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Useful Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Quick Summary

As web designers, we always have something new to learn. Over the last decade our workflow has changed dramatically — it’s become more sophisticated and highly diversified. Not only do we have a much larger variety of improved tools to use; there’s also an endless stream of new techniques emerging and spreading within the web design community via social networks. And this is where the opportunity to learn new useful, practical approaches and techniques comes in.

Create an Awesome Number-Based Illustration

We can learn by exploring the different design approaches other designers have taken, when solving their problems and apply these approaches to our work to become more productive and skilled. Therefore, our editorial team is permanently looking for interesting techniques, tools and tutorials, which we carefully select and present in round-ups on Smashing Magazine. You needn’t love our lists, but they often will give you some useful ideas and advice.

Below you’ll find an overview of new useful Adobe Photoshop techniques and tutorials that we’ve found and collected over the last months. We sincerely hope that at least some of the techniques presented there will help you improve your graphic design skills in Adobe Photoshop. And sincere thanks to all designers and developers whose articles are featured in this review. We respect and appreciate your contributions to the design community, folks!

Table of Contents

As web designers, we always have something new to learn. Over the last decade our workflow has changed dramatically — it’s become more sophisticated and highly diversified. Not only do we have a much larger variety of improved tools to use; there’s also an endless stream of new techniques emerging and spreading within the web design community via social networks. [Updated June/14/2017]

Useful Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

And this is where the opportunity to learn new useful, practical approaches and techniques comes in. We can learn by exploring the different design approaches other designers have taken, when solving their problems and apply these approaches to our work to become more productive and skilled. Therefore, our editorial team is permanently looking for interesting techniques, tools and tutorials, which we carefully select and present in round-ups on Smashing Magazine. You needn’t love our lists, but they often will give you some useful ideas and advice.

Further Reading on SmashingMag:

Below you’ll find an overview of new useful Adobe Photoshop techniques and tutorials that we’ve found and collected over the last months. We sincerely hope that at least some of the techniques presented there will help you improve your graphic design skills in Photoshop. And sincere thanks to all designers and developers whose articles are featured in this review. We respect and appreciate your contributions to the design community, folks!

Photoshop Techniques and Tutorials

Illustration

Make a Delicious Donut in Photoshop In this tutorial, you`ll see the process of making a tasty donut in Photoshop. Use the pen tool, the brush tool, the burn tool, the dodge tool, the smudge tool, and various filters and layer styling techniques to achieve the final outcome.

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Amazing Retro Rainbow Curves

Learn how to design some amazing vector based Retro Rainbow Curves using Adobe Photoshop. These retro artifacts have become a popular trend in modern design.

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Blood and Milk Typography Poster in Photoshop This tutorial shows you how easy with few basics steps you can create original typography poster in Photoshop. With this technique you can create interesting flyers for clubs or you can use it in advertisements.

Blood and Milk Typography Poster in Photoshop

How to Create an Amazing Mixed Media Poster in Photoshop Learn how to create this creative composition using a variety of graphical elements. This tutorial will show you how to easily create futuristic shapes with the Path tools and combine them with photos and brushes to create this mixed media poster.

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Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop Learn how you can apply the Halftone filter in Photoshop and the Width Tool in Illustrator CS 5 to create an image inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s style.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

How To Design a 3D Wooden Box in Photoshop In this tutorial, you’ll learn to make a Wooden Box with a realistic touch. Along the way, you will be learning various tips such as using layer-sets for putting a group of layers together that you’d want to move/resize alt at a time. With layer-sets, the tedious work of selection of multiple layers for moving/resizing can be avoided.

How To Design a 3D Wooden Box in Photoshop

Ursus - Brief Process Examination by Justin Maller This post is a case study or a brief process examination sent by Justin Maller, in which he explains how he created the original and abstract Ursus artwork.

Ursus - Brief Process Examination by Justin Maller

Design a Vintage Radio Icon in Photoshop In this Photoshop Tutorial, you’ll learn how to design an old vintage radio using simple shapes, gradients, patterns and textures.

Design a Vintage Radio Icon in Photoshop

Brushing Up On Photoshop’s Brush Tool Developing Photoshop brush skills takes time, but it is well worth the effort. This article outlines the plethora of options that Photoshop affords, so that you can efficiently create and use brushes like the Old Masters.

Brushing Up On Photoshop's Brush Tool

Create a Futuristic Concept Car in Photoshop

In this video tutorial, Adnan Hadi will explain how to create a futuristic concept car using Photoshop.

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Realistic, High Quality Printer Icon in Photoshop In this long tutorial you will learn how to use vector masks and layer styles in Photoshop to create a slick looking ink printer reminiscent of some Canon and HP ink printers.

 Photoshop Tutorial: Realistic, High quality printer icon

500+ Photoshop Brushes for Creating Brush Strokes This review presents Photoshop brushes that will allow you to easily create realistic paint brush stroke effects. There are 18 free brush sets included, overall more than 500 brushes.

500+ Photoshop Brushes for Creating Brush Strokes

Master Repeating Patterns in Photoshop Ths tutorial explains how a repeating pattern can be created given that there are spaces around the original shape. In the process, you will get a grasp on creating repeating patterns in Photoshop.

Master Repeating Patterns in Photoshop

Creating a Furry Possum in Photoshop In this detailed tutorial, you will learn some techniques used to create the possum (one of the possum brothers) from the animated cartoon-Ice Age.

Creating a Furry Possum in Photoshop

Simple Underwater Scene in Photoshop This tutorial shows you how to create a underwater scene with bubbles and light effects.

Simple Underwater Scene in Photoshop

How to Create a Photo Realistic Camera This article demonstrates a powerful combination of vector shapes, layer styles, and manual drawing to create a photorealistic camera. In fact, the result is so realistic that you’d think it’s just an ordinary photo.

How to Create a Photo Realistic Camera

Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene This tutorial will show how to create a fantasy book scene. The designers will be using various advanced Photoshop techniques to make the composition as realistic as possible.

Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene

Photoshop Poster Design Tutorial This tutorial shows you how to design a great looking poster to celebrate Adobe Photoshop’s 20th Anniversary.

Photoshop Poster Design Tutorial

Opacity + Photoshop Blend Modes = Pattern Magic When it comes to creating patterns, the ability to duplicate a layer is one of Photoshop’s greatest features.The trick is to pay attention more to how shapes interact than to how a shape looks on its own. This article explains this and other techniques for creating patterns in Photoshop.

Opacity + Photoshop Blend Modes = Pattern Magic

Create a Photo Realistic USB Cable in Photoshop In the right hands, Photoshop’s pen tool can be a very powerful tool for creating incredible; even photo realistic images. This tutorial demonstrates exactly that, and shows how to draw a photo realistic USB cable in Photoshop.

Create a Photo Realistic USB Cable in Photoshop

With Photoshop manipulation tools, you can create and edit images for Web and print. Below you will find some tutorials on poster design from 2010.

Fresh and Excellent Photoshop Tutorials For Designing Posters (From 2010)

How to Create a Retro Sci-Fi Computer Game Poster Combine stock photos and design resources to create an attractive retro sci-fi themed game poster that is inspired by Atari games of the 80s.

How to Create a Retro Sci-Fi Computer Game Poster

The 15 best free Photoshop Scripts Photoshop is well known for its support for filters and actions, but there’s a third way to increase the functionality of Adobe’s image editing tool: scripts.

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Photoshop Etiquette For Responsive Web Design Style Tiles, Style Prototypes, Visual Inventories, Element Collages, style guides, and even designing in the browser have all been suitable approaches to multi-device design. With a shift from page-based design to building a design system, it’s truly an exciting time.

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TYPOGRAPHY

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshoping Photoshop In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn to create retro-looking text that seems like it’s constructed using folded strips of paper.

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshop

An Awesome Collection Of 80 Photoshop Typography Tutorials An overview of professional creative step-by-step typography tutorials using Adobe Photoshop which can enrich your design skills and improve the quality of your work.

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Understanding Inner Shadows in Photoshop Photoshop layer styles are a popular way to add effects, such as drop shadows and strokes, to layers in a non-destructive way. With the right knowledge and experience, any effect can be achieved. To achieve these effects, however, you need to understand what each setting does and how they can be combined to achieve a certain look.

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Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5 This tutorial will show you how to create a text effect using a photo of a rope and the Puppet Warp tool.

Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5

3D Water Text Effect with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5 In this tutorial you’ll see how to create a water text effect with Photoshop. Even though it might look complex, it’s a very simple effect. You will be using the new Repoussé tool and then some stock photos to create the effect.

3D Water Text Effect with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5

Create a Distressed Vector Typographic Poster Design Follow this step by step walkthrough of Chris Spooner’s recent design process for the ‘Spectrum’ poster. Starting with custom made type in Illustrator, you’ll move vector graphics into Photoshop for some serious distressing with Photoshop brushes and blending modes.

Create a Distressed Vector Typographic Poster Design

Photography

How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography A step by step tutorial on how I take a digital photo and make it Lomoified. Don’t forget to create an action script once you get this down, it will save you a lot of time.

How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography

Uncovering Toy Cameras and Polaroid Vintage Effects (With Photoshop Tutorials) Below are a list of the most famous toy cameras and some tutorials that can be used to recreate their famous effects.

Uncovering Toy Cameras and Polaroid Vintage Effects (With Photoshop Tutorials)

50 Time Saving Photoshop Actions for Enhancing Photos Here are 50 excellent Photoshop actions that can add professional looking enhancements to your photos with the click of a button.

50 Time Saving Photoshop Actions for Enhancing Photos

100+ Outstanding Photoshop Actions to Enhance your Photography Have you ever seen photos in magazines or on the web and wondered how they achieved that look? This post presents over 100 Photoshop actions that will help you achieve some of these looks and save you some time in the process.

100+ Outstanding Photoshop Actions to Enhance your Photography

A Perfect Lie in Photoshop #2 In this Photoshop Tutorial Cameron Rad will present us what he has found out over this last year of Photoshop experiments with skin retouching.

A Perfect Lie in Photoshop #2

20 Beautiful Photoshop Montage Tutorials In this round-up, you’ll look at 20 beautiful Photoshop montage tutorials that teach you step by step how to create these amazing photo composites.

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How to Make a Photoshop Montage Anyone can cobble together a few photos and textures and create a humdrum montage. To elevate yours beyond this it takes a few simple tricks using Photoshop’s array of tools. This tutorial explains how to create a Photoshop montage in 19 steps.

How to Make a Photoshop Montage

80+ Photoshop Actions for Giving Your Pictures a Vintage Look This post round-ups over eighty Photoshop actions that will add vintage or retro effects to your photos.

80+ Photoshop Actions for Giving Your Pictures a Vintage Look

Improving General Photoshop Skills

Create Animations in Photoshop After Effects is the go-to Adobe application for creating both simple and complex animations. However, for those users that either don’t have the time to learn an entire new application or simply don’t own a copy of After Effects, Photoshop has incorporated very similar, albeit scaled back, functionality.

Create Animations in Photoshop

Learn How to Draw Hand-crafted Pixel Art in Photoshop In this tutorial, an illustrator Russel Tate teaches you how to draw with pixels. You’ll learn how to create artwork in the style of eBoy and Army of Trolls.

Learn How to Draw Hand-crafted Pixel Art in Photoshop

Create a Camera Lens Icon in Photoshop (Screencast) In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a camera lens icon using Photoshop. Duration of the screencast: 30 minutes.

Create a Camera Lens Icon in Photoshop (Screencast)

Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners This post is intended for designers or aspiring designers who either want to get started with Photoshop or have limited experience and are looking to improve. With this post you’ll find links to plenty of resources to teach you all the basics and fundmentals of Photoshop.

Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners

Photoshop 101 - Working with Slices In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use the slice tool and show you some easy methods of slicing up your designs.

Photoshop 101 - Working with Slices

Unveiling Photoshop Masks In this article, you’ll explore the technical aspects and creative advantages of incorporating masks into your workflow.

Unveiling Photoshop Masks

12 Common Photoshop Mistakes, Misuses and Abuses This article presents a list of 12 common mistakes, misuses and various ways new users abuse Photoshop.

12 Common Photoshop Mistakes, Misuses and Abuses

Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers Collected here are some lesser known but extremely useful shortcuts. Many of these are not documented in the “Keyboard Shortcuts” menu, and some of them don’t even have equivalent menu options.

Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

Taking Photoshop’s Curves Beyond Highlights and Shadows Read on for more details about what Photoshop curves are, as well as how to use them properly for your designs.

Taking Photoshop's Curves Beyond Highlights and Shadows

Getting to Know Clipping Masks and Layer Masks in Photoshop This article outlines the differences between the layer mask and the clipping mask in Photoshop.

Getting to Know Clipping Masks and Layer Masks in Photoshop

Templates

Photoshop Android GUI Set, Great freebie. This design pieces are brought to you thanks to our design family at Iconshock, which is a quote of faith regarding the quality of the set. The package includes fully editable Photoshop files, original fonts and previews, everything that you may need in order to customize your set according to your preferences. Please let us know your opinions and feel free to share this amazing gift with your friends, remember that you will always find the best articles and resources only here, at Webdesignshock.

Photoshop Android GUI Set, Great freebie.

60 High Quality Photoshop PSD Files For Designers Photoshop .PSD file reveals the techniques used on a specific design, and it also tells us the style of the creator and most of the time there is something new we can learn from it. You’ll get quite an overview of interesting techniques in this collection of PSD files.

60 High Quality Photoshop PSD Files For Designers

Free PSD: Facebook Fanpage Template A Facebook Fanpage mock-up with editable text, posting times etc. You may want to check the Free PSD Twitter Background Template, too.

Free PSD: Facebook Fanpage Template

Modern UI and Layout Tutorials for Photoshop In this round-up you’ll find many current web design Photoshop tutorials that cover not only web page layouts, but also web app layouts, mobile UI and design elements such as buttons, search boxes, headers and footers.

 Modern UI and Layout Tutorials for Photoshop

How to Effectively Organize your Photoshop Layers This tutorial outlines how to create organized, designer and developer friendly PSD files. This is in no way the only solution, but hopefully it will encourage better practice in the web design world.

How to Effectively Organize your Photoshop Layers

Coding, Processes and Organization

Preparing Photoshop Files for Web Developers Designers can help their counterparts or clients before a design hand-off by taking 10 to 15 minutes to prepare files in a consistent and organized manner that can potentially save developers hours of production time. As an added bonus, an organized Photoshop file will save designers time by minimizing development questions after the file has been handed off for coding.

Preparing Photoshop Files for Web Developers

Photoshop Variables: How to Import External PSD Smartly? From the article: “A while back, I discovered a system that enables designers to say goodbye to opening 23 PSD files just to change the header color. When a change is required, we can just change it in one place.”

Photoshop Variables: How to Import External PSD Smartly?

How to Code up a Web Design from PSD to HTML Learn how to code up a complete mockup in HTML and CSS, ensuring the code is semantic and standards compliant. You’ll then add some finishing touches with a spot of jQuery.

How to Code up a Web Design from PSD to HTML

Setting Up Photoshop For Web, App and iPhone Development This article addresses the issues in trying to match colors in images to colors generated by HTML, CSS or code.

Setting Up Photoshop For Web, App and iPhone Development

Divine Divine creates websites from Photoshop to Wordpress promptly. Basically, Divine is a plug-in that sits on top of Photoshop. Once you’ve finished designing in Photoshop, launch Divine plug-in in Photoshop, assign WordPress roles to the main elements (e.g. #footer, #header, etc.), and then the plug-in will prepare all the files you need. Once you set FTP access, the tool uploads the theme automatically to your server. The tool is free.

Convert PSD to Wordpress with Divine. Convert Photoshop to Wordpress theme

Open With Photoshop Open With Photoshop is a Firefox extension that allows you to send any image via right click context menu from the browser directly to the Photoshop.

Open With Photoshop

Last Click

Why We Don’t Deliver Photoshop Files Occasionally a potential client will ask you to give them Photoshop comps as the final deliverable, to be coded either by an internal implementation team or a technical partner. Some designers don’t do that. Here’s why.

Why We Don't Deliver Photoshop Files

If Photoshop Was Batman, Then Illustrator Would Be… From the article: “Perhaps as a direct result of too much Batman: Arkham Asylum, I found myself asking the question: If Photoshop was Batman, what would Illustrator be? In this silly little article, I explore some of the intriguing possibilities.”

If Photoshop Was Batman, Then Illustrator Would Be...

Top 10 Photoshop Feature Requests This post presentes some of the top 10 most requested features that he believes would make Photoshop a more powerful and time saving tool.

Top 10 Photoshop Feature Requests

Photoshop CS6 wish list You may want to check out this Photoshop CS6 wish list, too. Do you agree with the features mentioned there?

Photoshop CS6 wish list

The Darwinian Evolution of Photoshop What does a top notch graphic designer have in common with an amateur photographer who uploads his weekend pictures on Facebook? They both love Photoshop! This infographics presents the evolution of Photoshop in a quite unusual, original way.

The Darwinian Evolution of Photoshop

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