FanExtra Network


Video Course: Taking Your Design Work to the Next Level

Welcome to our first ever video course!

I’m so excited to share this with you, and I want it to have a big impact upon your design work. Hundreds of you asked for this specific course in our recent surveys. I listened, and built you the best course that I could.

Do you feel that you know all the basic tools in Photoshop, but despite this your work still looks average? Do you want to achieve top level work, like the design masters you follow?

This course is here to bridge that gap, and take your design work to the next level.

My name’s Tom Ross, and I’m the instructor for this course. As founder of the FanExtra network my tutorials have been seen by millions of creatives, and I’ve had work published in top design magazines such as Advanced Photoshop. I’ve also acted as creative director at FanExtra, so regularly advise our team of talented authors how to improve their work and give you guys awesome tutorials.

All of this experience has helped me to understand what the world’s best digital artist’s are really doing. That’s exactly what I share in this course.

I tell you the specific actionable steps to elevate your design work, and highlight what you shouldn’t be doing.

By the end of this course you should have the specific steps to start producing work of a much better quality. I want you to create work that you’re truly proud of. Work that gets a ‘wow!’ reaction from your audience, and that you actually want to show off.

As part of this course, I’ve even included a real-life casestudy, where I directed one of our top authors, and helped their original composition evolve into what is one of our best ever tutorial outcomes.

Before you start this course, but sure to download the main course workbook below. This gives you a concise summary of each lesson to follow along with, as well as helpful links and resources to support the lessons.

Taking Your Design Work to the Next Level (Course Notes)

Let’s dive right in!


Lesson 1: Introduction to Course

Useful Links:

Ten By Fotolia

Expert Designer Workflow

Download our tutorial source files:

Earth’s Bleeding Heart

Devil Woman, Dark Photo Manipulation

Flaming, Textured Digital Portrait

Lesson 2: Don’t Design Blind

Lesson 3: Planning Your Image Effectively

Lesson 4: Spend Time Sourcing the Right Images

Useful Links:

Premium Stock Photo Sites:

Free Stock Photo Sites (always check image terms):

Lesson 5: Work at Higher Resolutions

Lesson 6: Adding Composition and Focus

Lesson 7: Avoid Over-Shopping Your Images

Lesson 8: Learn to Observe Real Life (+ Surprises)

Lesson 9: Consider Mixed Media Techniques

Lesson 10: Make Your Work More Original

Lesson 11: Have Patience, Grasshopper

Lesson 12: Bringing it all Together

Useful Links:

Dodge/Burn Tutorials:

Lesson 13: Reach of Hell (Real Life Casestudy)

Useful Links:

Final ‘Reach of Hell’ Tutorial

Lesson 14: Wrapping Up

It’s been my pleasure walking you through this course. You have all the tools, and now you have the direction to level up your design work. Good luck!

Please be sure to leave a comment below letting me know what you thought of the course. If you have any questions I’m here to help, and will be on hand to help you improve any specific works. Just leave a comment below.

- Tom Ross (FanExtra Founder)

Leave a comment


  1. Carol says:

    Watching the set of videos has given me a number of points to consider to improve my work. I’ve never sketched out a composition before hand, instead I’ve had a vague idea in my mind and pieced together stock images which have not necessarily been of the highest quality. For my next piece I will sketch it out. Choosing stock images has been pretty quick, which is no doubt part of the problem when the image does not fit together well. I could go on with additional points you’ve made that I’ve not considered in the past or rushed through. Needless to say you’ve made an excellent set of videos which are concise and to the point. Thank you for this!
    Also…it was fantastic to quickly receive your critique of my work. Excellent suggestions!
    One small point… make note that your audience at fanextra tends to like fantasy tutorials. While I”m going against the majority I would love to see more “life like” composites.
    keep up the good work :)

    • fanextra says:

      Thanks so much for commenting Carol, I’m really glad you enjoyed this video course. I do think spending good time sourcing images is a key area where most designers fall down. Sourcing the right images should dramatically improve your Photoshop work.

      I’m here to offer feedback on any of your work, anytime you need. As a FanExtra member you get access to me as your personal design coach on all your projects :) .

      Thanks so much for the suggestion about more life-like composites. That’s definitely something I’ll arrange with our team of authors. We’re also launching our second video course soon, so I hope you’ll be able to watch that too.

  2. Daniel says:

    I am fluent in Logo design and web design, and I have recently started to get into photo-manipulation. One thing that I have been having trouble with is my light sources. Is there a specific technique that you use to create your light source? How do you go about creating a light-source? Please let me know. Thanks for your help

    These videos have been amazingly helpful and have improved my work by a lot. Much Appreciated!
    Recent work that’s “OBVIOUSLY” Missing something.


    • fanextra says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words Daniel. I’ve emailed you, and will hopefully be coaching you one on one to improve this image and help you conquer your Photoshop demons.

      Great to have you as part of the FanExtra community :) .

  3. NathL says:

    How pleasant it is to see those videos! :)

    I often do some sketch on specific pieces and now understand better how it could be significant in every piece… I began as a digital scrapper so it teached me at the beginning to be carefull with quality as my pieces were meant to be printed. I kept that in photo manipulation and I agree: it is really important to me to work on a large piece, even if I have to reduce it to display it on the web or else.

    Loved the patience part, I thought I was especially slow :)
    I need it, even in my job, I often miss this time of pause where something is working underground in you and also the new point of vue that it gives. That’s so true! effective! :)
    also I often wonder how much time designers work on their pieces…

    My job as a cutter also teach me how important is the preparation: half the work, at least!
    Searching for photos also gives a ton of inspiration for later… that leads me to the real life as inspiration, so good to hear that simple thing :)
    be alive to make your work alive, may I say :)

    I love the creative personn you suggest us to be, beyond/bonus the technical advices :)
    thank you

    • fanextra says:

      Thanks so much Nathalie :) .

      It’s so important to plan your images properly and then spend due time creating them. Most beginners have a massive tendency to rush through the process, which hurts their results.

      I’m so happy the course has helped you, and I can’t wait to see some of your stuff within the forums.

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