Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Adobe Suite! It is a powerful set of graphic design tools that help professionals in the media and design industry produce high-quality projects.
For beginners, yes I know, it can be overwhelming and challenging because of all the features it offers. However, with some easy-peasy tutorials, noobs can master ten key skills that’ll help them with creating amazing visuals!
With the following tutorials, you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of this magical suite in no time.
The Gateway to Adobe Suite
Among the many skills that professional designers aim to master in Adobe Suite, some are foundational yet extremely important. These are the kind of skills that’ll get you more clients on popular crowdsourcing websites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and ZillionDesigns.
- How to work with layers and layer masks
- How to remove background from images
- How to type text on assorted paths
- How to use the pen tool
- How to set up an attractive portfolio
- How to create motion graphics
- How to edit photographs
- How to create a PDF
- How to create a website
- How to create a logo
- How to edit a video
Let’s get started.
10 Key Skills in Adobe Suite You Must Master
In today’s competitive world and marketplace full of all sorts of designers, knowing a few handy skills in the Adobe Suite can help you garner profitable projects.
You can do these projects even from the comfort of your home if you have a computer system that meets a few requirements suited for creating logo designs, brand identity designs, brochure designs, website designs, and many other miscellaneous designs.
1) Layers and Layer Masks
If you get the hang of working successfully with layers and layer masks in Adobe Photoshop then baby, you’ve hit the jackpot!
In Photoshop, a layer is a separate (often) transparent sheet, you can say, on which you can modify and create different graphic elements of your image, that too without affecting the previous or the following layers.
The benefit of layers – they let you work on specific parts of a photograph or image for easier editing.
On the other hand, layer masks are used to selectively hide and reveal parts of a layer. Black areas in the mask hide the layer, and the white areas reveal the layer. With layer masks, designers can create complex and detailed compositions. The masking tool trick helps you erase backgrounds in only a few minutes.
Below are some great tutorials to get you started on layers and layer masks.
- Learn about both layers and layer masks in this detailed tutorial by Nick Page who specializes in landscape photography.
- Want a quick grasp of what layer masks are and what they allow you to do? Here is a quick, 120-second guide by Cristi Kerekes.
- Are you looking for tips to master the layers panel? You can bookmark this video with Adobe Photoshop.
If you watch a few videos on layers and layer masks in Photoshop, you’ll be ready to edit photographs like a pro in a jiffy.
Remember that “watching the video” is not enough. You complete your learning process if you practice what you’ve seen or read. So make sure to open the design software and fiddle with layers and layer masks to get the hang of the two.
There are some proven ways to accelerate your graphic design learning skills. Some of the most basic tips include: 1) get organized and set goals, 2) manage your time by structuring your goals, and 3) take notes about tips and techniques.
2) Removing Background from Images
If you explore crowdsourcing websites, you’ll see how much this type of skill is in demand. You’ll find hundreds of designers of all levels, claiming to have the ability to remove background from images that the clients provide them with during a project.
Thus, when mastering the Adobe Suite, make sure to get a complete knack for how to edit images in Photoshop. There are several tools and commands in the software to help you with removing anything in the background logo images or photographs. Some are quick techniques and some will take you time and effort to fully grasp.
So the trickiest task in removing background from the foreground is when there is uneven, disheveled hair in the front of an image. Here, a simple Magic Wand tool won’t do the trick.
- Here’s a video tutorial from Premiere Gal to help you remove a background image with hair.
Apart from this, there are many other ways to remove background objects from images in Photoshop. Let’s take a look at a few.
- If you’re looking for a video that covers more than one way to remove backgrounds from images, then here is one by Brendan Williams.
- Do you know how AI-generated illustrations are becoming popular? Here’s a way by ShootingStarSVG to remove backgrounds from artificial intelligence images.
- A popular skill in demand these days is how to remove the background from a logo image. The task is to extract the logo from all that surrounds it.
The success of the background removal process depends on two factors:
- How complex is the image? If it’s simple then you don’t need fancy skills to remove the background, but if a lot is going on then you need to know shortcuts and alternatives.
- How good is the tool itself? There are many tools and commands in the design software that can help you with removing the background of an image but they each have limitations. Oftentimes, you need more than one tool to make the background disappear.
Thus, as a professional graphic designer, you need to be able to assess the complexity of the image and the capability of the tool to make it happen.
3) Text on Path
Editing photographs on Adobe Photoshop is just one project designers can complete with the software. If you have to design an advertisement, for example, then you need to know more than just how to edit images. You need to know how to write and place text on adverts.
There are many ways to compose a piece of text and Photoshop isn’t the only software in the Adobe Suite that allows you to jazz up text. Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign also have amazing features that make text look attractive.
For now, let’s learn how to put text on a path. The path can be a geometric circumference or outline, or it can be freehand.
Text on Path in Photoshop –
- Getting a sentence to fall right onto a circular path is challenging. In this video by Roberto Blake, you’ll learn how to adjust text so it looks perfect on the circumference.
Text on Path in Illustrator –
- A circular path is just one way to type text on a path, but the real challenge is to write the text on a wavy line. Here is a video tutorial by EveryTuesday to help you get started.
Text on Path in InDesign –
- InDesign is software used for print publications mostly, but you can design your eBook on it too. Here is a video by Design with Dale to type any text on a path.
When it comes to typography and text composition, there are hundreds of ways to make your appealing projects. Typing text on a path is just one technique of laying out text but it is a useful one. Start with one trick at a time so you don’t overload yourself with the “things to do” list.
4) Mastering the Pen Tool
You’ve got work cut out for you when it comes to mastering the Pen Tool. You need to be cautious and patient when working with this tool because although it is a much-needed skill to perfect, it is taxing. Upon mastering this tool, graphic designers open up a world full of endless possibilities.
With some pen tool tricks, you can create memorable logos and designs with a variety of detailed shapes and lines with accuracy and precision.
It surely takes time and effort to practice the pen tool but once you get the hang of it, you can produce some outstanding visuals. The key is to work your way up. Understand the basics of its different features and how it works.
Apart from video tutorials, there are many pen tool cheat sheets available for practice. The function of the pen tool varies in Photoshop and Illustrator. In one, it acts as a selection tool, and in the other software, it is used for drawing.
- Pen tool cheat sheets are a great way to practice all the different kinds of lines you can create. It makes the skill of precisely selecting and professionally illustrating much easier.
- Pen tool cheat sheet by Paul Trani
- Pen tool instructions by Adobe
- Pen tool exercises by Rachel Walker
- Pen tool exercise sheet
Remember – practice makes you better, and practice makes you perfect so keep practicing!
- The pen tool in Photoshop is usually used to make a selection of an area or object on the artboard. In this video, Aaron Nace teaches you how to use the pen tool to make a quick selection.
- The pen tool in Illustrator is used for drawing shapes, lines, and illustrations. In this video tutorial by Dansky, you’ll learn how to get a good hold of the pen tool.
Once you get the hang of the pen tool, you can create paths and anchor points that can be manipulated to make complex objects with control and precision. In addition to the pen tool, there are variations such as the Freeform Pen tool, or the Curvature Pen tool.
5) Setting Up Your Portfolio
As a graphic designer, you need to have a portfolio. The best Adobe Suite tool for this purpose is InDesign. It is a powerful publishing software that is used for creating both digital and print documents such as books, magazines, flyers, and brochures. Moreover, it can be used to create a professional portfolio.
Apart from the technicalities of designing a portfolio, here are the steps you need to follow to complete the process.
Image Source: behance/Naomi Umezu
Step 1 – Define your project goals
This means you need to specify what you want to accomplish with the portfolio. Is your goal to highlight and showcase your skills and strengths? This step will help you structure your portfolio with relevant and meaningful content.
Step 2 – Select a befitting layout
In InDesign, you can create a variety of templates to design your professional portfolio. It is always better to choose a template or design one from scratch that fits the style of your content. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like.
Step 3 – Gather the material
Gather all the content in one place, that is, scan if you need to, but make sure it is in a form that you can put in the software. These can be text documents, photographs, graphic images, clippings, etc. Once this is done, organize all the material you’ve collected and categorize or section them.
Step 4 – Design the pages
Now the fun part starts. Use a variety of InDesign’s features to create aesthetically appealing pages to display the content. Experiment with many colors, layout options, themes, and font styles to make a cohesive design.
Step 5 – Add interactive elements
If your portfolio is intended to be digital then adding interactive elements will enhance the overall experience of those who view it. In InDesign, you can create interactive elements like buttons and hyperlinks to lead people to your website, for example.
Step 6 – Save and export the portfolio
Once you’re done with the finishing touchups, the final step is to save the portfolio and export it into a PDF file for digital publication. Having an online portfolio is better in the sense that you can show it to more people.
- Make sure to watermark your portfolio
- Keep saving your project throughout the process
- Keep a backup of your portfolio design on a hard disk or cloud
- Upload your portfolio on relevant websites
Adobe InDesign may seem like a much simpler tool than Photoshop or Illustrator but it is great for designing projects that have more than one page.
Following are some key skills to master in Adobe InDesign to create amazing portfolios.
- Here is a video by Kelsey Baldwin explaining how to add and format text in InDesign. Know how to work with kerning, leading, and tracking.
- Did you know? You can work on more than one Adobe software for a project. This video by Martin Perhiniak pairs InDesign and Photoshop to define creative layout techniques.
6) Getting Started with Motion Graphics
Nowadays, a graphic designer is more than just that. In most parts of the world, especially where labor is comparatively cheaper, graphic designers don’t really get to specialize. They are required to know more skills than their field asks of them.
Simply put, motion graphics is when graphic elements are given a sense of movement and direction using specialized software, such as Adobe After Effects. Not only is this tool used to edit videos in a reasonably easier way than Adobe Premiere Pro, but it also helps designers and animators to create visual effects to make multimedia projects.
After Effects is widely used in the television, advertising, and film industry to create dynamic and engaging graphics that often surprise audiences.
Just like any other Adobe Suite software, here too layers play an important role. To create motion graphics, you begin with a composition to add all the visuals like shapes, lines, text, and images on the canvas. With the help of layers, then you can use keyframes to create animation and movement.
With After Effects you can add an array of plugins and effects to create an assortment of visual effects like color correction or blurs. Holmes Motion shares the top plugins of 2023.
Once you’ve jazzed up the project with visual effects and styles, you can export it into different formats like GIFs and videos.
To master this skill, you need to climb the ladder, step by step. You can’t simply jump and expect to magically know it all.
- For a quick, beginners tutorial that gives an overview of how the software works, watch this video by Jordy Vandeput.
- If you’re into game designing or animation films then a frame-by-frame tutorial will help you understand how an illusion of movement works. Here is Creative Director Marvin Te teaching you how it’s done.
- Knowing the basics is not enough in the motion graphics field. You need to have some cool tricks up your sleeves to stand out from an ocean of designers who claim they know the software and skill.
- These days, not just characters or objects are animated, even logo designs are put in motion. Here is just one tutorial to inspire you to churn out some original logo ideas of your own.
7) Editing Photos
One of the most popular skills to have as a graphic designer is how to edit photographs. While one can use Photoshop for editing photos, most photographers and designers prefer to enhance the appearance of images in Adobe Lightroom.
Adobe Lightroom is a comprehensive photo management and editing software that is designed and upgraded to help digital artists and photographers organize, edit, and share images.
With Lightroom, designers can apply adjustments and corrections to multiple images. The software allows photographers with different tools that help them with noise reduction, exposure level, sharpness, and colors.
Once the image is edited, users of this software can save images in different formats like TIFF, JPEG, and DNG. Designers can also then create web galleries, multimedia presentations, and slideshows.
- If you’re wondering how to work raw photographs, which can be a tricky task, Todd Dominey shares his ten-step raw photo editing process.
- To start with any software, you need to know the basics. Once your foundational skills are strong, you can then go on and keep polishing them.
- In case you’re busy and cannot spend too much time learning then watch a video every day that is ten to fifteen minutes long. Surely you can spare under half an hour to learn a new and essential skill.
- Want to study Lightroom as if you’re in a classroom with a teacher and his projects? Here is a video tutorial with a structured short course for beginners.
8) Creating a PDF
PDF is an abbreviation for Portable Document Format that makes it easy for people to “present and exchange documents.” It is a file format that can contain anything from text to graphics, or images.
PDF files are most commonly used for eBooks, brochures, infographics, manuals, long articles or essays, and forms.
You can save your project as a PDF in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign but the software that is dedicated to this purpose in the Adobe Suite is Adobe Acrobat. You can create, edit, and convert PDFs in it.
- You’ve seen static PDF files but here is a video by Auret & Jewel to make a fillable form in Adobe Acrobat.
- As I have mentioned before, you start from the beginning so here is a tutorial for beginners by Jamie Keet.
- There is more than one way to do a few things in life. This is one. Here is a video by Adobe Document Cloud that shares three ways to create a PDF in Acrobat.
9) Creating a Website
If you’re creating a professional website, you can hire someone to do it for you or if you want to learn it yourself then you can learn how to do it in Adobe Dreamweaver.
Adobe Dreamweaver is a program used for website design and development. It allows designers and developers to create and edit websites and web pages.
The steps to designing a website are simple on the surface:
- Create a new site in the software, which is akin to a new artboard.
- Design the layout by dragging and dropping visual elements.
- Add the content, such as the text and the images.
- Preview and test the website to check for anomalies.
- Save and publish the new website online for everyone to use.
- To learn this software you need to be a coding and designing junkie. Yes, that’s right. Here’s a seven-hour beginner’s tutorial course for you.
You can also create a website in Adobe XD if you think Dreamweaver is too orthodox for your taste.
- Here is a video tutorial by Megan Weeks on how to use XD for creating modern and minimal-looking web designs.
Depending on your preference and the abilities of the two software, you can decide which program in the Adobe Suite is most suited to design a particular website.
10) Creating a Logo
Image source: ZillionDesigns/B4BEST
Image source: ZillionDesigns/zephyr
Image source: ZillionDesigns/hellmi
One of the most wanted skills online is how to create a logo design for a business or personal branding. Designing logos is in demand. Entrepreneurs either use free tools to make logos or hire professional logo designers.
Adobe Illustrator is one software in Adobe Suite that is excellent for logo designing because all that you make in it is vector based. This means that when you change the size of the logo, it will not pixelate as a raster image from Photoshop would.
Image Source: vectorior.com
As a graphic designer interested in brand identity design, logo designing is a key skill to master. It is the starting point of branding for any business.
Following are the steps in the logo design process that noobs can follow:
Step 1 Define the business and the brand
Before starting to design a logo, think about what the business stands for. Research the brand’s mission, vision, values, and goals. With this information, you’ll be able to cut the vagueness and truly represent the brand.
Step 2 Sketch your logo design ideas
Start on paper before jumping onto the software. Brainstorm your logo ideas by roughly sketching them with a pen or pencil on the paper – just like old days. Think about what the logo should look like.
Step 3 Get on the design software
Once you’ve sketched all the possible logo design ideas that you could think of, get on the software and transfer the idea you like the most. You could scan your drawing, take a photograph, or redraw it on the software using some handy tools.
Step 4 Choose the right features and tools
Adobe Illustrator is full of features that can help you create the perfect logo, provided you have the aesthetics and the caliber to use the tools effectively. There are many tools designers can use such as the type tool, pen tool, shape tool, or pathfinder tool.
Step 5 Pick a befitting color scheme
Choosing the right color palette for a logo design is essential. It determines the kind of personality a brand wants to exude. A color palette can be anywhere from one color to five colors. It can have harmonious colors, complementary colors, cool colors, or warm colors.
When choosing colors for the logo, keep these tips in mind:
- Study the psychology and moods of colors
- Learn about the color wheel and how you can use it
- Look at some trending colors – take inspiration from Pantone
- Use online color palette tools to come up with a scheme
Step 6 Pick the correct font
If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll know the struggle of finding the right font for a brand. It is challenging to pick one option that suits the look and feel the brand wants to convey. You can select a free or paid font online or customize it using your typographic knowledge.
Step 7 Create logo variations
Experimentation is important. Try different styles, colors, fonts, and shapes to create a design that suits the business, the brand name, and the personality that needs to be delivered. See how the logo looks different in branding and marketing collateral.
Step 8 Save and get feedback
Once you’re done, save the design and share it with the client for feedback. If there are any amendments, make them and finalize the logo.
There are countless design tutorials online teaching you how to make a particular type of logo, but here are a few I think you’ll find helpful.
- There are hundreds of techniques in Illustrator to design logos but Abi Connick shares her six favorite tools and tricks to get achieve high-end results.
- You can make flat logos look fantastic as well by applying another dimension to them using Adobe Illustrator. With a few simple tricks, you can add depth to logos.
- Along with knowing the logo designing process is essential, the real business is about executing the ideas on the software.
- How to save your logo for clients
- How to present logo designs to clients
The logo design industry is concentrated because you will find several designers, agencies, and artificial intelligence tools that make logos. This is why you need to make sure that you stand out!
11) Video Editing
Video has become a widely used form of communication in a world that is powered by streaming services, online advertising, and social media platforms. As a result, video editing has become a key skill to learn.
Reasons why you need to master the skill of video editing:
- There is a growing demand for video-based content from brands and users.
- Social media platforms have become popular places to share and consume video content.
- Many career opportunities are now available asking for video graphic designers and editors.
- The availability of user-friendly and affordable video editing software is increasing by the day.
- Editing video is a work of art that gives people the freedom to express their ideas creatively.
The two most popular software for video editing is Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects. The things you need to know when editing a video, include:
- Importing video footage
- Cutting and trimming
- Adding transitions
- Applying assorted effects
- Tuning the audio
- Exporting your video
Let’s watch some video editing tutorials to get started and then you can continue the journey to learn if this is the skill you want to master.
Adobe Premiere Pro Skills –
- If you’re a first-timer with no clue as to where to begin then here’s a video tutorial to help you out.
Here is another one.
- Knowing the basics is not enough. To stand a chance in today’s growing video editing market you need to know some cool tricks. For example, in a fast-paced industry, these time-saving tricks will help you.
Adobe After Effects Skills –
- In Adobe After Effects, adding and cutting keyframes is an essential and foundational skill that needs to be learned.
- If you’re using After Effects and you’re unaware of the presets and effects it offers then you might as well not use it. Here is a tutorial to get you started.
- Some of you designers prefer learning software as part of a course rather than a bunch of random videos, right? This video playlist by Gareth David is structured for you.
So, yup, we are done with the ten major skills you need to master when working with the Adobe Suite. Know that Adobe keeps releasing updates for all its tools so make sure you don’t stick to an outdated version.
While there are many other software and tools available, Adobe Suite is a popular choice for designers.
- Knowing Adobe Suite makes you marketable for creative-intensive jobs
- Adobe Suite allows you to express your creativity in several ways
- The Adobe software collection is considered to be comprehensive
- The software tends to crash so keep saving your project
- It can be overwhelming for newbies unless they’re determined to learn
- It is an expensive software although people have ways to get around
Now that you know the ten key skills, the software you can use, and the tutorials that can potentially help you start your learning journey – are you ready? It might all seem intimidating but then everything that is full of challenge and requires effort is worth going after.