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LevelUp gamifies learning Photoshop so you can win prizes (and skills)

If you’re job hunting in this day and age, it’s essential to have some basic computer skills in your resume. This includes knowing a computer language or two, expertise at Microsoft Office, and adequate Photoshop skills. Of course, learning any new software could be difficult unless you enroll in a course — which can be expensive — so Adobe is making the process more fun by turning learning into a social game.

Available for Photoshop Creative Suite versions 5 and above, LevelUp is a free download that can be added on to your software to get started. Upon the completion of each level, you can earn points that enter you into drawings to win prizes from Adobe. This includes Creative Cloud memberships, valued at $50 a month for a one-year contract, or Amazon gift certificates. Beginner levels earn you about 20 to 30 points per mission, but as you move on up you can win as many as 850 points per level.

Whether you’re already a Photoshop pro or a total newbie, LevelUp is an interesting way to teach the software. The directions are very clear: In each stage, the navigation bar tells you exactly what shortcuts to use or what buttons to click to move on the to the next stage. You can opt to use Photoshop’s sample images, or even open one of your own to learn from the ground up. Of course, for those who are already well-versed in Photoshop, they may have their own ideas on who to whiten teeth or smooth out the wrinkles on one’s skin, but the game requires you to perform the task with the requested functions to move on to the next step. Once completed, you can also earn badges for successfully accomplishing a task.

To earn more points, you can also share your scores on Twitter and Facebook for a better chance to win some prizes. But even if luck isn’t on your side, getting some neat Photoshop skills out of the whole thing isn’t a bad deal. You can also check back on the Weekly Leaderboard for some nerdy bragging rights if you so desire. If learning is more your thing than winning points and prizes, you can certainly replay each mission and get a refresher on how to complete a mission. At the end of each level, you also get a quick quiz to familiarize yourself with the tools used to achieve each task. Now, you can have the most flawless Facebook profile photo and no one has to know how you managed to look so airbrushed.

Of course, this is only fun if you already own Photoshop. If not, either it’s time to visit a local computer lab with the program installed, or fork over $700 for the full edition, or $200 for the upgrade if you have older versions of the image editing software.