Tools of the Design World: Photoshop

The world of photo manipulation and graphic design has seen many improvements over the last 20 years. With the onset of the internet age, digital marketing and more advanced manipulation software has come to the fore. No software has exemplified that need quite so well as Adobe’s Photoshop.

What is Photoshop?

Photoshop is one of the best known tools for graphic design.

Created in 1990, Photoshop is the leading photo manipulation software in the world.

photoshop, Tools of the Design World: Photoshop, Peterman Design Firm

This is thanks in part to its wide availability to users, its necessity in many job sectors and the plethora of free learning resources available for novice designers who want to improve their graphic design and editing skills.

And that’s really at the heart of the tool’s rise from obscure tech to having a near monopoly in the design sector, along with the other programs in the Adobe Creative Suite.

The ability to use Photoshop is no longer a niche skill exclusive to the most skilled designers and marketing teams. It’s now widely available to anyone who can pay the monthly subscription, although there exists a small sector of designers who have been put off by Photoshop’s divergence from a pay-once lifetime fee to a tool that requires a monthly subscription.

How much is does Photoshop cost?

photoshop, Tools of the Design World: Photoshop, Peterman Design Firm

The price range for a monthly Photoshop subscription is usually around $9.99/month.

The affordable fee is likely because of Photoshop’s primary user base: freelancers. Because freelance graphic designers rely on commissions to make an income, projecting steady monthly revenue becomes difficult.

That said, Adobe has tried to make accommodations by creating bundle packages with its other programs in the Creative Suite to better accommodate the need of designers, editors and producers who might otherwise fork out for multiple Adobe products.

Rather conveniently for those designers who aren’t quite sure if they’re ready to commit to a monthly subscription for the program, Adobe does offer every single user a 30-day free trial to test out the software and familiarize themselves with it.

When is Photoshop used?

Photoshop is a great tool to use when working with images that aren't vector graphics.

Here’s the thing: Photoshop is used everywhere, all the time, for everything. Most posters, billboards, magazines, online ads and apparel designs are created through Photoshop. The program gives users unparalleled flexibility and power through its layer structure.

photoshop, Tools of the Design World: Photoshop, Peterman Design Firm

The layer structure simply means that images in Photoshop exist slightly differently than they do in physical marketing resources. Rather than a single image printed as one layer, Photoshop stores and manipulates different parts of the image as separate layers.

The background is its own layer, as is each individual text box, texture, and design element you could think of putting in your marketing campaign. The genius of this isn’t just limited to users being able to manipulate separate parts of the same image, however.

For the more skilled designer, Photoshop offers options to group and merge layers as needed to create a smoother experience. Many top-level designers will work with layers that reach into the hundreds, making it ever more important to provide them with the functionality to keep things neat and efficient.

The Photoshop community is also a big reason behind the software’s success. As the most widely used digital manipulation software on the market, there exist many YouTube channels and blogs purely dedicated to teaching people how to use the software. These tutorials range from helping novices come to grips with the basic tools given to them to mammoth side-by-side projects where viewers can follow along to create a masterpiece they otherwise would never have known how to bring to life.

As far as digital manipulation software goes, Photoshop has been going strong for 30 years… and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon.

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