Excellent, experienced instructor shares his “tricks of the trade.” Lifetime access to 13.5 hours of content, including a special Adobe Camera Raw lesson.
Course could be too long for those who just want the absolute “basics.”
Extensive sections on using adjustment layers and filters to achieve certain effects. Special lesson on editing and creating video in Photoshop.
Video can be a bit blurry. Limited focus on painting with Photoshop.
Multiple courses from a graphic design expert. Learn photoshop skills as well as app and web design. Great for visual artists looking to understand how Photoshop mimics natural media. Bundle gives access to seven total courses.
Some video buffering issues. Content is only slightly dated.
Accessible for beginners, but useful for intermediate and expert users as well. Includes Creative Cloud instruction and editing Camera RAW. Engaging instructor.
Designed for Photoshop 2015. Instructor's artistic style may be less applicable to certain projects.
Quick course takes 90 minutes total to complete. Introduces Photoshop to beginners with no previous experience required. Project-based lesson plan teaches basics in real time.
Illustration and design focus may feel limited to photography and art students.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Adobe Photoshop CC is an application that can take years to fully master. Even professional photographers and graphic artists who use it every day can benefit from learning about new techniques and tools. Taking an online course is a great way to get acquainted with Photoshop and/or deepen your knowledge of what this powerful program can do.
All of the courses on our shortlist give beginners a solid grounding in the navigation of Photoshop's interface. Students also learn how to retouch and manipulate photos so their work can truly shine. In this review, we examine the unique features of each course and assess their accessibility, value, technical performance, and quality of instruction.
Instructor clarity and presentation quality
If you plan to devote a significant number of hours to a Photoshop course, you will want an instructor whose explanations are clear and concise. In this section of our ratings, we critique each instructor on the clarity of his or her presentation. We also discuss the accessibility of each course. Are supporting materials provided? Do technical issues detract from the course? Is the course compatible with various web browsers and mobile devices? What about the quality of the online interface?
Topics covered, overall comprehensiveness, and skill level required
With a program as comprehensive and longstanding as Photoshop, no introductory course could ever hope to cover every aspect of the software. In this section, we summarize the topics covered by each course and their usefulness for the average user. We also address special considerations that would be of particular value to photographers, graphic designers, web designers, film-makers, and illustrators. Although each course on our shortlist is aimed at beginners, some require a bit of background knowledge on topics such as photography, computer file formats, printing, and color theory. We reveal what type of prior knowledge, if any, is required for each course. We also provide an assessment of each course's level of difficulty.
Notable features and perks
In this section, we highlight some of the features that are unique to each course, such as instructor support, community discussion boards, lifetime access to materials, opportunities for further study, and money-back guarantees.
Price and value
None of the courses in this review are free. (You might find some free Photoshop tutorials on YouTube, but the courses on our shortlist offer far more content than these freebies.) In this section, we analyze the price of each course in terms of what you get for your money: content, length, special features, and so on.
Udemy's “Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC” course is taught by Andy Anderson, a well-known educator in the fields of graphic design, photography, and computer science. With over 20 years of experience using Photoshop, Anderson’s expertise with the program is evident from the outset of the course. As a presenter, he is friendly and upbeat, and his explanations are reliably clear and straightforward. Lesson after lesson, he speaks in an engaging manner that holds the listener's attention.
Using the intuitive Udemy interface, course videos may be streamed onto laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Internet access is required to view the videos, but with a decent connection, the audio and video quality is excellent. Students enjoy lifetime access to each purchased course, which means you could repeat an individual video – or the entire course – over and over if you wanted to.
“Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC” is divided into 23 sections, each with a handful of lectures lasting between two and twelve minutes. The course comes with an AutoPlay function, and it logs your progress after each lecture. A ZIP file containing an extensive collection of image files may be downloaded with purchase. The images in this file allow students to follow the instructor step by step. Some students have reported that the course works best with Google Chrome.
SoundviewPro’s “Adobe Photoshop CC: Basic Techniques” course is taught by Stephen Monastra, a photographer and Adobe-certified Photoshop Instructor. Monastra is very knowledgeable about Photoshop, but he is not an especially confident presenter. His narration can be a bit choppy, and he sometimes stumbles when speaking. The pace of the course is fairly slow, which some students may prefer. Monastra keeps things simple by providing uncomplicated explanations of the various Photoshop tools and techniques. Each course includes a review of the topics covered; this ensures that the information presented doesn’t become too overwhelming.
The SoundviewPro course requires an Internet connection and a computer, tablet, or mobile device to play the course videos. The videos show the instructor’s screen as he manipulates photos and narrates his actions. There is no AutoPlay function; students must click each video title to watch them in order. To the right of each video is an embedded text box where students can take notes as they watch. (While handy, this feature does not offer much of an advantage over, say, using a Microsoft Word document.) All SoundviewPro courses can be paused, replayed, and revisited as many times as necessary. “Adobe Photoshop CC: Basic Techniques” comes with several downloadable PDF files, including a reference guide for Photoshop tools and a guide to layer and blend modes. A TIFF image file is included for editing practice, and a custom brush pack file is supplied for download. Overall, however, the course's supplementary materials are rather basic.
Eddie Russell is the instructor of “Your First Day With Photoshop CC,” a course by Pluralsight (formerly Digital-Tutors). Russell instructs dozens of other Pluralsight courses, too. It is clear from the start that he is a Photoshop expert, but his course is not flashy or overly complicated. He is well-spoken and narrates the course at a comfortable, steady speed. The course comes with useful exercise files – the same ones that Russell uses in his tutorials – so students can follow along on their own computers. These vibrant, professional images allow students to practice layer styles such as Glow, Emboss, and Drop Shadow.
Russell builds a solid foundation of skills and logically proceeds to more advanced topics as the course moves on. The lessons are divided into manageable chunks of roughly 10 minutes apiece. Each lesson is razor focused; Russell doesn't veer off into overly advanced techniques or give unnecessary technical explanations. He doesn't just tell you what buttons to push, either. Rather, he explains why you would want to use different tools and describes what Photoshop is actually “doing” behind the scenes. For added reinforcement, each lesson ends with a concise summary of what was taught.
This course covers the techniques that beginning users might want to learn, such as changing backgrounds, adding effects to layers, and duplicating/moving/changing the size of objects. Unfortunately, the videos sometimes need to buffer, which can slow down the pace of the learning.
Lynda.com’s "Photoshop CC Essential Training" is taught by Julieanne Kost, an instructor who has created a number of photography and digital media courses for the Lynda.com library. Kost's narration is clear and well-paced, but as a “no nonsense” speaker, she lacks some of the humor and personality of the Udemy, Pluralsight, and Phlearn instructors. The course is divided into many short lessons (about four minutes apiece). Because of this, it's easy for students to reference specific topics as needed.
Kost is a knowledgeable photographer and Photoshop user. She is also an excellent teacher. Students should be able to replicate the manipulations and edits that she demonstrates. The keyboard shortcuts that she uses throughout the course are helpfully displayed onscreen for both Mac and Windows systems. A few of the videos are simply text bullet points with narration, which can become a little tedious for the viewer. However, most of the videos are dynamic demonstrations of what Photoshop can do.
The Lynda.com video interface is designed well, and the videos play without any buffering or loading issues. You can watch the videos in small, large, pop-out, and full-screen play options; potential customers should note that the video quality of the pop-out screen is much sharper than the other play options. English closed captioning is provided, as is an AutoPlay function. Transcripts of every video are provided; as the video plays, the viewer can read the text of the narration onscreen.
Lynda.com offers a note-taking tool that links student notes to specific time codes in the video. Notes can be exported or downloaded for later use. Unfortunately, you have to be a premium member of Lynda.com to access the course exercise files. (Premium members pay a higher monthly subscription cost.) A student who does not purchase access to these files would have to find his/her own practice images.
Phlearn’s “Photoshop 101” and “Photoshop 201” are actually two separate courses, but they are available for purchase as a bundle. Unlike the others on this list, Phlearn’s courses cannot be streamed online. Instead, students purchase and download the courses as ZIP files. (Potential buyer note: computer software is required computers to “unzip” the files!) The files include tutorial videos, a Photoshop keyboard shortcuts PDF, a support PDF with written instructions and troubleshooting tips, and the image files used in the tutorials. All downloads are conveniently stored on the Phlearn website, and students enjoy lifetime access to the tutorials.
The Phlearn courses are taught by company founder Aaron Nace. A friendly and dynamic speaker, Nace enjoys relating his own personal Photoshop experiences to students. He is quite personable, and he isn't afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes, he actually encounters tools and options in the course of his teaching that he's never seen before! But but he clearly knows what he's doing, and it's fun to watch him manipulate images with a bit of his own humor thrown in.
Conveniently, the “Photoshop 101” course uses only one photo – a DNG file. This approach allows students to get familiar with the most commonly used tools while working with just one image. “Photoshop 201” branches out with multiple images. In this more advanced course, Nace teaches about useful (and fun) tools such as healing and spot healing brushes. He does a good job explaining when to use the different tools, and he mentions his own personal preferences based on his his extensive experience. Just as importantly, he admits that there are tools he almost never uses and thus doesn't feel compelled to explain in the course. Overall, the Phlearn courses focus largely on retouching photos of people. "Photoshop 101" and "Photoshop 201" would be of less use to graphic designers and illustrators. A small criticism: Nace spends a lot of time listing Photoshop tools that you won't use – perhaps too much time.
Udemy’s Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC course begins with an introduction of Photoshop's interface and the many menus, panels, and workspaces available in this extremely detailed program. Instructor Andy Anderson is a big believer in efficiency, and he stresses the benefits of customizing menus and workspaces to fit each user’s needs. Anderson goes over essentials such as making selections, using/customizing brushes and the magic wand tool, and understanding the difference between vector and raster images. He explains how using actions and batch processing can save time when working with multiple images, and he goes into detail about different file types and how to optimize images for the Internet, monitors, and different types of printing.
Anderson sensibly covers the basics before moving on to lessons about color balance, color cast removal, hue and saturation, and color swatches. He explains how to make “non-destructive” adjustments to images, particularly through the use of layers. The course covers blending modes, combining colors, layering, and the use of masks to control where adjustments are applied. Anderson also delves into selective image editing (dodge/burn/sponge techniques to darken, lighten, and blend colors) and healing techniques to restore and manipulate images. There are lessons on removing and adding objects to an image and a particularly impressive lesson on “Photoshopping” faces to remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, and more.
Although the Udemy course focuses on getting a basic grounding in Photoshop, Anderson also points out some of the “cool” things you can do as a beginner: adding drop shadows, creating neon and embossing effects, creating a 3D appearance for text and objects, and so on. The teacher includes a fun section on filters that add hundreds of specific and customizable effects. He also explores how blending aspects of images can change the overall perspective of an image. Techniques for creating a greyscale and changing the contrast, hue, and saturation of images are also addressed. We appreciate the fact that Anderson strives to explain the science behind these adjustments!
In this course, students aren't just taught to press a button to create sweeping visual changes; they learn to control Photoshop precisely. The course may go into more detail than some people would like, but that's because Anderson is quite conscientious about presenting multiple creative options to students. Early on in the course, there are lectures about experimental features, linked smart objects, and color preferences, as well as entire sections about the Adobe Bridge organizational program and the more advanced Adobe Camera Raw plug-in. With lifetime access to the course through Udemy, this broad focus is a good thing. Students can choose to skip over certain sections and watch them later on, when they feel more comfortable with Photoshop itself.
According to Udemy, the "Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC" course is geared toward beginners. For the most part, the course lives up to this claim, but some of the lessons may leave absolute beginners feeling a bit out of their depth. It's important to note that basic computer skills are essential for this class, but no specialized skills are needed.
It's also important to note that the shortcuts and skills taught in this class would not just be helpful for beginners. Creative professionals and serious Photoshop users would also get a lot out of Anderson's course. When you consider the fact that Udemy courses include lifetime access, it's easy to see the value you get for your money. Students can re-watch the tutorials whenever they choose and pick up more advanced techniques as they grow in their Photoshop skills.
SoundviewPro’s “Adobe Photoshop CC: Basic Techniques” course begins with instructions on how to make selections and edit images with tools such as Marquee, Lasso, and Quick Mask. The next section addresses the use of layers, blend modes, and layer styles. (At this point, there is also some discussion of improving the clarity of old photos.) The longest section of the course covers techniques related to image editing and retouching. This includes the use of healing and spot healing brushes, the patch tool, and the clone stamp tool – all of which have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The next section introduces more advanced options for brush use and how to lighten and darken images using the Dodge and Burn tools. A downloadable custom brush pack file is included with the purchase of the course. Instructor Stephen Monastra covers each of the course topics in sufficient depth; students should feel comfortable trying them out with the provided exercise file. Perhaps the greatest strength of the Soundview Pro course is that it's not overwhelming. Students are able to build their confidence quickly by using just a handful of crucial techniques.
Compared to the other courses on our shortlist list, the SoundviewPro course merely scratches the surface of some of Photoshop CC’s basic functions. The course makes good on its promised outcomes – touching up images, restoring the clarity of old photos, and so on – but it leaves the viewer wanting more. In order to get more, you would have to purchase SoundviewPro’s "Adobe Photoshop CC: Advanced Techniques" follow-up course. This extra purchase covers topics such as masking, destructive and non-destructive editing, adjustment layers, rasterizing, smart filters, smart objects, actions, and batch processing. Although these topics might seem relatively advanced for the first-time user, they are actually included in most of the other beginner courses in this review.
The SoundviewPro course is aimed at the absolute beginner. No prior knowledge is required; as long as you can open up Photoshop, you know enough to follow along. Monastra begins at the beginning, explaining even the most basic terms such as pixels and contrast. The course moves at a relatively slow pace, allowing beginners to grasp new concepts without having to pause or replay the videos. Its relatively short length simplifies matters by focusing on only a handful of key Photoshop concepts.
Pluralsight’s “Your First Day With Photoshop CC” course covers the essential tools and techniques that would interest a beginning Photoshop user in just the right amount of depth. Instructor Eddie Russell provides an initial overview of the user interface that reviews tools, panels, and workspaces. Easy-to-understand lessons on navigating, zooming, panning, re-sizing, and re-sampling are provided. Along the way, Russell mentions keyboard shortcuts that save Photoshop users time, so it’s useful to take some notes during the course. (Unfortunately, the shortcuts aren’t displayed onscreen). This course covers options for cropping and composition improvement that would be particularly useful for photographers. Its introduction to layers (how layers interact, how to blend modes/styles/opacity, and more) would be of particular interest to the first-time user.
The course covers how to make both “destructive” and “non-destructive” adjustments. In so doing, particular attention is paid to preserving the integrity of original images via layers, smart objects, history states, and undos. The teacher provides students with a myriad of tools to make and refine selections, from Marquee and Lasso to Quick Select and Magic Wand. His concise explanations of the various tools and techniques give students enough grounding to go off and experiment on their own.
Photoshop brushes are covered in detail. Students learn everything about size, hardness, tips, opacity, blend modes, bristles, and presets. The goal of the brush lessons is to show how users can use the technology to mimic “natural” media (pencils, watercolors, airbrushes). Russell provides best practice tips based on his own his experience, such as how to use the spot healing brush over small areas to get the best results.
As an experienced photographer, Russell excels at defining terms and concepts. Everything from brightness and contrast to RGB channels and histograms are explained in great detail. He even uses an underwater photograph to demonstrate how “haze” can be eliminated from a photo. As with most topics, Russell explains both the auto and manual options so that new Photoshop users are able to exercise as much or as little control as they want when lightening or darkening images. Likewise, he provides a great overview of the color manipulations available in Photoshop – hue and saturation adjustments, for example. The Color Picker, Swatches, and Eyedropper tools are discussed in order to help users select the perfect color for their work. Russell explains how to optimize color settings for both digital and print media. He teaches about filling areas with color and using patterns, blend modes, transparency, and gradients to apply more advanced photographic effects to an image.
This course focuses less on retouching images than some of the others on our list, but Russell does give a fantastic explanation of the spot healing tool and how it can be used to improve the look of an old photo. The course doesn’t delve into the ways that retouching tools can be used to remove facial imperfections, nor does it cover the Dodge and Burn tools for lightening and darkening. (This could be a disappointment to some students!) Instead, Russell wraps up the course with a brief look at creating vector shapes, adding type to an image, and blurring and sharpening images. He leaves off with a look at some of the filters available in Photoshop (a lengthy topic in its own right), and concludes by using the entertaining “liquify” filter to create fun distortions of a man’s face.
As a course designed specifically for beginners, Pluralsight's “Your First Day With Photoshop CC” really does live up to its name. Within the span of just one day, students are able to watch and learn some significant information about Photoshop. Russell doesn't assume that viewers already understand concepts such as layers and resolution; he reviews everything first. He also doesn't assume that students have used Photoshop before. Using layman's terms at the beginning, he moves his material along at a measured and watchable pace.
The Lynda.com course is nothing if not comprehensive. Instructor Julieanne Kost begins “Photoshop CC Essential Training” by introducing the Photoshop interface and explaining how its appearance can be customized. She also demonstrates how a user can synchronize personalized settings between multiple computers.
Kost provides a quality overview of the different file formats commonly used in Photoshop. She explains color modes, color space, bit depth, resolution, and how to optimize color settings to meet specific printing and/or viewing needs. She also explains the different ways multiple images can be viewed and how to zoom, pan, rotate, and re-size them. A few lessons on Adobe Bridge (a program that allows you to view and organize collections of photos) are included. A longer section on another adjustment application, Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), is also featured. Kost goes over the correct settings for moving images between ACR and Photoshop and how to make panoramas in both programs.
Kost explains how to use undos, history states, and snapshots to move backward and forward in an image’s history. She teaches about destructive and non-destructive editing methods with the crop tool and how to achieve the desired aspect ratio when cropping. Several lessons are provided on various layer functions: how to group layers so they work together, how to use the Free Transform tool to change perspective/scale/skew, and how to warp an image. She goes into a lot of detail about Smart Objects, another form of non-destructive editing.
Kost's lesson on making selections comes a bit late in the course, but it's quite comprehensive. She goes into detail about the Quick Select tool, using brushes to make selections, using Refine Edge for selecting soft-edged subjects (such as animals), and making selections using color range and focus. Some of the most commonly used blend modes (texture, hand tinting, color washing) are also discussed. She further explores Photoshop's potential for non-destructive editing by using adjustment layers, including levels and curves. She explains the use of adjustment layers to remove a color cast and how to change the mood of a photograph with the photo filter adjustment layer. Other demonstrated techniques include the use of a clipping mask to control which layers get adjusted, the use of selection tools for added vibrance, the use of adjustment layers to change colors and achieve greyscale, and the use of a gradient map to achieve traditional darkroom effects.
Lynda.com’s course features a lengthy section on retouching portraits. The teacher demonstrates how the Clone Stamp tool can duplicate a portion of an image somewhere else, how the spot healing brush can erase acne and other blemishes from a face, how to whiten and brighten teeth, and how to make subtle yet effective changes by removing under-eye circles, smoothing skin tone, and neatening hairstyles. Students also learn how to restore old photos by removing scratches and blemishes.
Kost explains how Photoshop's Content-Aware tools can intelligently delete, move, and extend objects in a photograph. (For example, the location of a window could be changed or a lamp could disappear entirely!) She demonstrates the very useful technique of how to “swap heads” in a family portrait, allowing you to pick and choose between exposures to get all of the subjects smiling in the same picture.
The later sections of the course focus on filters. Kost explains how to sharpen an image for printing, add noise (grain), reshape the contours of an object, and straighten an image. She teaches about the effects that can be achieved with artistic filters such as Gaussian blur and Texturizer. Kost discusses how render filters can create content such as flames, trees, and picture frames and explains how layer styles can create drop shadows and create transparent watermarks. Although painting for the sake of creating digital artwork is not a major focus in this course, Kost does introduce the basics of Photoshop brushes and explains how to customize brushes for tip, hardness, size, opacity, color, and more.
Unique to this course, Kost includes a section on using Photoshop to create videos, such as time-lapse projects, video timelines, and animated GIFS. She explains simple yet effective techniques for adding audio and how to render and export videos to sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.
This course is suitable for a beginner, but by the end, it definitely moves on to some fairly advanced techniques. Beginners may need to watch certain videos more than once in order to solidify their understanding of more complex topics. At over 10 hours in length, the course is a bit too long to manage in a single day. Usefully, the course's introductory lessons spend quite a while going over Photoshop's interface, tabs, panels, and menus. Also useful for beginners is the overview of file formats. Like the Udemy course, there is an emphasis on customizing the Photoshop interface for a user's unique workflow. This is probably not a big priority for a beginner, but it could be a benefit for a long-term organization.
Phlearn founder Aaron Nace teaches the “Photoshop 101” and “Photoshop 201” courses, which are particularly suited for photographers interested in high fashion and editorial images. Nace begins his course by delving into Photoshop preferences and how to optimize the application’s performance on your computer. He briefly touches on the adjustments that can be made to raw images in Adobe Camera Raw before mentioning how to download Creative Cloud applications such as Adobe Bridge.
Much of Phlearn’s Photoshop 101 course is concerned with Photoshop’s various menus, panels, and tools, including the Marquee and Lasso tools, Quick Select, and Magic Wand. Early on, Nace explains how to add and subtract from selections and how to manipulate layers using Free Transform and Warp. He doesn’t go into extensive detail in “Photoshop 101,” but he clearly and concisely describes the practical applications of handy tools such as Crop and Eyedropper. A lesson on layers, targeted at beginners, is also featured in this course.
One of the Phlearn course's greatest strengths is its emphasis on retouching photos. Nace provides an excellent introduction to retouching tools such as Spot Healing, Patch, and Clone Stamp. He is refreshingly honest with students about what types of results these retouching tools can achieve.
The rest of "Photoshop 101" is devoted to the basic functionality of other frequently used Photoshop tools. This includes the Brush tool, Gradient tool, Blur and Sharpen tools, and Dodge and Burn (for lightening and darkening). Nace clearly explains how to create custom brush presets, how to create paths and shapes using the pen tool, and how to add text. He also demonstrates the usefulness of the Filter Gallery for adding fun and creative effects.
Throughout Phlearn's “Photoshop 101,” Nace uses his own experience as a photographer and photo editor to explain which Photoshop tools he finds useful and which he doesn’t think are necessary for beginners. This means that the course skips over topics such as Smart Objects, which he deems too advanced. The last lesson in the first half of the course is the most practical, as Nace demonstrates the edits he might apply to the sample exercise image.
Phlearn's “Photoshop 201” course is all about retouching and manipulating fashion images. But before getting into retouching techniques, Nace discusses some advanced Photoshop settings relating to RAM, color settings and profiles, and cropping techniques. He clearly has a lot of fun using the liquefy tool to professionally retouch images. He further retouches skin and clothing with the Clone Stamp tool and Healing Brush, then demonstrates how to move and pose photographic subjects with the Puppet Warp tool.
Also in the “Photoshop 201” course, Nace explains a variety of useful techniques for cutting a subject out of a background. He details his own creative process for making the perfect background to improve the composition of a fashion image. Nace analyzes how different backgrounds would look behind a subject. Using the curves, level, and saturation adjustment layers, he combines portions of different backgrounds to make his own with just the right balance of light and color. Nace makes the second half of Phlearn's course especially practical by showing how he might turn a fashion image into a series of advertisements by adding type and swapping in different subjects.
Phlearn's “Photoshop 101” and “Photoshop 201” are designed for beginners. The knowledge imparted in the second course builds solidly on what is taught in the first course. Nace never uses overly technical language. He is careful to define terms and does a terrific job introducing techniques to first-time users. Overall, this course does a good job focusing on the tools and techniques that beginners would want to know about.
Udemy—Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC
Those who purchase Udemy's “Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC” enjoy lifetime access to the course and can revisit it at any time – an undeniable perk for anyone wishing to brush up on a certain topic. Udemy itself is a virtual library of over 32,000 courses on every conceivable topic, from yoga to Italian language to business law. Udemy prides itself on customer support and has an extensive FAQ library in numerous languages. Students have the option to send messages to the course instructor before or after enrolling in the course, and there is an extensive and active message board associated with it. "Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC" comes with a certificate of completion and includes fairly extensive sections on both Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw (a particular draw for photographers). Udemy offers dozens of advanced courses that would further develop and refine your understanding of Photoshop, too – many of which are also taught by Anderson.
SoundviewPro—Adobe Photoshop CC: Basic Techniques
Once you’ve purchased a SoundviewPro course, you enjoy lifetime access to all of its material. The course comes with a few practice images, a PDF overview of Photoshop tools, a downloadable custom brush pack file, and a printable certificate of completion at the very end. There doesn’t appear to be any way to contact the instructor, and the SoundviewPro website doesn’t have any community forums or message boards. If you do take this course and enjoy it, SoundviewPro offers several other Adobe courses, including “Photoshop CC: Advanced Techniques,” a follow-up taught by the same instructor.
Pluralsight – Your First Day With Photoshop CC
Like Lynda.com, purchasing a monthly subscription to Pluralsight gives you access to the company's library of 4,5000+ courses. Many people like this because, rather than just purchasing an individual course, you can watch as many courses as you want. Pluralsight's library includes a significant number of tutorials on more advanced Photoshop skills, some of which are also taught by instructor Eddie Russell. These classes range from the silly (“zombie” photo manipulation) to the highly effective (adding 3D animation to company logos). Pluralsight’s course interface offers a contact form in case of technical difficulties, but it doesn’t offer any way to ask the instructor questions. A message board exists for students, but it is not actively used. Out of all of the courses on our shortlist, Pluralsight's “Your First Day With Photoshop CC” offers the most comprehensive exploration of the brush tool and the creation of digital paintings.
Lynda.com – Photoshop CC Essential Training
A monthly subscription to Lynda.com provides access to the company's library of over 3,000 courses. Topics range from animation to architecture to small business marketing. “Photoshop CC Essential Training” is unique in that it gets updated with new videos whenever Photoshop CC itself is updated. Like the Udemy course, it goes beyond Photoshop to discuss both Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. It also includes a section on making videos within Photoshop. (None of the other courses on our shortlist discuss this in any detail.) Premium members can watch courses offline if they so choose. And, if a member wants to learn something new that's not already offered in Lynda.com's vast library, he/she can submit a “Course Request.”
Phlearn – Photoshop 101 + 201 Bundle
The Phlearn course is unique in that it’s the only course that can be watched offline (once downloaded) without a premium membership. Phlearn is a site completely dedicated to its own in-house Photoshop courses, all created and narrated by instructor and Phlearn founder Aaron Nace. Phlearn sets itself apart by offering many free Photoshop tutorials as well as the more in-depth, purchasable PRO tutorials on specific Photoshop topics (designing fantasy characters, skin retouching, levitation effects, glamour portraits, vintage fashion, and more).
As a learning platform completely dedicated to photography and Photoshop courses, Phlearn has a vibrant community focus. The company's frequent photo contests allow users (the “Phlearn Phamily”) to submit their own photographic/Photoshop work on topics such as Halloween and Mother Nature. Each tutorial displays comments and reviews so that prospective and experienced students can discuss the material and ask questions. Phlearn’s customer support team is prompt at responding to questions and technical concerns. We really like the fact that instructor Aaron Nace periodically gets involved in the online comments and reviews, as well.
Udemy—Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC
Udemy's “Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC” course is the most in-depth offering on our shortlist, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. If a student is not satisfied for any reason, he or she can easily request a refund through the Udemy website. What's more, consumers can “gift” courses to one another, which might make this course a great birthday or Christmas present! At over 13.5 hours in length, Udemy's course covers both the “basic” and “advanced” essentials of Photoshop. Once a student familiarizes him/herself with the basics, the course can be repeated again in order to benefit from the more advanced lectures. In short, it's like buying a beginner course and an advanced course all at once. With the perk of lifetime access , we think that's an excellent buy.
SoundviewPro—Adobe Photoshop CC: Basic Techniques
At just under two hours long, SoundviewPro’s “Adobe CC: Basic Techniques” is the shortest course on our list. It is also one of the most expensive. As mentioned above, the Advanced Techniques course would be an extra charge (even though it covers the material that SoundviewPro’s competitors include in their beginner courses). SoundviewPro does allow potential buyers to watch the first section of each course for free to get an idea of whether the instructor and content would suit them. Unlike some competitors, however, no money-back guarantee or lengthy free trial are offered.
Pluralsight – Your First Day With Photoshop CC
If you are looking to take at least one course per month, Pluralsight's subscription approach is an undeniably good value for the money. There are over 4,500 courses to choose from, many of which would build upon the solid foundation created by “Your First Day with Adobe Photoshop CC.” You can try out Pluralsight for free for 10 days (or view 200 minutes of content, whichever comes first) before you have to pay the monthly fee. With over six hours of content, "Your First Day with Adobe Photoshop CC" is a good buy, especially if you plan to take other courses. As long as you continue to pay the monthly fee, you can re-watch all or part of the course as often as you wish. (Note: you can't access any of it if you cancel the subscription!) This subscription approach is shared by Lynda.com, and it is definitely unlike the “pay-per-course” approach taken by Udemy, SoundviewPro, and Phlearn.
Lynda.com – Photoshop CC Essential Training
With a monthly subscription to Lynda.com, you can access any of the 3,000+ courses offered on the site. The company's 10-day free trial grants potential buyers unlimited access to the entire library. After the free trial, a monthly fee applies. This fee is slightly discounted if you pay for an entire year. A premium membership is also available; this costs a bit more, but a discount is again available if you pay for an entire year. (Notably, a premium membership is the only route to gaining download access to course video files.) A Lynda.com membership is a good buy if you are planning to watch multiple courses each month for the foreseeable future or if you are planning to cancel your subscription after thoroughly completing a single course.
Phlearn – Photoshop 101 + 201 Bundle
Phlearn offers its two beginning Photoshop tutorials as a bundle. The courses add up to six hours of content. Once purchased, students should watch the included “Start Here” video to find a coupon code that will give them a lifetime discount of 10 percent on additional Phlearn PRO tutorials. Phlearn’s price tag is higher than that of Lynda.com and Pluralsight, but it is hard to compare a monthly subscription service to Phlearn’s lifetime access policy. Prospective customers can access quite a few free Photoshop tutorials on Phlearn’s website (and YouTube). These freebies cover topics such as removing tattoos, creating collages, stretching images, and stylizing magazine covers. Besides being free and informative, these tutorials should help prospective students get a feel for instructor Aaron Nace’s teaching style before investing in the “Photoshop 101” and “Photoshop 201” bundle.