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A Review Of Online Training From


I’ve been a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Users) for several years – I think I joined not long after I bought Photoshop CS (the first version of the Creative Suite). I have to confess that for most of the years I’ve been a member, I’ve done  a very poor job of availing myself of the excellent educational resources NAPP provided its members.  Every year I would renew my membership, I’d say “this is the year I’m going to get serious about training!”  Before I knew it, another year had gone by.

Last month, I upgraded to Photoshop CS5 and I renewed my membership to NAPP.  With my renewal, they sent me a DVD – ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS5 POWER SESSION featuring Matt Kloskowski.  It was exactly what I needed to come up to speed on the new features of CS5, and really fueled my fire to learn more.  Now that I had a taste for the power of video training, I began exploring other options through NAPP, and discovered the online training available from

screen shot from

Screenshot from

The name Scott Kelby and Photoshop are at this point nearly synonymous.  My bookshelf wouldn’t hold all the books, DVDs, and other training materials Kelby and his team have published over the years.  Kelby is also the President of NAPP.  Heck, he may own NAPP for all I know – it’s sometimes hard for me to distinguish where one begins and the other ends.  In any event, there are dozens and dozens of video courses which can be taken on – more are added every week.  You have to purchase a subscription to access the courses either on a month to month basis at $24.99/month or a 12 month subscription for $199.00.  NAPP members get a nice little break on the subscription rates – $19.00/month or $179.00/yr.  For that price, you can access any of the training courses offered, as often as you’d like within your subscription period.   Each class is about one and a half to two hours in length, and broken up into smaller topics of no more than 10-15 minutes.  Which makes it very convenient to watch the courses all at once, or a little bit at a time, as time permits. The courses are transmitted via streaming video to your browser – it was very fast and very high quality, so long as you’ve got a good high speed internet connection.

Screen shot of an actual streaming video from

The site does have some free content, so I clicked on the try it now free link, and was reasonably impressed by what I saw.  But I was still somewhat hesitant – would my money be better spent on a DVD that I can continually refer to as opposed to a limited-time subscription?  This was a big question mark in my mind, so I decided to try for a month at $20.00 –  a worthwhile experiment.  Here’s a list of the courses I’ve taken so far from

  • Mastering Layers in Photoshop CS4
  • The Canon EOS 5D and 5D Mark II
  • Mastering Selections in Photoshop CS5
  • Mastering Smart Objects in CS5
  • Photoshop CS5 Down & Dirty Tricks
  • Plug-ins for Photoshop: featuring OnOne Software

In terms of the quality of the training, it varied a bit by the course instructor, but overall I can’t imaging a video training course being any better than what has to offer.  I found the course I took with Matt Kloskowski to be the most enjoyable and educational (I thought that Corey Barker moved too quickly and was hard to follow) – but I got something out of each of the courses I took.  Because of the limited time frame for access via the subscription, I forced myself to take notes.  And I think that made me learn even more.  I can very confidently say that, due to the training courses I took, both my expertise and my speed with Photoshop have made quantum leaps forward.  Here’s an example of simple Photoshop project that I did which came out so much better thanks to my training in the inprovements within CS5 in making selections:

Here’s another example of a more complex project that I could have never done prior to the training I received on has much more than just Photoshop training available.  I found classes on CSS Style Sheets, Dreamweaver, Illustrator…I even found some courses on WordPress which inspired me to create this blog.

If your a Photoshop professional, I highly recommend you check out the offerings at  For me, going month to month likely makes the most sense – there will be months where I’ll have the time to dedicate to taking 3 or 4 classes, but there will be other months where travel assignments which won’t leave me much time at all.  Will I miss not having the DVD to refer to later on?  In some instances, I’m sure I will.  But delivering training via streaming video must be much more profitable for Kelby, since there’s easily 10 times the material available via streaming video vs. DVD.  So in some cases, you don’t really have a choice.  And as long as the price doesn’t go up, and doesn’t go away, I can always pay my $20.00 for a refresher if I need it later.

Give it a try – you’ll like it!

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Hi. Thanks for the write up about Kelby Training as well as the kind words. Glad you’re enjoying it!

    – Matt Kloskowski

  2. Wow! My first celebrity comment!!! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment on my article Matt!!

  3. You should consider instead of the Kelby site. I subscribed to the Kelby site and have had a large number of logisitical problems. I have written customer service numerous times and not received any response on the specific issues. I have tested and have had a most positive experience in regard to its operation and to the quality content.

  4. Hi Chris – sorry to hear you’ve had tech problems with the Kelby site. I’ve tried some of the Lynda vids and to be honest, their content pales in comparison to what’s available on


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