Category: Graphics

This category includes articles and tutorials on designing in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Fireworks. Free icons, textures, PSDs and other similar resources are featured here, as well as showcases of photography, video and wallpapers. Curated by Dan Rose.

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Wallpapers Freebies Tutorials Photoshop Photography

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: January 2011

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost two years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

Smashing Wallpaper - January 11

As the new year begins, we will continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration for the next 12 months. This post features 65 free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for January 2011. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper and
  • You can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

So what wallpapers have we received for January 2011?

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Compositing in Adobe Photoshop: Time-Saving Tips

Compositing is a skill and process that spans the entire spectrum of creative industries. At the high end, compositing boasts its own specialized profession in film and television post production and visual effects. Dedicated software such as NUKE and Shake have taken the craft to powerful levels of its own, leaving behind the relatively basic compositing toolset of Adobe Photoshop. However, for many graphics practitioners compositing is a vital everyday process — and as with all pixel-pushing endeavors, Photoshop remains the entry point and hub to learning and ultimately mastering the fundamentals of this important skill.

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In this article, I'll share some of my own time-saving tips for compositing in Photoshop. Tips such as these should never replace a solid understanding of your craft; however, being able to adapt a technique to make it work for you is part of being a creative professional. I encourage you to share your own creative compositing tips in the comments to this article, and think about how you have adapted existing techniques to work for you.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar 2010: Vote For Your Favorites!

The year has come to an end, and it has been a pretty eventful one. In particular, we’ve received so many more wallpapers than ever before: in total around 2000 submissions. Only a few of them made it past our final selection to be published on Smashing Magazine. We express our sincere gratitude to all of the designers who took the time to design and submit their work for the contest. We truly appreciate and respect the hard work you guys have put into your art!

Smashing Wallpapers

To encourage you, our dear readers, to submit your artwork next year as well (here are the details), we have decided to present you with some of the best desktop wallpapers from 2010. You can vote for your favorites, and we will award the top five with some useful, interesting design books. The winners will be determined by the number of “likes” they receive (you will find a button under each entry). Be warned, though: we will track any tampering and remove entries whose counters are in any case manipulated. Voting ends on Friday, the 17th of December, at 23:59 CET.

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Preparing Artwork for Screen Printing in Adobe Illustrator

Getting t-shirts printed is an ideal way to promote your business, organization or event. They are a promotional item that people can actually use, and they have the added bonus of being an advertisement for you. In this post, Adobe Illustrator will be used to create a three-color screen print using a fictional company logo, and have it set up to allow a screen printer to easily print the color separations that create the separate screens for each color print.

Creating a new Spot Color Swatch

Although some printers prefer to create their own separations, it’s always good to understand the process. Be sure to communicate with your printer as they will specify their requirements, and will often give you tips for avoiding potential issues in the process.

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Post-Production Trends in 3D Visualizations

Post-production might well be the most underappreciated part of creating 3D visualizations. It gives you the power to easily make some changes; put in the sky you like, add some dirt, make the colors more vibrant and even correct some little mistakes in your 3D mesh.

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Most of the traditional 3D artists tried to do as much as possible wihtin their 3D package since these packages were not focusing on post, but rather on the 3D products themselves. Rendering masks for the different color corrections one would like to do was a painstaking job of fixing the lighting and materializing — making artists choose to do most of the work in 3D (such as adding dirt and textures) and so leaving only color correction for post-work. The techniques and styles of correcting images in post-production have changed a lot over the last couple of years.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: December 2010

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use a specific wallpaper for a longer period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers for over 12 months. To make them a little more distinctive than the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you happen to be searching for a specific day of the month, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?

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This post features 40 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe for December 2010. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

  • all images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper;
  • you can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our desktop wallpaper calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

So what wallpapers have we received for December 2010?

Read more...

Art Inspiration For The Weekend

In a creative field like design, we face an undeniable truth: our wells of inspiration are bound to run dry from time to time. In those periods of imaginative downtime, we seek out sources that can help us return the creative flow to our working process, and get us "back in the game." But when we need a quick recharge, where do we turn? Many of us have our favorite "go-to" places when we are victim to creative drought, though perhaps with a little help, our routinely chosen paths could change.

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Although they are so different in their purpose, art and design have such a close relationship; extensive discussions, over the years, have tried to figure out what separates these two imaginative fields. Today we set that discussion aside and focus on the creative outcomes that have dazzled and inspired, by leading you toward some spectacular sources to get your dose (or two) of inspiration. Hopefully we can point you in the direction of some of inspiring artwork sure to produce enough spark to light anyone’s creative fire. Sit back, and let us act as your tour guide through this artistic recharge.

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