What are basic Photoshop skills?

10 Basic Photoshop Skills All Designers Should Know

10 Basic Photoshop Skills All Designers Should Know

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Designers, photographers, and creatives commonly use “Photoshop CC” as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud package. We would like to point out that in a designer’s career there may be times of collaboration with a team and Photoshop files need to be shared. So it is very important to focus on some basic Photoshop moves as they can be overlooked and not included in many tutorials for Photoshop.

There are many instances where you receive a Photoshop file and you feel confused when opening that file. Consequently, you might wonder how to solve this Photoshop puzzle. So it becomes a priority to handle this task with due care to save your relationship with fellow designers.

These basic Photoshop skills can help you to save goodwill across the designing fraternity. Besides that, following these rules will help you to improve your working methodologies.

In nutshell, you have to be ready to follow these painful rules and change your Photoshop working styles. In fact, if you stick by these basic skills then, you can avoid future discrepancies in the design work. Here is our list of the top 10 basic Photoshop skills that all designers should understand:

1. Label the Layers to Avoid Confusion


As the title suggests, it is the most boring routine for a designer. Start with one of the most basic Photoshop skills and add names to the different layers in the file. You might say that some things are obvious but actually, it is not. As a matter of fact, it is very hard to find a layer hidden in the middle of countless copies of layers. Thus, you should prefer to name even a simple layer to avoid confusion later.

After getting done with the labeling of layers, subsequently, sort the layers in a group folder. As a result, you’ll be able to hide or show large segments easily. In addition, lock the important layers that you don’t want to move unintentionally. The task is not over yet. Have a look at the file to delete unwanted empty layers.

2. Logical Sorting of Files


You should make sure that the naming of files should be easily understood by your fellow designers. Don’t name your files like version 1 and 2 with no name, as there will be no final version in some cases.

Apart from that, you should assemble your files like, ‘Name_Type_Size_Version’. The reason is, you should be able to recognize the name first that will help you to figure out the project. In addition, adding type, size and version will help to know the project type (website, email, social media, etc.). Defining the version allows you to identify the previous changes in the file.

Consequently, this method of sorting files will enable you to save each change separately. Organizing your files in the specified format also helps in recovering the previous version of the files.

3. Mask Only Once


Don’t mask each and every layer separately rather, group the layers and mask them once. Masking can get really confusing for other designers as the layers will not be visible. Do not leave your PSD file messy with multiple layers being masked.

4. Don’t Forget to Save your Path


If you are using the pen tool to craft a perfect clipping path then, save it to avoid doing this work again. The more you keep this habit of saving the path, the better you will become. This will also help the next designer to understand what has happened in the file.

5. Avoid Stretching Text and Images


You should keep in mind that stretching a text or an image can hamper the whole design. In fact, you should avoid stretching buttons and vector shapes with rounded corners. Rather than stretching images, you should scale them down to transform the image.

Subsequently, in the case of fonts, you should know that stretching the fonts will make your design look unprofessional. Besides that, you can always use smart filters to avoid distortions due to stretching. In fact, following this simple rule will help you to create better mobile-friendly designs with enhanced retina display.

6. Switch on to Rulers for Snapping


A good alignment skill is a sign of a professional designer. So, don’t wait any longer and switch on to rulers for snapping grid, layer, and pixel. Snapping with rulers enables you to create a well-balanced design and helps to keep elements in the best place to look more pleasant.

7. Avoid Using Too Many Effects


Don’t apply the effects on all the elements of your design. In fact, when you are excited, don’t apply effects like drop shadow, color overlay, and bevel, etc. You should know your tools to use them effectively. So the best thing to do is use appropriate and modern effects to enhance the looks of your design.

Rather than using the effects repetitively, you should copy the layer style itself. While you’re not using the Global Lighting option then, turn it off to avoid confusion. Subsequently, if you don’t follow this practice, there are chances that you might wonder who changed my design.

8. Save Unused Images and Resources


When you are done with your design experiments then, don’t forget to save the experiments. Apart from that, create a separate folder space to save these unused resources. Subsequently, you’ll be able to use those unused resources for your future design expeditions. In addition, this practice also allows you to include any quick changes or add-ons in the design.

9. Proofread to Avoid Errors


After getting done with your design assignment, you should proofread your design. Subsequently, this skill allows you to avoid small mistakes like wrong spelling. In addition, proofreading will lower down the chances of rework on the design.

10. Easily Manage Files


The most important, but basic Photoshop skill is to manage photoshop files. In fact, if you fail to store your files with relevant stock images and resources then, you might end up in a puzzle game later.

You should not save the file in a random folder because random is never important and you may delete the folder in disguise. Apart from that, your designer fellows won’t be able to find out the file, if you have not sorted it appropriately.


Having the most essential and basic Photoshop skills can make a designer’s workflow much, much easier, which ultimately will free up time and complete more projects. These skills will also help keep a good rapport with other designers. No one wants the headache of dealing with professionals who come across as amateurish. We hope you found this blog helpful and comment below to add other Photoshop skillset knowledge that will help other web and graphic designers.

Basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop

When someone mentions Adobe Photoshop do you immediately think of those unintentionally hilarious Photoshop fails posted on the internet? It's a pity those enthusiastic amateur image editors hadn't taken a Photoshop test before they proudly displayed their efforts online.

Although many of us will never use Photoshop at work or at home, we know it’s used to edit and retouch photos. However, a lot of people don’t know that it’s a vital tool for graphic designers, too. In fact, more than 90% of professional creatives around the world use Photoshop.

The Photoshop interface is huge, with hundreds of tools for photographers, retouchers, and graphic designers. It’s not a program that you can just pick up and learn in a day – it can take from 50 to 100 hours to become an advanced user from scratch.

So, if the role you’re hiring for involves Photoshop, you want to know that your potential employee has the knowledge and skill to use it effectively. That's where a Photoshop test comes in handy.

Unfortunately, some job applicants overstate their Photoshop skills. They may have used Photoshop once or twice and say they are advanced users on their resumes, hoping to muddle through when it comes to using the software once hired. The most common programs job applicants lie about being skilled in are online communications apps, Microsoft Office, and yes, you guessed it – Photoshop.

Of course, not everyone needs (or wants) to become the digital version of Michelangelo, so we’re going to go over the skills necessary to use Photoshop at a basic level, and why these skills are so important in design roles. We’ll also take a look at the benefits of a Photoshop skills test in the hiring process.

Why are Photoshop skills so important in design roles?

Those choosing careers in graphic design have to be competent in designing layouts and editing images, and should be able to pass a Photoshop test with ease. Photoshop is useful for many design projects, including logo design, website layouts, and posters, as well as adding effects and graphics to photos.

Job roles that require graphic design and Photoshop skills include:

Marketing manager

Web developer

Graphic artist

User experience designer

Communications specialist

Product designer

Production artist

Creative director

This is just a small selection of the top 50 job roles that use Photoshop the most. As you can see, the ability to use Photoshop isn’t just necessary for photographers and designers, but is useful in many sectors.

What are the most important Photoshop skills for graphic designers?

Photoshop for design requires a totally different skill set to Photoshop for photographers. Although designers may need to know the basics of editing photos, such as adjusting exposure, cropping and straightening, white balance, contrast, and using the healing brushes, this is just a tiny part of a designer’s job.

So, what are the most useful basic Photoshop skills for graphic designers? It depends on the job you want them to do, but it’s important for them to have a good working knowledge of the following tasks.

Blending graphics and text

Blending text and visuals is a key skill for designers, and Photoshop enables them to mix and match images and shapes with text. This text can be further enhanced with textures, shadows, and colors, and photos can be warped, blended with layers, turned into digital artwork with filters, and much more.

The ability to work with images and text is useful for any organization. Designers can create graphics and infographics for your blog posts and website, and design visually appealing charts and graphs for presentations, as well as manipulate photos to fit with your brand colors and look.

Basic masking

This skill is useful for both photographers and designers, and it’s one of the essential areas they need to be competent in. Masking using layers enables you to cover up graphics or areas of an image. This is better than erasing them, because you can go back and uncover more of the underlying image by adjusting the amount of the masked layers you want to be visible.

Creating shapes and vector graphics

Although many designers prefer to use Adobe Illustrator to make vector graphics, they should also know how to use the Pen and Shape tools in Photoshop to make basic vector graphics, as well as knowing how to merge and manage them. If you’re wondering what vectors are, they are used for creating logos, line art, and animations.

Organizations use vector graphics for advertising and marketing, and they are found in mobile apps, websites, infographics, and digital presentations.

Smart Objects

Every designer, from beginner to expert, should know how to use Smart Objects in Photoshop. Smart Objects are non-destructive, meaning that anything can be modified as many times as needed without losing image quality. A designer needs to know the difference between embedded and linked Smart Objects, and how to create one.


Designers need to understand the RGB color channels and must also be able to create and use alpha channels. These enable users to change the opacity in specific areas of an image, and can be used to isolate elements to give a transparent background. Alpha channels help streamline the designer’s workflow and are a good way of saving complex selections to be used in later stages.

An alpha channel can be used to isolate an object within an image; once saved, this object can be transported to be used in other programs, such as video-editing apps.

Selection tools

This bag of tricks enables a Photoshop user to carefully select objects within an image to create cutouts such as images, texts, lines, and shapes. There are several selection tools available in Photoshop, like the Pen tool, the Rectangular Marquee tool, the Lasso tool, and even the Magic Wand tool.

These selection tools are invaluable when it comes to selecting complex shapes, such as a person’s hair, and are used in conjunction with the Select and Mask interface to further refine the edges of the areas to be cut out.

Editing and manipulating photos

As we mentioned earlier, photo editing isn’t a huge part of a designer’s role, but they do need to know the basics. They should also know how to manipulate photos to change out the background, add or remove items, or change the colors. Knowledge of compositing images is also important. This is where areas from several pictures are combined into one completely new image.


Once a design is finished, or needs further work in Adobe Illustrator, a designer has to choose the best file format to export it in. Photoshop can export in a variety of formats, and they can all be used for different purposes in both photography and graphic design.

Should you choose EPS or PNG format? What about image compression? Exporting from Photoshop isn’t as easy as saving a Word document. It’s important that the files are exported in the correct format, or all the hard work that went into them can be wasted if they can’t be read by another piece of software, or the images end up pixelated.

The easiest and fastest way to check that your candidates have the necessary skills is to give them a Photoshop test.

What are the benefits of a Photoshop test?

You may be wondering how a Photoshop test works, and why you should use one as part of your hiring process.

As we mentioned earlier, job applicants can often be tempted to overstate their ability to use Photoshop. It can also be hard to decide if someone is proficient if you aren’t familiar with the software yourself: how can you be satisfied that a candidate is able to tell the difference between a selection tool and a text layer?

The answer is by using a cheat-proof Photoshop test created by a subject-matter expert, like TestGorilla’s Adobe Photoshop for Designers test. This test will show you which applicants have the necessary basic Photoshop design knowledge. It covers the key tools and processes, such as:




Photo manipulation

Photo editing

Creating composite photos

Adding type and vector graphics

TestGorilla's Photoshop test is thorough, and you can see a couple of example questions below:

Skills-based testing benefits candidates as well as hiring managers and recruiters. It removes unconscious hiring bias, meaning that applicants are judged solely on their skills, and not on other factors such as age, home town, or the way they dress.

A skills-based test can tell you if an applicant has the knowledge to do the job, but it can’t tell you about other important attributes, such as personality, motivation, communication, and other soft skills.

Overlooking these factors can be a big mistake when it comes to hiring. You might have found a Photoshop wizard for your design role, but what good are they if their communication skills are lacking, they don’t align with your organization’s values, or they don’t take negative feedback well?

One way to gain more insight into your candidate’s personality and attitude is to create a TestGorilla assessment and use the results to narrow down a shortlist of applicants to interview.

Assessments are a group of up to five different tests chosen by you. The tests you pick for the assessment will vary from role to role, but an example would be an assessment for a graphic designer: as well as the Photoshop test, you could include tests such as the Communication test, Culture Add test, DISC personality test, and Attention to Detail (Visual) test.

Assessments enable you to mix and match tests to suit your needs, and you can also add your own custom questions. Hiring decisions shouldn’t be based on the results of assessments alone, but pre-employment testing is proven to help you make decisions faster, easier and bias-free. If you're unsure of how to go about hiring a graphic designer, we have put together a list of top graphic design interview questions for you.

Leonardo da Vinci supposedly created the first-ever resume hundreds of years ago, with parchment and a quill pen. It was probably considered a forward-thinking idea at the time, but hundreds of years later, after huge leaps in technology and innovation, employers are still relying on that outdated written list of skills and accomplishments when it comes to hiring.

Brilliantly written CVs prove that a person is great at writing a CV. Listing a lot of experience in a CV proves that someone has been in the job for years. But neither of these things means that the resume author has the required hard and soft skills to succeed in their new role.

When TestGorilla’s pre-employment screening tests like the Photoshop test, are used at the start of the recruiting process, they reduce the risk of making a bad hire, as well as cutting hiring time.

The tests rank candidates according to the ones who scored highest, so you can quickly identify the talent you want to interview.

Finding Photoshop-skilled employees doesn’t need to be difficult with TestGorilla’s Adobe Photoshop test. Get started by signing up for a free trial with TestGorilla today.

What are basic Photoshop skills?

What are basic Photoshop skills?

If you are looking to create graphics for your website, online portfolio, or any other type of project, then you will need to be familiar with the basic Photoshop skills. These skills include the ability to select and manipulate images, use layers and masks, create text and logos, and edit colors.

Once you have mastered these basics, you can begin to experiment with more advanced features, such as creating animated graphics or photo effects. As you continue to learn Photoshop, you will be able to create more sophisticated graphics that will impress your clients and colleagues.

PRO TIP: Some Photoshop skills can be very basic, such as resizing or cropping an image, while others can be more complex, such as advanced photo manipulation or creating digital art. It is important to be aware of the level of skill required for the task you are attempting, as some skills can take a long time to master and require a lot of practice.

In conclusion, if you are looking to create graphics for your projects, then you will need to be familiar with the basic Photoshop skills.

Once you have mastered these basics, you can begin to experiment with more advanced features, such as creating animated graphics or photo effects.

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