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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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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: May 2011

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost two years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

Smashing Wallpaper - May 2011

We continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration. This post features 30 free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for May 2011. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

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Pixel Perfection When Rotating, Pasting And Nudging In Photoshop

When creating Web and app interfaces, most designers slave over every single pixel, making sure it’s got exactly the right color, texture and position. If you’re not careful, though, some common functions like moving, rotating and pasting can undo your hard work, resulting in a blurry mess. But with some small changes to your workflow, you should be able to maintain the highest-quality artwork from the start to the end of the project.

If you’re not careful, rotating layers in Photoshop can damage them in a very noticeable, pixel-mashing way. When rotating layers with Free Transform (and some other tools) to exactly 90 or 270°, the quality of the outcome is determined by the layer’s size. If the layer is of an even width and even height, then you’ll be fine. If it’s of an odd width and odd height, you’ll also be okay. But if they’re of an odd width by even height or even width by odd height, then you’ll see something like the result below.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: April 2011

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost two years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

Smashing Wallpaper - April 2011

We continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration. This post features 35 free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for April 2011. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on 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?
Read more...

Photo Retouching Tips And Tricks In Photoshop

Two weeks ago we published the first part of Photoshop tips and tricks for photo retouching. Today, we'll be presenting the rest of the article. We hope that these techniques will be quite useful for your workflow. You may know some of them, but hopefully not all of them. We have had articles on various tools in Adobe Photoshop but this one is focused more on the techniques rather than the tools provided. Please note that all images used in this article were purchased and are used according to their licenses.

The Orton Effect

If you want to redefine the foreground and background colors, use the Eyedropper tool to select the foreground color, and then switch the position with the background color, maybe by using the shortcut X, and pick up the next color. But there is an easier way.

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InDesign Tips I Wish I’d Known When Starting Out

I love Adobe InDesign. For multi-page documents, it’s the most flexible and complete application out there. Yet I remember how counter-intuitive some things were when I was learning it for the first time. Here are some tips I wish I had known when starting out, as well as some answers to questions that others often ask me. This is not intended to be a manual; some good ones are already out there (although I personally learned by doing). Hopefully, these tips will help you make the best of your day-to-day use of InDesign.

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If you are preparing a document for print, keep your margins and bleeds in mind from the beginning. Your printer will give you the measurements for the bleed, but generally 1/8 inch or 3 mm should suffice. Approximately the same area within the document should be kept free of text and important graphic elements (such as the logo). Set up your document for bleed in InDesign as you create it by selecting the correct settings in the document set-up box.

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Useful Photoshop Tips And Tricks For Photo Retouching

When it comes to designing in Photoshop, there is a myriad of ways one could use to achieve a certain result, especially when it comes to photo retouching. Designers use technique they are most confident as well as comfortable with, which is great because it's always useful to peek into the workflow of our colleagues and learn new design approaches. We have had articles on cloning, compositing, masks and obscure Photoshop time-savers in the past. This article is different.

More realistic results with the blending mode Color Dodge

I'll be covering some of the useful techniques and tricks which I've learned from my experience. You may know some of them, but hopefully not all of them. All images used in this article were purchased and are used according to their licenses. The second part of this post will be published in 2 weeks.

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10 Useful Typography Tips For Adobe Illustrator

Typography is not only an all-important aspect of design, it is also an art form in and of itself. Choosing the right font, the perfect spacing and even the correct shape of text can be an important factor as to whether a project fails or succeeds. Although Illustrator is not really used for multiple-paged projects, many would agree that it is one of the most powerful applications for creating vector graphics, such as logos, and it is also often used for one-page documents, such as business cards, posters, or postcards.

Screenshot

Since we can easily transfer graphics from Illustrator to Photoshop and InDesign, designers often use Illustrator to create vector type that they can then incorporate into projects in another program. For instance, you can create a nice type design within Illustrator, then add some extra effects in Photoshop. Or you may need to design a text illustration within Illustrator to place within your brochure project in InDesign.

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Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures, Gradients and Rounded Rectangles

Often, it's the little details that turn a good layout into a great design; details such as subtle textures, shading and smooth shapes. Photoshop contains a vast array of tools for embellishing a design, but choosing the right one isn't always easy. Being the obsessive-compulsives that we are, we've conducted a huge range of experiments to determine the benefits and disadvantages of each technique. Here, then, is an obsessive-compulsive's guide to some frequently used tools and techniques for Web and UI design in Photoshop. [Content Care Nov/30/2016]

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Subtle noise or texture on UI elements can look great, but what’s the best way to add it? Our goal is to find the best method that maintains quality when scaled but that is also easy to implement and edit. To find out which is best, we’ll judge each method using the following criteria.

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Compositing in Photoshop: Time-Saving Tips

Compositing is a skill and process that spans the entire spectrum of creative industries. At the high end, compositing boasts its own specialized profession in film and television post production and visual effects. Dedicated software such as NUKE and Shake have taken the craft to powerful levels of its own, leaving behind the relatively basic compositing toolset of Adobe Photoshop. However, for many graphics practitioners compositing is a vital everyday process — and as with all pixel-pushing endeavors, Photoshop remains the entry point and hub to learning and ultimately mastering the fundamentals of this important skill.

Screenshot

In this article, I'll share some of my own time-saving tips for compositing in Photoshop. Tips such as these should never replace a solid understanding of your craft; however, being able to adapt a technique to make it work for you is part of being a creative professional. I encourage you to share your own creative compositing tips in the comments to this article, and think about how you have adapted existing techniques to work for you.

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Preparing Artwork for Screen Printing in Adobe Illustrator

Getting t-shirts printed is an ideal way to promote your business, organization or event. They are a promotional item that people can actually use, and they have the added bonus of being an advertisement for you. In this post, Adobe Illustrator will be used to create a three-color screen print using a fictional company logo, and have it set up to allow a screen printer to easily print the color separations that create the separate screens for each color print. [Links checked February/11/2017]

Creating a new Spot Color Swatch

Although some printers prefer to create their own separations, it’s always good to understand the process. Be sure to communicate with your printer as they will specify their requirements, and will often give you tips for avoiding potential issues in the process.

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Post-Production Trends in 3D Visualizations

Post-production might well be the most underappreciated part of creating 3D visualizations. It gives you the power to easily make some changes; put in the sky you like, add some dirt, make the colors more vibrant and even correct some little mistakes in your 3D mesh.

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Most of the traditional 3D artists tried to do as much as possible wihtin their 3D package since these packages were not focusing on post, but rather on the 3D products themselves. Rendering masks for the different color corrections one would like to do was a painstaking job of fixing the lighting and materializing — making artists choose to do most of the work in 3D (such as adding dirt and textures) and so leaving only color correction for post-work. The techniques and styles of correcting images in post-production have changed a lot over the last couple of years.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: December 2010

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use a specific wallpaper for a longer period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers for over 12 months. To make them a little more distinctive than the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you happen to be searching for a specific day of the month, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?

Screenshot

This post features 40 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe for December 2010. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

  • all images can be clicked on 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 December 2010?

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