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Master These Awesome New Skills in April 2018

Learning a new skill is a wonderful thing to aim for, so why not add it to your goals for April? It doesn’t have to take time either—the tutorials and courses in this roundup break everything down into easy-to-follow steps that you can quickly master.

So here’s a roundup of some great courses and tutorials on graphic design, web design, coding, photography, and business. Many of these resources are free, and others are included in a subscription to Envato Elements. So there’s nothing stopping you from picking up a valuable new skill this month.

1. Create a Photorealistic Digital Painting in SketchBook Pro

Fruit? Really? Yes—there’s a good reason why painters have honed their skills for centuries on this classic still life subject. Fruit gives you a variety of colours and textures to work with, and its various surfaces reflect light in different ways. This tutorial takes you through the whole process in detail, using techniques from 3D modelling to make the end result look incredibly realistic. By the end, you’ll be ready to use the same techniques to paint any subject you want. Follow all the steps here.

2. Create a Small Business Branding Package the Fast Way

If you’re a small business owner or freelancer who wants to create professional branding materials quickly and efficiently, this quick ten-minute course is for you. You’ll learn how to select appropriate templates from Envato Elements and bring them together to form a cohesive brand identity that instantly builds customer trust. Take the course now.

3. Manage Storage on Your iOS Device

Does this sound familiar? You buy a phone or tablet, it comes with a ridiculous amount of storage that you’re sure you’ll never end up using. Then, within no time, you get messages popping up saying the device is full. This tutorial takes you through some useful steps to avoid that problem for iOS devices by freeing up space and using storage more efficiently for common problem areas like photos and music. Learn those iOS storage secrets here.

4. Learn PHP for WordPress

For me, the attraction of WordPress is that it lets you build sophisticated websites without having to understand PHP, the underlying programming language it’s built with. You can bolt together themes and plugins, tinker around with a few settings, and you’re good to go! But, of course, if you want to go to a deeper level of customization or become a WordPress developer, you will need to learn PHP eventually. This course is a great introduction, letting you take your first steps with PHP in the familiar environment of WordPress. No more flaking out and using the Customizer—go ahead and take the red pill to see what’s really happening under the hood.

5. Overcome Your Cognitive Biases and Design Better Websites

If you want to be a great web designer, you probably think you need to learn all the latest CSS and JavaScript tricks and master the latest frameworks. While all of that is useful, you’ll also need to do something more important and often more difficult: know your own cognitive biases and work to overcome them. This fascinating tutorial digs into some of the weird biases lurking in our brains and shows how they can affect your work as a web designer. Read the tutorial to learn about your biases and master them so you can design better websites.

6. Code a React App With GraphQL

Often, the best way to learn something is to get your hands dirty with a practical example. In this course, you’ll be building a trip-planning app for the Finnish public transport system. Along the way, you’ll learn how to seamlessly retrieve and integrate live server data into your app, while structuring your queries, accessing real-time data, and handling errors. You’ll also get to know the quickest route from Mäkkylä to Espoonlahti. Take the course to start building and learning today.

7. Create a Shatter Effect in Photoshop

A shatter effect is a powerful visual metaphor that you can use in a range of designs to illustrate progress, change, or breaking through boundaries. This tutorial shows you how to create the effect easily in Photoshop, starting with a stock image and creating a special “shatter brush” to let you apply the effect, before making all the necessary adjustments so that it looks realistic. Get the full instructions here.

8. Create a Weight Tracker App With Cloud Firestore

Cloud Firestore is an easy, secure way to store your Android app’s data in the cloud. This tutorial shows you how to use it to create a simple weight tracker app. You’ll learn how to set up user authentication and a basic user interface to make a fully functioning app in a surprisingly short amount of time. See how it’s done.

9. Animate a Rubber Hose Character in Cinema 4D

The simple, fluid “rubber hose” style of animation is a great way to learn the basics of animation without worrying about the detailed anatomy of your characters. And although the characters are often simple, their movements can look very realistic. This course shows you how to animate a rubber hose character in Cinema 4D, giving you a perfect introduction to 3D animation along the way. Take the course now.

10. Create a Truly Terrifying Photo Manipulation

Too often, things like this get published around Halloween, but I think we should be able to scare the bejesus out of each other all year round. As well as being nightmare-inducing, this photo manipulation project is a great way to learn about techniques like using colour grading to add atmosphere and mood to a scene. Read the tutorial to start assembling this scene step by step.

Want to Learn More?

If these new courses and tutorials aren’t enough for you, check out the full Tuts+ library of more than 1,000 courses and 25,000 tutorials. There’s sure to be something there for you. Or have a look at these recommendations from previous months to get some more inspiration.

Build a WordPress Portfolio Site in 1 Hour

A portfolio website is a must for people in all kinds of different industries. It lets you pull together your work and show it off in a visually engaging way. This course shows you how to create a portfolio site the easy way, using WordPress and a pre-designed portfolio theme. Take the course to build a great-looking site in just an hour.

Create a Surreal Portrait in Photoshop

Some designs are so striking that you just think, “Wow, I could never create that.” Well, I do, anyway. But this tutorial breaks the whole process down into easily manageable steps. If you’ve got a copy of Photoshop and some time available, you can work your way through this and create a stunning photo manipulation with a stitching effect. Get the full set of instructions.

Build a React Component

Are you up for a challenge? This post sets you the challenge of building a React component for displaying a Twitter avatar, and then you can either work on it by yourself or watch the video to see how it’s done. Take the challenge here.

Brush Up on Your Illustrator Skills

Adobe Illustrator is one of those programs that you can use for years without discovering all its features. This course takes you through 10 essential design tips to help you get the most out of Illustrator and bring your creative ideas to life. Take the course to discover all 10 tips.

Get Up to Date on SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of those subjects that changes all the time. That’s why Envato Tuts+ publishes annual reports on The State of SEO. Check out the latest SEO report for 2018 to discover the ins and outs of AJAX crawling, artificial intelligence and more.

Create an Online Store With Shopify

If you want to set up an online store or monetise an existing site, Shopify is a popular solution. This course makes it easy for you to get up and running with your own online store. Take the course to watch 12 detailed video lessons that will take you from zero to a functioning store in no time. Bonus: the sample store you’ll be creating is a pet store, so plenty of scope for cute dog photos!

Replace a Laptop With an iPad

Haven’t we all dreamed of leaving the laptop behind and going for the simplicity and comfort of an iPad? For “power users” like professional graphic designers and coders, this may not be practical, but for many of us, an iPad can now handle most if not all of the tasks we use our computers for. So if you’re ready to slim down, read this article for details of how to make the switch successfully.

Learn Vue.js

Vue is a progressive framework for building user interfaces using HTML and JavaScript. In this short course aimed at designers, you will learn the basics of pulling data into your web pages using Vue’s simple templating syntax. Take the course now.

Master Lightroom’s New Dehaze Tool

Take a close look at the image above. The left half is how the photo originally looked, and the right half has had the Dehaze tool applied to it in Adobe Lightroom CC. As you can see, it’s a powerful tool, and this tutorial teaches you exactly how to use it. Read the tutorial to get up to speed.

Create a Modern Restaurant Website

What I like about this tutorial is that it goes beyond the technical aspects of building a website to deal with the whole process, from defining your target audience through the design of the site and then marketing and content creation. While some of the tips are specific to restaurant websites, others could be applied to a range of other business websites. Read the article here.

 

Learn to Design for Colour-Blind People

If we’re putting something out into the world in the year 2018, it really should be accessible to everyone. What I like about this tutorial is that it explains in lots of scientific detail what colour blindness is and how things look to people with different kinds of colour blindness, and then it goes on to give tips on what you can do to make your designs easier for everyone to view. Read the tutorial to learn how to tell protanopia from deuteranomaly and cater for people with either of them.

Switch From Font Icons to SVG

Icon fonts are popular among web designers, and for good reason. But did you know that SVG can sometimes be a better choice for handling icons? Take the course to find out why you should consider using SVG for icons and to learn the practical steps for switching from icon fonts to SVG.

Make an Unbounce Landing Page

A well-designed landing page can make a huge difference to your website, enabling you to steer visitors clearly towards the action you want them to take, whether that’s signing up for your mailing list or buying your latest product. Luckily, Unbounce makes it easy to create the landing page you want, and this tutorial shows you exactly how to do it. Start creating your landing page now.

Create an Artistic Collage in Photoshop

Feeling creative? This next tutorial is perfect for anyone who wants to experiment with new artistic techniques while picking up some tips on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom too. Juxtapose jarring images and symbols, mix in some bright colours, and create a striking result. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Build a CMS With Laravel

Or for a very different kind of creativity, why not learn to build your very own content management system? This is a really comprehensive course that includes 23 video lessons with a total viewing time of over four hours. It’s recently been updated with brand new lessons to take advantage of the latest features in Laravel 5, so why not take this comprehensive course and learn pretty much everything there is to know about creating a CMS with Laravel.

Colour Correct Video in Adobe Premiere

Don’t you just hate it when you shoot video that looks perfect in every way—except that the colour balance is off? Problems with tone, white balance and other colour settings are common when shooting video, and they can ruin the end result. So watch this free video to get instructions on salvaging your work by adjusting the colour in Adobe Premiere.

Create Cool Text Styles With SVG

Remember that earlier I was extolling the virtues of SVG for fonts? Well, it turns out that you can create some pretty amazing text effects with it too. Bubble bevel, anyone? Chunky metal? Or how about a neon light effect? Take the course to complete five practical projects that will teach you a whole lot about using SVG to manipulate text.

Create a “Celebration” Illustration

The holiday season may be over, but hopefully there’ll still be plenty of reasons to celebrate in the year to come. So why not celebrate with this elegant champagne illustration? What I like about it is that it’s built using just basic shapes, tools and effects in Adobe Illustrator—no drawing skills required! Find out how to do it.

Build Your Own Web App With Flask

Sometimes, the best way to learn is by getting your hands dirty and doing something. Flask is a popular microframework for creating web apps in the Python language, and this course teaches you how to use it to build your very own file-based wiki app. Watch the free preview to find out more.

Write a Great Motivational Speech

Whether you see yourself pacing around the stage at TED or simply want to deliver a compelling speech at work or school, this tutorial is packed with tips to help you put together a killer motivational speech. Read the tutorial to learn not only how to engage your audience, but how to inspire them.

 

Master Photo Manipulation Techniques

The great thing about photo manipulation is that if, like me, you can’t draw to save your life, you can still create some amazing scenes like the one above, just by merging photos together and applying some effects. There’s a bit more to it than that, of course, but this tutorial breaks it all down into easy steps. So why not learn photo manipulation today?

Make a Professional Resume in 10 Minutes

Along with making New Year’s resolutions, another popular activity at this time of year is making a new career move. If you need to update your resume to propel you towards that dream job in 2018, this short course is for you. Building on a professional template from Envato Elements, you’ll learn how to create a resume that is clean, targeted, and highlights your skills and abilities. Take the course to give your career a boost this month.

Learn Natural Language Processing (NLP) in iOS 11

Machine learning is a hot topic right now, and it’s only going to get more important as time goes on and the possibilities and capabilities of the technology multiply. This tutorial will help you surf the crest of the wave by introducing you to natural language processing, a key element of machine learning. Essentially, it’s the means by which computers understand human speech—not just grasping the basic meaning, but doing complex things like analysing sentiment and pulling out key information. Read the tutorial to find out more about how it works and to get some practice using it in iOS 11.

Take Better Photos by Knowing the Sun’s Position

We’ve all seen great photos ruined by the sun being in the wrong place—usually right behind our beautiful subject, making it into a silhouette shorn of all its details. Of course, the sun is never really in the “wrong place” at all. It moves predictably around the sky, and there will be a time of day—or a different season—in which you can get the shot you want. Read the tutorial to find out how you can use a simple web app to plan your photography shoots with the sun in mind.

Design a Mobile UI in Sketch

Sketch is a powerful digital design application, and it’s perfectly suited to those who design user interfaces for web or mobile apps. In this course, you’ll learn how to create a mobile UI design in Sketch, working from an initial wireframe all the way through to a completed design.

Make a Climate Change Infographic

Here’s an idea for the New Year: do something to help future generations have a habitable planet on which to make and break their own resolutions. An infographic is a great way to communicate complex information and statistics in an engaging way, and this tutorial teaches you how to create one in Adobe InDesign. Find out how it’s done.

Build a Branding Package the Easy Way

Branding is a powerful tool for building a company’s reputation—some of the major world brands are worth billions of dollars. Having a consistent and professional branding package across print and web can really help set a business apart from its competitors. This course teaches you how to create this package on a budget by using Envato Elements and Affinity Designer. You’ll produce a logo, branding colors, a customized website, a business card, a Facebook cover design, and more. Get started here.

Create an Android Music Player App With Anko

Anko is a Kotlin library that makes it easier to build Android apps. What better way to learn it than by getting your hands dirty building a music player app that can automatically pick and play random songs from the user’s device? It’s quite a complex app, but the tutorial makes it easy to understand. Get the full instructions and code.

Design for Visual Impairment

If you have a website or do any kind of design work for the web, you should be conscious of how to design sites that everyone can view easily—including the millions of people with color blindness, low vision, blindness, or other visual impairments. If you’re not, or if you need a refresher, then read this accessibility tutorial to make sure you’re not inadvertently excluding potential visitors and customers through simple but common design flaws.

Learn the Fundamentals of JavaScript

There are lots of JavaScript tutorials and courses out there on the web, but many of them deal with a particular aspect of the language and assume some pre-existing general knowledge. It’s quite rare to find a systematic guide that teaches you the language from the ground up. This JavaScript Fundamentals course does exactly that. It starts with the basic concepts and builds slowly over the course of 7 hours and 61 separate lessons to teach you more complex topics and show you how to use JavaScript in practice. If you want to code for the web, you need a solid understanding of JavaScript, and this course is perfect. Take the course to start learning today!

 

Create Your Own Color Font

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, color fonts are shaping up to be one of the hottest design trends of 2018. This tutorial teaches you how to create your very own color font using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator and the powerful Fontself extension. So why not learn this important new design skill?

Learn Gravit Designer

Speaking of new skills, have you tried Gravit Designer yet? It’s a completely free vector application that was launched earlier this year. It’s available in the browser as well as on Linux, Mac, ChromeOS and Windows, making it arguably the most accessible application of its type in the world. Learn how to use it in this thorough introductory course.

Build a Slack Bot With Python

If you do any kind of online collaboration, you’ve probably come across Slack. It’s used by over 50,000 companies—and yep, Envato is one of those. This tutorial shows you the code and takes you through all the steps to build your own unique integration with Slack, using Python for the logic. Learn the steps here.

Master PowerPoint Templates

We all know that a presentation looks smarter and more coherent when we use a well-designed template, don’t we? But getting the most out of a PowerPoint template is another story. This in-depth video course shows you how to create a polished presentation from start to finish, using the popular X Note template as an example. So take the course and move your presentations to the next level.

Speed Up Your Design Process With Studio

More new design software for you to learn. Studio is a free online UI design tool, ideal for web designers or anyone else designing for digital products. Watch the video to get up to speed with Studio quickly and easily.

Stabilise Your Video Footage

Have you ever taken some great video footage, only to find that it is too shaky to be usable? Unless you use a tripod or have the steady hands of a neurosurgeon, the answer is probably yes. Luckily, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X has stabilization processing built in. Find out how to stabilise your video footage in this video tutorial.

Understand Basic Typography

Any designer will tell you that typography is crucial to good design. From company brands to newspaper headlines to advertisements to websites, you can see the power of typography in action everywhere. But, like any specialised field, typography has its own vocabulary, which can be confusing for beginners. Watch this 60-second typography video to learn how to tell your counters from your spines and your stems from your shoulders.

Type International Characters More Quickly

If you often switch between different languages (or if you just enjoy using words like “smörgåsbord”), you’ve probably encountered the annoying situation of taking ages to type a letter with an accent that’s not included on your standard keyboard. On a Mac, of course, you can hold down the key and see a range of common accents, but that can still take a while. There’s a better way, involving automation apps. Learn the shortcuts here.

Design Icons With Adobe XD

In the wake of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all of the associated consumer frenzy, you may well be sick of 2 for 1 deals. But this course offers genuine value, by allowing you both to brush up your icon design skills and to learn Adobe XD at the same time. Take the course to get instructions on using Adobe XD to design a range of useful icons.

Learn to Code Securely in Swift 4

If you want to create apps for Apple devices from watches to iPhones, Swift is the programming language to use. With version 4 only released a few months ago, now is the perfect time to get up to speed with secure coding in Swift 4. Read the in-depth tutorial to learn about concurrency, race conditions, Grand Central Dispatch, and more.

Master PHP

Take a look at your favourite website. There’s a good chance that it was built with PHP. This powerful programming language created a big proportion of the web, and it’s easy to learn and easy to use for writing web applications. In this comprehensive, seven-hour video course, you’ll learn all the fundamentals of PHP, from the basics of using variables and writing loops and functions up to coding classes for simple object-oriented programming (OOP). Along the way, you’ll learn all the most important skills for writing apps for the web. Take the course to get started building your own web applications.

Create an Inspirational Photo Grid for Instagram

You’ve probably seen them before—those grids of beautiful photos, often accompanied by an inspirational message. This tutorial shows you how to create them yourself, either in Photoshop or with a simple grid-building app. It’s quite easy, and the results can be impressive. So why not give it a try?

Draw a Mandala

This tutorial hits the trifecta—you can learn a new skill, explore your creativity, and relax at the same time! What’s not to like? Drawing a mandala can be very therapeutic, and although it looks complex, it’s actually quite simple to do. So learn all the steps and start sharpening your drawing skills while relaxing your mind.

Use Gulp to Speed Up Your Web Design Work

If you’re a web designer, you’ll want to learn about Gulp, a simple JavaScript task runner that can really speed up your work and save you a lot of time. Take this in-depth course to discover what Gulp is, how it works, and how you can set up some super-efficient workflows for handling CSS files, JavaScript files, images, and more.

Pay Tribute to a Hitchcock Classic

I love old movie posters from the 1950s and 60s. The tools available to designers back then were so much simpler, but there were no limits to their creativity, and some of the results were just fantastic. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a movie poster paying tribute to the classic Vertigo poster designed by Saul Bass. You’ll learn a lot about Adobe InDesign along the way, while also doing some Photoshop and Illustrator work. So get started on this wonderful project, and upload your own version in the comments for others to take a look at.

Confront the Command Line

If you use a Mac, you’ve probably come across the “Terminal” icon, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably ignored it. But the Terminal gives you unfettered access to the deeper reaches of your Mac via the command line (if you remember MS-DOS, think of that classic C:\> prompt and the commands you used to enter). You can do some pretty useful things that just aren’t possible with the usual graphic interface (such as “caffeinating” your Mac). So take this beginners’ tutorial to discover some nifty examples and get started using the command line.

Design a Landing Page With Adobe XD

It’s still quite early days for Adobe XD, Adobe’s user experience design software, which only came out of beta a few weeks ago. So why not be one of the early adopters? This course shows you how to use Adobe XD to wireframe and design a landing page from start to finish. Take the course and build your skills in this useful application.

Create a Spirit Day Text Effect

Envato Tuts+ ran quite a few tutorials and articles last month to mark Spirit Day. Although the day has now passed, this tutorial will still teach you some useful skills for creating text effects in Adobe Illustrator. Plus you’ll be prepared for next year’s event, which will probably come around again sooner than you expect! Find out how to create the effect.

Childproof Your iPad

Those newspaper stories about kids running up huge credit-card bills on their parents’ iPads are fun, aren’t they? But they’re probably not so much fun for the parents involved. If you have kids or know someone who has kids, there’s a high chance that your beloved iPad will fall into their hands one day. So take this tutorial and find out how to protect your iPad from damage (both internal and external), as well as protecting kids from coming across bad stuff on the internet.

Learn the Kotlin Programming Language

Kotlin is a new programming language for coding Android apps, and it’s way more concise and secure than traditional languages like Java. This course teaches you everything you need to know to get started coding in Kotlin, from the basics of getting set up and writing your first code right through to advanced features like lambdas, higher-order functions, and using Java and Kotlin together in the same app. Take the course and add a powerful new language to your toolkit.

Learn Creative Typography

Think of creative designs, and maybe you think of a creative use of images, shapes, and colour. But you can do a lot with plain old letters, and this course shows you how. You get to play with typography and develop your creativity as you create a concept-driven typographic artwork. Take the course to give your creativity a boost this month.

Turn Your Cat Into a Zombie

Yes, Halloween is coming around again, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to turn your cat into a zombie. In fact, this tutorial shows you how to turn any portrait, whether human or animal, into a terrifying, dead-eyed, blood-spattered zombie. Even if you hate Halloween as much as I do, you’ll still pick up some useful Photoshop techniques in this one. So take the zombie-making tutorial and see how it’s done.

Beef Up Your WordPress Security

If, like me, you run a WordPress site, you probably alternate between feeling good about the number of websites that use your chosen platform (currently 28% of the web and rising) and feeling worried about the constant security threats. Take this short course to learn the key steps you should take to make your WordPress site much more secure.

Create an Android App That Recognizes Images

OK, the simple app created here doesn’t look as good as the zombie cat, does it? Fair enough. But once you’ve learned the skill of incorporating image recognition into an Android app, there are so many possibilities for more complex apps. This tutorial shows you how to use machine learning to recognize the content of images with the IBM Watson Visual Recognition service. Get the step-by-step instructions and code samples here.

Draw a Monkey

Drawing tutorials can be frustrating—they sometimes seem to be written for people who already know how to draw. But this tutorial is truly for beginners, and it breaks the whole process down into simple shapes like ovals, curves, and crosses. It’s a great way of learning to draw, and it may just help you see the structures behind objects so that you can draw things other than monkeys. Read the full instructions.

Optimize Your Website Without AMP

Google’s AMP is awesome! It’s a great way of optimizing your website with simple plug-and-play code. Why would you want to optimize a site without it? Well, actually there are several reasons, and you’ll learn more about them in this course. You’ll also learn exactly how to convert an existing AMP-based site to use non-AMP equivalents, helping you to make your site blazing fast while keeping total control. Take the course to find out more.

Make a Professional Business Card in 10 Steps

Lots of people just use generic business cards, but if you really want to make an impression, it’s much better to do it yourself. You get a chance to showcase your creativity while ensuring your business card sticks out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be complicated either—this tutorial shows you how to create a great-looking business card from scratch in Adobe InDesign in just ten steps. Find out how.

Create a Job Board Website With WordPress

A job board is a great type of website to build for any industry or niche—it allows you to provide really useful information (everybody likes to be able to find job opportunities), and your traffic and referrals can grow fast. This tutorial shows you how to create one using a WordPress theme and some simple customisation, with no coding skills required. Start creating your job board website here.

Use Swift Design Patterns

In the world of coding, design patterns are incredibly useful ways of solving common problems that arise in development. But they can be abstract and hard to grasp for beginners, and you can end up struggling to tell your factory from your facade. This comprehensive, 24-video, 3.5-hour course will set it all straight, with detailed explanations and examples of how each pattern can be used in the Swift programming language. Take the course here.

Create a Plastic Jelly Style

Wait, doesn’t that style look a bit dated? More 2007 than 2017? Yes, well spotted! This last tutorial is a bit of a nostalgia trip. Tuts+ turned 10 years old in September, and to celebrate, we decided to recreate the very first tutorial on the site, by Envato founder Collis Ta’eed, but this time using up-to-date techniques in the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite. So step back in time with us, and start making plastic jelly like it’s 2007!

Create an Android Instant App Feature

If you’re not up to speed with Android’s new Instant Apps feature yet, this tutorial is ideal for you. Instant Apps let people load entire sections of your app on demand, just by tapping a URL and without having to download the full app. This gives you a great opportunity to get your app in front of as many new users as possible. Learn how to create an Android instant app feature here.

Create a Modern Business Card Using Adobe Photoshop

Yes, we do live in a world of social media and online connections, but a good printed business card is still as important to today’s freelancer or business owner as it was to Don Draper in Mad Men. Learn how to create your own professional business card design in this step-by-step Photoshop tutorial.

Use Linux for Web Design

If you’re a web designer, your choices are not limited to macOS or Windows. You can also work very effectively in Linux, and in fact there are some real advantages to doing so. Take the course to find out all about using Linux for web design.

Improve Your Email Open Rates

No matter what kind of work you do, I’m willing to bet that you send emails, and that you want people to open them. This tutorial shows you 10 simple steps you can take to improve your email open rates. Who knew that the way you capitalise your subject line can make more people open the email? I didn’t, but the data suggests it’s true. Read the tutorial to discover all 10 email tips.

Create an AI-Powered Chatbot

Artificial intelligence is here—and I’m not talking about those dumb social media algorithms that collect masses of data on you and yet still can’t arrange your feed in the right order. I’m talking about chatbots that can hold increasingly realistic conversations with us. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a simple conversational chatbot using the IBM Watson Conversation service. The best part, for me, is the way it serves up inspirational quotes. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Learn About HDR Photography in 60 Seconds

Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to spend learning something new. But everyone can spare a minute, can’t they? That’s the idea behind the Tuts+ 60-second videos—you learn a new skill or technique in just one minute. In this one, you’ll get an introduction to HDR photography. Watch the 60-second video here.

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation

What do you get if you take a photo of the sky, put it in Photoshop, and add photos of a cat, a wall, some trees and a bunch of fish on top? The result, for most of us, will be an amateurish mess. But with the techniques covered in this tutorial, you’ll get the bizarre, impossible and yet weirdly realistic scene shown above. Click here to learn how it’s done.

Learn React Through 5 Practical Examples

React is one of the most popular web frameworks, and if you want to learn to use it, what better way than through some practical examples? In this course, you’ll build a digital clock, an Ajax-powered navbar and more, and in the process you’ll learn all the basics of coding React components from JSX and managing state right through to higher-order components and lifecycle methods. Sign up for the course.

Understand How the WordPress Loop Works

If you’ve been working with WordPress for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Loop. But do you really understand what it is and how to use it? This short, ten-minute Coffee Break Course will get you fully up to speed. Start learning about the WordPress Loop.

Create Your Own Stress Cave

It’s great to learn new technologies and computer skills, but it’s no use having these skills if you’re too unproductive to use them. In a busy work day, it’s easy to get derailed by stress and its close companion, procrastination. So read this quick productivity tip to learn how to take a step back into the stress cave and take some simple steps to help you see the right way forward.

Create a Haunting Photo Manipulation

Photo manipulation is a wonderful way to create whole new worlds from your imagination, without needing to draw or paint anything yourself. In this tutorial, you learn how to take seven different photos and blend them together into one weirdly haunting scene. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Animate Icons!

Sometimes good design is eye-catching, but other times it’s almost unnoticeable. A well-designed icon may not win any great plaudits, but it’s one of the little details that adds up to a better user experience for your website, app, game, presentation, etc. So why not take things to the next level by adding animation. Take the short video-based course for full instructions on creating icons in Adobe Illustrator and then animating them in After Effects.

Draw Hair in 4 Different Styles

Did you know that the average human head has about 100,000 individual hairs? What that means is that if you want to draw someone’s hair, you can’t draw separate lines for each strand—you need to learn some tricks to create the illusion of 100,000 hairs while using far fewer lines. Take this drawing tutorial to see how it’s done.

Get Up and Running With Sketch

Most of these design tutorials and courses use Adobe software because it’s so popular and offers so many features. But Adobe is not the only game in town. Take this comprehensive, 17-part video course to get up and running with Sketch, a powerful digital design application that’s great for icon design, web design, and more.

Learn the Quick Way to Create Professional Logos

Have you ever had one of those annoying clients who demands double the work in half the time? Of course you have. Here’s a trick for icon designers: have a few flexible logo kits ready to customise so that you can meet even the tightest deadline. Take this short course to learn how to create the three building blocks of a successful logo kit.

Paint “Love” in Sign Language

OK, I’ll be honest—I’m mostly just including this one because I love the end result. But it does also teach some really useful digital painting skills. Look at the dramatic lighting and the realistic textures of each hand; those are some techniques you could use in a wide variety of projects. See how to create this painting from scratch.

Make an Animated GIF

Whether you love them or hate them, animated GIFs are all over the web. This tutorial shows you an easy method of putting together an animated GIF in Adobe Photoshop. The example is of a wolf’s glowing eyes, but feel free to use the same techniques for laughing dogs, weird celebrity mashups, or whatever your heart desires. Start animating your GIFs here.

Go Back to the Nineties

The 1990s are popular again! Who knew? As far as I remember, the 1990s weren’t even popular in the 1990s. But if those headache-inducing colours and shouting fonts give you a flood of happy nostalgia, this is your chance to step back in time to the days of oversized cargo pants, overused fluorescent colours, and Hootie & the Blowfish. (Oh, and you can also learn some useful flyer design skills in Adobe InDesign.) Enter the time machine here.

Send a Ransom Note

Well, no—don’t actually send a ransom note, OK? That would be creepy. But this tutorial does teach some useful skills to help you manipulate fonts and work with shapes and textures in Photoshop to create a realistic text effect. Take the tutorial to learn how it works.

Create a Realistic Mockup

If you’ve ever worked in product or packaging design, you know the importance of a good mockup. Clients often struggle to see the potential of a design until you show them how it will look in the real world. This final tutorial in our list teaches you to create your own wine-bottle mockup from scratch in Photoshop. Along the way, you’ll learn how to manipulate photos, create realistic shadows and reflections, add lighting, and more. Ready to get started? Click here for the full instructions.

Publish Facebook Instant Articles

OK, it’s true that Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature has been controversial, and you may not love the idea of having your content living on Facebook’s platform instead of your own. But the advantage is that readers get to access your articles at a lightning-fast speed, and your content fits in seamlessly with the Facebook app, making for a great user experience. And whereas at first it was only for large publishers, now it’s available for all of us. Get a step-by-step guide to publishing Instant Articles in this tutorial.

Master Affinity Designer

Just when Adobe seemed to have the vector design market locked down, along came Affinity Designer a couple of years ago, winning a whole host of new admirers among web designers and graphic designers. If you haven’t tried it yet, this course is a perfect way to find out what all the fuss is about. You’ll learn Affinity Designer from the ground up—and the course was recently updated to cover new features like artboards, constraints, symbols, and some powerful new typography tools.

Use Style Guides for Accessibility

Keeping your skills current is not just about learning new technologies. It’s also about important concepts like accessibility. Making your sites accessible to as many people as possible is not just the right thing to do; it also makes business sense. You work hard to attract visitors, so why turn some of them away because you’ve failed to make the simple changes that would allow them to view your site? I like this quick tutorial because it shows you how to create a style guide for accessibility, while also introducing you to some important accessibility concepts and techniques along the way.

Build an Onboarding Tour Using JavaScript

I don’t much like the word “onboarding”, but I do love those interactive tours that pop up when you visit a new site or app, showing you how everything works with simple boxes that you can click through (or click out of) at your own pace. This short course shows you how to build your own tour from scratch, using HTML, CSS, and vanilla JavaScript.

Design Better Logos

Logo design is one of those things that may well be handled by a specialist graphic designer, but it’s always a useful skill for a web designer to possess. You’ll also get a useful rundown of the major tools, panels and features in Adobe Illustrator, which will be useful for other design tasks beyond logos.

Manipulate Colors in JavaScript

It’s good to learn new skills, but it’s even better to build something useful. This screencast ticks both of those boxes. Take a look at the demo—a neat little tool that lets you select a starting color and have a tasteful color scheme generated for you. You’ll learn how to create that yourself, using the Chroma.js library.

Get Hands-On Practice With the CSS Flexbox Model

Flexbox is a relatively new layout mode in CSS3, and as the name suggests, it can give you some wonderful flexibility in your page layouts. This popular course lets you get your hands dirty by tackling six projects designed to help you learn Flexbox thoroughly. And now it’s been updated with two more bonus projects on modals and sliders, so it’s an even better way of getting up to speed.

Work Better With Other People

No matter how well you know the ins and outs of CSS, the reality of working as a web designer is that you’ll have to deal with other human beings at some point, and that’s when things can get so complicated that you end up yearning for the comfort of your code editor. This tutorial looks at some useful ways to get the content of a website prioritized among multiple members of a team with the least fuss.

Build Forms With CSS Grid

Yes, I know. Forms are not the most exciting topic in the world, are they? But the attraction of this tutorial is not the forms, but the way you create them—using the CSS Grid Layout Module, another quite recent addition to the web designer’s arsenal. It shows you how to create a form the “traditional” way, using floats, and then how to achieve the same end result using CSS Grid.

Get a Refresher on the Basics

With so much new stuff to learn, sometimes it’s valuable to go back to basics and make sure you’ve still got a solid grasp of the essentials. Or maybe you’re just getting started and want to avoid some of the most common mistakes. Either way, these 10 simple design pointers from Tuts+ Web Design Editor Ian Yates will help you make sure you’re on the right track.

Keep Your Mac Efficient and Well Maintained

Have you ever taken your Mac to an Apple store and seen the “genius” running a diagnostic test on your computer? This post shows you how to run that test yourself and interpret the results, as well as checking the health of your hard drive—all without the help of a lanyard-wearing hipster genius.

Design a Vintage Music Festival Flyer

Here in the northern hemisphere, summer is just around the corner, and festival season will soon be in full swing. I love the summer colours and the vintage VW campervan in this design—but more importantly, the tutorial teaches you some great skills in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. If you’re shivering in the southern hemisphere right now, just think of this one as forward planning.

Add MailChimp Signup to Your WordPress Site

Some Tuts+ courses are several hours long and cover lots of ground, but this one is very short (just six minutes) and very simple. It teaches you something that sounds straightforward but can cause headaches if it’s not done right—how to add a MailChimp signup form to your WordPress site. In six minutes, you can get your site fully set up to start gathering email subscribers. Not bad, huh?

Know When to Fly Your Drone

I love watching aerial video footage. There’s something so calming and majestic about seeing the world from the perspective of a bird. In this video tutorial, you can learn about the best times of day to fly your drone for filming purposes (and in a companion tutorial, you can learn about the pros and cons of different weather conditions). I’m sure it’s all useful information, but I like the tutorials purely for the eye candy.

Make an Explainer Video

Have you noticed that explainer videos are everywhere? And they all have the same annoyingly cheery music? In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to put together a good explainer video for your company or personal site. My one gripe is that it’s a written tutorial—being a fan of recursion, I’d have preferred an explainer video on how to make explainer videos. But it’s still a good post. Check it out.

Convert a Photo Into a Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawings look amazing, but creating them involves both getting your hands dirty and spending years on the painstaking and often frustrating process of learning to draw. This video shows you how to skip both of these steps and just create a cool charcoal drawing from any photo with a simple Photoshop action.

Create a Split-Screen Slider With JavaScript

I love the split-screen effect here—as you drag your mouse across an image, a line splits the screen and it changes from colour to duotone. Try the demo at the top of the tutorial to see how it works! Then you can learn the process of creating it, with both a screencast and written instructions to make it easy to understand.

Design Buttons, Textures and Icons for Video Games

The thing about what video-game designers call “UI assets” (and the rest of us call “buttons, icons and stuff”) is that, if they’re designed well, you probably don’t even notice them. But if they look clunky, they can ruin the gaming experience. This course teaches you how to design them well. Plus the aesthetic reminds me of playing The Secret of Monkey Island as a child. Remember Guybrush Threepwood, anyone?

 

Record Vocals Like a Professional

Want to be the next Lana Del Rey or Justin Bieber? Or maybe you even have some more up-to-date cultural references. In any case, this tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to record professional vocals using just your computer and some simple equipment. Then you’ll be well on your way to YouTube stardom—all you need to do next is….

Make a YouTube Banner

Even with the most professionally recorded vocals, some of your potential fans may be put off if your YouTube banner looks as if it was designed by a hyperactive child with unsupervised access to Microsoft Paint. This tutorial teaches you to put together a simple banner for a YouTube channel using stock images and basic tools in Adobe Photoshop.

Draw a Skull

Macabre? Perhaps. But what I like about this tutorial is that you can produce a great end result even if you have zero drawing skill (yes, that would be me!). Monika Zagrobelna breaks the whole process down into such simple steps that you really can’t go wrong. If you can draw lines and circles and have access to a pencil, you can draw a convincing human skull.

Tell Your “em” From Your “rem”

If you’ve even dabbled in web design, you’ve probably come across the “em” and “rem” units of measurement. But what are they? What’s the difference, and when might you want to use each one? This one-hour course will get you crystal clear.

Solve Android’s Most Common Error Messages

Stumped by a ClassCastException? Tearing your hair out over a missing R.layout.main? Wondering who in Android-land thought that “Only the Original Thread That Created a View Hierarchy Can Touch Its Views” would be a helpful error message to give to human beings? This article demystifies 13 of the most common error messages to plague Android developers.

Hit Inbox Zero

I’ve saved the best for last. While we may love to be able to draw, paint, create apps or become a YouTube star, I think a lot of us would settle for an empty email inbox. This tutorial will teach you how to reach the “You have no messages” promised land. You can also grab a free eBook for more detailed email mastery tips.

There’s More…

This post has just skimmed the surface of what Tuts+ has published recently, and in the full archives going back ten years, there’s even more. So if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this post, you can search the full Tuts+ library of more than 1,000 courses and 24,000 tutorials to find exactly what you need.