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Phlearn’s Photoshop 101, From the Eyes of a Photoshop Virgin

By Lonnie Thurston on May 10th 2014

What happens when you take an Adobe Photoshop virgin and give him a tutorial?

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My Limited Experience With Photoshop

I have always wanted to try Photoshop and it has intimidated me. It’s a new technology for me to learn and I do not like change. I have been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for my photo editing pleasures and am comfortable with that software. When I was presented with the opportunity to review a Photoshop 101 tutorial by Phlearn, I felt like a shy teenaged boy going on his first date with a mixture of fear and excitement. Here was my opportunity to have someone hold my hand and show me what to do.

[RELATED: Check out Photography 101 and Photography 201 by Phlearn]



This tutorial was on Adobe Photoshop CC and touched on a lot of the things most people would use. 218 minutes wasn’t enough time to go over every detail of the program, but definitely more than enough time to be useful. The tutorial does a good job addressing the technical parts of the software while infusing his opinions and experiences. The tutorial is broken up in to seven videos: Intro, Tools 1-3, Layers, Menu, Edit.

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The 41 minute intro video is a general overview of everything. He introduces us to Photoshop and gets us familiar with the layout and helps us set up preferences.

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Aaron used shortcuts which I found to be helpful as he worked on his image. He shows us in the intro video how to set those up. After going through how to set up preferences, he selects his image and shows how to import it into the program.



Videos 2 through 4 were spent discussing the tools. The intro and tools sections were thorough, but difficult for me to sit through. The presentation of the material seemed unrehearsed and a little unorganized. For someone who is attached to organization and professionalism, it could be a distraction.


I was interested to learn about layers and in the 5th video, Aaron delivered. He went over blending options and had a great example playing with Opacity and Fill.

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Aaron is a big fan of the ‘Blend If’ function, used to blend multiple exposures. He spends some time showing how to use it, but I would like to have seen more (Perhaps in Photoshop 201?). It looks like that function could be really important to master if you want to be creative and have your photos turn out amazing.


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I like to play with my photos and the Puppet Warp function excited me.  I can tell you I would be playing with that tool quit a bit!


Another thing that was beneficial to me was that the tutorial goes through the menu items you need to know. More were covered in the Photoshop 201 tutorial. There were some things in the menu that he touched on that I can see myself using it often in the future including distortion, color range, and blur.
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Once the foundation was set, Aaron did a simple edit of his photo to show how the things he went over applied to a real edit situation. He talks about his image and the things he sees that he wants to change. “Photoshop is great because it’s all like solving little cool problems.” The tutorial went a little fast for me through his edit so I had to watch it several times, but the things he covered were helpful. I feel like I learned a lot.


The tutorial did a good job building a foundation before providing a practical example of how the tools are applied. This was not quickly put together and thrown out there for mass production. The 218 minutes of video makes the $35 cost of the tutorial well worth it. If you are a beginner who wants to get the most out of your Photoshop experience, it is a must have.


  • Showed how to set preferences
  • A lot of good content
  • Inexpensive for solid content
  • 92 minutes spent covering the tools
  • Good foundation for beginners
  • Editing of the image was detailed and well explained


  • It felt a bit unrehearsed
  • Covered some things too quickly during the edit video

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For what it’s worth, I no longer feel like an Adobe Photoshop virgin. As a matter of fact, I am feeling quite satisfied with the experience the tutorial provided and the things I learned. I am excited to see if I am able to have an opportunity to preview Photoshop 201 to see what Aaron covers.


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Lonnie Thurston is a wedding, nature, and sports photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    Great review.

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  2. Emily

    I think this PRO tutorial is a bargain. I expected much of it would be things I already knew. But even at the full price, I knew there would be good things to take away. As usual Aaron you exceeded my expectations.

    I am pretty comfortable in Photoshop, but there are MANY things I struggle with around tools and layers. Some things do not make sense to me or are non-intuitive. I learned a ton of stuff to make my Photoshop life easier.

    The tools section was where I expected to find goodness and I was not disappointed. Many tips and subterfuges to trick Photoshop into doing what I want. Layers, Filters, and the final edit gave me exactly what I needed to round out my understanding.

    Also, the short sections on color profiles and Camera Raw would have been worth the entire price of the tutorial for me. I have spent hours in Camera Raw trying to duplicate just the level of quality that JPGs have right out of my camera. Now I know what Camera Raw is useful for (for me anyway) and can skip the rest. With those two sections you made my work more professional and my life easier in a few minutes of time.

    What I really liked, is that you showed me what I did NOT need to spend time learning as a photographer at a Photoshop 101 level. You also explained some of the things that have creative potential what might be worth experimenting with, such as layer styles.

    I have one more tools video to watch so there is more value left to discover.

    Nice Job guys!

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  3. Allen Chen

    Tutorial was concise and easy to understand. It helped me understand every tool and its applications in photoshop, one particularly thing that I liked about this tutorial is that along with explaining the use of each tool, Aaron showed examples of where each tool had strengths and weaknesses. To be honest, I’m usually the type of person who torrents (shame to say) these kinds of tutorials but this tutorial has sold me. I really think Phlearn is onto something special and anybody who is into photoshop & photography would do this company well by buying their products. You guys are an inspiration! I am currently moving onto the compositing tutorials and hope to keep learning from this amazing company. Thanks!

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  4. Jonathan Kim

    Great tutorial! I never properly learned Photoshop from the bottom up but it was nice to see an easy to understand and nicely organized overview. If you know how post productions but would like to have a good structure of the tools and commands I would recommend this tutorial. Yes, I already knew a bunch of things Aaron went over, but he organized in a way that also answered a lot of questions about the fundamentals of Photoshop functions. Paying for this is a steal when compared to digging through youtube to find basic tutorials that are all over the place. Always enjoy your workshops! Keep up the good work and thanks!!

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  5. Hanssie

    $35 for a Photoshop tutorial is really reasonable. Wish he had this when I first got Photoshop.

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