I've been searching for some good resources for learning Photoshop from scratch. I'm someone without a formal design background, but I'm looking to become competent using Photoshop (not trying to be a pro by any means). I found a lot of tutorials for specific techniques, etc in Photoshop (like from psdtuts and other sites) but can't seem to find any solid material for learning Photoshop from scratch.

Can anyone recommend a great video series or book?


The Classroom in a Book Series is great. That is what was used in my classes at school.



The two books I recommend to anyone beginning with Photoshop are Scott Kelby's "Photoshop [any version] for Digital Photographers" followed by "Photoshop Classic Effects". You can follow up with video tutorials and other books, but these two will give you a thorough grounding in the basics, painlessly and fast. You need the photography title because that is the heart and soul of Photoshop, no matter what else you do with it, and if you're designing you'll be retouching and/or recoloring assets frequently.

Why these two books in particular? They are the most approachable I have ever found for a beginner, they're thoroughly practical, and Kelby's slightly wacky sense of humor means they're never dry. Both are entirely task-oriented; each chapter addresses a particular need or typical professional challenge and takes you straight into a well-illustrated step-by-step of how to get the product. No chapter assumes you've read any other chapter, so you're never swimming about wondering what he's talking about, never out of your depth, no matter where you jump in.

Unlike 98.5% of other books (and video courses) out there, Kelby does NOT bore the reader with a long introductory chapter on the UI. You learn the UI naturally and automatically as you follow along, using the same assets as are in the examples.

With those under your belt you will find you already have quite an arsenal of techniques at your fingertips (and the structure of the books means it's very easy to refer back to a particular technique if you don't recall the details). Deke McLelland's "Photoshop [version] One-on-One" is an excellent follow-up that also works for reference afterwards.

The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) is a good $99 investment for a year. The site is packed with video- and text-based tutorials from some very clever people, at every level from beginner to quite advanced. I still keep my membership up to date.

If you plan to become a designer, don't neglect design as a subject of study unto itself. It's a common fallacy that knowing how to use the tools means you are now a designer. It is a fallacy, as thousands of painfully amateur flyers, posters and websites have proven ever since Microsoft Publisher and FrontPage arrived on the scene. (There is a special place in hell reserved for whoever dreamed up WordArt.)

Have fun, and good luck with your studies.

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    Thanks Alan. Do the books you recommended make sense even if I'm not primarily interested in photography? I'm more interested in design for mobile and web. Thanks again! – LuxuryMode Nov 30 '11 at 14:04
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    Looks like you sort of answered my question: You need the photography title because that is the heart and soul of Photoshop, no matter what else you do with it, and if you're designing you'll be retouching and/or recoloring assets frequently. – LuxuryMode Nov 30 '11 at 14:06

Lynda is pricey but thorough. http://www.lynda.com/Design-training-tutorials/40-0.html

  • There's a monthly subscription for 25$ which gives access to all the tutorials in their site. It's a good place to start. – Shahar Jun 26 '12 at 8:35

I second the recommendation for Lynda.com -- they're not cheap, but they are good. Most classes offer a few free sessions, so you can get an idea of whether the approach suits you.

I'd also recommend anything by Deke McClelland. I found his book for Photoshop CS4 very helpful, and he has a CS5 version out now. He also has a fun and informative website, http://www.deke.com.

Finally, there is a ton of training material on the Adobe website. If you find it too overwhelming right now, check it out again once you've gotten comfortable with the basics. It's amazing to me what you can get for free there. Good luck and have fun!


Photoshop CS5 by Jason Welsh on iTunes U is free and amazing course !


I've been involved in graphic design instruction and support and often recommend any of the Photoshop books from AGI. Some of the authors actually contributed to official Adobe and Microsoft instruction manuals; so they are definitely authorities in technology instruction.


I'm using lynda.com. It is a bit pricey, but it gives you a lot of good tutorials with exercise files.

  • it probably more useful to answer new and active questions instead of old and answered ones... – Ilan Apr 15 '14 at 6:23
  • @Ilan nothing wrong with answering old questions, to the contrary. Providing they are useful and adds value. – benteh Apr 15 '14 at 9:05
  • @RandomO'Reilly, I mean this answer is not add much value to the answers provided - we have 7 answers already here... I dont downvoted it, just commented – Ilan Apr 15 '14 at 9:07
  • Fair enough, but specify that might be better. @Uwe please expand on your answer, it is too short on useful information in regards to the questions. – benteh Apr 15 '14 at 9:09

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