Useful Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

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As web designers, we always have something new to learn. Over the last decade our workflow has changed dramatically — it’s become more sophisticated and highly diversified. Not only do we have a much larger variety of improved tools to use; there’s also an endless stream of new techniques emerging and spreading within the web design community via social networks.

And this is where the opportunity to learn new useful, practical approaches and techniques comes in. We can learn by exploring the different design approaches other designers have taken, when solving their problems and apply these approaches to our work to become more productive and skilled. Therefore, our editorial team is permanently looking for interesting techniques, tools and tutorials, which we carefully select and present in round-ups on Smashing Magazine. You needn’t love our lists, but they often will give you some useful ideas and advice.

Below you’ll find an overview of new useful Adobe Photoshop techniques and tutorials that we’ve found and collected over the last months. We sincerely hope that at least some of the techniques presented there will help you improve your graphic design skills in Adobe Photoshop. And sincere thanks to all designers and developers whose articles are featured in this review. We respect and appreciate your contributions to the design community, folks!

Photoshop Techniques and Tutorials

Illustration

Create an Awesome Number-Based Illustration
In this tutorial, you will how to combine the power of the pen tool with some patterns and shapes to create an original and vivid illustration. You’ll also learn some tips for workflow, along with a variety of design skills that you can apply in your own design works.

Create an Awesome Number-Based Illustration

iPhone Photoshoot Video
Michael Flarup recorded 6 hours of work with 1000+ layers in Photoshop and made a video speeding up the process. The illustration was designed for a Smashing Magazine’s article How to Market Your App.

Photoshoot Wallpaper & Video

Blood and Milk Typography Poster in Photoshop
This tutorial shows you how easy with few basics steps you can create original typography poster in Photoshop. With this technique you can create interesting flyers for clubs or you can use it in advertisements.

Blood and Milk Typography Poster in Photoshop

Adobe CS5 Design Premium Box Artwork in Photoshop
In this tutorial you will learn how to create a design like the one you’ll find see on the Adobe CS 5 Design Premium Box. Actually, it’s fairly simple and you will be playing with pattern a lot. If you want to create the design of the Photoshop CS 5 box, for example, it will be pretty much the same process.

Adobe CS5 Design Premium Box Artwork in Photoshop

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop
Learn how you can apply the Halftone filter in Photoshop and the Width Tool in Illustrator CS 5 to create an image inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s style.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

How To Design a 3D Wooden Box in Photoshop
In this tutorial, you’ll learn to make a Wooden Box with a realistic touch. Along the way, you will be learning various tips such as using layer-sets for putting a group of layers together that you’d want to move/resize alt at a time. With layer-sets, the tedious work of selection of multiple layers for moving/resizing can be avoided.

How To Design a 3D Wooden Box in Photoshop

Ursus – Brief Process Examination by Justin Maller
This post is a case study or a brief process examination sent by Justin Maller, in which he explains how he created the original and abstract Ursus artwork.

Ursus - Brief Process Examination by Justin Maller

Design a Vintage Radio Icon in Photoshop
In this Photoshop Tutorial, you’ll learn how to design an old vintage radio using simple shapes, gradients, patterns and textures.

Design a Vintage Radio Icon in Photoshop

Brushing Up On Photoshop’s Brush Tool
Developing Photoshop brush skills takes time, but it is well worth the effort. This article outlines the plethora of options that Photoshop affords, so that you can efficiently create and use brushes like the Old Masters.

Brushing Up On Photoshop's Brush Tool

Create a Colorful Space Scene in Photoshop
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a colorful illustration that includes the Earth, the Moon, a starry sky and some beautiful light effects.

Create a Colorful Space Scene in Photoshop

Realistic, High Quality Printer Icon in Photoshop
In this long tutorial you will learn how to use vector masks and layer styles in Photoshop to create a slick looking ink printer reminiscent of some Canon and HP ink printers.

  Photoshop Tutorial: Realistic, High quality printer icon

500+ Photoshop Brushes for Creating Brush Strokes
This review presents Photoshop brushes that will allow you to easily create realistic paint brush stroke effects. There are 18 free brush sets included, overall more than 500 brushes.

500+ Photoshop Brushes for Creating Brush Strokes

Master Repeating Patterns in Photoshop
Ths tutorial explains how a repeating pattern can be created given that there are spaces around the original shape. In the process, you will get a grasp on creating repeating patterns in Photoshop.

Master Repeating Patterns in Photoshop

Creating a Furry Possum in Photoshop
In this detailed tutorial, you will learn some techniques used to create the possum (one of the possum brothers) from the animated cartoon-Ice Age.

Creating a Furry Possum in Photoshop

Simple Underwater Scene in Photoshop
This tutorial shows you how to create a underwater scene with bubbles and light effects.

Simple Underwater Scene in Photoshop

How to Create a Photo Realistic Camera
This article demonstrates a powerful combination of vector shapes, layer styles, and manual drawing to create a photorealistic camera. In fact, the result is so realistic that you’d think it’s just an ordinary photo.

How to Create a Photo Realistic Camera

Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene
This tutorial will show how to create a fantasy book scene. The designers will be using various advanced Photoshop techniques to make the composition as realistic as possible.

Making a Book of Magical Playground Scene

Photoshop Poster Design Tutorial
This tutorial shows you how to design a great looking poster to celebrate Adobe Photoshop’s 20th Anniversary.

Photoshop Poster Design Tutorial

Opacity + Photoshop Blend Modes = Pattern Magic
When it comes to creating patterns, the ability to duplicate a layer is one of Photoshop’s greatest features.The trick is to pay attention more to how shapes interact than to how a shape looks on its own. This article explains this and other techniques for creating patterns in Photoshop.

Opacity + Photoshop Blend Modes = Pattern Magic

Create a Photo Realistic USB Cable in Photoshop
In the right hands, Photoshop’s pen tool can be a very powerful tool for creating incredible; even photo realistic images. This tutorial demonstrates exactly that, and shows how to draw a photo realistic USB cable in Photoshop.

Create a Photo Realistic USB Cable in Photoshop

Fresh and Excellent Photoshop Tutorials For Designing Posters
With Photoshop manipulation tools, you can create and edit images for Web and print. Below you will find some tutorials on poster design from 2010.

Fresh and Excellent Photoshop Tutorials For Designing Posters (From 2010)

How to Create a Retro Sci-Fi Computer Game Poster
Combine stock photos and design resources to create an attractive retro sci-fi themed game poster that is inspired by Atari games of the 80s.

How to Create a Retro Sci-Fi Computer Game Poster

Create a Calendar Using Scripting in Photoshop
This tutorial explains how to generate a full year, custom background calendar in Photoshop using JavaScript.

Create a Calendar Using Scripting in Photoshop

5 Advanced Photoshop Techniques for Web Designers
Sometimes you need that extra Photoshop knowledge in order to achieve the look you need. In this step-by-step tutorial, Marko Prljić shows you how to create five killer effects for your site. You many want to check the second part of the article , too.

5 Advanced Photoshop Techniques for Web Designers

Typography

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshop
In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn to create retro-looking text that seems like it’s constructed using folded strips of paper.

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshop

40+ Gorgeous and Artistic Typography Tutorials Using Photoshop
An overview of professional creative step-by-step typography tutorials using Adobe Photoshop which can enrich your design skills and improve the quality of your work.

40+ Gorgeous and Artistic Typography Tutorials Using Photoshop

How to Create Inset Typography in Photoshop
In this beginning-level design tutorial, you’ll learn how to apply a beautiful and easy text treatment in Photoshop: the inset text effect.

How to Create Inset Typography in Photoshop

Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5
This tutorial will show you how to create a text effect using a photo of a rope and the Puppet Warp tool.

Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5

3D Water Text Effect with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5
In this tutorial you’ll see how to create a water text effect with Photoshop. Even though it might look complex, it’s a very simple effect. You will be using the new Repoussé tool and then some stock photos to create the effect.

3D Water Text Effect with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5

Create a Distressed Vector Typographic Poster Design
Follow this step by step walkthrough of Chris Spooner’s recent design process for the ‘Spectrum’ poster. Starting with custom made type in Illustrator, you’ll move vector graphics into Photoshop for some serious distressing with Photoshop brushes and blending modes.

Create a Distressed Vector Typographic Poster Design

Photography

How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography
A step by step tutorial on how I take a digital photo and make it Lomoified. Don’t forget to create an action script once you get this down, it will save you a lot of time.

How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography

Uncovering Toy Cameras and Polaroid Vintage Effects (With Photoshop Tutorials)
Below are a list of the most famous toy cameras and some tutorials that can be used to recreate their famous effects.

Uncovering Toy Cameras and Polaroid Vintage Effects (With Photoshop Tutorials)

50 Time Saving Photoshop Actions for Enhancing Photos
Here are 50 excellent Photoshop actions that can add professional looking enhancements to your photos with the click of a button.

50 Time Saving Photoshop Actions for Enhancing Photos

100+ Outstanding Photoshop Actions to Enhance your Photography
Have you ever seen photos in magazines or on the web and wondered how they achieved that look? This post presents over 100 Photoshop actions that will help you achieve some of these looks and save you some time in the process.

100+ Outstanding Photoshop Actions to Enhance your Photography

A Perfect Lie in Photoshop #2
In this Photoshop Tutorial Cameron Rad will present us what he has found out over this last year of Photoshop experiments with skin retouching.

A Perfect Lie in Photoshop #2

20 Beautiful Photoshop Montage Tutorials
In this round-up, you’ll look at 20 beautiful Photoshop montage tutorials that teach you step by step how to create these amazing photo composites.

20 Beautiful Photoshop Montage Tutorials

How to Make a Photoshop Montage
Anyone can cobble together a few photos and textures and create a humdrum montage. To elevate yours beyond this it takes a few simple tricks using Photoshop’s array of tools. This tutorial explains how to create a Photoshop montage in 19 steps.

How to Make a Photoshop Montage

80+ Photoshop Actions for Giving Your Pictures a Vintage Look
This post round-ups over eighty Photoshop actions that will add vintage or retro effects to your photos.

80+ Photoshop Actions for Giving Your Pictures a Vintage Look

Improving General Photoshop Skills

Create Animations in Photoshop
After Effects is the go-to Adobe application for creating both simple and complex animations. However, for those users that either don’t have the time to learn an entire new application or simply don’t own a copy of After Effects, Photoshop has incorporated very similar, albeit scaled back, functionality.

Create Animations in Photoshop

Learn How to Draw Hand-crafted Pixel Art in Photoshop
In this tutorial, an illustrator Russel Tate teaches you how to draw with pixels. You’ll learn how to create artwork in the style of eBoy and Army of Trolls.

Learn How to Draw Hand-crafted Pixel Art in Photoshop

Create a Camera Lens Icon in Photoshop (Screencast)
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a camera lens icon using Photoshop. Duration of the screencast: 30 minutes.

Create a Camera Lens Icon in Photoshop (Screencast)

Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners
This post is intended for designers or aspiring designers who either want to get started with Photoshop or have limited experience and are looking to improve. With this post you’ll find links to plenty of resources to teach you all the basics and fundmentals of Photoshop.

Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners

Photoshop 101 – Working with Slices
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use the slice tool and show you some easy methods of slicing up your designs.

Photoshop 101 - Working with Slices

Unveiling Photoshop Masks
In this article, you’ll explore the technical aspects and creative advantages of incorporating masks into your workflow.

Unveiling Photoshop Masks

12 Common Photoshop Mistakes, Misuses and Abuses
This article presents a list of 12 common mistakes, misuses and various ways new users abuse Photoshop.

12 Common Photoshop Mistakes, Misuses and Abuses

Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers
Collected here are some lesser known but extremely useful shortcuts. Many of these are not documented in the “Keyboard Shortcuts” menu, and some of them don’t even have equivalent menu options.

Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

Taking Photoshop’s Curves Beyond Highlights and Shadows
Read on for more details about what Photoshop curves are, as well as how to use them properly for your designs.

Taking Photoshop's Curves Beyond Highlights and Shadows

Getting to Know Clipping Masks and Layer Masks in Photoshop
This article outlines the differences between the layer mask and the clipping mask in Photoshop.

Getting to Know Clipping Masks and Layer Masks in Photoshop

Templates

Photoshop Android GUI Set, Great freebie.
This design pieces are brought to you thanks to our design family at Iconshock, which is a quote of faith regarding the quality of the set. The package includes fully editable Photoshop files, original fonts and previews, everything that you may need in order to customize your set according to your preferences. Please let us know your opinions and feel free to share this amazing gift with your friends, remember that you will always find the best articles and resources only here, at Webdesignshock.

Photoshop Android GUI Set, Great freebie.

60 High Quality Photoshop PSD Files For Designers
Photoshop .PSD file reveals the techniques used on a specific design, and it also tells us the style of the creator and most of the time there is something new we can learn from it. You’ll get quite an overview of interesting techniques in this collection of PSD files.

60 High Quality Photoshop PSD Files For Designers

Free PSD: Facebook Fanpage Template
A Facebook Fanpage mock-up with editable text, posting times etc. You may want to check the Free PSD Twitter Background Template, too.

Free PSD: Facebook Fanpage Template

Modern UI and Layout Tutorials for Photoshop
In this round-up you’ll find many current web design Photoshop tutorials that cover not only web page layouts, but also web app layouts, mobile UI and design elements such as buttons, search boxes, headers and footers.

 Modern UI and Layout Tutorials for Photoshop

How to Effectively Organize your Photoshop Layers
This tutorial outlines how to create organized, designer and developer friendly PSD files. This is in no way the only solution, but hopefully it will encourage better practice in the web design world.

How to Effectively Organize your Photoshop Layers

Coding, Processes and Organization

Preparing Photoshop Files for Web Developers
Designers can help their counterparts or clients before a design hand-off by taking 10 to 15 minutes to prepare files in a consistent and organized manner that can potentially save developers hours of production time. As an added bonus, an organized Photoshop file will save designers time by minimizing development questions after the file has been handed off for coding.

Preparing Photoshop Files for Web Developers

Photoshop Variables: How to Import External PSD Smartly?
From the article: “A while back, I discovered a system that enables designers to say goodbye to opening 23 PSD files just to change the header color. When a change is required, we can just change it in one place.”

Photoshop Variables: How to Import External PSD Smartly?

How to Code up a Web Design from PSD to HTML
Learn how to code up a complete mockup in HTML and CSS, ensuring the code is semantic and standards compliant. You’ll then add some finishing touches with a spot of jQuery.

How to Code up a Web Design from PSD to HTML

Setting Up Photoshop For Web, App and iPhone Development
This article addresses the issues in trying to match colors in images to colors generated by HTML, CSS or code.

Setting Up Photoshop For Web, App and iPhone Development

Clean Up Your Photoshop Swatches and Styles
From the post: “If you’re always grabbing the eye-dropper to get colors and copying/pasting layer styles, chances are you’re wasting time and getting innaccurate results to boot. So what’s a good Photoshopper to do? I’ve created two empty palettes for you. Just download them and follow the directions below.”

 Clean Up Your Photoshop Swatches and Styles

Divine
Divine creates websites from Photoshop to WordPress promptly. Basically, Divine is a plug-in that sits on top of Photoshop. Once you’ve finished designing in Photoshop, launch Divine plug-in in Photoshop, assign WordPress roles to the main elements (e.g. #footer, #header, etc.), and then the plug-in will prepare all the files you need. Once you set FTP access, the tool uploads the theme automatically to your server. The tool is free.

Convert PSD to WordPress with Divine. Convert Photoshop to WordPress theme

Open With Photoshop
Open With Photoshop is a Firefox extension that allows you to send any image via right click context menu from the browser directly to the Photoshop.

Open With Photoshop

Last Click

Why We Don’t Deliver Photoshop Files
Occasionally a potential client will ask you to give them Photoshop comps as the final deliverable, to be coded either by an internal implementation team or a technical partner. Some designers don’t do that. Here’s why.

Why We Don't Deliver Photoshop Files

If Photoshop Was Batman, Then Illustrator Would Be…
From the article: “Perhaps as a direct result of too much Batman: Arkham Asylum, I found myself asking the question: If Photoshop was Batman, what would Illustrator be? In this silly little article, I explore some of the intriguing possibilities.”

If Photoshop Was Batman, Then Illustrator Would Be...

Top 10 Photoshop Feature Requests
This post presentes some of the top 10 most requested features that he believes would make Photoshop a more powerful and time saving tool.

Top 10 Photoshop Feature Requests

Photoshop CS6 wish list
You may want to check out this Photoshop CS6 wish list, too. Do you agree with the features mentioned there?

Photoshop CS6 wish list

The Darwinian Evolution of Photoshop
What does a top notch graphic designer have in common with an amateur photographer who uploads his weekend pictures on Facebook? They both love Photoshop! This infographics presents the evolution of Photoshop in a quite unusual, original way.

The Darwinian Evolution of Photoshop

(ks)

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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    Awesome resources, as usual! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. 3

    Another post equal to the 6 thousand others on the web! Go smash magazine…..

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  4. 4

    Lovely stuff, it’s going to take me weeks to get through all of it. Thanks guys.

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  5. 5

    Lots of useful resources, have to check them out. How The King would say…Thank you very much!

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  6. 6

    Great collection. As one who writes tutorials I must say that some very interesting techniques can be found in some of the tutorials listed here!

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  7. 7

    Very Very Good Information..
    I really Appreciate your work…
    Nice useful article, it really helped me a lot ,please keep updating your site as im regular visitor of your site.

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  8. 8

    Great collection.
    Greetings from Poland!

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  9. 9

    nice stuff!

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  10. 10

    There are so many great resources all in on spot I don’t even know where to begin. I guess at the top :) Thanks so much!

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    Thanks for the insight!
    You guys always share such awesome resources. Love it!!

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    Re: the Divine tool: There is a free version, with some fairly significant limitations. And it is only for Windows OS. You should note that.

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  13. 13

    Thanks for the great list! Although I only looked quickly, I saw a lot of useful typography tuts. The Think Vitamin article (5 Advanced Photoshop Techniques for Web Designers) has a lot of useful info in it. thanks again!

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    amazing collection!

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    absolutely a great collection.

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    Fantastic collection.

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    Great efforts! Fantastic collection… Thank U so much for sharing.

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    Great collection. Keep ‘em coming.

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    For a beginner in Photoshop, this is a great list to start with. Thanks a lot, V.

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    I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time, but even until know i still enjoy learning new things about this very effective image editing package, want the new versions to be cheaper though.

    Arthur Abogadil

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  21. 21

    Excellent and Useful article.

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  22. 22

    This is great – Thanks so much for sharing!

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    I’m sorry to say this, but this list is neither new nor creative. There are gazillions of photoshop tutorial lists out there and I remember SM to publish well written, meaningful and unique articles about a certain topic. This article just scratches the surface of a few styles and does not meet the quality of an SM article in my opinion. Just my two cents.

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  24. 24

    Awesome resources.
    Thank you very much for sharing.

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  25. 25

    Wow, what an AWESOME roundup! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Keep being the best!

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    Fantastic…!!!

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    No, no, no. This should not be here. Come on! Smashing Magazine is supposed to be something different.

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    its like if you’d google “photoshop”!

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    A killer article

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    Awesomely useful.

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    This is a really good list of photoshop resources, and it covers a lot of the areas of photoshop. The furry possum tutorial in particular was really useful as it shows a lot of techniques in photoshop that i haven’t used before.
    Thanks.

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    very very useful

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    Wow, this is great, I will use these tutorials alot, they are already book marked in! many thanks.

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    A comprehensive list as always from you Smashing Mag folks. I’ve been working in Photoshop for almost 14 years but I’m always amazed how much I still don’t know. Thanks!

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    OMG! Thats is amazing

    thanks a lot, is very useful..

    Hungs From Brazil

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    Superb post! Thanks!

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    Holy cow, this is the holy grail for photoshop tutorials. Nice job!

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    WTF!!! There’s so much information here!! Thanks a lot for putting all these together!!

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    Too cool to be true

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    Very useful and interesting article ;)

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    Am just learning Photoshop and these are fabulous tips.

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    I love this post.. There are a lot of great resources.

    David Vera
    UI and UX Designer -Colombia-
    dondavidvera (dot) com

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    Thanks for putting them all in one place.

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    Great stuff as usual!
    Is it possible for you guys to compile resources for CorelDraw X3 and above? Printers where I am don’t use Photoshop and don’t even know what Illustrator is.

    Will be really grateful!
    Thanks!

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    Thanks for this! Looks great

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    Wow.. this article is bad. I appreciate your effort in collecting these articles but c’mon. We want content. Not another “photoshop killer techniques every designer needs to know”-list. At least you could point out really useful or innovative stuff (lichtenstein, vintage, etc. is not innovative).

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  48. 48

    hey vitaly and sm friends, thanks for include one of our tuts from tutorialshock and our android freebie :) it’s a great roundup and for us a real honour to be featured here :)

    keep the good work !

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    hi

    your working is really good. Thanks for sharing

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    Wow, this is a really great list, I’m going to dig into those Photoshop actions and shortcuts tonight. Thanks!

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    wow! the guys efforts are priceless… awesome! love it..:)

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  52. 52

    really usful resources and high quality and important data showing the smashing magzine’s quality

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    Retouching Services

    June 29, 2011 1:00 am

    Wow very nice collection brilliant tutorial list i like this post very much thanks a lot for this awesome post : )

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    may loc nuoc nano

    July 17, 2011 3:03 am

    awesome collection. Thanks for posting

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    I like your innovative idea. You have done a marvellous job. Thanks for sharing this great research

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    many many thanks .. it is like building a good library at home .. hope more will come

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    Awesome list as usual! I just shared this article with a few of my classmates. Keep up the great work!

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  58. 58

    mast hai bhai its awesome to read………

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    Amazing article! :D This really helped me, thanks! :) I recently made a Photoshop CS6 tutorial myself, and it would mean a lot if you could check it out in your spare time :)

    youtube.com/watch?v=RD7UKyhImkI

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    All tutorials are amazing, i am happy with this website.

    Thank you so much. :)
    #bhawin

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    creativecrunk .com

    December 3, 2013 4:07 am

    awesome resources man :-)

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