Disclaimer: I’m not a graphic design student, everything mentioned here, I learned from the world wiLD web. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of things you can can learn via www. Even though I mention an alternative, note that these posts will focus on photoshop. Get the software, you won’t regret it.
If I’m being completely honest, all you need to really know are the basics. Everything else will start making sense afterwards.
Remember the first time you used MS Paint? How everything looks so fresh & overwhelming? After knowing what tool does, you started making those houses like a professional?
Learning photoshop will feel the exact same way. When you learn the basics of photoshops, you’ll easily navigate through any other photo editing software.
Ok, there are several ways to go around with this. You can obtain any version of Adobe Photoshop (I personally prefer CS4) and click on everything. Experiment. Use everything on anything. You’ll already recognize some of the tools from good old MS Paint, so you can start with those. Get an image and mess with it.
If you’re not really sure if you want to buy Adobe Photoshop CSn, you can definitly try other alternatives, such as: GIMP (FREE for MacOS, Windows & Linux).
The second -possibly more efficient way- is to check out Lifehacker’s Night School Course in the Basics of Photoshop. I don’t think you’ll need to go through all of the links, but the first one is the only one you’ll need for now.
Note: If you’re interested in exploring more, you can definitely check out the rest.
I’ve gone through it a long time ago, and wished it existed when I was still a beginner. They also divide the course really well, with an excellent mixture of video tutorials & text. My advice is to start from the very beginning and work with the tutorial, it IS the best learning process (for anything you’re trying to learn via the world wiLD web). Once you know what each tool does, it’s very useful to keep this cheatsheet around.
Note: I suggest reading these after going through the tutorial above & familiarizing yourself with the photo editing software.