Introduction to Adobe for Creatives

Introduction to Adobe for Creatives - student project

For 35 years, Adobe has grown and asserted itself as the must-have company for a variety of visual design creatives. Each program offers a world of options and tutorials for everyone from advanced to beginner. Since its arrival, Adobe has consistently made itself the name in computer-based designing. After a short time using it, that distinction should come as little surprise.  It’s no wonder that Adobe is the signature name in multimedia and graphic designs.  

The Adobe Suite makes computer design possible for everyone from 3D artists to letter designers to marketing professionals. Each program makes creative computer design easier while making your mental images come to life easier and quicker than ever before. Additionally, Adobe’s offerings are always updating to provide you with the most cutting-edge capabilities in each field of design.

Abode's most well-known application is Photoshop. This powerful program is the tool that many creatives start with when learning Adobe or online photo editing and design in general. In most cases, you will end up using Photoshop for its detailed photo manipulation tools. In some cases, it will serve as the prime program in your projects. In other cases, you may combine Photoshop with Illustrator or Lightroom. This work can include 2D and 3D designs and character modeling.

Figuring out which program is best for you can be confusing for a beginner. Let’s take a brief look at many of the programs currently offered in the Adobe catalog:

  1. Photoshop: When you want to manipulate photos (think beyond standard photo corrections), this is your program. You can do just about everything in Photoshop, from adding drop shadows to creating geometrics to literally turning frowns upside down with the liquify tool. It’s no wonder that Photoshop is the name most people associate with the Adobe Creative Suite.
  2. Stock: Looking for high-grade images to work with? Consider Adobe Stock a viable alternative to Getty and Shutterstock, and far superior to the limited options found on free image sources.
  3. Lightroom: Most touch-ups occur in Lightroom before moving over to Photoshop for the more intricate edits. Photographers love this program for its easy-to-sort file management. Lightroom Classic is its desktop alternative, for those that don’t like editing on mobile.
  4. Illustrator: When creating vector images and logos, Illustrator is the program to use. Many types of designers work with Illustrator and then use Photoshop for work with raster art. In fact, you can ever learn digital painting if you're not used to sketching at this point. Furthermore, Illustrator can even help you design garment flats.
  5. InDesign: InDesign makes page layouts. Publishers of print and online publications use InDesign to manage their page's presentation and typography better than any other Adobe program can.
  6. Adobe XD: UX/UI professionals use Adobe XD to lay out and design their projects. From mobile apps to websites, this program helps make the creation process an all-in-one experience.
  7. Adobe Premiere Pro: This is one of the most preferred tools for video editors today. This wasn't always the case, as Avid and other programs outperformed Premiere. However, upgrades in recent years have made it a preferred option for a growing number of productions.
  8. After Effects: Where Premiere is more standard clip-style editing, After Effects is the progressive editor. This program creates stunning visuals and effects that you can't create anywhere else. Create anything from an unforgettable intro segment to adding unreal color to a wildlife scene.
  9. Dimension: Dimension adds exactly what its name is. Graphic designers can create stunning 3D visuals that look just like photos. Product designers also love Dimension for its ability to bring campaigns, layouts, and visual concepts into view.
  10. Dreamweaver: Website creators have used Dreamweaver for years now. They love its ability to take a project from designing to coding to publishing in short order.
  11. Muse: If coding isn't in your skillset or preferences, Muse will help bring your website alive anyway. If websites aren't your strongest suit but you still want to create your own sites, you'll love Muse's layout and simplicity.
  12. Acrobat: This one might be more common than Photoshop. If you use PDFs (and who doesn’t at this point?) you've likely used Acrobat to read, sign, and send PDFs along the way.

Adobe offers many other programs as part of its Creative Cloud programs. It includes online programs meant for:

Adobe programs have an array of tools that can be used, and add-ons that can be installed to help give the program an advantage over many others. Several of Adobe’s tools and programs for creatives have become industry changers. For years, Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom have all changed the way we look at graphics, art, and photography.

If Premiere continues to perform as it has, it would be no surprise to see it change video editing even further as well. Today, Premiere video editing is one of the most sought-after skills in the creative marketplace. With video now a central part of standalone content, as well as a complementary piece to blogs and articles, skilled editors are in high demand. The same can be said for many other skills that come from the Adobe Creative Suite.

The key is to find what the market demands and which align with your interests. There’s a good chance that whichever you choose is helping fuel an industry or two. When examining Adobe's performance and track record, it becomes clear why these programs are highly sought-after and as popular as they are. Looking back at Photoshop, its versatility allows any graphic designer to benefit from its immense capabilities. Artists can lightly retouch portraits or make an image look like it came from an entirely different world altogether. These effects can be done on multiple programs in many cases. In fact, publications like Entrepreneur believe that no matter what tech industry you're going into, Adobe Photoshop is a must-have skill for success.

After choosing which program you want to study comes the fun part: learning. So, grab your best Adobe tutorials and let’s get to learning Photoshop or whichever program best suits you. There’s a good chance you’ll soon start to build a list of more programs you’ll want to master once you get started. For now, let’s explore learning Adobe from a broader perspective.


Introduction to Adobe for Creatives - image 1 - student project

Image Credit: Matt Kaufenberg, Skillshare Teacher

Learning Adobe

Hopefully, you’re learning your Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other Adobe creative program for a combination of either self-interest and career advancement. Both reasons serve as excellent sources of motivation. They should help you push through the eventual pain points that come with learning complex programs and tools. Regardless your motivation, do your best to stay driven so you can learn all you need to know.

Once you understand an Adobe program it’s like riding a bike. But to get to that point with the Creative Suite will take time and a good deal of practice. This fact has kept many people from wanting to even attempt to learn Photoshop and other excellent programs. This is the case even with the vast number of resources out there.

Don’t let that happen to you.

The fear of learning a foreign, complex program is understandable. But it shouldn’t be the reason you don’t take on this worthwhile endeavor. The benefits vastly outweigh any momentary hurdles you encounter when going through your Abode tutorials and training. The only regret you will have when learning Adobe is if you give up along the way. The key to pushing past any short-term headaches is to remember the gains you will get from continuing on. Just like your images and creations, think of the big picture outcome. Use it as your guide to reaching your end goals.

Some will struggle to grasp easy and basic Photoshop tutorials at first, while others can get tripped up when it comes to techniques like color correction and 3D designing. The same can happen in Adobe Lightroom when adjusting and enhancing a photo that didn’t have the best ISO camera settings. Or, it may come when learning more precise, subtle edits. The struggles can and will eventually happen to every learner of any Adobe program. But that is part of the fun of learning, and it makes your completed creative designs that much more rewarding when you finally achieve them.

All it takes is an approach to learning that emphasizes patience and the desire to master a craft. Take Photoshop, for example. It can be daunting to comprehend as a beginner. But by simplifying and breaking down the steps, you can learn it in no time at all. As mentioned before, there are also Adobe Photoshop classes directed at beginners so you can learn the fundamentals first and build onto your knowledge later. Once you get started, you’ll likely realize that most of your worries are easily addressed in your first couple of lessons.

At the beginning stage, incremental gains should be you focus. Make the first two weeks about learning keyboard shortcuts to keep you working on the image instead of clicking. From there, begin to understand nondestructive editing techniques. Soon enough, your small morsels of knowledge will come together in the form of full-fledged Photoshop mastery. But when starting, remember what they say about a slow and steady approach: it wins the race. Just keep practicing and making designs until each lesson begins to feel like second nature.

Regardless which program you’re learning, it’s best to start with the fundamentals. Starting with the fundamentals of any subject gives you a baseline understanding of topic. With this knowledge and application of a program’s basic functions you are now ready to explore its deeper capabilities. Now, you will be properly prepared for advanced Photoshop tutorials that will have you exploring intricate 3D designs and photo retouching like the pros. Without understanding the basics, you could find yourself lost in deeper subject matter.

Another added benefit of learning today is Adobe’s ever-evolving features to meet user needs. You’ll never have to worry about your program being outdated, as design evolves further into new mediums. Additionally, tasks that once took a great deal of time and attention in Adobe programs now take mere moments. With these advancements, you only have to focus on making the refinements you want to your selections, hues, or any other aspects of editing you desire.

If you want to understand photo retouching, you'll benefit immensely from the many Lightroom classes that spell out the fundamentals for beginners. Even the greenest retoucher can learn the lingo, settings, and tools of the trade. While Lightroom might not have the same steep learning curve that Photoshop does, that's not to say it doesn't take some time to learn all the advanced functions. However, you'll learn pro tips in no time. Be sure to learn how the alt key works as an excellent time-saver and image enhancer.

Aspiring logo designers will love the tutorials for beginners that are out there. With a persistence to learning your new craft, you’ll soon flourish. In no time, you will have a portfolio that lands you work in the freelance or full-time digital marketspace.

Learning any program, Adobe or otherwise, is about the motivation. A combination of pleasure and business is ideal. However, several other motivations work just as well. Some choose to learn for the jobs, whether to expand their skills or change careers. Others decide to learn simply for the fun of creating, or their interest in digital media. Regardless your motivation, just make sure you continue to stay motivated.

It won’t take long for your motivation to pay off, either. Even the most beginning class will go beyond the fundamentals and lingos. It’s not uncommon to start learning advanced tips early in your lessons. Qualified instructors understand the importance of teaching the basics while piquing your interest with more elaborate tips from time to time. It won’t take long for you to begin working with layers, complex tools, techniques, and so much more. Once you start to learn the program, you’ll also understand how you learn best, giving you an advantage to learning even more about it.

With enough practice, you’ll even find yourself diving into niche tutorials that detail specific tools, tips, and techniques. After just a few courses, you may find yourself wondering how to create advanced vector art with Illustrator. Or, maybe you’ll want to capture the exact surrealist scenario for your video’s big climax. Once you get going with Adobe, the options and tutorials are virtually endless.

But to get to that level of understanding, you need to start with the fundamentals. Give yourself the foundation and understanding of your program before moving forward. Without that understanding, expect to scratch your head and pause your tutorials more than usual. In short, if you don’t have the basics understood, learning everything else will be much harder. It’s like swimming. You can throw yourself in the deep end, but it’s always safer to start in the shallow water.

 Introduction to Adobe for Creatives - image 2 - student project

Image Credit: Vasjen Katro, Skillshare Teacher

Adobe for Artists

Photoshop and Lightroom are both excellent at bringing your photos to life. We previously mentioned how they often go hand in hand when editing many types of images. Each tool helps bring life to your photos by enhancing colors, depth, tones, exposure, and much more. When it comes to color correction, this is one of the most important parts to learn in your design tutorials.

The key is to avoid extremes when editing your colors. Going too far to the right or left on the histogram is usually a sign that your image is going to look over or under lit. Once you learn these tools, you can create stylish art that feature these sorts of looks. However, when studying beginner tutorials for Photoshop or Lightroom, avoid those outcomes until you understand the fundamentals.

When creating digital paintings, your goal is to make the image look as close to the original art as possible. You can tell when an image is off if its contrast appears too low. This can be spotted by an image’s lack of difference between its darks and lights. Another sign is if your shadows and other darker areas appear grainy, like an old time photo.

You can correct these issues and others in Lightroom before moving your image to Photoshop. However, Photoshop can easily remove blemishes, an outcome you can’t achieve using Lightroom. The depth of each program’s tools help make your images into masterpieces.

With Lightroom, you are able to make your photos look like a high fashion shoot. Or, it can come off as a stylized piece of user-generated content with a custom-created filter you made using the perfect slider settings.  

In Photoshop, you get to take your Lightroom edits and really bring them to print and digital ad campaign quality. After understanding the fundamentals, you should have minimal problems with more intricate edits. Photoshop allows you to edit out wayward hair strands, whiten teeth, and even remove bags under a person’s eyes with simple healing brush strokes and the content-aware tool. From there, you’ll be able to take your work to the next level by learning frequency separation retouching.

Remember that separately, Adobe presents you with two excellent tools for differing types of color correction and photo processing and editing. When combined, they create a dynamic duo that can make a good photo into a great one.

Illustrator is an incredible tool for creating your digital art as well. Illustrator is the preferred tool for many Adobe users. Outside of editing photos, it serves as an incredible multi-use tool for artists. Like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator makes all sorts of designs become reality.

Whether it’s abstract designs, digital painting, or even logo concepts, Illustrator has the capabilities to meet your imagination. Logo designers love the program just as much as comic artists do. The key is to always remember you are creating graphics for the web, regardless the program you decide to use. It's key to remember several important points, including:

  • Color Setting is Key: Your color choices will change depending on the medium your art will go on. What works on the web is far from a print campaign's desired colors. Each user's experience can vary depending on their system preferences and browser. When designing for the web, be sure to always use RGB (Red, Green, Blue). For printed work, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK) is still the preferred choice despite printers now being capable to print in either color setting.
  • Pay Attention to Image Size and Quality: Many of your high-definition images will require more pixels (color dots) per inch. This creates a larger file that when too large can hinder a user's web experience. Large files take time to load and are harder to store. It's key that you find a balance where an image's quality is maintained without it becoming an oversized file. If you feel like you may be venturing into this territory, use the Save for Web & Devices option to automatically convert your 16-bit images to 8-bit.
  • Your File Format Matters: Each image needs an appropriate file format. Without it, changes in image quality, file sizes, and even functionality can become an issue. In Photoshop, for example, a .PSD saves your project for later editing. With 16-bit images, you have more choices, like JPEG, PDF, RAW, PNG, TIFF, and many others. With larger 32-bit images, you have less options capable of supporting the file. In this case, you'd likely work with TIFF, PSB, and other options. In some cases, your file will need to be compressed. When doing so, choose the right technique and format to preserve your image quality. JPEG and ZIP are two of the more common techniques that may be familiar to novices, though there are others that also provide better quality preservation, depending on your needs.

Adobe’s art capabilities are immense and provide you with countless options. With an understanding of each program’s fundamentals, mastering more intricate projects becomes much easier. With time, you will be creating art on any of the Adobe programs you prefer.

 Introduction to Adobe for Creatives - image 3 - student project

Image Credit: Masuk Sarker Batista, Skillshare Teacher

Adobe for Designers

Some designers and creatives tend to overlook Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom when it comes to complex designs. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Graphic designers and other creative professionals actually HEAVILY rely on these programs for some of their most intricate designs. Like most Adobe products, each of the following three serve a variety of purposes, making each extremely multifaceted.

These programs serve a variety of purposes and functions. Designers are able to use one or several Adobe programs to create such complex projects. Regardless the direction they choose, the Adobe Suite offers an array of options to implement. This is all part of the creative process that Adobe allows its users. Each choice can open new opportunities to explore your creative process. In some cases, this leads you to study a new facet of your preferred program. In others, you might find yourself needing to learn another program to complete your design. Depending on the choices you make, your art and Adobe experience may go in very different directions.

An abstract artist, for example, has a nearly endless amount of options when choosing their preferred direction. While an untrained designer might only see options in Photoshop and Illustrator, that is far from the case. In fact, most of the Adobe Suite is capable of doing the work for abstract artists and pretty much any other creative, for that matter.

While Photoshop is excellent for making mind-bending images, Lightroom can make a typical photo look otherworldly. The same can be said for Illustrator, where its vector images allow creatives to create patterns and vectors that pique art lovers’ minds. Going beyond the three, Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects can combine to make progressive video clips that rival Salvador Dali and Jean-Luc Godard. If abstract isn't your style, but your prefer to push realistic images to their boundaries, Dimension can help bridge the world of real and digitally rendered.

The same can be said for tasks like tonal corrections and other adjustments. As previously mentioned, Lightroom and Photoshop both do wonders on cleaning up images, adding white balance, and making other color and pattern adjustments. Speaking of white balance and Photoshop, be sure to remember its importance. It will make or break your images in both Photoshop and Lightroom.

And in some cases, logo designers will take their nearly completed works into Lightroom for a final touch-up and that extra something special. At other times, they may take their work into Camera Raw or even Premiere for a particular desired effect.

Adobe ensures that while you may need to learn a new program from time to time, you can typically opt not to and still achieve your intended outcome. Adobe’s myriad of options affords you as many creative avenues it possibly can. From there, it’s up to you to decide where and how to proceed.

Designing characters is another case where a user can work with either Illustrator or Photoshop. However, most of the best choices involve combining. Bringing both programs into your workflow allows you to use both program’s best abilities for your project. Doing so helps your creative process reach its most efficient. The power of both programs should help bring your characters to the digital and print caliber it needs to be to get attention. You may be able to achieve this outcome without one of the programs. Just remember that it is not recommended once you are past the beginner stages of your studies.

If you truly want to show off your Adobe skills, it’s highly suggested that you know the big three: Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. These are more or less the essentials to a designer's trade. Without them, you limit yourself and your potential as an artist. Whether you aim to become a professional or are just looking to make cool designs for fun, all three will be vital to your goal. Take your time and learn at your own pace. If you don’t have your heart set on learning another program, make one of these the next one on your list to master.

 Introduction to Adobe for Creatives - image 4 - student project

Image Credit: Jeremy Deighan, Skillshare Teacher

Adobe for Photographers 

Photographers use Adobe products just as much as any other creative. In fact, they might use them even more than some others. The prime options for photographers have to be Photoshop and Lightroom. Both programs work at bringing any subject to life in vivid ways. When thinking of retouching work, some might think of people and portraits, but that’s just the beginning. Pretty much any photo that requires touch-ups can be used in Lightroom and Photoshop. With the right Lightroom tutorials, you’ll be able to make photo enhancing look like a breeze.

In some instances, you might need to turn some beginner level photographs into highly vivid images. Today, you can do it from your phone or on your desktop with both programs. Take a poorly shot backlight photo with a few slider adjustments and some semi-advanced selective editing. By knowing the tools and their fundamentals, you’ll begin to understand what it takes to make a cityscape pop in Lightroom.

Photoshop does more of the heavy lifting with photo edits. Sometimes the work needed exceeds the more basic capabilities of Lightroom. When that is the case, Photoshop proves itself to be incredibly valuable. In fact, it can be the lifesaver of everything from disaster photo shoots to restoring severely damaged old-era photographs.

Photoshop’s ability to correct color, contrast, and other effects nondestructively has made designers’ lives easier for decades now. In fact, color correction is so prevalent that there are many tutorials available on just that subject. It’s also a rather lucrative career option, if you needed another reason to start studying.

Another photo-saving feature you can apply in Photoshop is its noise reduction methods. When you want to remove unwanted noise from an image, Photoshop offers several methods to choose. You may prefer evaluating and adjusting your RGB channels. Or, you may opt for the Lab Color Mode option. And in some cases, you could even use more noise to negate the original noise. Whatever suits your project best will often be the suitable choice.

Regardless the program you're using, you need to understand the importance of colors. At the very least, you should have a basic understanding of colors and how they work together. In the case of color correction, it's best to understand more than just correcting your image's colors. Instead, understand color grading as a whole.

Over time, the terms 'color correction' and 'color grading' have come to be interchangeable. Yet, color grading actually encompasses color correction as well as other artistic effects. This process can happen with film, video, images, and other imagery types. The term also extends beyond Adobe's digital reach and into earlier era styles of image manipulation that a dwindling number of professionals still use. In the Adobe digital realm of color grading, it’s best to understand how this is done on each program you use. In doing so, you give yourself all the information and techniques to create the exact image you intended.

Sometimes that desired outcome is difficult to achieve due to outside circumstances. This couldn’t be more true than with landscape photography. Scenery can be problematic even with the right lights, reflectors, and other equipment to combat the elements. In these situations, a photographer has to make the best of a trying situation and shoot as best as they can. Most likely, the results will lack the original intention. However, their work can be elevated to high quality with the right editing maneuvers. Many advanced Lightroom tutorials can get you to the skill level where you can save almost any image.

Learning how to retouch your photos in Adobe is a lifesaver. It’s also a cash saver. Retouching programs and other tools can cost lots of money. But you can save money and still have the best possible tools at your disposal thanks to Adobe. In recent years, the company shifted its pay model to a monthly bill. New learners can explore Adobe programs like Photoshop, Lightroom CC, and many others for just over $10 a month. When you feel ready to expand your studies to more programs, they offer bundle packages for just a few dollars more each month.

With a little time in, you can quickly master the art of Photoshop and edit like a professional photographer. From there, continue to expand your knowledge and comprehension. Delve into facets you find especially compelling. Do the same for the features that you find yourself running into often. Master the common techniques of basic and advanced editing. Studying both the practical and most desired elements of Adobe programs will keep you enthused about learning. Soon enough, your photos can go beyond emulating other professional works. Instead, they’ll become your own personal style and brand. And all it takes to get there is a desire to learn and a bit of persistence.


Adobe's Suite of Tools are Essential for Creatives

By now it should be clear that learning Adobe tools and programs is an essential part of becoming a creative in the professional field. Even if you plan on remaining an amateur, you’ll soon understand that the other products in the market lack Adobe’s robust offerings. Other programs have similar functions and capabilities. They may even work for you to some extent.

Yet, as great as some of these programs can be you’ll discover that they come up short to Adobe. Whether it’s the additional time other programs take or their lacking in key areas of design, Adobe always seems to emerge on top for users. Over the years, Adobe has listened to its users and competitors on how to make the most appealing, efficient product today. If you aren’t learning with Adobe, you’re likely missing out.

Adobe’s steep learning curve certainly can be overwhelming. But it comes back to persistence. Push through difficult lessons and never be afraid to watch a tutorial multiple times over. Whatever it takes, push on until you understand your desired lessons. This is especially true when learning the fundamentals of any program. The first few lessons may leave your head spinning. That’s OK. It’s normal.

Continue studying and applying your newfound knowledge. Don’t be afraid to interact with other classmates and communities. Pick their brains, get tips, and learn from everything around you. Doing so will cement your comprehension of the fundamentals needed to succeed in all forms of digital design. That success will come when you realize you have the upper hand in design, art, and photography. And all it takes is a determined mindset to learn.

There has never been a better time to learn about the Adobe Creative Suite. Freelancers and full-timers can benefit from learning about a few key products in their industry. With skills like video editing and photo manipulation at an all-time high, now is the time to learn. You never know where it could take you in a relatively short amount of time.

If you start studying today, you could land that new creative role you’ve been dreaming of for years. If you’re seeking a career change, you will love the new opportunities that come from assembling even the most early elements of your portfolio. These skills have transcended the narrow job market they covered a few years ago. Now, anyone can benefit from learning Adobe editing. From advertising to retouching to document processing, virtually every professional can benefit from some tutorials.

Start with an easy Photoshop tutorial that introduces you to the Adobe Creative Suite. Or, jump into the most applicable program to your interests. From there, begin collecting and studying with the best Adobe tutorials for you. Amass your sources of information and use them regularly. Start by making your Adobe tutorials an everyday part of your process. As you become more advanced, revisit your lessons whenever you need a refresher. In time, you might even find yourself teaching a class to aspiring designers!

Regardless the reason, now is the time to learn an Adobe program. Start with your choice of fundamental online courses today. With a vast expanse of options in front of you, the path to becoming an expert creative is your decision. Get started today.