There's nothing better than to play with the tool if you want to learn it. Bert Monroy always mentions that on his podcasts and I truly agree with him. I think the best way to learn is trying to recreate images and effects we like.

Here I list my 10 tips to improve your skills in Photoshop, but they can be applied to other tools as well. Besides of that leave a comment with tips and links that you think will help us to improve our Photoshop Skills as well.

1 - Start with something

I know this might sound obvious but you need to have something like some drawings, sketches, or an image rather than just a white page. Otherwise you will end up doing the same effects every time you try do design something. Get inspiration from sites like Flickr, there are some very good photoshop groups. Or just look for inspiration on the web. Below are some inspirational links. 2007 inspiration

2 - Don't be dissappointed

Don't be dissappointed when your image or effect is not turning out the way you want, keep working. That happens with me all the time. When I first start designing, usually I get frustrated that my design is not becoming exactly what I had in mind. However it turns out that after I have all elements in my design it's easier to make it look the way I want.

 

3 - Try to recreate the effects you like.

Every time I find an image that has an effect I like I save it and try to create that effect in Photoshop. The Fire effect I did trying to reproduce an Nike ad, and the gold effect when I saw a Jewelry Ad as well.

4 - Read tutorials before start doing your design.

We usually go straight to Photoshop and try to figure out how to do the effect, it's nice but we can save a lot of time if we get some clues or ways to do that before we start the Photoshop work. There are very good sites where you can learn how to create all sorts of effects from gold text to glowing effects.

5 - Learn how to use Masks.

I know this might sound odd but there are a lot of people that don't understand how to use Masks. So stop deleting parts of your image and start masking them. There's a very cool video that shows us how to learn Masks

6 - Play around with filters

You can do all kinds of effects with them from blur to lighting effects. The most fascinating thing is if you mix some filter you always get a new result, like the Render Clouds.

7 - Spend some time learning the Layer Styles

Layer Style is one of the most useful features in Photoshop. You can create amazing text effects without applying any filter or even touching the font.

8 - Brush Engine

To be honest I had never payed much attention to this feature until 6 months ago when I was creating a falling star. After that moment I simply cant stop using it. You can create sparks, stars, clouds, and unlimited number of shapes. You can make your brush random or uniform, with different colors and opacity, and I could go on and on because the possibilities are endless

9 - Listen and watch podcasts

I think podcasts are an excellent way to learn Photoshop. The Pixel Perfect with Bert Monroy is definitely a must see podcast if you want to learn Photoshop and Illustrator.

10 - Share what you have learned with everybody

I think when we learn something there's nothing wrong in sharing our skills. Besides of the fact that you can help others, you can promote your work and even get money from writing tutorials. Psdtuts.com pays you for each tutorial you write and then publish it if selected.

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.