I’m often asked by friends and associates to teach them this or that about Photoshop, among other graphics applications in Adobe’s massive catalog of industrial-strength software. I’ll spend half an hour or so going over how to solve the particular problem they’re wrestling with at the time. It’s fun, it breaks up my day a bit, and I enjoy passing on what I’ve learned. But sometimes a beginner, or a not-so-beginner needs more than a quick how-to on a particular technique. They want to learn to use Photoshop (or Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, or Flash) and they’re a bit embarrassed about making me their tutorial service, and ask if they can pay me for some private tuition. That’s when I tell them about lynda.com, which in my experience is, hands down, the best learning resource out there.
There is a real Lynda, who started off way back when making tutorials for people who wanted to learn how to use Word and Excel, and she still owns the company, but lynda.com has grown into a huge library of video training courses on just about every useful piece of software under the sun. The people who teach these course are the best of the best, not just in their knowledge and skill with the program they are teaching, but in their enthusiasm for imparting knowledge. At $25 a month (for a little more you can download all of the example files on each course, you have unlimited access to the very best training available, at your own pace, on your own schedule. All you need is a browser. Any of the courses has a few videos that you can watch for free, to get the flavor of how it works and what you can learn.
I’m a subscriber myself, and use the service to get up to speed on a new piece of software, or take advanced courses on the latest features of new versions. Whether you want to make your family photos the best they can be, learn to create a website, or want to get deep into the powerful features of Microsoft Office, there isn’t a better way to spend a few bucks and a few hours than on lynda.com. (And no, I don’t work for them and they don’t pay me to say things like this!)