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Smashing Conf Barcelona

You know, we use ad-blockers as well. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.

Category: Graphics

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 and video. This is also the place that hosts our regular Desktop Wallpaper Calendar series.

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Art Inspiration From Individual Artist Portfolios

In a creative field like design, we face an undeniable truth: our wells of inspiration are bound to run dry from time to time. In those periods of imaginative downtime, we seek out sources that can help us return the creative flow to our working process, and get us "back in the game." But when we need a quick recharge, where do we turn? Many of us have our favorite "go-to" places when we are victim to creative drought, though perhaps with a little help, our routinely chosen paths could change. [Content Care Dec/25/2016]

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Although they are so different in their purpose, art and design have such a close relationship; extensive discussions, over the years, have tried to figure out what separates these two imaginative fields. Today we set that discussion aside and focus on the creative outcomes that have dazzled and inspired, by leading you toward some spectacular sources to get your dose (or two) of inspiration. Hopefully we can point you in the direction of some of inspiring artwork sure to produce enough spark to light anyone’s creative fire. Sit back, and let us act as your tour guide through this artistic recharge.

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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.

Illustrator's Live Trace: Sketch To Vector

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 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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18 Credit Card, Debit Card and Payment Icons [Freebie]

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. [Content Care Dec/24/2016]

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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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How To Create Graphs In 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. [Links checked & repaired March/06/2017]

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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 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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The Beauty Of Public Signage: Photo Contest Results

In August we announced the World Of Signage Photo Contest, in which we encouraged designers, artists and photographers to go out with their cameras, shoot attractive typography and public signage and send us the results. The more obvious subjects we received were street signs, building facades, highway markers and road signs, as well as wayfinding graphics (i.e. directional signage) in public venues, subway signs, hotel and office signs and signs in shops, too.

Wayfinding and Typographic Signs - Suicide Signage

The winner of the digital SLR camera, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (EOS 1000D) is Julian Salaun for his photo "Suicide Signage", taken in the underground tube in Paris (see picture above). That's a sign you wouldn't normally notice; the unconventional perspective is attention-grabbing and makes the photo stand out with its almost ironic placement. Very unique, very original shot. Congratulations to you! (You should have been contacted by now.)

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iCandies Icon Set: 60 Free Icons For Your User Interfaces and Apps

Today we are glad to release iCandies Icon Set, a set with 60 high quality icons in 64×64px, 48×48px and 32×32px, available in .EPS, .AI and .PNG. The set is designed by the talented folks from IconEden on a sole purpose of giving your projects a sleek and geeky style or provide crisp, attractive icons for your modern and fashionable-looking interfaces. All the icons in this pack — 60 icons in total — are designed in Round Rectangle shape.

iCandies Icon Set

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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Beautiful Examples of Transparent Screen Trick Photos

Two weeks ago we published a showcase of beautiful pinhole photography, and this weekend again we've got something unusual and creative to lift up your spirits and challenge your creativity. Illusions can be eye-catching and attractive and when you apply them to computer displays, the results can be quite interesting and deceptive.

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Take transparent screen trick photos, for example. The idea is simple: you take a photo of your surroundings and set this photo as your desktop wallpaper. Once the display is positioned precisely, the transparent screen trick is achieved. Simple, but what can you do with this simple idea?

Below we present a short selection of some original transparent screen trick photos. The environments presented in these photos appear to have a completely transparent screen which creates an optical illusion. And here you go — now you have something fun to do over the weekend!

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In Defense Of Photoshop

Waves of change are currently rippling through every aspect of the Web. The iPad and other mobile devices are changing the way we access the Internet, while HTML5 and CSS3 promise to change the way we develop it. However, another storm is brewing that threatens Photoshop's throne as the application of choice for Web design. The battle suggests a fundamental shift in the design process from Photoshop to mark-up.

In Defense of Photoshop

A militia of designers have assembled to launch this coup. Their propaganda is convincing, and their proposed successor is worthy, capable and sexy. Their cause is important, but their manifesto is flawed. The argument against Photoshop focuses on the effect of the final product. Photoshop can be used to create impeccable designs, but after hours of hard work, you end up with a static mock-up that is incapable of emulating the experience one gets when the design is converted to mark-up and viewed in the browser

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The Showcase of Beautiful Pinhole Photography

Camera is a remarkable piece of innovation. However, it is the person behind the camera that makes it truly remarkable. It’s his imagination, passion, talent and knowledge of the medium. You don't need a high-end costly equipment to get beautiful results. Just your talent and a way of looking at things differently along with ability to envision the final result in your mind is more than enough for a great shot.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture — effectively a light-proof box with a small hole on one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box. You can easily construct this camera yourself using things lying around like match boxes or any kind of boxes, paper, duct tape etc. The small amount of light passing through this pin sized hole produces image on a photographic film or a image sensor.

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Free Full Layered Facebook GUI PSD Kit

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.

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