Why Do People Use Photoshop?

Photoshop is the most popular and widely used photo editing software. For most professional photographers, it is the most reliable tool for simple and complicated photo enhancement. Then again, a lot of beginners are overwhelmed by the number of functions the program has. Those who like the steep learning curve may jump into the wagon and learn basic to advance photo editing skills. But those who limit their photo enhancement to exposure correction and color enhancement may look at simpler photo editors.

The advantages of Photoshop are far too numerous to be discussed in a single article. The main purpose photographers edit pictures on Photoshop is to improve their appearance. The improvement is mainly for enhancement purposes. Advanced editing is for artistic purposes. Professional photographers can change the way their photos look by making fine adjustments on color and exposure. Photoshop can also salvage flawed photography (e.g. curing overblown highlights). There are two major goals. One is to make the photo more presentable. Another is to make the photo appeal aesthetically to the viewers.

People who are having photography as a hobby should invest in good photo editing software, like Photoshop. However, with Adobe Photoshop free download sites, many can avail of the advantages of professional photo enhancement. But, since Photoshop is overwhelming for beginners, online instructional materials are available. There are many experts who are generous enough to share what they know to the public. Sites like Adobe Connection offer free tips and advice to both carefree and serious photographers alike.

Although Photoshop is a bit complicated to use for the novice, it has several quick editing options. It provides quick options for those who just want to adjust the composition, brightness, contrast, color saturation, and noise reduction. Good photographers usually have good photos to begin with, that only slight photo enhancement is necessary to make a good picture look much better. Unlike simple photo editors, Photoshop offers fine tuning of these elements. In other words, you can make automatic adjustments as well as fine tuning, for more precise enhancements.

There are also functions on Photoshop that you cannot find on other photo editors. Advanced picture enhancement involves the removal of facial imperfections and blemishes, which is important in portrait photographs. Photoshop also has options for you to change the background of the subject, combine different photos or enhance the dynamic range in the photo.

However, Adobe Photoshop may not be appropriate for some types of people. Carefree snapshooters hardly edit their pictures before posting them online. These people do not even need any kind of editing software. Photoshop would just take up useless space on their PCs. The other types of people who do not need this picture editing software are those who mainly do basic editing. There are many people who do not fancy elaborate photo editing. Photojournalists and snapshooters usually limit photo editing only to exposure correction, color adjustments, noise reduction, and cropping. These can be done using basic editors.

As more people are joining the photography bandwagon, more are also using editing tools to further enhance their pictures. A significant amount of photos posted online have been edited on some software. As many people aspire to become better photographers, more of them are making use of editing software to take their work of art to the next level.

Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Anyone who’s ever dabbled in website design has probably needed to use image editing software at one time or another. To many it might appear as if there are only one or two options out there. The primary option being an expensive program from Adobe called Photoshop that costs around $300, and a few others like PaintShop Pro and Pixelmator that range from $50 to $100. However, there are two other powerful options that are completely free.

Gimp

While the name might conjure up thoughts of a Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” Gimp stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program (GNU is free software licensing system). The best feature of Gimp is its price tag…free. This open source software is a powerful alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop featuring the ability to create graphic designs through layering images.

It has an extensive plug-in library that continually grows, offering new features for graphic image manipulation. Some developer or user might create a plug-in that makes a photo look like a velvet painting. You can then download these plug-ins and use them free of charge in your version of Gimp.

Gimp also supports the Adobe Photoshop format for paintbrushes. These are a powerful tool within the application that are generally themed and make it easy to add potent imagery to your work. Paintbrushes may be themed around gardens, Japanese letters, Goth imagery, cars or just about anything you can imagine. They’re a flexible, powerful way to take your logos or website images to the next level.

Find this program at http://www.gimp.org.

Inkscape

Another powerful, free program for creating images is Inkscape. Unlike Gimp, which is a raster-based image manipulation program, Inkscape is a vector drawing program. While Gimp is intended for editing photos in the jpg, png or gif format and best suited to handling photorealistic images, Inkscape’s vector drawing is great for icons, logos and more cartoonish images.

Vector drawing programs are based on building, coloring and manipulation shapes. Raster programs like Gimp are pixel-based and this means that when you scale an image to a larger or smaller size, you run the risk of losing image fidelity. Programs like Inkscape and their expensive cousins (Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw) are the perfect tool when you want to create logos that might be presented in many different dimensions.

Most clip art that is not photography based is created using some sort of vector drawing program. Inkscape uses the Scalable Vector Graphic file extension (.svg) which is open standard and means that your graphics file will easily transfer to other programs and be usable.

Find this program at inkscape.org.

Is Open Source for Everyone?

Of course! It’s free! That’s the whole point. There are downsides to using these applications. While you can find hundreds of books on using Adobe’s Photoshop, you’ll only find a handful on Gimp and Inkscape.

Some people love to buy books to learn, but I say that’s actually a disadvantage because again you’re out another $30-$50 bucks per book.

There are plenty of video tutorials on You Tube that can teach you how to use the programs and become very competent. So the investment you make will be time, not money.

If you’re in need of a program that will help you create images for your website that are compelling, but can’t afford a copy of Adobe’s Photoshop – you’d be wise to take a look at these two amazing open source graphics programs.

How to Find Free Photoshop Tutorials

Adobe Photoshop is incredibly powerful software, however this power comes with a fairly steep learning curve if you want to take advantage of its many features. Luckily, the web is filled with many resources to help you on your journey from beginner to advanced.

There are thousands of sites out there with detailed instructions on Photoshop’s array of tools. A quick trip to Google will allow you to uncover page after page of resources focusing on any topic imaginable. Many of the best designers used these articles to teach themselves Photoshop from the ground up, experimenting and learning on their own time.

The majority of learning resources will come in the form of a step-by-step tutorial with images and text to explain in detail the steps needed to produce the desired outcome. This allows the reader to follow along at a comfortable pace and revisit areas that give them problems.

You can also go to YouTube and find a wide variety of video tutorials. Some concepts can be difficult to follow with images and text; videos giver the viewer the opportunity to see exactly how a technique was executed. Many videos are produced by industry veterans that are skilled and experienced teachers.

If you’re unsure where to start, think of a tool or area that you want to learn more about. Head to Google and type in the exact subject you are interested in, followed by the words “photoshop tutorial”. For example, if you’re interested in learning how to add a frame to a photo, search for the phrase “add a frame photoshop tutorial”. You’ll be hard pressed to come up with anything you can imagine that someone hasn’t written a detailed explanation for.

Using Online Tutorials to Learn Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop has set the industry standard for photo and image editing. In fact, its popularity is such that it has become a full-blown industry in itself. In terms of ease of use and editing possibilities, Adobe Photoshop is hard to beat. And it’s quite easy to learn even for beginners, especially those who have never in their life tried an image editing software before. There are literally thousands of tutorials online and on DVDs that can teach anyone the magic tricks of Photoshop.

If you’re quite capable of navigating yourself using a program, your Adobe Photoshop installer has everything you need. Provided of course you know what you’re looking for and what the terms mean, you will find the ‘help’ function very helpful. However, if you do not know the difference between crop and cut, you’ll need to turn to other resources.

Head off to Adobe.com to find out more about Photoshop. There are plenty of info you can access from the site courtesy of their in-house experts. You’ll find thousands of featured tutorials online, although if you’re a beginner, you might want to take it slow and go to the ‘Basic’ tricks first before getting your hands on the more advanced techniques.

Adobe Photoshop is very easy to learn but you should first understand how it works and what exactly it can do so you’ll have realistic expectations. Don’t worry, though. Adobe Photoshop can create lots of magic and it won’t disappoint. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can move on to the intermediate and advanced techniques.

If you prefer textual tutorials, you can use the articles on Creativepro.com. This site lists some of the best Adobe Photoshop techniques you’ll find very useful. Included in the list are tutorials on the use of adjustment layers, aging of metal textures, using Camera Raw, using brush and patch, color replacement using Photoshop CS and even the all-important technique of restoring damaged photographs.

Whether you’re an Adobe Photoshop newbie or pro, you will find a lot of tips and tricks at PSDesigns.com. This site lets you penetrate deeper and understand what goes on when you use different tools and devices. In fact, their tutorials are categorized based on technique. Included are background or knockout tricks, type, shape and pen techniques, pattern techniques, web and graphic design techniques.

One of our recommended sites is Photoshopsupport.com. This is a one-stop shop for online and video Adobe Photoshop tutorials. Everything you need to know about Adobe Photoshop is right here. There are free tutorials you can access online, including v.9 or CS2 tutorials.

Photoshopsupport.com also hosts free tutorials from Photoshop experts. Most recently, they have hosted tutorials by CreativeBits’ Ivan Raszl. It features some of the most popular and creative techniques including removing red eye, creating textures like diamond-plated metal and brushed aluminum, making water drops and integrating photographs with uneven surfaces.

Some tips are as simple as changing colored photos to black and white and creating water drops – stuff you’ll find handy later on. You can even access the Photoshop Tips & Tricks series volumes 1 to 6 on the site. And you don’t have to be a grown-up to learn Photoshop either. The site has links exclusively for kids.

There are a lot of freebies onsite, including brushes, fonts, textures, plugins, photos and actions. If you prefer to download Photoshop video tutorials, there are also free video clips available.

If you have Photoshop v.10, you can access the CS3 resource center through this site. You can even download a trial version of public beta CS3 through Adobe Labs for free. The site alone has all the tutorials you’ll need to sharpen your Adobe Photoshop trick armada and you can even do more using links to other tutorial sites.