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One Designer’s Photoshop Love, Tips & Resources

A proclamation of my Photoshop love — along with helpful tips and resources.

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by Eric Sharp

Update: Photoshop is now over 25 years old. Check out this great article by PetaPixel where they look back 25 years!

From the day I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop in 1999, I was hooked.

It’s one of the tools of the trade that can keep me up till 3 am with a caffeinated energy drink, playing air guitar as I make headway on a project.

The software keeps me humble with its vast complexity, and there’s just something about watching a concept come to life that brings a sense of euphoria. If clients took witness of my antics during a late night cranking session, they might begin to look at me a little differently (by the way — I’m an awesome air guitarist).

On February 19th Photoshop turned 20. When I first discovered the program (version 4.0 to be exact) it had been around for 10 years. It was one of the first software packages that my creative soul quickly identified with while studying Mechanical Engineering. Woah, what? Yes, Engineering. Thank goodness I trusted my intuition back then.

A one time colleague of mine over 8 years ago described his Photoshop love in 3 effortless words…

It’s like Therapy.

He was right.

For someone to lose themselves in a computer program for hours means focus. Focus means a clear head, a clear head produces quality work.

Photoshop is a constantly evolving tool for creative professionals that has kept me on my toes and consistently provides new ideas, tips and methods for accomplishing today’s web, video, print and branding challenges. I believe even the most skilled Photoshop users in the world are still learning on a periodic basis. The program is deep, like my love for it.

Anyways, enough of this love fest before my dogs catch wind of it and become jealous. Below is a collection of case studies, online resources, personal tips and random things I’ve had bookmarked.

Photoshop Tips, Resources

  1. Design.tutsplus.com
    Photoshop tutorials galore – some extremely great content here
  2. DIM (“Design-in-Motion”)
    An Ericism I coined many years ago. I first learned of the concept from a college instructor. Typically I’ll have over 15 different PSDs by the time I finalize a composition. “SAVE AS” often people. Explore new creative ideas with each new document. You can always revert to a different concept and re-build on top of that if your current direction isn’t flowing. Enjoy the process! Some of my best ideas happened by accident through turning on/off layers from various DIMs and randomly moving elements around. Plus, it’s fun to look back at previous versions and have“What in the world was I thinking?!” moments
  3. Get a large monitor!
    I have a Gateway 30″ and the resolution offers numerous advantages for Photoshop users. Seeing an entire web comp at 100% and more of my layers, brushes, & history palettes screams productivity
  4. You like shortcuts? How about ‘dem shortcuts?!
  5. Name layers. Create folders. Have a hierarchy!
    I’m very systematic when it comes to my layers (I was traumatized by an old boss who rarely named his).
  6. Free Photoshop Brushes
    Never underestimate the power of presets. You can pretty much get any kind of brush, shape, pattern or texture within 5 minutes of a good search (for free)

Happy belated birthday Photoshop!

You…complete me.

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