The world’s best digital artists continue to push the creative boundaries of Photoshop: their tips will take your skills to the next level.

There is only one piece of creative software so famous that its name has slipped into usage as a verb. Photoshop, Adobe’s flagship product since 1990, tops the A-list for design professionals.

Whether they work in 3D, retouching, illustration or graphic design, in creative circles it’s all things to all men. Among its millions of users, there is a hardcore of high-end practitioners, whose work is groundbreaking, yet whose techniques are often mindboggling in their simplicity – and are all the more ingenious for it.

Gurus such as Bert Monroy, www.bertmonroy.com, whose astonishingly detailed photorealistic paintings rely heavily on features that have been in Photoshop since the early days.

“The tools I use more than any others are the Pen tool, and the Paintbrush, and Dodge and Burn. I use Alpha channels quite a bit, and layer effects.” says Monroy.

Other expert users also praise the possibilities of Photoshop’s most basic elements. “I love that at its core, Photoshop is very simple – a blank canvas with a set of painting and drawing tools – yet it’s versatile enough to do anything,” says Mike Campau, who runs US-based digital agency Seventhstreet, www.seventhstreetstudio.com.

“It really is the perfect program for image manipulation, photo retouching, digital illustration, graphic design, web design and anything else that your imagination will let it do. It’s the one program that I use on every project.”

Even those who use Photoshop for ultra-high-end 3D surface finessing salute its essential simplicity. Jamie Isles is senior technical director with Framestore, Europe’s largest visualeffects studio.

He loves Photoshop for being “very user-friendly and intuitive”, adding: “It was well designed originally and hasn’t changed much since – and with every iteration it adds features that become amazingly useful.”