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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.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: March 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 - march 09

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 which wallpapers have we received for March 2009?


Space Explosion Photoshop Tutorial

Digital space art is one of the most inventive and beautiful art genres of this era. This tutorial shows you how to create your own space scene using three stock photos and Adobe Photoshop. The majority of the effects use the brush tool, layer effects and the filter gallery. You may want to set aside an hour or two before starting this tutorial because it requires quite a bit of work to accomplish. So get those creative juices flowing and let's get started!


Before we begin, we need some resources to use for this tutorial. Let's also preview the image that we will have created by the end of this tutorial. You can also download the full source files.


10 Easy Steps To Advanced Photography Skills

A camera does not work like an eye; film does not work like memory. There is a fine line between a photo that is quite nice and one that is quite breathtaking. At some unknown point, a photo can cross the Rubicon and be forever a piece of beautiful art. That hinterland between a regular photo and evocative art is a shifting area from person to person and taste to taste. However, that zone can be narrowed a bit once you start to consider the way the brain stores memories and emotions.

And yes, it gets a bit touchy-feely here trying to determine if your work has crossed that line. With rigorous practice and peer feedback, you can start to appreciate where that zone is and, consequently, improve your hit ratio.

The Bombing of Dresden

The good news is that divining your way to more beautiful photos does not require rune rites of scapulimancy. There are some basic things and mantras to keep in mind as you practice and fail, then practice and succeed, then practice and fail, then practice and succeed, and rinse and repeat. We’ll detail a few of these below.


50 Free High-Quality Icon Sets

When it comes to freebie designs, beautiful icons sets are tops. Designers scour for these free treasures more than anything else. You can use icon sets in Web applications, website designs and on your desktop. If well designed, they make a great impression on others. Beautifully designed icons also prove the quality of a designer's work, so many designers make theirs freely available online, thus giving their work more exposure.


In the overview below, we present 50 beautifully designed, free and professional high-quality icons for desktop and Web design. All of them can be freely used for private projects, and some are available for commercial use as well. Regardless, always read the licenses -- they may change from time to time.

You can also scan through our other icon-related articles:


35 Beautiful Examples Of Animals Photography

Animal photography is probably one of the most dangerous types of photography. The outcome totally depends on the skills of photographer and the time when the shot is taken. A photographer who uses good exposure, color and blur settings along with appropriate shutter speed and focusing techniques can produce stunning photographs.


Below we feature 35 beautiful examples of animal photography, photos of wild, tamed and other animals. All photographs are linked and lead to the source - the respective photographers. Do not forget to explore further works of these talented photographers. Please notice that the collection presented below is supposed to only give you some inspiration, it can and should be extended; please feel free to suggest links to further resources in the comments to this posts.

You may be interested in the following related posts:


50 Wonderful, Inspiring Photoblogs

A photoblog is a very specific type of blog. Its focus is photography, and there are typically few words beyond a caption and comments. Photoblogs are easy to set up and maintain, and they make great photo galleries for photographers who are put off by the complexity of HTML coding or installing a CMS such as WordPress.

Beautiful  Photo Blog

It’s because of this simplicity, not to mention the development of free yet sophisticated tools like Pixelpost, that photoblogging has exploded in popularity over the last few years., for example, lists over 32,000 photoblogs! That’s a lot of photos, and a lot of photographers vying for your attention.

Dedicated as ever to making your life easier, we’ve handpicked over 50 brilliant photoblogs for your viewing pleasure. There’s a little of everything, including photojournalism and nature, landscape, street, portrait and travel photography. We’ve also listed some of the best photoblogging solutions, articles and other resources at the bottom of the post.


The Ultimate Collection Of Free Photoshop Patterns

Photoshop users can save themselves a great deal of time and end up with better results by taking advantage of readily available freebies, such as brushes, patterns and shapes. With the wide variety and (often) high quality of resources available, whatever you need or are looking for is in most cases already available somewhere. The only problem is that the vast quantity of freebies can make it difficult to track down what you need. Hopefully this collection of excellent Photoshop patterns will help.

Photoshop pattern

The resources featured here are all available as downloads in PAT format, which can be placed in Photoshop. In addition to this format, there is also a number of quality resources online for creating or using patterns in other formats that can be used by any program, not just Photoshop. As with any type of freebie, always be sure to check the license or requirements set by the creator.


100 Beautiful Free Textures

Use of texture in Web design is extremely common. Part of the reason textures are so useful to designers is the relative ease of the integrating one into a design if a high-quality textured image already exists, not to mention the endless possibilities. Fortunately, plenty of photographers and designers are willing to share their work with the rest of us so that we can use them in a number of different ways.

Modern Texture

In this post, we'll look at 100 different textures in a wide variety of different categories. Of course, each image is linked to the source where it can be downloaded. As with any type of freebie, be sure to read the terms and conditions or stipulations by the owner before using it in your work.

For more on textures see:


35 Examples Of Beautiful City Photography

More people across the world are living in cities than ever before. Cities are both places of historical significance and the engines of the world’s economy. They’re also home to some of the greatest treasures and buildings that mankind has created. Cities are wonderful subjects for photography. They offer a variety of subjects suitable for both straight and HDR photography, including architectural, street and night photography. The structure, angles and texture you get with architectural photography make it unique and very engaging.

Beautiful City Photo

From the energy of Cairo to the canals of Venice, Smashing Magazine celebrates the diversity of the world’s cities by presenting you 35 beautiful city photos. Be sure to check out the portfolios of the talented photographers whose work you see here. We’ve also included some useful links at the bottom of the article.

You may be interested in the following related posts:


Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: February 2009

The wallpapers calendar series will not be discontinued. Next month is the last month in our desktop wallpaper calendar series. In February, you'll have one last chance to showcase your work by designing a desktop wallpaper calendar for Smashing Magazine. But don't worry, we have a number of new contests coming up, so it will be worth staying in touch!

Wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use one wallpaper for a long time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration from it. That’s why we decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers to cover 12 months. And to make them a little more distinctive than the usual fare, we decided to embed calendars for each month. If you need to look up a date, isn’t it better to show off nice wallpaper with a nice calendar, instead of launching your default time application?

Smashing Wallpaper - february 09

This post features 70 (!) free desktop wallpapers for February 2009, created by designers across the globe. Every wallpaper can be downloaded for free and comes in two versions: one with a calendar and one without.

Please note:

  • All images are linked to a 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 feature on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

This month, we've been literally smashed by the explosion of your desktop wallpaper calendars. So look out, February 2009, we're coming!


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