Adobe’s legendary imaging software has been bringing design concepts to life and enhancing the body shape of some of our best-loved celebrities for close to three decades now. Throughout its many iterations – currently up to version 20.0.4 – one common thread has remained consistently true. While beginners can find it easy use some of its basic functions, it is without doubt the professional’s choice and the industry standard.
There is a pretty simple reason for that as well. Photoshop really is that good and its results are remarkably consistent. So with a wealth of online resources like video tutorials and ‘how-to’s’, it’s quite possible to master the fundamentals of image editing, retouching and colour correcting. You’ll soon be moving on to adding layers and more advanced techniques, like feathering and removing objects altogether from view.
So why go to this trouble and embark on what can be ultimately a steep yet rewarding learning curve. Well think about your social media posts and how often you are using images to capture users’ attention. The fact of the matter is that out of the vast number of images posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every hour of every day, how many are actually going to make people click. Also, if you know your social stuff then you will be aware of the different sizes that suit different platforms, whether it’s a cover image for Facebook, a hero for your company Linked In page, a Twitter header or an Instagram story.
After you’ve got your image sized right and you’re on the way to a better looking social media profile, it’s time to start thinking about your mobile audience. More than ever these days your social media posts are more likely to be seen on a Samsung Galaxy or an iPhone so Photoshop’s handy compression feature, which reduces an image’s file size while keeping enough quality, so it won’t take an infuriating time to display online will definitely be one of your most used functions.
If you want to get really creative with your photos then the only limit to Photoshop is your imagination. From smoke to burning flames, to watercolour and cartoons, to some incredible dispersion splatter and electric light effects. When you start layering and blending the effects on top of the images, don’t get carried away as it’s easy to go over the top so it’s important to keep some perspective and an element of space. Another way that Photoshop can make a real difference to your creative life is the way it can be used to improve the quality of poor, low resolution images. Using the bicubic smoother is one way to make an image larger without that dreaded pixelation. There’s also the Smart Sharpen tool, which, as long as you are not working from a complete blur, lets you sharpen the edges of your image and blend with the original for impressive results. The key to Photoshop’s creativity is the ability to rasterize even three dimensional images to a bitmap format which lets you merge with other layers such as photos for a piece of print ready final artwork that can be easily edited.
As an all round design tool, Photoshop is extremely effective for creating logos, flyers and any digital marketing collateral you need like print ready adverts, business cards, or banner ads for use on websites. Without the intricacies and difficulties of Illustrator, simply set your image size, set a background and then start to add your graphics and text. Then you can get more creative with effects and filters. If you are working with an agency you’re already speaking their language and you can phase out the stock images while stretching your marketing budget as you’ll soon be creating the templates and artwork you need yourself without the additional costs for graphic design.
While you are at it, a few hours on Photoshop will give you the chance to create some special imagery for your own website. At the end of the day, it’s all about making your web content more professional and vibrant. That’s what will really give your brand a new lease of life.