Nowadays it’s not enough to just know the basics, art is subjective. and artists and art students are one of the hard working bees. Artists when working on a project tend to normally know adobe illustrator quite well. If not like the back of their hands but when it comes to Photoshop that’s a different scenario. One might argue that concept is the most important aspect of art when creating but having the necessary skill set to execute it just the way you have visualized it.
The Adobe programs are designed as a system to yield the best results for your medium. That being said, if you only had time to learn one program, or only had money to buy one program, that one should be Photoshop.
One of the best exercises you can do to begin learning the capabilities of Photoshop is to start with creating a montage of photos. One time in a “Computer Art” class in college I did a series of designs where for each one, I combined five to six images which then created a whole new scene.
The more arbitrary and unbelievable the original images, the more unique the outcome. Take a unicorn, a huge wave, a palm tree and some swirly mystical vector graphics and see what happens! The skills you acquire with a project like that will be incredibly valuable when you have a real world situation with a brand that lends itself to having a little more fun with the imagery.
As artist and design student myself, I firmly believe there are 5 key reasons why artists need to make Adobe Photoshop their best friend for life.
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket:
Artists are consistently told that all of their software amounts to tools, but that the real creativity is unique to their own way of thinking. By contrast, a carpenter uses a hammer as one of his tools to build the house, but the structure and layout has all been decided upon as a result of intuition, experience, and planning.
Just as Photoshop is one of the tools in your belt, knowing it well, and knowing when and how to use it is essential to being able to be a key employee at any agency or in house position. Even at an intern level, you will need to have a grasp on all three key Adobe design programs, but I can tell you that from all the resume’s I’ve looked at and interviews I have done, that if Photoshop is your go-to program that you know well, you’re already a leg up.
Advanced UX design and User interaction is leading the industry:
There was a time when being a designer was synonymous with physical printed design. Today, those skills are just as valuable; with probably even more mediums to consider with vinyl graphic applications taking over out-of-home advertising.
However, now there is an entirely new realm of design in the interactive space. Everything from websites and online advertising to mobile applications and motion graphics, the opportunities for a designer of today are ever shifting and expanding.
While there are still creative who identify as solely “print” designers, most have found that in order to stay afloat in this ever-changing industry, they must develop their user experience sensitivity and be comfortable in the interactive space. A design student of today should be well versed in all applications of their creativity in order to be the most valuable in this field.
Photoshop is the main program for all interactive design projects because it is pixel based like our monitors and phones, optimizes images for web and is the main program which web developers are familiar with when building websites.
Photoshop gives you equal opportunity:
Photoshop is a virtual standard for a reason that is Adobe has monopolized the marketplace, but also because it’s just a really great product. There is no other program that is nearly as robust or capable of endless possibilities like Photoshop. One of the biggest advantages to learning Photoshop is the simple fact that when working with other designers, agencies and printers, everyone speaks the same language. Like when I’m saying Clipping Path Service, they all understand what I mean.
There are no issues with output or compatibility if everyone is using the same program. You might think that knowing all of these programs will be advantageous as you venture out to the real world job market, but your time is much more efficiently spent mastering the Adobe Creative Suite than being mediocre at a set of programs that may soon be obsolete.
Photoshop is the tried and tested market leader:
There was this elitist sensibility about being able to design using Illustrator only, as if there was some kind of medal for being able to execute your creative in the most difficult way possible. Illustrator is a vector-based program, and Photoshop is raster (or pixel) based. Vector means your design can be scaled to the size of an airplane without losing quality.
What newbie designers aren’t being taught is that Photoshop still utilizes vector typography and elements, but is able to also incorporate the use of raster elements and photography as well. So much of design is a combination of all these elements coming together, so it suits designers best to be able to work within Photoshop to execute their designs.
I have noticed that a design done in Photoshop versus the other two programs tends to reach the next level and becomes substantially more intuitive and creative in its execution. Why? It’s because you have all the tools at your disposal in one place. You’re not limited by the confines of a vector program that is ideal for just that, vector output. Realistically, all of these programs talk to each other in such a flawless way that they should each be used for their specific output, however it is becoming more and clearer that Photoshop is the bee’s knees.
Photoshop gives you an extra edge in this competitive world
In any top Art school/design program, you are being taught how to think and become a real visual problem solver. You are learning sensitivity with spacing, overall composition, and successful juxtaposition of the elements within your design. Your workflow includes countless sketches, revisions, and research. Because most design students are taught to execute their ideas in Illustrator or InDesign, their imagery is then confined to photography they have taken or found.
In the real world when it comes to design, designers generally have to execute a multitude of creative designs that require photo composition or manipulation, a skill that is reserved for those who know Photoshop well. It’s more than just touching up a model’s skin or color correcting an image.
Photoshop allows you to create an image that is completely unique and original, utilizing vector images or photography and icons. If your design program doesn’t encourage you to design in Photoshop, then it is up to you to take the time to learn it on your own, whether through the multitude of online tutorials or by simply creating side projects for yourself just to play around in the program.
There’s something even more important than being able to make awesome designs. It’s probably the less sexy part of what we do, and that is file setup best practices. It’s crucial that a designer knows how to set up a file for a web banner versus for a brochure, or when to add in bleed and how much. Then there is the importance of organizing your files, labeling layers and grouping them into folders. If you don’t already know what a smart object is, you need to get acquainted fast as that is one of the keys of efficient design practices in Photoshop. All of these things are learned only as you work within the program and delve into real world projects.