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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
Mastering Photoshop for Web Design is the third book in our eBook series, and it's definitely the best eBook we've published so far. It was written from scratch by our regular writer Thomas Giannattasio, exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers. We are very proud of the result, in particular because of the high quality of tips, ideas and techniques that Thomas — who is a deep expert in Adobe Photoshop — presents in his book.
Mastering Photoshop is written for advanced and intermediate designers who want to brush up on their workflow and improve their Photoshop skills. The eBook contains 178 pages, explaining fundamental techniques that Web designers need to know to produce high-quality work in Photoshop. You won't find any generic step-by-step tutorials or learn random effects. You will gain a profound understanding of what you can do with Photoshop and how to use it effectively in your work.
An effective, well-organized workflow is an important asset of professional web designers. The more useful and time-saving your tools are, the more time you can focus on important things, thus creating a foundation for timely good-quality results. The problem is that there are just way too many tools, services and resources out there, so it has become difficult to keep track on them and find those tiny little time-savers that will spare you headaches and save time in a long run.
And this is where we come in. Back in old days, Smashing Magazine used to publish lists after lists, with plethora of links that covered different topics all somehow related to web design and development. We have undergone quite a development since then, and are now publishing almost only in-depth articles — written by some of the best professionals in the industry. However, useful, carefully prepared and filtered lists are still useful, and therefore we keep publishing them as well.
Below you'll find 50 useful tools and time-savers for web designers and developers. Among other things, you will find recently released tools, useful reference sheets, articles and further resources. Such posts are prepared over months, each containing resources found, reviewed or bookmarked by the Smashing Editorial Team. We hope that at least some of them will help you improve your workflow!
You may be interested in the following related posts:
In this post we release a free Facebook GUI PSD Kit, designed by SurgeWorks and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. The main idea behind the kit is to speed up the prototyping of Facebook application UIs and Facebook fan pages, thus sparing you from drawing all the comps and letting you customize all the texts, buttons and data as you need. As usual, the kit is free to use in all projects, without any restrictions.
The kit brings the Facebook vector icon and logo. Also, since the focus of this resource are the UI elements, it brings a main window with the header, menu and the chat window for you to set up your realistic mock-ups. Plus all the modal components, comment boxes, buttons, message boxes, tabs, etc. All the components are full layered, built using vectors and blending options, so that scaling and editing the objects will not be a problem.
Being a web designer is not easy. Not only do we need to have a good understanding about visual design, typography, information architecture, psychology and a plethora of other disciplines; in our work, we need to take care of so many details, so that our job becomes more and more time-consuming, requiring dozens of tools, attention span and an effective workflow for beautiful, timely and functional results.
And this is where small time-savers become handy. Be it a handy checklist, batch installer, dummy image generator or converter from Excel spreadsheet to HTML — all these things can save us a couple of minutes every day, making our work easier and more efficient. And this is why we keep collecting them for Smashing Magazine's readers. Whether you like lists or not: this one will probably help you find those little nuggets out there that will help you avoid headaches and stress. Below we present useful time-savers for web designers.
In this post we release a yet another freebie: BlueMasters, a free PSD template, designed by Wendell Fernandes and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. As usual, the theme is free to use in private and commerical projects.
BlueMasters is a dark, sexy, custom theme that has a solid, professional look and a very simple structure. You can access all files and layers used in a well organized structure and naming convention, making it easier for slicing the template or modifying it. BlueMasters can be customized to fit your business brand as well as your clients' websites.
CSS3 is powerful, simple and very easy to learn. Although Internet Explorer does not support most CSS3 properties yet, many designers are experimenting with the new features, gracefully degrading their designs for users with older browsers and offering rich CSS3 interactivity to users on modern browsers. CSS3 is being used (as it should be at the moment) as an additional layer to enrich the user experience by making websites cleaner, more adaptive and more responsive. It's time to start using CSS3 today.
Seeing the Web as a dynamic medium is a good thing, and it's good to create rich user experience for those who are already use modern browsers or will be soon. Whatever your perspective, it doesn't make any sense to keep looking back, afraid to look ahead, and thus avoiding experimenting with and learning about new CSS3 properties today. This is why we keep publishing articles about CSS3.
To get you really excited about CSS3, we have decided to organize a CSS3 contest to encourage designers to experiment with CSS3, and then showcase the results on Smashing Magazine.
We have been publishing articles about CSS3 for a while now, and we keep receiving angry e-mails from some developers who complain that it doesn't make sense to use CSS3 today. Yes, Internet Explorer doesn't support most CSS3 properties. And yes, CSS3 vendor prefixes are bad for maintainability (and this is why we recommend extracting vendor prefixes in a separate CSS3 file).
But it's OK to accept that Web is a dynamic medium, and it's OK to create rich, interactive, beautiful designs for those who are already using a modern browser or will be using one soon. It just doesn't make sense to keep looking back, being afraid of looking forward and therefore avoid experimenting and learning about new CSS3 properties today. And this is why we keep publishing articles about CSS3.
You may be interested in the following related articles:
Over the last years we've got a pretty good understanding of what CSS does, how it works and how we can use it for our layouts, typography and visual presentation of the content. However, there are still some attributes that are not so well-known; also, CSS3 offers us new possibilities and tools that need to be understood, learned and then applied in the right context to the right effect.
In this round-up we present fresh useful articles about less-known CSS 2.1 and CSS3 properties as well as an overview of recently published CSS techniques, tools and tips for designers and web-developers. Please stay tuned: next week we will present the second part of this article, featuring fresh CSS3 techniques, tools and resources.
In our earlier article about Web design trends for 2010 we covered the strong influence of print design techniques, keypress navigation, horizontal layouts, rich typography and aesthetically pleasing designs. Web design today is developing rapidly, breaking the limitations of conventional approaches and exploring the possibilites of upcoming technologies. Designers are not only experimenting with new techniques and design approaches, but they are improving the quality of their designs in both technical and conceptual respects.
Modern websites have great strengths, such as flexibility, cross-browser compatibility and personalization, but they are also becoming increasingly simple and intuitive. This is being done through the application of subtle usability enhancements, drawn either from the Web itself or from offline interactive systems. The Web today is increasingly complex, while usage of the Web is becoming increasingly simple.
In this article, we'll explore some new design approaches and techniques that you may want to develop for your own projects. We'll present rather unusual or unconventional design approaches and try to understand what's actually interesting about them and how we can apply them to modern Web design. More specifically, we will discuss the following: real-life metaphors that are applied to the Web, hidden complexity, subtle interactivity, context-sensitive navigation and rapid CSS3 adaptation.