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

A-Z of Free Photoshop Plugins and Filters

The Photoshop community is choc-full of many free resources, tutorials, tips and techniques, .psd files and even Actions. There is one area that it sadly lacks in, and that is free plugins and filters. Of course, Photoshop has been the pioneer in graphic editor development for a long time now, and with each new version (its current version is CS4) has added an endless supply of features and addons, and as a result, perhaps the need for free plugins or filters is no longer required. Or has it been ignored?

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Traditionally plugins are an amateur photographer's best friend, take your shots, fire up Photoshop, apply some well preset filters, and hey presto you have a reasonably professional image. Professional photographers have been known to use plugins as a base and then tweak and add effects to achieve there own personal professional touch. Plugins are basically an indispensable tool that do not recieve the attention they deserve. And that brings us back to our original mystery, why are there so few free plugins and filters? Do you know the answer? I don't.

In this A-Z of free Photoshop plugins and filters you will find a few plugins that are (almost) as old as time itself, do not fear, they will work perfectly on all versions of Photoshop and the effect they produce are just as useful now as they were then. If you are looking for a simple and easy method to add effects to an image, this is the post for you.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: August 2009

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 - august 09

This post features 50 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 August 2009?

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Stunning Space Photography

Space has many beautiful mysteries hidden inside. Many people have tried and are still trying to uncover those mysteries. In this inspirational post, we present beautiful photographs from space explorations: nebulas, comets, stars, planets, etc. Hopefully, these beauties will inspire you to create beautiful artwork, Web designs, graphics, wallpaper, illustrations, etc. All of the images are linked to their sources. Click on them to get the high-resolution versions.

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Please take a look at the following related posts:

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Clever PNG Optimization Techniques

As a web designer you might be already familiar with the PNG image format which offers a full-featured transparency. It's a lossless, robust, very good replacement of the elder GIF image format. As a Photoshop (or any other image editor) user you might think that there is not that many options for PNG optimization, especially for truecolor PNG's (PNG-24 in Photoshop), which doesn't have any. Some of you may even think that this format is "unoptimizable". Well, in this post we'll try to debunk this myth.

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This post describes some techniques that may help you optimize your PNG-images. These techniques are derived from laborious hours spent on studying how exactly the PNG encoder saves data. We'll start with some essentials about the PNG format and will then move to advanced optimization techniques.

You may want to take a look at the following related articles:

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Beautiful Examples of Vexel Artworks and Tutorials

Vexel art is a digital art that is an entirely pixel-based form of raster art that imitates the vector graphics technique, but is distinguished from normal vector graphics or raster images. "Vexel" itself is a mixture of two words ‘Vector’ and ‘Pixel’. Vexel designs are composed by using multiple layered shapes. It can be done in Photoshop, but vexel designs are not limited to only Photoshop; essentially, it can be done with any image editing software that has a good Pen Tool.

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Below are some truly amazing examples of vexel artwork and also some outstanding tutorials that will help you to master the technique or at least get some understanding of how this technique can be used. Feel free to explore further works of the artists presented below. Enjoy and be inspired.

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Clever JPEG Optimization Techniques

When people talk about image optimization, they consider only the limited parameters offered by popular image editors, like the "Quality" slider, the number of colors in the palette, dithering and so on. Also, a few utilities, such as OptiPNG and jpegtran, manage to squeeze extra bytes out of image files. All of these are pretty well-known tools that provide Web developers and designers with straightforward techniques of image optimization.

In this article, we'll show you a different approach to image optimization, based on how image data is stored in different formats. Let's start with the JPEG format and a simple technique called the eight-pixel grid.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: July 2009

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 - july 09

This post features 40 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 July 2009?

Read more...

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