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

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?

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35 Examples Of Stunning Macro Photography

Macro photography is also known as close-up photography. Compared to other types of photography, macro photography is quite difficult, because of the nifty equipment, lightning and other techniques involved. However, in the end it comes down to what kind of pictures you want to take and what level of precision you are striving for.

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In this inspirational showcase, we've collected some beautiful macro pictures, as well as some useful macro photography tutorials – for people at all levels of experience.

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

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10 Common Mistakes In Logo Design

With the power of the Web, and more eyes watching than ever, it's important for a business to communicate its unique message clearly. The easiest way to recognize a company and distinguish it from others is by its logo. Below, we go through 10 common logo design mistakes that you should avoid if you want to create a successful and professional logo.

Without color, your great design may lose its identity.

A professional business should look professional. New business owners often invest a lot of time and money in property and equipment, but do not often match it by investing suitably in their logo.

The most common reasons why many logos look amateurish: the business owner wanted to save money by designing the logo quickly themselves, a friend or relative who claims to know a little about graphic design does it as a favor or the wrong people are commissioned or the business outsourced the job via one of several design competition websites, which are mostly populated by amateur designers.

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30 Free Photoshop Swirl Brushes

Today we are glad to release 30 Swirl Brushes, a set with 30 high-quality swirl Photoshop brushes with an average size 2000px. These brushes were created with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and also work with the version CS, CS2 and CS3. This set was designed by Thomas Béal especially for Smashing Magazine and its readers.

30 Swirl Brushes

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, rented, transferred or otherwise made available for use. Please link to this article if you would like to spread the word.

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