I am new in the field of design and I have started learning Photoshop.

Whenever I work on images or try to design something new, I get confused with where and how to start. I do not know which tools to use and how.

As I am teaching myself from YouTube or wherever I get tutorials, I am able to copy the tutorial work but when try to work on my own I get stuck. I forget what buttons do what and how to predict the results.

What ideas or knowledge do you think a designer or beginner should learn to improve their ability to understand that? Whats are the most important things to take care of and focus on?

  • possible duplicate of graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/31/…
    – Vincent
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:34
  • Hi Aady, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:37
  • 3
    The answer to this question heavily depends on what you want to achieve with Photoshop. If you want to make webdesign mockups, start with the Layers palette and the type and shape tools. If you want to retouch photographs, use layers masks and retouching tools. What do you want to do with Photoshop?
    – Vincent
    Jul 10, 2015 at 11:21
  • 2
    This question is way too broad and a bit confusing. Are you asking about 'design as a profession' or are you asking about 'how do I learn Photoshop'? These are very different things (albeit, both broad topics in and of themselves)
    – DA01
    Jul 10, 2015 at 14:52
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Tips and resources for beginning designers
    – Luciano
    Jun 7, 2017 at 11:25

3 Answers 3


Start by learning Layers. They're going to be the foundation of everything you do. Think of them like paper, but better and more powerful, and generally transparent paper:

Transparency Paper

Open a Photo or Picture you like. It will be on its very own Layer. Now create a new layer (ShiftCtrl/CmdN) and give it a name you like.

Now you have your paper... so you need your brush or pencil

Grab the Brush Tool B and go to town on the new layer. Practice different brushes, colors, brush settings, etc. Then try transforming it in different ways under Edit → Transform.

Now start adding additional layers. Maybe separate them by Object or even by Color. Add more photos, text, play with the Shape tools. Now you can start trying out the Blending Modes. And open additional photos you like and Paste them onto the same document.

Really practice this for a considerable amount of time.

After that you'll have a much better foundation and can start to look into other tools. Key ones that aren't as obvious to a beginner are Masking and Clone Stamps.

While doing all of this you can also start looking at Rulers (Ctrl/CmdR) and creating Guides from them.


I had been wanting to make a video tutorial of this for a while, I finally did - if you're just starting out and need to understand layers please have a look (and consider subscribing): Fundamentals: What are Layers in Photoshop?

  • 1
    You truly got the real starting point with layers and explained it well. You'll fill with joy a lot of beginners who used to put everything on one layer, it's good advice (+1)
    – go-junta
    Jul 10, 2015 at 14:08
  1. Always have a contract
  2. Always get paid for your work
  3. Fire the bad clients
  4. Understand how to figure out your rate properly: What price should I charge for design services?

Learn what each tool and commands does.

Use them.


Start simple. Create some fake projects and have fun using the tools. If you want to start from the beginning then don't waste your time yet with the "how to make a glass effect on the letters".

Start with things like "how to create a business card", "how to resize an image", "how to create a layer mask", "how to make a clipping path", etc. All the very basic stuff.

Photoshop is like that art box every kid (well, at least me) ever dream of. It has pretty much everything you need to create almost any kind of art. You won't find any perfect guide to learn, you'll learn as you'll need to achieve some effect and then you'll learn as you'll find a way to create it. There's many ways to get to one result too. Have fun with Photoshop!

You need to know your tools before you can use them intuitively. You'll have your favorite ones. You'll try different techniques and also have some you prefer to use for whatever reason. Every designer started with the basic tools and increased their skills and knowledge of more tools by using them.

Using Photoshop as an expert is to become a master at it. You have no other choice than to get started and practice if you want to get there! There's also different kind of Photoshop experts... some are better at digital manipulation, others at using it for printing or color management, or drawing, or picture retouching, coloring, texture, etc. As @Vincent mentioned, you need to know what you want to do, that's already a good start.

Plus frankly, not to discourage you... after Photoshop you should learn a few more software like Illustrator and InDesign!

And if it can reassure you, some tutorials have a step missing but that can be a good way to learn to try to reproduce some effects on your own or find what's missing. The graphic design stack exchange has a lot of valuable advice and tricks too; I think I can safely say there's better tricks here than a lot of tutorials in term of quality of the final result. It's worth exploring the "photoshop tag."

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