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 Photoshop Tutorials Photography

Illustrator’s Live Trace: Sketch to Vector

In this post we will take a drawn design, scan it and clean it up in Photoshop, then trace it using the Live Trace feature in Adobe Illustrator. Live Trace was introduced in Adobe Illustrator CS2 but is still a powerful tool available in Illustrator CS5. This process really gives an artist the freedom to digitally experiment with drawings of any kind.

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The vector art it produces can be used in numerous ways and is easily customized. My motivation for trying this was originally to make a "growing vine"-type animation in Adobe After Effects. I will show a link to the resulting animation at the end of this tutorial, but for now, let's get started.

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50 New Free High Quality Icons Sets

Feel free to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee right now because you'll be investing an hour or so in today's post. We've published our last icons round-up six months ago and since then we've collected over 50 new free high quality icon sets that you can use for your projects. While most freebies may be used for commercial projects as well, some of them may not. However, you could use all of them in your private projects. If the set is available for private use only, it's clearly indicated in the caption.

Cupcake icon

Please always read the disclaimers carefully before using the icons — they do change from time to time. We truly respect and appreciate the efforts and the hard work of designers of the icons featured below. Thank you for your contributions to the community, guys! Also, if you are planning to release a high quality freebie, please let us know via Twitter or by contacting us using our contact form — we would love to feature you on Smashing Magazine!

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: November 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?

Smashing Wallpaper - november 10

This post features 50 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe for November 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 November 2010?

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Free PNG Credit Card, Debit Card and Payment Icons Set (18 Icons)

Today we are glad to release a Payment Icon Set, a set with 18 payment icons in PNG format, in the resolutions 32×32px — 128×128px. This set was designed by Phil Matthews and released especially for Smashing Magazine and its readers. The icons are inteded to be used on e-commerce websites where you can show what types of payment the shop accepts. Each icon comes in curved and straight edge variations.

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You can use the set for all of your projects for free and without any restrictions. You can freely use it for both your private and commercial projects, including software, online services, templates and themes. The set may not be resold, sublicensed or rented. Please link to this article if you want to spread the word.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: October 2010

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

Smashing Wallpaper - October 2010

This post features 45 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

  • all images can be clicked 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 October 2010?

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Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

Office applications are getting very advanced these days offering all sorts of fancy features for data visualization. Graph generation is a standard feature in desktop applications like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org Calc, but it can also be achieved in non-spreadsheet applications like Adobe Illustrator.

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If you're unfamiliar with the process of creating graphs in Adobe Illustrator, this article will help in giving you some insight into the work-flow. It might also help you decide whether Illustrator is the right tool for this kind of assignment.

Adobe Illustrator offers 9 graph types to visualize data. You can choose from the following graphs: column, stacked column, bar, stacked bar, line, area, scatter, pie and radar.

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Useful Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

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.

Create an Awesome Number-Based Illustration

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!

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