students. One of the things we hear time and again is that people delayed their design education because they were intimidated by the software.
Certainly, opening up Photoshop as a novice can be an overwhelming experience—it’s a fully-featured graphics package with a formidable number of menus, functions, and tools that have accumulated over the past 30 years to satisfy the needs of a range of creative professionals.
But it’s important to remember that, however elaborate a piece of software is, it’s still just one aspect of the creative problem-solving process that we call design. Ultimately, any piece of software is a design tool that can be learned and used.
To help our students pick up the basics of industry-standard software, we’ve put together a series of free introductory email courses. A couple of months ago we kicked things off with a course about Sketch—and today we’re pleased to unveil Photoshop 101, a free 7-day email course to get you started in Photoshop.
Why learn Photoshop as a designer in 2018?
In the past couple of years, lightweight screen design packages like Sketch and Figma, and prototyping software like InVision and Marvel, have become popular replacements for some of the functions that Photoshop used to fulfill.
However, there are still good reasons for designers to make sure they have a baseline of Photoshop skills. Here are our top three.
1. Many design teams still use Photoshop.
While young companies might be in a position to start with the latest tools, many design agencies and in-house design teams still use Photoshop extensively. It’s a real possibility that your first job as a junior designer will be on a team that uses only Photoshop for all their web design work.
This isn’t necessarily because they’re behind the times: companies may have an entire design system and process built around Photoshop and other Adobe products, and for them it is crucial to have working access to all those files.
2. Photoshop offers advanced image editing.
Web design packages like Sketch and Figma intentionally offer only very basic functionality when it comes to photography. However, the average user interface (UI) designer will need to work closely with photographs—whether to enhance images supplied by a client, or to apply image treatments to create brand consistency.
Photoshop is unrivaled in the number and quality of photographic adjustments and filters it offers. What’s more, in highly competitive markets, the quality of photography on a landing page can make all the difference to customer perceptions of a product.
3. You can easily create simple animations in Photoshop.
Although one of the web’s oldest image formats, GIFs have made a comeback in recent years. And they’re not only useful for creating loops of evil cats—they can also be used to great effect to demonstrate screen transitions, or to create simple slideshows for use in a webpage.
Photoshop’s Timeline still offers one of the quickest ways to create simple frame animations, allowing designers to demonstrate UI interactions or showcase their work.