Design & UX
By Tara Hornor

20 Stunning Photoshop Tutorials Every Designer Needs

By Tara Hornor

Photoshop tutorials are everywhere, but good Photoshop tutorials can be hard to find. Designers often have trouble finding enough time to design the many projects that come across their desks, which means they are usually short on the time needed to search for excellent tutorials to improve their skills. The goal of the following collection is to provide a shortcut to twenty tutorials that are worth your time. Keep exploring, though, and let me know about others that you have enjoyed!

This roundup starts with the beautiful interesting stuff. If the first tutorials are over your head, however, skip down to number sixteen for some basic photo editing techniques that should be in anyone’s bag of tricks.


My first reaction to any image that I admire is: “I can’t make that.” This tutorial is about changing that response to “I can.” Some simple effects shows here will allow you to create some stunning pictures.

The image-in-smoke effect is another effect that was out of my league. This tutorial is not for the faint of heart, but if the effect is something you want, this is the best place to find it. You can apply it to so much more than just smoke, too.

Why is such a simple effect put down as number three? Because it makes me happy. I want to cast this shadow. It’s simple, but effective.

I’ll be honest. I am not a huge fan of the images used. How they achieved the rip effect however, is a great trick to know. Skip to page five to learn their solution.

Simple to do, impressive to look at. Put anyone inside of Ironman’s suit.

You don’t have to work very hard to make some amazing watercolor portraits. Grab some textures and a favorite picture and get compositing!

Anybody can pixelate an image using tools built right into Photoshop. This tutorial takes it a step further to make it look intentional and edgy when needed.

Grunge. How can something so rough look so good?

Graffiti is art. It is also often illegal. Stay on the good side of the law and make beautiful things with a few tricks in this tutorial.

I liked this effect when I saw it. When I saw how much work went into the creases alone, I knew why. Like most things, the details are what make it so amazing.

Take any simple image the extra mile to make it attractive: indie edition.

There are hundreds of great text-ture tutorials, but not all of them go to this level of detail and with multiple layers of textures.

I am a fan of folding real paper. That said, this image does it right in the virtual world.

This looks good. Run through the tutorial and you will see why. Jayan Saputra’s attention to detail and explanations make this a must-have.

This tutorial looks intimidating. It is actually simple: how to make line graphics out of your image. These last five are not for one situation. Learn them well and use them often.

It is not hard to learn, but there are very few images that a little bit of texture can’t help.

This is fun. There are countless tutorials for tilt-shift editing, this one is clear and well written, and that is worth a lot.

This is not a tutorial. So why is it here? To save us all from the curse of losing image data.

Colorizing black and white photos is simple and useful. Tip: keep your darks dark!

I saved the best for last. If you do not know what the words “High Dynamic Range” mean, then this is for you.

  • Brandon

    Tara, thank you for the excellent selection of tutorials. These were exactly what I was looking for.

    One note, the link for the 19th tutorial seems to be wrong — it points to the histogram article.

    Thanks again

  • Wonderful collection, and your comments for each are extremely helpful; they clearly convey the gist of each tute. Many thanks!

  • Terrific collection, Tara! I love to find these kinds of tutorials and to find these particular ones all in one place… you just made my day!

  • Peter Spowart

    Tara the link at 18 is repeated at 19 for the boy, will knowing about the histogram also help with colorizing?

  • Lokesh J

    Fabulous Collection !!! I love & surprised to find these kinds of tutorials and that too in a collection of bunch… you really helped my day easier!

  • Awesome, I like the vintage photo manipulation!

  • HTM

    o lady, this is perfect

    im front-end and
    I need the big picture for medicinal plants
    can you tell me something advise?

    sorry my english low (

  • Great collection, thank you.

    We’ll be spending too much time playing with the tutorials (we especially like the watercolour effect!)

    • Ha Ha! I too have a problem with wanting to spend too much time with these tutorials!

  • Paul

    I really like the graffiti tutorial. For anyone who want to try it…

  • The artic piechart tutorial was great.. second is the graffiti tutorial…

    cool colletions though

  • Arpan Chhetri AKA Pixelboom

    Wow….This is an excellent collection of tutorials, each of these are important, I’m hoping for more surprises to come along

  • Thanks for submitting a great set of photoshop tutorials, can’t wait to give some of them a try as at least one of them will help greatly with a current project. It’s quite difficult to find a set of quality how-to’s on the internet these days, these tutorials look great.

  • reidy68

    …i absolutely love using photoshop but have a long way to go in creating such work! there’s no end to what can be created but would most experts in photoshop use these skills in advertising? or would it be better suited in forging a career in web design?

    • Really, most of the skills learned in these tutorials are helpful for both web design and advertising projects.

  • The smoke skull is amazing. I have to learn how to do that!

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