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Smashing Conf New York

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 New York, 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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Reviewing Adobe Illustrator’s Extensive Gradients Toolset

While vector based artwork lets designers take advantage of small file sizes and lossless scaling it can also be limiting when trying to add depth and richness to a design. Adobe Illustrator offers a plethora of gradient tools that can help artist produce more organic and vivid pieces.

Tutorial

This extended video tutorial covers a wide variety of topics including basic gradient tools (0:30), the appearance pannel and multiple gradient fill layers (2:30), creating gradients with the blending tool (3:45), gradient strokes (6:30), gradient mesh (7:45), using gradients with type (14:00), wrapping gradients with envelope distort (16:30), and using opacity masks.

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Drawing Pictures All Day

“So, you do nothing all day.” That’s how many people would respond to someone who says they spend the day with a pen or pencil in their hand. It’s often considered an empty practice, a waste of time. They’re seen as an empty mind puttering along with the busy work of scribbling.

I Draw Pictures All Day

But for us designers and artists, drawing pictures all day is integral to our process and to who we are as creative people, and despite the idea that those who doodle waste time, we still get our work done. So, then, why are those of us who draw pictures all day even tempted to think that someone who is doodling or drawing pictures in a meeting or lecture is not paying attention?

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35 Gorgeous PDF Posters: Redesign The Web

Yes, it's time to announce the winners! A couple of weeks ago we had announced the "Redesign The Web" Poster Design Contest that encouraged you to design a thought-provoking poster. We wanted to encourage everyone to actively get involved in making the Web a more accessible and usable place today.

Redesign the Web Poster

Among the entries, many have picked up the idea of the globe. We received clean and minimalistic designs, complex artworks, illustrations, inspirational quotes and call-ups, as well as a comic strip. One participant even produced a poster using only HTML5 and CSS3 (including the bleed and trim marks inside the print style sheet).

We'd like to sincerely thank all the contributors who had taken on this challenge and had sent us their work! Overall, we've received over 150 entries, and in a thorough review process, selected 35 of the best entries (which are now presented in the article below). And trust us—it was no piece of cake to choose the best from many excellent poster submissions. Of course, the owner of each poster owns all the copyrights for their artwork.

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Beautiful iPhone And iPad Retina Wallpapers

Back in 2009, Smashing Magazine presented 100 (Really) Beautiful iPhone Wallpapers. In the meantime Apple has shaken the industry with iPhones 4, 4S and 5, as well as iPad 1, 2, 3, and not to forget to mention the brand new iPad mini and iPad 4 — devices that steal the show with the best ever displays and gigantic resolutions. Having your hands on these masterpieces, how about enriching your device with a high-resolution Retina wallpaper that makes your thingamajig look even better than it already does.

Charming Frog

We proudly present you a great collection of iPhone and iPad wallpaper sources, including lots of different designs and styles, from artistic and abstract to photographic and illustrated images. The introduced sites offer a huge variety of categories, so there's something for everyone. The resolutions range from 640×960px to 2048×1536px, optimized for the different appliances. All of the images are clickable and linked to their source. You can explore further artistic treasures and more wallpapers by using the links.

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Top Non-Destructive Photoshop Techniques

The creative process is not a linear one. As artists and designers, we often set off in one direction only to decide that the proper solution lies somewhere else completely. Unfortunately, many of the creative software packages we use (Photoshop in particular) can be pretty unforgiving when in comes to making changes late in the game.

Top Non-Destructive Photoshop Techniques

Sure, we’ve got “Undo” for a quick change of heart, but often we don’t realize we need to make an adjustment until several steps (or days) later. Luckily, Photoshop has some great features built in that allow us to work in ways that protect our precious pixels—truly freeing us to do our best work.

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GuideGuide: Free Plugin For Dealing With Grids In Photoshop

This article is the fourth in our new series that introduces the latest, useful and freely available tools and techniques, developed and released by active members of the Web design community. The first article covered PrefixFree; the second introduced Foundation, a responsive framework; the third presented Sisyphus.js, a library for Gmail-like client-side drafts. Today we are happy to present Cameron McEfee's Photoshop extension GuideGuide which provides a tool to create pixel accurate columns, rows, midpoints and baselines.

GuideGuide: Free Plugin For Dealing With Grids In Photoshop

Take a moment and think about creating a multi-column grid in a Photoshop comp. Have your palms started to sweat? Yes, creating grids in Photoshop is a pain indeed. Some designers just estimate and drag guides arbitrarily onto the stage. Others draw vector shapes, duplicate them to represent columns, then stretch them to fit their design. The hardy few who don’t say things like, “I’m a designer, not a mathematician,” generally use a little math and logic to calculate their grid.

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How I Mixed Up Illustration: Combining Analog And Digital Techniques

People often ask how I arrived at a finished illustration. Honestly, it’s different every time, but it always starts with a hand-drawn sketch. Sometimes, I paint it completely by hand; sometimes I’ll scan in a pencil drawing. Many of my pieces are 100% analog that I’ll show only at shops or galleries. Use anything you can; if the illustration would work as a wood carving, go that route. There are concrete steps one can take, but they certainly don’t have to be the same every time. My goal is to take a sketch or idea as far as it can go — and also, to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with every new job. For this article, I’ll use handcrafted brushes and Photoshop as my tools.

Brush Close Up

Concepting for me always starts with pencil and paper. If there is one consistent element through all of my pieces, it’s sketching. I love to draw. If I could establish and execute everything with a single pencil drawing, I would. The best thing to do is keep some type of sketchbook or journal with you as much as possible. Milton Glaser said it best: “Drawing is visual thinking.” Drawing creates many possibilities for any idea you might have. It’s then when the character’s personality starts to emerge. Then, I’ll add some volume to the sketch to show where the textures should really come through.

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How To Export From Photoshop

Congratulations. You’ve just completed a pixel-perfect mock-up of an app, and you’ve gotten the nod from everyone on the team. All that’s left to do is save the tens, hundreds or maybe even thousands of production assets required to bring it to life.

Exporting From Photoshop

It’s probably the least interesting part of designing software, usually entailing hours of grinding. Saving images to multiple scales — as required by iOS and other platforms — adds complication to the process. But there are ways to streamline or automate the exporting process.

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Establishing Your Grid In Photoshop

Creating a grid is typically one of the very first things you do when starting a design comp. After all, it provides the basic structure on which the rest of your design will lie. In this article, we’ll provide two different methods for efficiently establishing a grid. These methods enable you to quickly and smartly form a grid so that you can spend more time designing.

Establishing Your Grid In Photoshop

We hope this article will increase your efficiency and precision in establishing a grid. In the end, the way you set up the grid will depend on your workflow. Evaluate your needs, then choose the method best suited to them. Either method requires minimal set-up but can save much time and frustration.

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