Top 50 Graphic Design Photoshop Tutorials from 2011

What a great year 2011 has been for the Photoshop community. With so many new tutorials being published daily it has never been easier to learn a new creative techniques that will help reduce your learning curve substantially.
In this yearly round-up we have collected the best of them. It covers Illustrating & Painting, Photo Manipulation, Poster Design, Text Effects, Abstract Drawing and finally, Special Effects.

We have purposely omitted any GUI tutorials, these tutorials are strictly for graphic designers.

OK, on with our Top 50 of the year…

How to Color Inked Line Art

How to Color Inked Line Art
This tutorial gives you a general overview of how to digitally color an illustration, covering scanning, cleaning, flatting, coloring, rendering, and texturing techniques. This tutorial won’t focus on any specific way to blend or choose colors; it’ll assume you have knowledge of the basics.
How to Color Inked Line Art →

Photorealistic Electric Guitar

Photorealistic Electric Guitar
You’ll be shown how to create a realistic electric guitar learning a lot of techniques that can help you create complex photorealistic compositions. This tutorial is quite extensive and may take you a few hours to complete.
Photorealistic Electric Guitar →

Creating ‘Broken Link’

Creating 'Broken Link'
This advanced tutorial focuses on using radial gradients, overlay layers, and clipping mask layers. It does assume you have a good foundation level of artistic skill.
Creating ‘Broken Link’ →

Undress a Giraffe

Undress a Giraffe
This cool tut will demonstrate how to undress a giraffe by removing its spots and then turning its spots into an outfit that will be draped over an ironing board.
Undress a Giraffe →

Glowing Light Painting Effect

Glowing Light Painting Effect
An easy, and very fast, way to create a light painting. It uses a photo of a street on a foggy night and layers a picture of walking figures over it. Nice technique.
Glowing Light Painting Effect →

Underwater, Vector-Style Illustration

Underwater, Vector-Style Illustration
How to create a fun, underwater, vector-style illustration. While Photoshop wasn’t originally designed to create these types of illustrations, it does have the capability to produce illustrations that can meet or exceed that of Illustrator (which is the traditional choice for vector illustrations).
Underwater, Vector-Style Illustration →

Making of Knight

Making of Knight
With this tutorial you will learn how to paint a J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired scene that features knights, galloping and an awesome battlefield. Awesome!
Making of Knight →

Venom Tutorial

Venom Tutorial
Venom Tutorial →

Hair Tutorial

Hair Tutorial
This tut will show you how to paint a portrait, paying particular attention to the detailed hair.
Hair Tutorial →

Flaming Car

Flaming Car
Flaming Car →

Dragon from a Hamburger

Dragon from a Hamburger
How to create a dragon from a hamburger. It includes directions on drawing a dragon in grayscale, overlaying the grayscale image of the dragon with parts of the source image, creating the wings, and building the background from the source image.
Dragon from a Hamburger →

Captain America Shield

Captain America Shield
The whole process of this tutorial is quite simple and won’t take you more than 45 minutes. You start from scratch by drawing a red circle, and then you proceed to fill it in with details from the additional circles and star shape and then onto the textures, light & shadow.
Captain America Shield →

How To Make A Digital Painting

How To Make A Digital Painting
How to make a digital painting – just like the title says. This is a simple and general-purpose step-by-step tutorial.
How To Make A Digital Painting →

Detailed Vintage TV from Scratch

Detailed Vintage TV from Scratch
How to create a detailed vintage TV from scratch using Photoshop’s vector editing capabilities. You’ll start by drawing the shape from scratch and then proceed to add textures and fill in the details.
Detailed Vintage TV from Scratch →

Create a Nebula Cosmolady

Create a Nebula Cosmolady
How to create a nebula cosmology using an outer space background and a picture of a girl. After manipulating the space image, you layer the girl picture over it and proceed to touch up and add the fantastical droid-like elements.
Create a Nebula Cosmolady →

Cinematic Aerial Scene

Cinematic Aerial Scene
The idea behind this tutorial was to create a dramatic scene that looked like it is from a movie. By using free stock photos, some simple techniques and basic graphic design rules such as perspective, lighting and overlapping, you can easily accomplish this task.
Cinematic Aerial Scene →

Making of Hellboy

Making of Hellboy
How to digitally create the character Hellboy from the comic book series of the same name. It goes through each step one-by-one, starting by sketching the figure, then adding the background, and eventually fleshing out the figure.
Making of Hellboy →

Paint a Surreal Scene

Paint a Surreal Scene
How to create a fantastic surreal scene drawing by Hatice Bayramoglu. It starts with a simple sketch, then a color palette is selected, and then a step-by-step guide shows how to draw and flesh out the tree and background.
Paint a Surreal Scene →

Stunning Dragons Attack with 3D Features

Stunning Dragons Attack with 3D Features
How to create a sort of video-game style image with dragons, fire, smoke, robots and other crazy things.
Stunning Dragons Attack with 3D Features →

Glowing Superhero

Glowing Superhero
How to turn a basic illustration into a retro-futuristic artwork. You’ll use the Marquee and Pen tools to create various forms, and generate atmosphere with glow effects made using Adjustment layers and Layer Styles. You’ll also use motion blur for a dynamic feel.
Glowing Superhero →

Paint an Alien Diner Scene

Paint an Alien Diner Scene
How to paint a fun scene illustrating a hungry alien in a classic greasy spoon diner. Great practice for taking your digital painting skills to the next level. Like with many other tutorials, you’ll start with a sketch and proceed to fill it in with colors, texture, and light and shadow.
Paint an Alien Diner Scene →

Create Stunning Comic Book Fan Art Illustrations

Create Stunning Comic Book Fan Art Illustrations
How to use a tablet to create a stunning comic book fan art illustration. It reviews some tips and tricks when working with a digital tablet and Photoshop. The artwork used is a fan art illustration of the Knights of the Zodiac character, Capricorn Shura (Masami Kurumada) that the tutorial’s author drew.
Create Stunning Comic Book Fan Art Illustrations →

Making of the Imaginary Paint Dancers

Making of the Imaginary Paint Dancers
After creating the background, you’ll use pictures of paint jars and dancers to create the effect of paint dancers splashing out of those jars.
Making of the Imaginary Paint Dancers →

Making of the Futuristic City

Making of the Futuristic City
How to make a digital painting of a futuristic city using a photo of a city. The painting is not made from scratch – the photograph is used as a reference and starting point.
Making of the Futuristic City →

Manipulation of Smoky Water Scene

Manipulation of Smoky Water Scene
How to manipulate a simple photo scene. You’ll use some simple techniques to give this image a realistic look. While the tutorial uses a particular image, since the effect can be universally applied, you can use any photo for this tutorial.
Manipulation of Smoky Water Scene →

Amazing Mechanical Horse

Amazing Mechanical Horse
How to create a robotic horse by combining photos together. You’ll learn how to use stock photos of metal parts and overlay them on top of the horse. This technique can be used to make other types of robotic animals.
Amazing Mechanical Horse →

Night Light

Night Light
How to create a night light image using one stock photo, two sets of splatter brushes, and a single texture. It explains the tools, thought process, and techniques used to create the image, getting into specifics only where necessary.
Night Light →

Dark Statue with 3D Tentacles

Dark Statue with 3D Tentacles
How to create a dark statue photomanipulation using Photoshop and Cinema 4D. It will show you how to turn a photo of a woman into a statue, creating the tentacles in Cinema 4D and adding them to the photomanipulation, and many other techniques for adjusting the lights, the textures and the colors of the final image.
Dark Statue with 3D Tentacles →

Give a Portrait a Cosmic Makeover

Give a Portrait a Cosmic Makeover
How to transform a simple fashion shot into an eye-catching work that captures power and beauty. The result would suit a wide range of purposes – from an ad campaign to a poster to the cover of your favorite creative magazine.
Give a Portrait a Cosmic Makeover →

Futuristic Abstract Portrait

Futuristic Abstract Portrait
How to create your very own futuristic artistic portrait. The great thing is that these techniques can be applied to virtually any portrait, meaning you can give yourself a creative self portrait, or even Photoshop the faces of your friends and family to surprise them.
Futuristic Abstract Portrait →

Photo Manipulation of a Flooded City Scene

Photo Manipulation of a Flooded City Scene
How to manipulate a simple photo into a flooding torrent of a scene. You’ll use some relatively simple techniques to give this image a semi-realistic, stylized feel.
Photo Manipulation of a Flooded City Scene →

Dark Surreal Urban Scene with Space Brush

Dark Surreal Urban Scene with Space Brush
How to design a dark surreal urban scene with Space Brush. Along the way, it will show you a few simple photo manipulation skills that might be useful for your future designs, including some lighting tricks and image adjustment techniques.
Dark Surreal Urban Scene with Space Brush →

Mix Hand Drawing Sketch With Photo

Mix Hand Drawing Sketch With Photo
How to create a nice unique photo effect from a sketch and your photo. You will use many tools of Photoshops tools. Also in this tutorial you will be able to learn the Photoshop technique of how to use a sketch and combine it with a real picture. The result is a highly unique.
Mix Hand Drawing Sketch With Photo →

Photo Manipulate a Falling Angel

Photo Manipulate a Falling Ange
How to create a photo manipulation of a falling angel using a jumping girl photo. You start off with a textured background, you’ll then create the actual background using cloud images, and then you’ll proceed to add the jumping girl photo and manipulating it to look like she has wings and is falling.
Photo Manipulate a Falling Angel →

Slick Abstracts with a Limited Palette

Slick Abstracts with a Limited Palette
How to create an imposing mixed-media image using limited shades. You’ll build a visually striking collage-style image using silk and material elements, and a limited color palette. The tutorial explores how to create an abstract feel with the addition of natural elements–such as a horses head and human hair–and experiment with a different grid structure to give the piece its ultimate impact.
Slick Abstracts with a Limited Palette →

Abstract Golden Circle with Smoke Brushset

Abstract Golden Circle with Smoke Brushset
How to create an abstract golden circle with a smoke brush set. Along the way, it introduces the use of custom brush sets and the free transform tool, as well as some selection and masking techniques.
Abstract Golden Circle with Smoke Brushset →

Classic Serif Poster

Classic Serif Poster
How to manipulate serif type in your design work to design a classic serif poster. Graphic designer golden rules tend to be: the message must be clear, the color must have some harmony and the text needs to be balanced and readable. But sometimes, in order to create something different or something that stands out, you need to take those rules to the limit, mix them up, or even break them. That’s what this tutorial is all about.
Classic Serif Poster →

Retro Space Themed Poster

Retro Space Themed Poster
How to create a striking vintage-style poster design inspired by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s journey into space. You will combine stock photos, textures and brushes with blend mode techniques and filters.
Retro Space Themed Poster →

Clock Up Wallpaper

Clock Up Wallpaper
How to create a wallpaper using cool 3D text as the main design element. Since adding 3D features, Photoshop can now be used to create 3D objects and effects, which is what this tutorial focuses on – rather than relying on a separate 3D-rendering application.
Clock Up Wallpaper →

Dynamic Nature Poster

Dynamic Nature Poster
How to create a nature poster using stock images, vectors and brushes. A floral vector pack, paper texture, dry earth, and pictures of a girl, parrot, branches, bonsai, and splashes will be used to create a collage of a dynamic nature poster.
Dynamic Nature Poster →

Unique Break-Apart Text Effect with Urban Background

Unique Break-Apart Text Effect with Urban Background
How to create a unique break-apart text effect with an urban background. The text itself is made up from a wooden texture, along with some particle brush effects. You will be using techniques such as layer blending options, warp tool, image adjustments, and some paintings with custom brushes. This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps may be tricky.
Unique Break-Apart Text Effect with Urban Background →

Text-Shaped Buildings

Text-Shaped Buildings
How to create building-shaped typography using photos that you have taken yourself – or a photo of the Nairobi skyline that the tutorial provides. You’ll stretch the photo to a perspective and use repeating textures to draw and create the shapes for the letters that look like buildings.
Text-Shaped Buildings →

Stitched Text Effect for an iPad Wallpaper

Stitched Text Effect for an iPad Wallpaper
How to create a custom stitched text effect for an iPad wallpaper. You’ll first create the background texture, then the actual background, and afterwards proceed to create the actual text in a stitch style.
Stitched Text Effect for an iPad Wallpaper →

Exploding Light Text Effect

Exploding Light Text Effect
How to create an exploding light text effect. You’ll use a thick heavy font with portions that are corroding and breaking apart with various explosions, and you’ll use some dramatic lighting to punch it up a bit.
Exploding Light Text Effect →

Creative Block Text Effect

Creative Block Text Effect
How to create a smashing composition text using the words “creative block” to figuratively smash creative block with this effect. This effect could be used on a variety of design projects.
Creative Block Text Effect →

Human Disintegration Effect

Human Disintegration Effect
How to create a powerful and emotional human disintegration effect. You’ll start with a cloudy sky background, proceeding to use images of a person, meteors, light, and splatters to produce the effect of a person disintegrating in the sky.
Human Disintegration Effect →

RAWZ Light Effects

RAWZ Light Effects
How to create a slick futuristic Tron-style light effect. It’s a beginner/intermediate tutorial, and it will take you about 45 minutes to do. After starting with a black background, you’ll create a texture and make it the background–along with adding a subtle gradient–and afterwards you’ll drop in the logo and proceed to create the neon light effect.
RAWZ Light Effects →

Realistic Laser Beam Effect

Realistic Laser Beam Effect
How to create a realistic laser beam effect. This is actually an abstract text effect with a metal texture and cloud effect. You’ll mainly be using brush options and filter effects to render this laser beam.
Realistic Laser Beam Effect →

Chaotic Disintegration Effect on a Face

Chaotic Disintegration Effect on a Face
How to create a chaotic disintegration effect on a face. You’ll be using an image of a face and a branch, and you’ll also use shatter glass and bird brushes to create this effect, which will be manipulating the face.
Chaotic Disintegration Effect on a Face →

Fake X-ray Effects

Fake X-ray Effects
How to create an X-ray effect. You’ll discover how to re-assemble the inner workings of a computer mouse using a variety of blending modes to reveal hidden detail. Next you’ll add some distress layers to add interest to an otherwise clinical illustration. Finally, you’ll add some 3D renders to really finish off the effect.
Fake X-ray Effects →

What Are Your Favorite Photoshop Tutorials?

Your turn: what are your favorite Photoshop tutorials? What’s missing from this list? Feel free to share your useful additions in the comments section below.

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Author: (41 Posts)

Oleg Mokhov (mokhov.net) is the world's most mobile electronic musician and web + visual design enthusiast. He makes music that's a cross between Four Tet and Aphex Twin.

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