Do you want to learn a new skill?
15 Useful Things You Can Learn on Tuts+ in June 2017
Over at ThemeKeeper Tuts+, we’ve published dozens of new tutorials and video courses this month, across a broad range of subjects: design, coding, photography, video and more. The written tutorials are free, and the courses are free with an ThemeKeeper Elements subscription, so there’s nothing to stop you from picking up a new skill.
Here are 15 cool things you can learn to do right now.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
9. Master PHP
If you want to get started as a web developer, this comprehensive course is the place to start. It takes you through the whole process of learning PHP, from setting up a development server on your computer and writing your first line of code right through to creating a working PHP application and interacting with a MySQL database.
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….
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.
12. 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.
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.
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.
15. 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.
This post has just skimmed the surface of what Tuts+ has published this month, 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 23,000 tutorials to find exactly what you need.