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rollid's avatar

How to master HTML, CSS and/or Photoshop on a shoestring budget?

Asked by rollid (98points) December 21st, 2008
15 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

Attention web/graphic designers! I’m trying to switch careers and I know that there are some great free/cheap tutorials for HTML, CSS and Photoshop. Any advice on where a good place to look would be?

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btko's avatar

This this the best place to start learning about HTML and xHTML. Also PHP, CSS and others. > W3Schools

I can’t remember how I got started in Photoshop… hmm basically just start messing about and then if you can think of something specific you would like to try then search for a tutorial.

windex's avatar

If you listen to me, you’d become a programmer instead of a designer.
#1 the PAY (10k/month minimum if you’re a programmer) designer..I don’t think so
#2 there are too many people out there who consider themselves “designers” just because they know how to use the “drop shadow” in PS…LAME if you ask me

rollid's avatar


What’s the difference between a programmer and a designer? What would I study instead?

PupnTaco's avatar

Broadly speaking, a programmer is technical and a designer is visual.

tinyvamp's avatar

why not be a programmer and designer, thats what I am.

tinyvamp's avatar

@rollid what career are you switching from? and what windex says about designers is true… it’s kind of like that line “everyone thinks they’re a comedian” just replace comedian with designer.

rollid's avatar

Currently working as a CNA but I have a background in painting and a fine art degree. So, would programming require another college degree? I don’t really have the finances to go to school for computer science—at least not now. I’ve been building a few websites for friends and non profits and I want to see what I need to do to get into it professionally. I heard that web designers need to know html, css and photoshop. What would I need to pick up to go into programming?

wilhel1812's avatar

The bad thing about being a programmer is that it’s boring. You stare at code all day and it’s harder. That’s my opinion anyway

tinyvamp's avatar

Eh, I think it’s best you try being a web designer first. As btko has said it’s best to know these things:

PHP (not necessarily but it’d be nice to not have to stick to html all the time and php is a pretty easy language to learn and work with)

Now, learning these languages just takes time, practice and patience. I think the real magic is in photoshop. I learned by just poking around and seeing what everything does etc, never used tutorials much but they come in handy if you need something specific and don’t have the time to try and figure it out.

W3Schools you should probably bookmark this site, you may be using it a lot

I think after learning all of that you can progress to learning about adobe flash, I use a lot of websites to learn flash, like:


but I learned a ton more from friendsofed ; which means a lot because books usually never work for me.

and it’s always a good idea to find designer friends, not only because you share an interest but they’re also good for learning purposes as well. :)

Perchik's avatar

Programmer vs Designer depends on how you think. If you like how things work then programming is for you. If you like how things look, then design is for you.

As far as what you need to know, either way you’re going to want XHTML and CSS experience. HTML is just a slightly relaxed version of XHTML, and really shouldn’t be used much anymore. (A lot of times the term HTML actually means XHTML now…it’s virtually the same anyway.)

Php comes into play if you want to be a programmer. I’d suggest learning a little javascript before you even think about other languages, but that’s just me.

Good luck!

(@wilhel, programming is only boring if you don’t naturally think like a programmer. I love figuring out problems, implementing code is exciting to me. I’ve called my girlfriend, also a programmer, at odd hours in the night to celebrate the solving of a specific problem. So if you find it boring, perhaps it’s not for you)

PupnTaco's avatar

In defense of design, programming can be learned if you’re so inclined. You can’t really learn to have “an eye” for effective design. You can learn the tools and techniques, but to succeed as a designer, it should be in your blood.

rollid's avatar

Awesome answers everyone! I love the advice, thanks so much.

cookieman's avatar

As I tell my students: I could train almost anyone to use Photoshop. It’s what you do with it that makes you an effective designer. It’s only a tool.

I give programmers a lot of credit, though. I know HTML pretty well, and enough PHP to be dangerous, but I simply do not have a head for it.

kullervo's avatar

Also a few books would help. For HTML a light weight book that covers semantics for css you can't do much better than "CSS Mastery". If budget is too tight to pick up a few books off amazon you could try borrow them from the library. does some great video tutorials - not sure of the prices. Alternatively if you are really cheeky you can torrent most of the books as PDFs and even the tutorials (you didn't hear that from me).

You’ll want xhtml, css and maybe some javascript. Where I work the pure designers just do visual and no coding at all so they stick to photoshop, fireworks and flash. I mainly stuck to xhtml, css and javascript but they are merging our teams now so we have to do everything.

I also run a small company with my brother-in-law and will be starting online training courses soon so drop me a mail if your interested.

ptIM81's avatar

The best way to learn Photoshop on a shoestring budget is to try lots of online tutorials – there’s literally thousands that you can try out and many of them teach some great techniques. is a good site that has some tutorials on it and some detailed review articles that provide lots of links to decent tutorials.

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