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September 03 2013

06:30

Scratching The Surface: 40 High-Grade Textures for Print and Web Projects


  

Textures are what you need if you want a surface to look realistic. Sure, you might as well create them digitally, e.g. using Photoshop. Yet, Photoshop’s results are much too clean to fake reality in a believable manner. If you want to create a photorealistic texture with your favorite image editor, you’ll need to combine filters with filters on filters, ’til days end. Why not walk the easy path and choose one of the following textures based on photos in different resolutions?

August 27 2013

15:35

Collection Of New And Cool Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop has been one of the most important designing tools since ages. Designers are counting on Adobe Photoshop for majority of their designing work. There are many other designing tools available but the diversity of Adobe Photoshop makes it first choice. This is the reason that designers are exploring new ways and techniques to use this software in a whole new way.

For this session, we have compiled some new and cool Photoshop tutorials for you that you will surely enjoy. With the help of advanced tools, one can easily improvise and emphasize some extraordinary results. We hope that you will like this collection of new and fresh Photoshop tutorials and will also find them useful for you. Here is the complete list. Have a look!

Beautiful Water Effect

In this tutorial we will show you how to create a really cool effect with water texture and the displace filter.

Create an Advanced Stone Text Effect

In this advanced tutorial you will learn how to create a realistic stone text effect from scratch in Photoshop.

Learn How to Draw a Clean Coffee Maker Illustration

In this tutorial you wil learn how to draw a detailed coffee maker illustration.

Draw a photorealistic Playstation 4 controller in Photoshop

In this article we’re going to create a realistic and detailed Playstation 4 controller using basic shapes and the Pen Tool. As always, you can use Illustrator if you prefer, to create the outline of the shape. So, let’s start.

Design Magical Fire Energy Text Effect in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design this Magical Fire Energy Text Effect in Photoshop. This is a beginner tutorial and I will show how easy it is to create a great looking text effect in Photoshop in just a few steps. We will come across some paintings, layer blending, and image adjustments. Have a try!

Create a Coca-Cola Can Using Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to create a Coca-Cola can from scratch in Photoshop using shapes, brushes and layer styles. You are going to learn different techniques which you can apply to solve different problems in iconography, UI or web layouts.

Create a 3D Vintage Lightbulb Sign

Great-looking 3D typography often involves the use of several applications. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a vintage lightbulb sign using Adobe Illustrator to create and export the basic paths, Cinema 4D to create the 3D render, and Photoshop for post-production. Let’s get started!

Create a “Middle-Earth” Inspired Landscape in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a lush and vibrant “Middle-Earth” inspired landscape in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

Create a Cool Typography Effect in Photoshop and Illustrator

In this article we’re going to create an impressive yet very easy typographic design. There’re various techniques to achieve this effect and we’ll be presenting you the easiest one. However, alternative techniques will be described briefly in some steps.

Create a Textured Wooden Text Effect Using Photoshop’s 3D Capabilities

Today you’ll learn how to create a simple wooden text effect using some practical, 3D and texturing techniques in Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Create an Advanced Eroded Gold Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will explore how to create a realistic eroded gold effect from a custom bump map. You will learn bump map creation techniques as well as how to distort any surface effectively with that bump map. Then you will combine Layer Style with it to create a 3d look. Then we will add a custom lens flare, glow, streaks and other details to achieve the final look.

Create a Richly Detailed Viking Themed Photo Manipulation

This design lesson is one of our most comprehensive tutorials ever.

Create an Iron Man-like text effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial we’re going to create a nice and simple text effect that looks like the one used in the Iron Man movies.

Create a Snowy Night Landscape Matte Painting

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a snowy night landscape photo manipulation featuring a northern lights sky. You’ll learn how to combine many stocks together and blend them seamlessly, work with layer groups and Smart Objects, create stunning lighting effects and more.

Create a World War II Era Dogfighter

In design, great concepts can often be created by playing with words. In this tutorial, our friends at INK will show you how to create a furry World War II era aircraft, that we are calling a “dogfighter” using a handful of photos and a 3D model. Let’s get started!

Simple Styled Text with Stars Effect

This Photoshop tutorial will show a simple way to create a nice text effect using Layer Styles, then modify some brush settings to add stars to the background.

How to Create a Nice Piano App UI in Photoshop

In this article we’ll show you how to create a nice and clean piano app UI.

Create a Mailbox Icon Using Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a simple mailbox icon in Photoshop. This tutorial is aimed or beginners. We are going to use simple tools like the pen tool and layer styles so it’s important to have a basic grasp of Photoshop’s key features.

How to Create a Pale Golden Switch Button

In the following tutorial your will learn how to create a simple switch button in Adobe Photoshop.

Paint an Arm Using Anatomy Basics

Today we have an expert lesson for you in digital painting. It’s very important for an artist to be familiar with human anatomy. Even if you’re not a regular digital painter, digital painting and drawing techniques can come in handy for tweaking photo manipulation work, adding depth to illustrations and understanding light and shadow.

Draw an Electric Guitar in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will draw an electric guitar in Photoshop. We will start by tracing its shape in Adobe Illustrator and then export those paths to Photoshop to add the final touches. Let’s get started!

Create a Desert Oasis in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will show you how to combine photo manipulation and digital painting techniques to create a desert oasis in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

Create an Outline Sketch Text Effect

This tutorial will demonstrate an easy way to create an outline-sketch Photoshop text effect using simple layer styles, a brush, and a blur filter.

Create an Abstract Text Effect in Photoshop

In this article we’re going to create an interesting and abstract text effect using layer styles, the fantastic Lens and Optical Flare Collection by daWIIZ and some tricks in the post-production phase. So, let’s start.

Create a Simple Envelope Illustration in Adobe Photoshop

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a simple envelope illustration in Adobe Photoshop.

10 Ways to Modify a Selection in Photoshop

Making selections is an essential skill for any Photoshop user. In this tutorial, we are going to show you 10 ways to modify a selection in Photoshop. By watching this video, you will be able to understand the connection between all the selection features Photoshop offers including; Feather, Contract, Expand, Border, Smooth, Refine Edge, Quick Mask, Color Range, Transform Selection and many more. Let’s get started!

Create an Epic Storm at Sea Scene in Photoshop

In today’s lesson you’ll learn how to photo manipulate an epic storm at sea scene using Photoshop.

How to Create Realistic Water Reflection Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will create a realistic water reflection effect. You should be able to replicate this effect on other pictures using the techniques presented here.
This Photoshop tutorial uses some fairly advanced techniques but the detailed explanations at each step should make it easy for beginners to catch on.

Create a Hand-drawn Pricing Table in Photoshop and Illustrator

In this quick tip we’re going to create a pricing table that you can add to your website and is pretty easy to code. We’ll be using both Photoshop and Illustrator to achieve the hand-drawn effect and it won’t take you more than 30 minutes.

Create a Futuristic Matte Painting Landscape

Today’s design lesson will teach you how to create a futuristic matte painting landscape. You’ll be working with a range of photo manipulation techniques including image extraction, image blending, adjustment layer usage, creating light effects, digital painting, advanced masking, color correction and many more.

Create the New Nintendo Wii U Controller in Photoshop

In this article we’re going to create the Nintendo’s Wii U controller. It may look a bit complicated, but it’s definitely not.

Design an Awesome Electrified Metal Scrap Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design an Electrified Text Effect in Photoshop. The focus of this tutorial is show you how you can combine serveral elements seamlessly using selection and layer blending modes, in order to create an eye-catching text effect. This is an intermedia level tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

Design a Super Creative Box Packaging Template

This tutorial uses the example of a real-life project for a popular DJ’s promotional packaging. You’ll learn how to layer up multiple textures and surfaces in a non-destructive way. You’ll also apply complex masks, patterns and create custom lighting.

Create a Photorealistic 3D Key in Photoshop

In this tutorial we’re going to create a photo-realistic key using the powerful capabilities of Photoshop’s 3D feature. If you have no previous experience with the 3D feature, I strongly recommend that you experiment on your own before continuing to the tutorial.

How To Blend Textures With Photos In Photoshop

In this tutorial we will learn how to blend textures to our photos and tweak the results in order to achieve different effects.

Create a Cool Photorealistic Christmas Text Decor Effect

In this tutorial we’ll create a nice photo-realistic text effect in Photoshop.

How to Make a Split-Flap Text Display in Photoshop

I’m sure that you’ll find this tutorial interesting and useful. In this tutorial, we will use Photoshop to create a split-flap display.

How To Give Your Photos a Gloomy Split Toning Effect

In this tutorial we’ll look at using Photoshop to replicate this classic technique in digital form, using Color Balance adjustments to achieve the same range of blue and yellow tones.

Create a Simple Price Table in Adobe Photoshop

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a simple price table using Photoshop.

August 15 2013

13:00

Fluid Mask 3: Luxurious Image Masking Tool Given Away


  

Masking images is a tedious task. Who would have thought that this bride decides to want a green background when we just shot a series of photos in front of a blue background? Who would have thought the photographer would leave so early? Now it’s your turn, again. Does this remind you of the smoke scenery from last year, where you were also asked to exchange the background? What do these people think? Photo manipulation is as easy as one-two-three? Well, they may have been wrong to think so in the past. But today, we’ve got Fluid Mask. And with Fluid Mask, it actually is as easy as one-two-three. You need not tell them, though. Let’s keep it a secret…

August 01 2013

06:30

Best of July 2013: 30+ Brand-New HTML/PSD Themes & UI Elements


  

This is the second compilation in our monthly series of brand-new HTML/PSD themes and UI elements. All the works exposed here are fresh resources from the month of July 2013. You will find another big set of ready to use themes, templates and elements for the web as well as completely editable files for your favorite image or vector editor. We got something for everybody…

July 25 2013

13:25

Introduction To Photoshop Scripting


  

Automation is useful in the work of every designer. It saves precious time on repetitive tasks and helps us solve certain problems more quickly and easily.

You can automate your workflow in Photoshop with actions, which are pretty popular and which most of you already know about and use. Today, we’ll introduce you to an advanced automation technique: scripting. All you need for this is basic knowledge of JavaScript, which some of us Web designers already have.

I’ve known about Photoshop scripts for years but decided to really dive in a few months ago. I had avoided it because I thought it was the domain of smart math-minded programmers. I was wrong, and today I’ll show that, although it requires some basic programming skills, scripting isn’t hard to grasp.

But first, we have to answer the obvious question.

Why Do We Need Scripts?

Why should we would learn to script if Photoshop already has pretty nice actions? The answer is interactivity. When you use an action, you can’t really control how it behaves in different situations; it is like a videotape that just keeps playing again and again without any change.

Why We Need Scripts?

A script is more dynamic; its behavior changes according to the parameters you input or the context of its application. Sounds useful, no?

Requirements

You don’t have to be an advanced programmer to be able to write scripts; I’m just a graphic designer, like most of you. But you should at least have a basic understanding of JavaScript and some experience with properties and methods to get the most out of this article.

Requirements

If you are not familiar with JavaScript at all, fear not! There are plenty of places to learn the basics of programming. Codecademy, for example, has pretty neat interactive lessons.

I work in Adobe Photoshop CS5, but everything we’ll cover applies to newer versions, too; Adobe hasn’t made any major updates to its scripting API since CS5. I will refer to the latest version of the scripting documentation, though, which is CS6.

Getting Started

When you record actions in Photoshop, you set the order of the steps to achieve a certain result — that’s your algorithm. Then, you press “Record” and replicate them in Photoshop one by one. Scripting is similar, but instead of doing these steps in Photoshop, you write them down as lines of code. Most actions that you do in Photoshop have their own script equivalent as a function.

Start here

Let’s say you are creating an action that scales a document to 150% of its original size. You’d go through these steps:

  1. Open Image → Image Size.
  2. Enter 150% in width and height.
  3. Hit “OK.”

The same process with a script would look like this:

  1. Call the application: app
  2. Target a document: activeDocument
  3. Call the function to resize the image: resizeImage(width, height)

And the code would look like this:

app.activeDocument.resizeImage("150%", "150%");

Language

There are three ways to write scripts for Photoshop: using AppleScript on Mac, VBScript on Windows or JavaScript on either platform. I use the third because it is cross-platform and I already have some experience with it.

Tools

Adobe has its own utility for writing scripts, called ExtendedScript Toolkit.

Adobe ExtendedScript Toolkit
The main window for Adobe’s ExtendedScript Toolkit. (View large version.)

The toolkit comes with Photoshop, and you can find it in the following folder:

  • Mac OS X
    /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Utilities CS6/ExtendScript Toolkit CS6/
  • Windows
    C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Utilities - CS6ExtendScript Toolkit CS6
    (or Program Files (x86) for 64-bit machines)

The user interface of the ExtendedScript Toolkit is pretty straightforward. To start writing scripts, first select the target application in the drop-down menu. If Photoshop is running, then look for the green chain icon near the drop-down menu:

Application Select

Now you can write something like this:

alert("Hello Photoshop!");

Press cmd + R (or just hit the “Play” button in the toolbar) to run your script. ExtendedScript Toolkit should switch to Photoshop and show an alert box:

Hello Photoshop!

ExtendedScript Toolkit has some other neat features for debugging scripts, but this is enough for this article. You can learn more about how to use it by going to Help → JavaScript Tools Guide.

You can use any plain-text editor to write a script; just save it as a .jsx file. To run it, you’ll have to go to File → Scripts → Browse in Photoshop and select it. Alternatively, just open the script file with Photoshop. You can also add a line of code at the top of the script so that the file always opens in Photoshop:

#target photoshop

Save your scripts in the Photoshop/Presets/Scripts/ directory, and access them with File → Scripts. You can also set up a hotkey; just go to Edit → Keyboard Shortcuts, navigate to File → Scripts → [your script’s name], and set the shortcut you want.

ExtendedScript Toolkit can run and debug code from the integrated development environment, and it has an object model viewer built in, which is useful. So, I recommend using the toolkit to write your scripts. Unfortunately, the Mac version crashes sometimes, so keep that in mind.

Photoshop Object Model

To make writing scripts easier, you should understand how things relate to each other in Photoshop’s Document Object Model (DOM). Understanding it is not so hard if you look at Photoshop itself. The main object in Photoshop’s DOM is the application. In the application, we have a collection of documents that are currently open in Photoshop.

Each document contains elements — such as layers (called ArtLayers), groups of layers (LayerSets), channels, history states and so on — just like in a regular PSD document.

A simplified visualization of Photoshop’s DOM is below. A more detailed containment hierarchy can be found on page 12 of “Adobe Photoshop CS6 Scripting Guide” (PDF).

Simplified visualization of Photoshop API
A simplified visualization of Photoshop’s DOM.

Each of these objects has its own properties and methods that you can work with. For example, to change the opacity of the selected layer in a document, you would go to Application → Document → Layer → Opacity and set the desired value. The code would look like this:

app.activeDocument.activeLayer.opacity = 50;

As you may have guessed, activeDocument and activeLayer determine the currently selected document and layer.

You can find descriptions of most objects and their properties and methods in “Adobe Photoshop CS6 JavaScript Scripting Reference” (PDF), or in ExtendedScript Toolkit by going to Help → Object Model Viewer.

Let’s see how this works in a real-world example. In this next section, we’ll write our own script based on an action.

Remastering The RotateMe Action As A Script

A few years ago at Christmas time, I had an idea for an action to help me draw snowflakes.

Drawing Snowflake 101

  1. Draw one stem of the snowflake with a pattern.

    Step One

  2. Duplicate the stem, and rotate it a few degrees.

    Step Two

  3. Repeat the second step until you have a full circle.

    Step Three

Duplicating and rotating each stem manually is tedious, so I came up with an action to automate it. The algorithm looks like this:

  1. Duplicate the stem.
  2. Rotate it by however many degrees you’ve chosen, using the Transform tool.
  3. Duplicate the layer.
  4. Use the “Repeat Transform” function.
  5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have a full circle.

Pretty neat. But the action had a disadvantage: You can set only a certain number of stems for the snowflake, according to the number of degrees you set in third step of the algorithm.

Back when I wasn’t familiar with scripting, I just made a few versions of the action, each of which produced a snowflake with a different number of stems.

Today, we will remaster this action as a dynamic script that takes your input on the number of stems. Let’s get started!

Algorithm

When you start writing a script, defining the algorithm first before digging into the code itself is always a good idea. In our case, the algorithm will work like this:

  1. Ask the user to enter the number of stems.
  2. Calculate the rotation angle.
  3. Duplicate and rotate the layer by the number set in the first step.

Let’s start with saving the current or selected layer to a variable for further use:

// Save selected layer to variable:
var originalStem = app.activeDocument.activeLayer;

Note that in JavaScript, you can mark a line with double slashes (//) to make it a comment. Comments are used to describe parts of code for future reference and don’t affect the behavior of the script.

Let’s move on to our algorithm now.

1. Ask User for Input

We can take input from the user with the prompt(message, default value[, title]) function. This function shows a dialog box with the message and an input field that contains the default value. When the user hits “OK,” the function returns the inputted value; so, we have to save it to the variable to be able to be used.

// Ask user for input by showing prompt box and save inputted value to variable:
var stemsAmount = prompt("Processing ""+originalStem.name+""
How many stems do you need?", 12);

Note that I used originalStem.name in the message, so the dialog box will show the name of selected layer.

On Mac OS X, the first line of the message is in bold and functions as the title. So, our main message should be on the second line. To make a new line, type .

In Windows, you can specify a third argument in the function to set the title:

// Ask user for input by showing prompt box and save inputted value to variable:
var stemsAmount = prompt("How many stems do you need?", 12, "Processing "+originalStem.name);

If we run the code in Photoshop, it will show this dialog box:

Prompt dialog

When the user hits “OK,” the inputted value will be saved to the stemsAmount variable. If the user clicks “Cancel,” then the function will return a null value. We’ll use this later.

2. Calculate the Rotation Angle

To calculate the rotation angle, we have to divide 360 degrees (a full circle) by the number of stems:

// Calculate the rotation angle
var angle = 360 / stemsAmount;

3. Duplicate and Rotate

Now we have everything we need to make duplicates of our stem. To do this, we’ll use the for loop. It lets us repeatedly run lines of code as many times as we’d like. Our loop will look like this:

for(var i = 1; i < stemsAmount; i++){
	// This code will run "stemAmount - 1" of times
};

Note that the first instance of an object in programming has the value of 0, but because our first layer is already on the canvas, we’re starting the loop from 1 instead.

To duplicate and rotate our layer, we will use the duplicate() and rotate(angle, AnchorPosition) methods: the number of layers to be rotated in angle multiplied by the indexed number of duplicates. AnchorPosition determines the point around which the layer will rotate. You can see this point when you use the Transform tool in Photoshop — it looks like a small circle with a crosshair. In scripting, it has only 9 specified values — i.e. the 9 positions of the anchor point:

AnchorPosition visualization

In our case, it is the bottom center of the layer, BOTTOMCENTER. Photoshop uses a lot of other constants here and there in some of the functions, which you can find on page 197 of “Adobe Photoshop CS6 JavaScript Reference” (PDF).

So, our loop will look like this:

// Duplicate and rotate layers:
for(var i = 1; i < stemsAmount; i++){
	// Duplicate original layer and save it to the variable 
	var newStem = originalStem.duplicate();

	// Rotate new layer
	newStem.rotate(angle * i, AnchorPosition.BOTTOMCENTER);
};

And the completed code will look like the following. You can try to run it.

// Save selected layer to variable:
var originalStem = app.activeDocument.activeLayer;

// Ask user for input by showing prompt box and save inputted value to variable:
var stemsAmount = prompt("Processing ""+originalStem.name+""
How many stems do you need?", 12);

// Calculate the rotation angle:
var angle = 360 / stemsAmount;

// Duplicate and rotate layers:
for(var i = 1; i < stemsAmount; i++){
	// Duplicate original layer and save it to the variable
	var newStem = originalStem.duplicate();

	// Rotate new layer
	newStem.rotate(angle * i, AnchorPosition.BOTTOMCENTER); 
};

Final Touches

I’ll usually try to achieve the main goal with a script, and when everything works correctly, I’ll start to refine the code. In our case, we have to make sure that the user inputs a valid number in the prompt box — i.e. a positive integer, greater than one.

Also, to prevent Photoshop from going crazy, we will restrict the number of stems — let’s say, to 100. To do this, we will use a while loop to show the user an error message in the event of an invalid submission, and the prompt box will continue to be shown until the user enters a valid value or hits the “Cancel” button (remember that the prompt returns null if the user hits “Cancel”).

The new code looks like this:

// Save selected layer to variable:
var originalStem = app.activeDocument.activeLayer;

// Ask user for input by showing prompt box and save inputted value to variable:
var stemsAmount = prompt ("Processing ""+originalStem.name+""
How many stems do you need? (From 2 to 100)", 12);

// Check that user entered a valid number and, if invalid, show error message and ask for input again
while(isNaN(stemsAmount) || stemsAmount <= 0 || stemsAmount > 100){
	// If user clicks "Cancel" button, then exit loop
	if(stemsAmount == null) break;

	// Show error message…
	alert("Please enter number in range from 2 to 100");
	// …and ask for input again
	stemsAmount = prompt("Processing ""+originalStem.name+""
How many stems do you need? (From 2 to 100)", 12);
};

// Run the copying process
if(stemsAmount != null){ 
	// Calculate the rotation angle
	var angle = 360 / parseInt(stemsAmount);

	// Duplicate and rotate layers:
	for(var i = 1; i < stemsAmount; i++){
		// Duplicate original layer and save it to the variable
		var newStem = originalStem.duplicate();

		// Rotate new layer
		newStem.rotate(angle * i, AnchorPosition.BOTTOMCENTER);
	};
};

As you may have noticed, we’re using the isNaN(value) function, which returns true if value is “not a number” and parseInt(value) to convert the value to an integer when we calculate the rotation angle.

The next thing we will do is manage the layers, renaming our new layers by adding an index to them. Also to make sure that we do not mess up document’s layers, let’s place our stems in a group.

Renaming the layers is not a hard task. We will just use the name property of the layer and add an index number to it:

// Add index to new layers
newStem.name = originalStem.name + " " + (i+1);

A group in Photoshop’s API is called a LayerSet and we can access all groups of the document by calling the layerSets property. To add a new group to a document, we have to call the layerSets’ method add():

// Create a group for stems
var stemsGroup = app.activeDocument.layerSets.add();
	stemsGroup.name = originalStem.name + " ("+stemsAmount+" stems)";

Then, to add a layer to the group, we will use the move(relativeObject, ElementPlacement) function. Note that the move() function moves a layer in the layer stack, not on the canvas. (You can move a layer on the canvas with the translate(deltaX[, deltaY]) function.)

ElementPlacement is another constant, this one determining how we will place our layer relative to… well, relativeObject. In our case, we will use ElementPlacement.INSIDE to place the original layer inside a group:

// Place original layer in group
originalStem.move(stemsGroup, ElementPlacement.INSIDE);

We will place each new copy of the layer at the bottom of all layers in the group using ElementPlacement.PLACEATEND. The result is all of our layers arranged in ascending order, the first layer at the top and the last at the bottom:

// Place new layer inside stems group
newStem.move(stemsGroup, ElementPlacement.PLACEATEND);

You can read more about the ElementPlacement constant on page 202 of “Adobe Photoshop CS6 JavaScript Reference” (PDF).

Final Code

That’s it! RotateMe.jsx is done. Our final code looks like this:

// Save selected layer to variable:
var originalStem = app.activeDocument.activeLayer;

// Ask user for input by showing prompt box and save inputted value to variable: var stemsAmount = prompt ("Processing ""+originalStem.name+"" How many stems do you need? (From 2 to 100)", 12); // Check that user entered a valid number and, if invalid, show error message and ask for input again while(isNaN(stemsAmount) || stemsAmount <= 0 || stemsAmount > 100){ // If user clicks "Cancel" button, then exit loop if(stemsAmount == null) break; // Show error message… alert("Please enter number in range from 2 to 100"); // …and ask for input again stemsAmount = prompt("Processing ""+originalStem.name+"" How many stems do you need? (From 2 to 100)", 12); }; // Run the copying process if(stemsAmount != null){ // Calculate the rotation angle var angle = 360 / parseInt(stemsAmount); // Create a group for stems var stemsGroup = app.activeDocument.layerSets.add(); stemsGroup.name = originalStem.name + " ("+stemsAmount+" stems)"; // Place original layer in group originalStem.move(stemsGroup, ElementPlacement.INSIDE); // Duplicate and rotate layers: for(var i = 1; i < stemsAmount; i++){ // Duplicate original layer and save it to the variable var newStem = originalStem.duplicate(); // Rotate new layer newStem.rotate(angle * i, AnchorPosition.BOTTOMCENTER); // Add index to new layers newStem.name = originalStem.name + " " + (i+1); // Place new layer inside stems group newStem.move(stemsGroup, ElementPlacement.PLACEATEND); }; // Add index to the original layer originalStem.name += " 1"; };

That wasn’t too hard, was it?

Finish

Now you can put it in the Photoshop/Presets/Scripts/ folder and run it by going to File → Scripts in Photoshop. Using different shapes with different values can yield interesting results:

Conclusion

As you can see from the number of links in the resources section below, there’s much more to say about scripting than can fit in an introductory article. But I hope the little that we’ve described today piques your interest and shows how powerful and helpful scripting is.

Community Power!

If you decide to dive into it, let’s learn together and share our experience. Ask your questions and share what you’ve done in the comments. If you are not a coder, consider leaving an idea for a script; maybe another reader will make it happen.

Let’s make Photoshop more useful together!

Resources

I’m still learning about Photoshop scripts, too, and here are some resources that are helping me along the way:

  • Adobe Photoshop Scripting,” Adobe Developer Connection
    All of the documentation and utilities for scripting.
  • Adobe Introduction to Scripting” (PDF), Adobe
    Here are the basics on scripting for Adobe applications. The nice thing about scripting for Photoshop is that you can apply your knowledge to other Adobe products; you just need to learn the application’s DOM, and you’ll be ready to go.
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6 Scripting Guide” (PDF), Adobe
    In this introductory guide to scripting for Photoshop, you’ll find the basics on getting started with scripting.
  • Photoshop CS6 JavaScript Reference” (PDF), Adobe
    This describes all of the objects and their functions and methods that you can use in scripting for Photoshop. This is one of the documents I use most when writing scripts.
  • JavaScript,” Mozilla Developer Network
    Here are answers to all kinds of questions about general JavaScript functions and usage.
  • JavaScript Tools Guide” (PDF), Adobe
    This has basic information about ExtendedScript Toolkit and some advanced techniques, such as file system access and ScriptUI and working with XML, sockets and more.
  • PS-Scripts
    An independent forum about scripting for Photoshop. I haven’t signed up to participate in discussions, but it has plenty of answered questions and solved problems to discover.
  • Photoshop Scripting, Adobe Community
    Adobe’s official forum for Photoshop scripting has some good discussion on problems encountered by users.

(al) (ea)


© darkwark for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

July 24 2013

16:00

30+ Photo Manipulations That Make Your Jaw Fall Slack


  

People with a passion for photography most likely have a passion for photo manipulation also. Professionals say: “You don’t just take a photo, you make it!” It is adventurous, experimental even, playing around with your photos and pushing the boundaries of the possible. Oftentimes these attempts fail miserably, there is a whole plethora of platforms with this kind of material – especially showing off bad filter effects… The following set of images is different. Some are plain beautiful, some really astounded me. See for yourself…

July 11 2013

06:30

Summer 2013: The best HTML/PSD Themes & UI Elements of the Season


  


  

If you develop websites and your environment is not WordPress, you still don’t need to live your online life in visual darkness or hide beneath the sheets. We curated a list of awesome templates layered in HTML and CSS to make your work easier, and with a lot of different grooves to find the appropriate one for your web. Or, if you are you more confortable developing your own theme based on some pre-built elements, here is the inspiration you need to create an awesome theme or application. Starting with the PSDs  and UIs shown below, you can create your own awesome design. Take a look!

July 10 2013

10:00

Homepage Construction Kit: 40 Ready-made Elements for Web Design with Photoshop (+ how to create your own)


  


  

It is quite common to prototype web designs in Adobe Photoshop. Although the final product will consist of large amounts of CSS driven looks, it usually turns out to be faster to use an image-editor for the first drafts. Photoshop still is designer’s first choice in many cases. Using very few basic shapes and forms you are able to creative high-grade user logins, buttons, sliders, video-players or even whole web sites.

July 09 2013

12:11

Retinize It: Free Photoshop Action For Slicing Graphics For HD Screens


  

High-definition (or “Retina”) displays have spread wider and wider, and evidently their numbers will keep growing. So, as creators of products that will be consumed on Retina devices, we have to optimize our design and development workflow accordingly.

Slicing graphics from finished designs to use for development is one of the less enjoyable parts of building a website or app. And it takes a long time. Because slicing is a monotonous and straightforward task, using the right tool and workflow can save you hours or even days of work.

retinize-it-action

Preparing graphics for development mostly entails saving user-interface elements from the final mockups, with transparent backgrounds. And to support Retina displays, we also need to create double-sized versions of elements.

Upon failing to find a tool that fits my design team’s workflow, I created a set of two time-saving Photoshop actions for slicing graphics for Retina and standard displays. The great feedback from my team inspired me to share it with other designers. The tool has gotten good buzz in the Web design and front-end development community, so today I’m happy to introduce Retinize It on Smashing Magazine.

Retinize It website
Retinize It uses Photoshop actions and retina.js to optimize for Retina displays.

How It Works

Select one layer, several layers or a group of layers, and run the action. Once you’ve activated it, you just need to name the files and set the directory to save them to.

Retinize It

In the background, Retinize It copies the selected layers to a new file, makes the background transparent and trims the space around the element. Once that’s done, the action asks what you want to name the file, saves it, scales the original element by 200%, and saves that as a separate file. After this process, you’ll be returned to the original file.

How Much Of The Slicing Process The Action Saves

Almost all of it. The only thing you have to do is choose the directory and name the files. Remember to add a high-resolution modifier, @2x, for the Retina versions of the files. This convention was established in Apple’s iOS Developer Library.

If you’re building an iOS application, then you’ll need to provide a background and splash screen in three resolutions: standard (320 × 480 pixels), Retina (640 × 960 pixels) and iPhone 5 (1136 × 640 pixels). The naming convention for the standard and Retina versions is straightforward. For images for the iPhone 5’s screen resolution, Apple recommends adding a -568h@2x suffix, although Apple doesn’t require it.

Apparently, this happens because Xcode does not automatically associate -568h@2x images with the iPhone 5’s resolution; developers may set the suffix manually for this kind of file. I’ve worked with an iOS developer who has asked Apple to add a @5x suffix. So, the best way to determine the naming convention for iPhone 5 images in future is to ask your developer. In other cases, use the -568h@2x suffix.

The techniques presented in the article “Towards A Retina Web” bring the @2x convention from mobile apps to the Web, helping us to optimize websites for Retina displays very quickly.

Why Scale by 200% and Not 50%?

Retinize It is good for those who start designing at non-Retina sizes, which is a better practice for two reasons. First, the non-Retina version of an image will look much closer to the final product, giving you more accurate feedback on how the design will actually look.

Secondly, an element with an odd size value that is scaled by 50% will end up with a x.5 pixel value, making the element blurry. Bjango explains this issue in his article “Designing for Retina Display,” as does Niklaus Gerber in his article “Designing for the iPhone 4.”

What Kind of Layers Will This Work With?

The non-Retina action in this pack will work with any kind of layer. If you’re using the Retina version, then you should work with shapes and smart objects, so that the 200%-scaled file will not look pixelated.

Also, if your layer has an inner or drop shadow, then uncheck “Use Global Light”; otherwise, those effects in the sliced version of the layer will inherit Photoshop’s default angle.

What Does The Set Include?

The set includes two Photoshop actions:

  • Slice It
    This action slices a 100%-sized version of an element.
  • Retinize It
    This action saves a 100%-sized version and a 200%-scaled version.

What Makes It Special?

  • It’s free to use.
  • Install in one click.
  • You don’t need to change the layer structure in PSD files.
  • You don’t need to name layers.
  • It’s optimized for Retina displays.
  • Run in one click, no setup needed.
  • Windows and Mac support.

Download And Documentation

Additional Tools

PNG EXPRESS (MAC & Windows, $29)

png-express
A specification created by PNG Express

If you will be having limited interaction with the developer who will be coding your design and you’re not sure it will be pixel-perfect, PNG Express can be a great time-saver. It helps you to create specifications with instructions on element positions, margins, fonts and font sizes.

PNG Express also has an option for slicing images including Retina support.

ImageOptim (Mac Only, Free)

imageoptim

ImageOptim reduces image sizes while maintaining quality. The tool removes internal data embedded by graphics editors, such as comments and color profiles. I recommend adding an images folder from your website to this app before compiling and going live. ImageOptim will reduce around 30% of an image’s size on average.

Slicy (Mac Only, $29)

slicy_mini

Slicy is great-designed tool most designers and developers are using for slicing graphics for iOS apps. The tool exports graphics from PSDs automatically, but it requires to organize your layers in Photoshop and name them in certain way. In addition once you make changes in Photoshop, Slicy updates the slices automatically. The main reason I decided not to use Slicy is no ability for quick export for couple of elements from PSD without preparing it for Slicy.

(al)


© Artiom Dashinsky for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

June 19 2013

13:34

A Round-Up Of 45 Fresh Photoshop Tutorials And Techniques

Graphic designers and web designers are ready all the time to welcome Adobe Photoshop Tutorials. There are so many reasons behind this like Adobe Photoshop can easily use, you can easily learn from it, and most important is that Adobe Photoshop comes with so many varieties of highly developed tools which give outstanding and inspiring results. That’s why Adobe Photoshop is very famous and commonly used graphic editing software.

In this collection, we are showcasing some fresh, superb and high quality Adobe Photoshop Tutorials which is the treat for all the web designers and web developers. Use these Adobe Photoshop Tutorials and make your web designs more inspiring and wonderful. All these Adobe Photoshop Tutorials make your work easier for you and save your time too. So, what are you waiting for? Check out these exciting and amazing Adobe Photoshop tutorials and make your learning experience more pleasant. Please share with us if you have any suggestions or opinions via comment section below. Enjoy this amazing collection everyone.

Create a Metallic 3D Logo With Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will explain how to combine Photoshop CS6s 3D tools with Filter Forge to create a metallic 3D logo that is built “Forge” tough. Let’s get started!

Create a 3D Typographic Illustration

Modern artists often use more than one application to create their work. This often means working outside of Photoshop much of the time. In this tutorial, Joao Oliveira will create a 3D typographic illustration using Cinema 4D to build the 3D and Photoshop for the post-production. Let’s get started!

How to Create a Colorful Retro Poster

Leran how to create a retro-style wallpaper with this Photoshop tutorial! This tutorial will show you how to create a wallpaper with shiny textures, loads of lens flares, and bright colors. Have fun!

How to Create an Amazing Space Battle Scene

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a sci fi artwork with spaceship, planets and galaxy. You’ll learn how to compose and manipulate some space elements together as well as blend them correctly and effectively. You can also learn to create some different kinds of lighting, work with group, use brush, masking and more.

How to Use Image-Based Lighting in Photoshop

In this tutorial, Steve Caplin will explain how to create convincing location effects using Photoshop’s 3D tools. In the process, he will show you how to set up specularity of textures, how to soften and position shadows, and how to use image-based lighting. Let’s get started!

Create a Photo-Realistic Fried Egg Using Digital Painting Techniques

Still-life illustrations can be great practice for anyone wanting to learn how to create life-like illustrations. In this tutorial, we will explain how to create a photo-realistic fried egg from a reference. Let’s get started!

Create Unique 3D Grass and Stone Text Effect

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps to Create Unique 3D Grass and Stone Text Effect in Photoshop CS6 extended. We will explore the use of the 3D functions to create this interesting text effect. We will also go through some texturing techniques and filter effects.

Create Electrified Metal Text Effect

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps to Create Electrified Metal Text Effect in Photoshop. We will cover a number of selection techniques, as well as how we can use the right texture to form unique text effect.

Create a Glowing 3D Text Effect With Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will show you how to combine Photoshop with Filter Forge to create a glowing 3D text effect. We will begin by showing you how to create basic shapes in Photoshop, we’ll then show you how to convert them to 3D, and finally how to add the final touches using Filter Forge and a few of Photoshop’s basic features. Let’s get started!

How to Create Colorful Wooden 3D Text

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Cinema 4D to create wooden 3D text and then how to use Photoshop to add the final touches. Let’s get started!

Create a Fantasy City Using Architectural Photographs

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a fantasy city that is built on a rock structure, similar to Minas Tirith from “The Lord of the Rings.” In the process, you will learn several techniques to help you incorporate architectural photos into your artwork. Let’s get started!

Use Photoshop and Illustrator to Create Guitar String Typography

Photoshop and Illustrator are great tools to help you create things that only exist in your imagination. In this tutorial, we will create words out of intertwining guitar strings. Let’s get started!

Design Magical Fire Energy Text Effect in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design this Magical Fire Energy Text Effect in Photoshop. This is a beginner tutorial and I will show how easy it is to create a great looking text effect in Photoshop in just a few steps. We will come across some paintings, layer blending, and image adjustments. Have a try!

Design an Awesome Electrified Metal Scrap Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design an Electrified Text Effect in Photoshop. The focus of this tutorial is show you how you can combine serveral elements seamlessly using selection and layer blending modes, in order to create an eye-catching text effect. This is an intermedia level tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

Create a StarCraft-Inspired Firestorm in Photoshop

We were recently inspired by imagery from StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a massive spiral firestorm as seen from space. While we will use some stock photography during the course of this tutorial, most of the techniques that we will show will rely heavily on manual painting; so a tablet will be essential. This tutorial also includes several videos to help explain each step, as well as a speed painting video that shows the entire process form beginning to end. Let’s get started!

How to Design an iPhone Music Player App Interface With Photoshop CS6

Photoshop CS6 is a much more powerful vector editing application than its predecessors. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use these new features to create an iPhone music player app interface in both the original iPhone resolution, as well as retina without having to repeat the same process for both designs. Let’s get started!

Create an Earth Shattering Disaster Scene in Photoshop

If you saw the movie “2012 you may remember that scene where the California coast begins to break apart and fall into the sea. In this tutorial, we will show you how to re-create that scene using a selection of stock photographs. Let’s get started!

Create Your Own Custom Landscapes in Photoshop

How to create your own custom backgrounds in Photoshop! You’ll learn how to combine and blend multiple landscape photos, mask using channel data, and finish it up with a strong gradient color effect.

Create Inspirational 3D Gold Text with Photoshop Extended

Learn how to make any inspirational message look more meaningful by turning it into a 3D typography poster. In this Photoshop tutorial, you will how to create striking 3D gold text, add reflections with image-based lighting, create a drywall background from scratch, and position your lights using an easy method that feel like you’re playing a 1st person shooter game. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Create a Pixel-Perfect Social Icon Using Vectors

Learn how to create a simple share button in Adobe Photoshop! This is a pretty simple tutorial that will teach you how to create pixel perfect vector shapes and how to easily handle the vector tools in Photoshop. Once you get your starting vector shapes, you will learn how to add the colors using the Layer Style panel. Let’s get started!

How to Create a Photo-Realistic Metal Apple in Photoshop

Learn how to create a metallic apple with reflections. This tutorial will show you how to warp objects, dodge/burn, and add reflections to metal.

How to Create a Crystal Cube with 3D Text in Photoshop Extended

In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn step-by-step how to convert your text into 3D type, create a crystal cube, and arrange your objects in 3D space. This tutorial will improve your familiarity with Photoshop’s 3D tools and give you a basic understanding of how you can add 3D objects to your artworks. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Create a Cute Bunny House in Photoshop

Learn how to create this cute scene featuring bunnies and a carrot house. This tutorial will show you photo manipulation techniques to create a cartoon-like look.

Erase Backgrounds Quickly With The Background Eraser Tool

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the background eraser tool to erase the sky and replace it with another from a set of realistic sky gradients.

How to Create an Awesome See-Through Water Horse in Photoshop

Learn how to create a see-through water horse in Photoshop! The techniques we will use are fairly simple but I do my best to explain them in detail so you can use them on your future projects.

Retroize Your Photos in Seconds

Give your photos a professional retro look using a combination of color lookup layers in Photoshop CS6. This technique is extremely easy to do and you can do it in seconds. Give it a try!

6 Accessories You Can Buy to Improve the Way You Use Photoshop

Do you have money that you don’t know how to use? Let me show you how to spend it with this list of tools that can increase your productivity and let you use Photoshop in new ways. I’ll show you the ones that I use all the time and and give you my honest opinion the others.

Create a Romantic Cutlery Artwork Inspired by Salvador Dali

Learn how to create this stunningly surreal image of a pair of cutlery in theater-like room with red velvet curtains. This artwork was inspired by the works of Salvador Dali. This tutorial will show you how to create a hardwood floor, blue-sky backdrop, and more.

Understanding Smart Objects Via Copy

If you would like to work more efficiently in Photoshop, then it is important to know how to make the most of smart objects. This means understanding the difference between simply duplicating a smart object and creating new smart objects via copy. In this tutorial, we will explain the difference between both of these features. Let’s get started!

Use Photography to Create a Scenic Matte Painting From a Sketch in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we are going to use Photoshop’s photo manipulation tools to create a scenic matte painting that was based on a sketch. Let’s get started.

How to Draw a PlayStation-Inspired Game Controller From Scratch in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will explain how to draw a play station controller from scratch in Photoshop using basic tools such as shape layers, brushes, strokes, and layer styles. Let’s get started!

Create a Science Fiction Environment With Photoshop

Photoshop is a fantastic application because it allows you to create just about anything your imagination can dream up. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a science fiction environment using digital painting and illustration techniques. While working on this piece, you will learn how to set up your color scheme, set your perspective, and even how to create a monster robot. Let’s get started.

Create an “Out of the Box” Stone and Concrete 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and Filter Forge

In this tutorial, we will mix Photoshop CS6s 3D tools with Filter Forge to create an “out of the box” stone and concrete 3D text effect. Let’s get started!

Create Lathed 3D Objects in Photoshop CS6 Extended

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create lathed 3D objects by revolving paths and layers around a fixed axis; a process similar to what you may have seen done using Illustrator’s 3D tools. In the process, we will explain how to create a wine glass, a bottle, and a table top. Let’s get started!

Create a 3D Text Effect Using Filter Forge and Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will combine Filter Forge and Photoshop to create a wood textured 3D text effect with a simple red glass heart. Let’s get started!

Create a Battlefield Scene Using Stock Photography in Photoshop

By combining the right photography in Photoshop you can create just about any scene that you want. In this tutorial, we will create a battlefield using several stock photographs. Let’s get started!

Create a 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and Maya

Photoshop is an incredibly versatile application that is often used alongside 3D applications. In this tutorial, Wojciech Pijecki will show you how to sketch out an idea for a text effect, build up the idea in Photoshop, render it in 3D using Maya, and then how to add the finishing touches again in Photoshop.

How to Create a Metallic Text Effect Using Layer Styles in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will explain how to create a metallic text effect using layer styles in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

Create a Sparkling Diamond and Gold Text Effect Using Filter Forge and Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will explain how to use Filter Forge and Photoshop to create a glamorous, sparkling, diamond and gold text effect. Let’s get started!

How to Reshape 3D Models in Photoshop CS6 Extended

In this tutorial, Steve Caplin will explain how to use distortion controls to extrude, twist and bend 3D objects in Photoshop to create a 3-dimensional bolt. Let’s get started!

Design a Hot Golden Text with Disintegration Effect in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design this Hot, Golden Text with Disintegration Effect in Photoshop. We will mainly use the selection tool and layer mask to perform some texturing for the letters, and use image adjustment tools to fine-tune the effect.

Create a Pixel-Perfect Notebook Icon in Photoshop

Learn how to create a beautiful notebook icon with Photoshop! This beginner drawing tutorial will show you how to create shapes, add texture, and use layer styles to create a quick and easy notebook icon.

How to Create a Night Jungle Scenery in Photoshop

Learn how to create a mossy jungle scene with fairies flying around. This tutorial will show you how to creatively create your own jungle background, manipulate a stone building into a tower, and add doors to create a miniature village for fairies.

Create Conditional Actions in Photoshop CS6.1

Photoshop CS6.1 includes the ability to create Conditional Actions. This means that you can now create actions that are optimized for certain situations. For instance, you could create a conditional action to create a watermark for either a landscape or portrait photograph. In this tutorial, Martin Perhiniak will explain.

Create a Misty Landscape Using 3D Renders and Stock Photography

In this tutorial, Ed Lopez will combine photo manipulation with digital painting to create a misty landscape in Photoshop. This tutorial includes both written and video content and is available exclusively to Tuts+ Premium Members. If you are looking to take your matte painting skills to the next level then Log in or Join Now to get started!

June 04 2013

17:23

25 Useful Free Photoshop Custom Shape Sets

Photoshop comes with many tools and exploring them in the right way can significantly help you achieve better results. With the help of Photoshop custom shapes, one can easily design something in Photoshop, and they are pretty handy as well. Using Photoshop custom shapes can save your time to a great extent when you are running out of time.

Below, you will discover 25 free to use Photoshop custom shapes sets that you can download and use. Do let us know what you think about this collection via comment section below. Enjoy!

Kiddy Stuffs

9 free spiral shapes

Iphone shapes and symbols

12 Photoshop Lock Shapes

Social Networking Logos Shapes

Birds Shapes

70+ Web Arrows Icon Shapes

Eiffel Tower Shapes

Vector Shapes

120 Arrows Photoshop Shapes

30 Sunburst Shapes

Flash and Shock – PS shapes

Shark Shaps

131 Custom Photoshop Shapes

90 Photoshop Gears Shapes

5 sharp flowers border shapes

Corneristic Vector Shapes

25 Wavy and Spiral Sunburst Shapes for Photoshop

32 Fancy Stars Photoshop Custom Shapes

SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC

Sunburst Shapes

Banner + Scrolls Custom Shapes

Heraldic Custom Shape Pack

Auto Gauges

Pack 4: Abstract Shapes

07:30

Better than Photoshop Tutorials: 50 Free, Detailed PSDs with Open Layers (+ Tips)


  
psd-datei1 Today we are going to look over the shoulders of quite a few professional designers. Using their original PSDs with open layers, we will be able to exactly reconstruct, what has been done and how. If you are like me, this way of learning by doing proves more effective than working through step-by-step tutorials. The following files come with lots of layers to be examined, as we are going to dissect a camera, a sports shoe, a cell phone and lots more. Have fun looking through the eyes of the most able Photoshop professionals. Before I forget: watch out for some layer-related Photoshop tips, I may have left for you throughout the collection...

May 09 2013

13:34

The Fireworks Lament [IMHO]


  
fireworks-cs6

A few days ago Adobe caused an outcry with its announcement to not develop Fireworks, their web design prototyper, further. Though they did not really call it quits, instead promised to make sure Fireworks would receive necessary updates in terms of security or OS adaptation, furious users started their campaigns to „save Fireworks“ from oblivion. Even a petition has been started to try and force Adobe to release Fireworks as Open Source or in the alternative at least promise to not stop development. These things are nothing new. Softwares come and go.

May 07 2013

18:07

“Retinize It” Simplifies the Creation of Retina-Ready Images in Photoshop


  
retinize-it

Creating retina-ready images from within Photoshop is no rocket-science. Still, it is a tedious task no designer is likely to associate the term fun with. Help in shortening the amount of life-time that has to be put therein will be much appreciated. Artiom Dashinsky from Tel-Aviv is the one to be thankful for as he developed the freely usable Photoshop action Retinize It.

May 03 2013

13:00

Create a Coca-Cola Can Using Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to create a Coca-Cola can from scratch in Photoshop using shapes, brushes and layer styles. You are going to learn different techniques which you can apply to solve different problems in iconography, UI or web layouts. Photoshop is one of the most powerful programs out there and once you start learning your way around it, you’ll realize that what you can do with it is only limited by your imagination.
The best way to improve your skills is through discovery and experimentation. Don’t wait for a tutorial or article, grab an image and start trying to mimic its shapes, weight, light and shadows.

If you have any questions, use the comment section and I’ll get back to you. Let’s get started!

Final Result

Final result

Step 1

Open Photoshop and set up a new document with size of at least 800px by 800px.

step1

Step 2

Create one vertical guide and one horizontal guide and align them to the middle of your document. To do this, go to View > New Guide , choose horizontal and apply a position of 50%. Do the same for the vertical guide.

step2

Step 3

The first thing is to make the shape of our can. You can use your own imagination here, however, in this case, I’ve used an image for reference (although I didn’t follow the real form completely).

step3

Step 4

In order to keep the shape of the can equal in both sides, we will draw half of the can and duplicate it. Activate the Pen tool (P), and start drawing just half of the red shape.

step4

Step 5

With the red shape layer selected, press alt+shift on your shape and drag it to the side. Then, press ctrl+T, right click on the shape, select Fip Horizontal and press enter. You can also do this by going to Edit > Transform Path and select Flip Horizontal.

step5

Step 6

Place your second half right next to the first half, select both shape layers and, with the Pen tool activated, right click on one of the shapes and select Unite Shapes. You now have one single shape.

step6

Step 7

Choose a different color and repeat the steps for the top and bottom sections of the can. Make sure the Top and Bottom shape layers are on top of the red shape layer.

step7

Step 8

Duplicate the red shape layer, position your cursor between the two red shape layers, hold down the Alt / Option key and click to create a clipping mask. Name the layers according to the image below.

step8

Step 9

Welcome to the fun part! We now have a shape for our can so we are going to start giving it a realistic look. Select the Main Shape layer, open the Blending options panel (right click on the Layer > Blending options) and apply a Gradient Overlay with the following settings:

step9

Step 10

With the Pen tool (P), create a new black shape and place it like in the image below.

step10

Step 11

Right click on the new shape layer, convert it to smart object and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter a value of 14. Finally, make the new shape layer a Clipping Mask like you did in step 8 and change Fill of the new black shape to 70%.

step11

Step 12

Using the Pen tool, create a new shape like in the image below.

step12

Step 13

Convert it to Smart Object, give it a Gaussian Blur of 2 and change Fill to 40%. Set it as Clipping Mask like in previous steps and set the blending mode to Overlay.

step13

Step 14

Create a new shape and place it like in the image below. Name this layer ‘Horizontal div1‘.

step14

Step 15

Convert it to Smart Object and set it as clipping mask like in previous steps. Set the blending mode to Soft Light and apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 4.

step15

Step 16

Cmd/Ctrl + click on the Main Shape layer to select its form, then create a new layer and with a soft edge brush with size of 24px draw a straight line in the same area.

step16

Step 17

Set the layer you have just created to Soft Light and add a layer mask to it. Select black as your foreground color and a brush size of 60px. With the layer mask selected, paint gently on the top and bottom of the black area leaving just the middle section intact. Name this layer ‘Horizontal div2′.

step17

Step 18

Cmd/Ctrl click on the red shape to make it selected, create a new layer, select #eeb946 as your foreground color, select a soft edge brush with a size of 100px and draw a straight line from the top to almost the bottom of the can.

step18

Step 19

With the newly created layer selected, set blending mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 70%. Then add a layer mask, select black as your foreground color, change brush size to 65px and flow to 30%. Start painting the right side a light yellow in order to make it slightly less visible than the left side, without removing it completely.

step19

Step 20

With the Pen tool activated, make a new shape similar to the one below.

step20

Step 21

Convert it to Smart Object and apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 15. Set blending mode to Overlay.

step21

Step 22

Create a new shape layer and place it in a position similar to the one below. Name this layer “Middle dark”.

step22

Step 23

As usual, let’s convert our latest shape layer to a Smart Object, set the blending mode to Soft light and apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 10. Press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the layer and set the Opacity of the new layer to 40%.

step23

Step 24

Create two new shape layers and place them like in the image below.

step24

Step 25

Convert each shape to Smart Object, set blending mode to Soft light and apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 10. Do this for both shape layers.

step25

Step 26

Create a new shape like the one below.

step26

Step 27

Convert the shape to Smart Object, set blending mode to Overlay and apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 7.

step27

Step 28

Now let’s focus on the top section of the red shape. Locate the two layers responsible for the horizontal dark line at the top (we named them ‘Horizontal div1′ and ‘Horizontal div2′). With black as your foreground color, select the layer mask and using a soft round edge brush with size of 45px and flow at 30%, delete the area where the light goes through. Do this for each of the two layers.

step28

Step 29

Create a new layer and select a soft edge round brush with a size of 48px and flow 100%. Click once to make a circle at the top (slightly above the line). Set blending mode to Overlay and duplicate the layer.

step29

Step 30

Edges are still a little bright so let’s take care of that. Locate the Main Shape layer and apply an Inner Shadow with the following settings:

step30

Step 31

Let’s darken the bottom section of our red shape a little bit as well. This time, Cmd/Ctrl + click on the Main Shape to make its form selected and create a new layer. Select a soft round edge brush with size of 48px and flow at 30%. Make a straight line at the bottom and set the blending mode to Soft light.

step31

Step 32

In order to increase the realism of the can, we are going to add a window reflection to the can itself. Using the Rectangle Tool (U), create two shapes like in the image below. Then, using the Pen tool (P), unite both shapes like we did in Step 6.

step32

Step 33

We now have both shapes in one unique layer. Duplicate this layer twice and position the shapes like in the image below.

step33

Step 34

Add a Layer Mask to one of the three layers, set black your foreground color, select the Gradient Tool (G) and choose the black to transparent gradient by either selecting directly at the top (1st image) or clicking inside the gradient bar and selecting the second gradient (2nd image).

step34

Step 35

With the layer mask selected, hold shift and drag the mouse from the left side of the shape until you reach the middle of it making the left side transparent.

step35

Step 36

Hold the Alt/Option key and drag the layer mask to the other shape layers in order to copy and apply the same layer mask. Then set the blending mode of all three layers to Overlay and Opacity to 18%.

step36

Step 37

Select #eeb946 as your foreground color, make a new shape layer and place it like in the image below.

step37

Step 38

Convert the shape layer to Smart Object, set blending mode to Overlay, apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 4 and set Opacity to 70%.

step38

Step 39

Let’s fix the light in the top section of the red shape. Ctrl/Cmd + Click the Main Shape and, with the Brush tool using a soft round edge with size 30px and flow at 30%, darken the top right and left areas a little bit more, similar to the image below.

step39

Step 40

Lets intensify the dark areas in the middle of the can. Locate the shape you have created in step 22 (named ‘Middle dark‘) and duplicate it. Set Opacity of the new layer to 25%.

step40

Step 41

Let’s proceed to the top of the can. Select the layer with the top shape and apply the following settings in the Blending Options panel:

step41

Step 42

Make white your foreground color and select a soft round brush with 100% Flow and size 30px. Cmd/Ctrl + Click the top shape layer to make its form selected, create a new layer, start drawing very gently 3 straight lines with a gap between them and place horizontally centered. Set blending mode to Overlay. Try to mimic the image below.

step42

Step 43

Do the same thing as in the previous step, however, this time make a line with no gaps and covering the top portion of the shape.

step43

Step 44

Time for shadows. Use the same technique but make small spots along the top shape. Intensify the darkness in the right and left edges.

step44

Step 45

Finally, make a thin line to give our top shape a 3D look and feel. Place it vertically and horizontally centered.

step45

Step 46

Let’s now take care of the bottom part of the can. Apply the following settings in the Blending Options panel:

step46

Step 47

The technique will be the same we used on the top part of the can. Cmd/Ctrl + click on the bottom shape layer and create a new layer. With a soft round edge brush with size 21px and flow at 100%, highlight the top part of the shape. Set blending mode to Overlay. Then, create another layer and do the same thing but this time make a vertical line covering the entire height of the shape, following the light of the red shape. Change the blending mode of the latest layer to Soft Light.

step47

Step 48

Apply the same method to darken the left and right edges of the bottom shape. Set blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 70%.

step48

Step 49

Let’s darken the middle a little bit more. Do the same thing as in previous steps and make something like the image below. Set blending mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 60%.

step49

Step 50

Create a new layer and draw a shape similar to the one in the image below. Give it a color of #311010.

step50

Step 51

Convert the shape to Smart Object, apply a Gaussian Blur with a value of 5. Set the layer’s blending mode to Overlay and set Opacity to 20%.

step51

Step 52

Create a new shape to act like the image below. Add a layer mask and, using the Gradient Tool (G), remove the top and bottom areas of that shape exactly like we did in Steps 34 and 35.

step52

Step 53

Set Opacity to 20% and blending mode to Overlay.

step53

Step 54

Looking good. Grab the Coca-Cola logo that’s below this sentence, press Cmd/Ctrl + T to open the Transform panel and rotate in order to adjust it to the correct position.

coca_cola_logo

step54

Step 55

Let’s add some water drops. Using the Elipse Tool (U), create a circle shape and apply the following settings:

step55

Step 56

Copy the previous layer style, then create several shapes using the Pen tool and Elipse tool and past the same layer style to each shape. Organize the layers into a folder and duplicate your drops across the can.

step56

Hope you have found this tutorial useful for your future projects. Any questions you may have, please use the comment section below.

April 28 2013

11:30

Photoshop in Web Design: 5 Plugins to Make your Workday More Pleasant


  
GuideGuide Still nowadays lots of web designs start as a Photoshop draft. This gets more and more elaborate and has to be converted to HTML and CSS during the late stages of the project. No wonder, that services for PSD to HTML conversion still face no shortage of orders. A lot of developers have created a flood of plugins for facilitating the task of turning PSD to HTML. I went and dug up five of which I opine belong to the best.

April 22 2013

14:02

Is Photoshop Really Dead?: Repurposing Photoshop For The Web


  

Like any overzealous teenager aspiring to be a Web designer back in 1999, I found myself in an “Electronic Design” class, behind the wheel of one of those old-school aqua iMacs. If you found yourself in a similar situation, chances are you were given Adobe Photoshop as your vehicle for designing the Web. For me, it was version 6.0.

No matter which version you had, undoubtedly you know someone who can “trump” you by having adopted an earlier version. We designers take much pride in this, in case you hadn’t noticed.

One of these is likely nostalgic to you.
One of these likely makes you nostalgic. (Image: Design You Trust)

It’s not a stretch to say that Photoshop was once regarded as the quintessential Web design tool, a sign that its fandom reached more than just photographers. Refrigerator magnets, pillows and even tattoos have shown homage to the unmistakable UI. Let’s face it: Photoshop is the software we’re identified with, and its place in Web design history is substantial.

I was careful to choose the word “history” there because that’s what it’s seemingly becoming.

Falling Out Of Love

Yes, unlike anything else in the realm of Web design, we collectively have a love-hate relationship with Adobe’s flagship software. While we love it for the common aptitude and experience we share, we hate it for its shortcomings. The pain points of using Photoshop to design for the Web are well documented and support the staunch anti-Photoshopian’s cause to remove it from their process. In fact, complaining about Photoshop has become so commonplace that it’s not just a rite of passage, but rather the signature of a true Web designer.

As our needs changed, Photoshop couldn't quite keep up.
As our needs changed, Photoshop couldn’t quite keep up. (Image: Derrick Diemont)

The Software’s Pain Points

  • Crashes
    True story: about 95% of instances of Mac OS X’s beach ball (or, as I affectionately refer to it, the pinwheel of doom) occur while using Photoshop. OK, so I can’t back that up with actual data, but I venture to say this is a common experience, especially for those of us attempting to “Save for Web.” Familiar with that nauseous feeling you get when the program hangs and you haven’t saved in a long time? Yeah, that alone makes you rethink using Photoshop.
  • Text rendering
    I’ve always found rendering the most basic of fonts as anything like the browser ends up doing to be incredibly difficult for Photoshop. Helvetica ends up looking like a mess, and coming close usually takes much tinkering with a few settings. This wouldn’t be problematic, except that the goal of comping is to show an accurate representation of what a website will look like.
  • Lack of interactivity
    At the end of the day, designing static comps doesn’t adequately translate how elements are intended to behave through interaction. When presenting comps to the client, discussing these points is possible, but that’s less than ideal for complex interaction. I’ve found myself using terms like “If you can imagine…” far too often in an attempt to show something as simple as a hover state.
  • Expense
    While we hem and haw over whether to buy an icon set for $5, realize that Photoshop is far and away the most expensive piece of software in the common Web design toolset. A new purchase of it will run you $700 USD. Upgrades help, and Creative Cloud has been nothing short of genius, but the investment in Photoshop is still monstrous compared to that of wireframing tools, code editors and FTP clients.

The Process’ Pain Points

  • Expectations
    The environment of Photoshop provides complete design control, because every pixel we manipulate can be exported to our expectations. When we actually develop for the Web, browsers aren’t as predicable (I can think of one in particular that’s none to kind, but I digress). No manner of fixes or hacks will produce an exact match of our Photoshop comp.
  • Presentation
    When attempting to convey responsive Web design, presenting static comps of full pages is less than ideal. The options are few and difficult: create numerous sizes of a single page, or try to explain verbally how a design will shift. I find neither to be practical or completely accurate, because innumerable device sizes are in the wild.
  • Double the effort
    A Photoshop comp is a visual representation of what a website or app could be, but not a functional one. This becomes problematic in the scope of effort required, with a comp being produced and then reproduced through Web technology (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). Additionally, the detail of the production is quite considerable — static comps are typically pixel-perfect and fully fleshed out, and front-end development carries the same goal.
  • The big reveal
    Ever worked hard on a design, spent hours polishing that last drop shadow on a button, exported a JPEG and then gotten nervous five minutes before a meeting because you have no assurances on whether the client will even understand the comp, much less like it? That’s true with many presentations, but the Big Reveal exacerbates this feeling. When your design process doesn’t include sharing any work in progress when comping, naturally it will lead up to a huge moment when you finally tell them to open a file or click a link. Wouldn’t it be nice if the client was involved in style-related decisions earlier than this?

Photoshop Misunderstood

Is it really a battle between tools?
Is it really a battle between tools?

OK, I think we’ve thoroughly bashed Photoshop enough at this point, although it’s important to realize where your tools fall short so that you can adapt (if you haven’t already). While there are plenty of jimmy-rigged workarounds to the aforementioned pains, and the right combination of settings will potentially ease those pains, there should be an easier way.

The most significant response has been to design directly in the browser. CSS3 provides many of the style elements that we had in Photoshop (such as rounded corners, drop shadows and gradients), and preprocessors such as LESS and Sass are great ways to speed up our workflow. These have become so popular, in fact, that there’s been much clamoring about trashing Photoshop altogether and using HTML and CSS exclusively, from start to finish.

Let’s not go overboard, right?

An important distinction is made by some designers that’s worth noting: the browser is the delivery vehicle of our designs, while image editors serve the purpose of creative exploration. Just because we have the ability in code to replicate what an image editor can output doesn’t mean it’s always the best environment for it. Those of us who learned Web design through Photoshop (or Fireworks) find value in being able to transform design elements without the abstraction of a text editor and, for the most part, have gotten quite good at it.

“As such the browser lacks even the most rudimentary tools like the ability to draw lines or irregular objects through direct manipulation.”

Designing in the Browser Is Not the Answer written by Andy Budd.

The notion that image editors have no place in our workflows is also faulty in this regard: we’ve purposed them to have a particular and quite heavy focus in our workflow. We’ve used Photoshop as the canvas for our design, when it’s apparent that the browser is better suited because it’s ultimately where the design will live. However, Photoshop still has worth, and arguably much worth, in our processes, just not as the canvas. Confused? That’s OK. I’ll explain.

A workflow you may be familiar with is such: sketch, wireframe, produce the visual design in a graphics editor, develop said design in HTML and CSS. Skipping Photoshop assumes that we “design” in the HTML and CSS phase. The tricky part in doing that is determining what a suitable design deliverable is, which we’ll get to momentarily. Naturally, the question becomes, What do we do with Photoshop, now that we’re in the browser?

Photoshop as a High-Fidelity Sketch Pad

What if Photoshop were used as a hi-fidelity sketchpad?
What if Photoshop were used as a high-fidelity sketch pad? (Image: Kyrie Eleison)

I propose that an image editor is still handy when executing design via HTML and CSS, and it has everything to do with sketching. An essential part of the “old” way, where we produced the design comp in Photoshop, is that we were allowed to experiment in a “visual” environment. Photoshop allows you to directly manipulate the very foundations of design: line, shape, text and color.

While HTML and CSS are great for executing the design, experimentation is abstracted because code isn’t directly manipulating any design foundation. It’s a layer removed. This isn’t to say that good design can’t come from a code-only approach; rather that the experimentation of design finds a natural home in an image editor, which may be helpful to many of you who, like myself, prefer such an arena.

Consequently, I’m in favor of a yin and yang approach, leveraging Photoshop for what it’s good for (experimentation), and code for what it’s good for (implementation). For me, leaving one out of the party makes it difficult to be creative and practical when designing. Avoiding code and producing full-page comps in Photoshop, while great for some, gives me headaches when considering responsive Web design and having to reproduce entire pages again in HTML and CSS. However, skipping Photoshop altogether puts me face to face with the browser for design, which works for some elements (navigation bars, blocks of text), while other elements pose a creative stumbling block (“hero graphic” banners and their headlines, sidebar calls to action).

It’s a balancing act. I don’t think you can say, “Design everything in the browser,” just like you can’t say, “Never get into the code.”

– Jason VanLue

For today’s Web design process, I view Photoshop as a high-fidelity sketchpad: expensive, I realize, but it does everything we need it to and we’ve used it for ages. It’s a tool that we’re quite proficient and efficient at. Whereas it used to be our literal canvas, Photoshop can now become our “palette,” as the browser becomes the canvas. We prototype designs in the browser, but turn to Photoshop every so often to ideate, and eventually implement those quick creations in code, concurrently.

Are you still using Photoshop as the canvas? Try using it as the palette.
Are you still using Photoshop as a canvas? Try using it as a palette.

“I still use Photoshop, but I use it differently. It’s no longer for prescribing exactly what a site should look like. Instead, it’s used for quick layout exploration and asset creation.”

Where to Start written by Trent Walton.

Getting Responsively Unstuck With Page Layers

A far too familiar situation is designing in the browser and getting stuck figuring out what to do in those strange in-between widths. Confining the content to a single column works for the narrowest width, and your hypothetical wider four-column design gets really squished at 500 pixels or so. I continually find myself in this mode of coding a bunch of potential solutions, none of which looks intentional. Same for you?

Here’s an idea: use Photoshop. I know that everything probably exists in the browser, instead of the full-page comps that we said were so problematic. Who would ever want to build a website only to have to make a version of the semi-finished product in Photoshop? Well, what I’m about to suggest will sound completely backwards. Hang tight!

Page Layers is a unique app that might find its way in to your workflow.
Page Layers is a unique app that could find its way into your workflow.

I’ve gotten used to a tool named Page Layers to do the work for me. I’m sure you’ve heard of PSD-to-HTML tools, but this one is HTML-to-PSD! At first, I had no idea what I would ever use this for. Then it dawned on me that those moments when I’m stuck designing in the browser and would be better off using Photoshop to directly manipulate some things (i.e. without fiddling with CSS) is a perfect use of Page Layers.

Quite simply, you load the website that you’re working on in the app, at the width you’re having some difficulty with, drag the PSD icon to your desktop, and fire it up. The app gives you a PSD with all of the page elements on separate layers, making it easy to experiment with. I’m still getting my head around it, and it’s not without its flaws. Creator Ralf Ebert says that text and vector interpretation is tricky but hopefully on the way.

Deliverables

This might sound good in theory, but what do you show to a client for approval if you’re going to be using a combination of Photoshop “sketches” and the browser? Glad you asked.

Before we delve into methods of delivery, the important lesson in any of them is that the client should be involved in the design process much earlier than they would have been otherwise. To some extent, the Big Reveal can’t be avoided, because any time you present a visual design for the first time, a certain “unveiling” takes place. However, we can focus our clients on specific objectives if we involve them early enough, such as approving the layout in a wireframe or prototype, or approving styles in any of the formats discussed below.

Style Tiles

Style Tiles are based on a concept pioneered by Samantha Warren, who likens them to “the paint chips and fabric swatches an interior designer gets approval on before designing a room.” Designed in Photoshop, they are a variety of visual “tiles,” each containing styles for headings, subheadings, link text, buttons, colors, patterns and backgrounds. In delivering Style Tiles, the focus is on approving style, independent of layout and form (for example, responsive Web design). The emphasis is on iterating to find a suitable style to become the “system” of a website, and not on a pixel-perfect layout that will need to be redone in HTML and CSS. In doing so, a significant amount of time is saved from having to edit multiple full-page comps.

Samantha Warren's Style Tiles are a great approach, leveraging Photoshop for style discussions.
Samantha Warren’s Style Tiles are a great approach, leveraging Photoshop for discussions about style.

For many, this approach keeps the ideation squarely in Photoshop, which is familiar and comfortable. If there’s a knock on this approach, it’s that Style Tiles do require a bit of vision on the part of the client. Granted, setting proper expectations will help to bridge the gap, although for some chains of approval, communicating how the tiles “represent” the final product can be difficult.

Style Prototypes

I hinted at this approach earlier, so here’s an attempt to spell it out plainly. Referring to our wireframes, we begin by identifying which elements and content are crucial to the visual language of the website. For example, the logo, main navigation bar, hero graphic and location-finding widget may all be uniquely styled elements, whereas the main blocks of text and the sidebar links wouldn’t be as integral to the visual impact of the page, per se.

They might look like full page comps, but Style Prototypes just leverage important brand and modular elements.
They might look like full-page comps, but Style Prototypes just leverage important brand and modular elements. (Image: Dave Rupert)

I believe this deliverable should be in the browser and should be responsive. In my experience with using Style Prototypes, I’ve tried not to get hung up on fixing small inaccuracies that occur at certain breakpoints or on cross-browser bugs, because the objective is to gain approval on a design direction. The conversations, both internally and with the client, are steered to assess style only.

The main benefit of this approach is that it generally transitions into the final build of the website remarkably well, yet providing entire pages wasn’t necessary. Photoshop is truly a sketch pad here, because the deliverable is an HTML and CSS document. That said, one disadvantage of this method is that if you don’t define how much you’ll be mocking up, it’s easy to get carried away and include elements that contribute little to the look of the website, using more time and resources than necessary.

Element Collages

Arising from his recent redesign project for Reading Is Fundamental, Dan Mall has offered an interesting approach in Element Collages. Those who feel most comfortable using Photoshop to work out these ideas can simply export a JPEG, while those who feel the browser enables them to better express the ideas can make a prototype.

This format represents how I begin to think about designing a site. I often have ideas for pieces of a site in bursts. A full comp often requires ideas to be fully realized. An element collage allows me to document a thought at any state of realization and move on to the next.

– Dan Mall, “Element Collages

What’s great about this approach is that it brings a comfortable amount of context to Style Tiles by executing those styles on particular elements. If working through ideas in the browser proves to be problematic this early in the process, then Element Collages done entirely in Photoshop are a great alternative to Style Prototypes. Any way you look at it, it’s another approach that circumvents having to make static full-page comps early on for approval.

The folks at Clearleft have employed Element Collages as a RWD deliverable.
The folks at Clearleft have employed Element Collages as a deliverable of responsive Web design.

Whatever approach you use for design deliverables, the idea I’m proposing is to repurpose Photoshop’s role into something that helps you have a discussion of style far removed from specific discussions of page layout and content. Multi-device design dictates that we design systems, not specific page layouts. We can use Photoshop to create reusable assets and ideas simultaneously with browser deliverables such as prototypes. But remember, without setting proper expectations with the client, any new method will become confusing compared to any previous Web design experiences they’ve had.

Tools

If the idea is to move quickly between Photoshop and the browser, then Photoshop’s default settings and interface leave something to be desired. Thankfully, a wide range of tools, extensions, actions and apps exist that will help.

Slicy

Using “Save for Web” can be an arduous process, one that doesn’t always produce usable results. I recommend getting Slicy, which exports your layers to files independently. If you’re using Photoshop to create assets for the browser, this is your tool.

WebInk Web Font Plugin

If nothing else, WebInk's Webfont Plugin will save you a few bucks not having to buy desktop fonts for comps.
If nothing else, WebInk’s Webfont Plugin will save you the few bucks of buying desktop fonts for comps.

Remember when we were knocking Photoshop for its type rendering? What’s worse is that there’s no way to try out fonts from your Web font subscription in anything other than the browser. Thankfully, Extensis’ WebInk service has a plugin that gives you access to its library as you experiment in Photoshop.

Bjango iOS Actions

Unequivocally “the mother lode of time-saving actions,” this list from Marc Edwards will make your life much, much easier. If it’s useful, it’s included: a panel of the most-used Photoshop tools, scaling a document by 200% or 50%, testing for color-blindness and much more. It’s free, so there’s really no reason not to have it.

CSS Hat or CSS3Ps

Until recently, Photoshop didn’t have a way to export CSS attributes for the elements you create (admittedly, Fireworks has, but I digress). If you don’t have the latest version, then CSS Hat and CSS3Ps are solid alternatives. If you do have CS6, the differences between the built-in feature and these plugins isn’t much, although the plugins might take longer to display results and are also more accurate at times.

LayerVault

Famously flat designed, LayerVault boosts production through collaboration.
Famously flat designed, LayerVault boosts production through collaboration.

When Photoshop becomes your sketch pad rather than your canvas, like pages, you can bet more PSDs will be lying around. LayerVault is a great app for collaborating and sharing your ideas before they hit the browser.

WebZap

If you’re looking to experiment with layout in Photoshop, then the WebZap plugin makes comping incredibly speedy. You can choose from a number of predetermined layouts for elements such as headers, navigation and footers. If you work with Element Collages, WebZap is a great tool for getting down a quick baseline of each element so that you can get right into styling.

PixelDropr

It's like an ammo holder for Photoshop.
PixelDropr is like an ammo holder for Photoshop.

Part of being fleet of hand between Photoshop and the browser is creating reusable assets. PixelDropr is a fantastic plugin that enables you to drag and drop assets (icons, buttons, photos, etc.) from a panel onto your document.

InVision

For some, static comps are still a viable design deliverable, but they need some basic interactivity. InVision is an app that turns your static comps into “Protocomps.” Even when the comp is just a few elements, using InVision is a quick and efficient way to make it interactive.

Repurposing Fireworks, Sketch, Pixelmator, Etc.

The principle of “refining your tools” certainly isn’t isolated to Photoshop. Any image editor, when used to fit your workflow (instead of vice versa), can be a wonderfully liberating and powerful tool. All Web design apps have their shortcomings, and Photoshop perhaps most famously so.

Yet the fault lies not in our software, but rather in how we integrate it into our workflows. I suppose even when the Ultimate Web Design App comes along, most of us will find something wrong with it. Why? Because we’ve learned to be resourceful and make our tools work for us, whichever tools they are. The right tool, used for the right purpose, at the right time, is more valuable than one that tries to be too many things.

So, Is Photoshop Really Dead?

I could switch code editors, computers, wireframing tools, browser plugins, and more, but I’d be pretty sunk if I had to do a project without Photoshop.

– Dan Mall

I truly believe that, for some of us, Photoshop is an indispensable tool that still has a purpose in our Web design workflows. I tip my hat to those designers who can stay creative using only the browser, but I know I’m not one of them. Whatever tools you use, there are two takeaways I feel strongly about: don’t let anyone stop you from using them, and continue to refine them in ways that support how you work. It’s important that we share how we approach responsive design for those who, like myself, are still trying to figure it out.

Photoshop isn’t dead, but the way you used to use it might be.

More Photoshoppery

(al) (ea)


© Dan Rose for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

April 18 2013

13:19

10 Places to Get Photoshop Actions

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Delivering high quality images is something every designer should worry about, especially with images being such an important part of a design. To help you with this task, we’ve rounded up ten places where you can get some really useful Photoshop actions to enhance your images. We have some premium resources and also some free, so make sure to check out all of them to get the actions that best suit your needs.

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Our professional Photoshop actions make editing and retouching your digital photography simple and flexible.

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Totally Rad – Photoshop Actions

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Pure Photoshop Actions

Pure Photoshop Actions wants to maintain the integrity of your images. We have many sets available to choose from. From clean edits to artistic edits, there is a set that fits everyone’s needs!

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Free Actions

The Photo Argus

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Creative Blog

50 free Photoshop actions to create stunning effects

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Digital Camera World

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Vandelay Design Blog

Best Of – Photoshop Actions, several free and premium actions for you.

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DezineGuide

35 Free Photoshop Actions Collection

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March 04 2013

08:00

September 02 2012

17:39

Darktable: The free Alternative to Photoshop Lightroom goes Mac OS X


  

Photographers considering using a computer based on Linux not seldom have exactly one reason to do so: Darktable. Darktable is an open source project, best compared to Adobe Lightroom. It is a photo editor following the workflow of photographers, thus having them easily feel familiar with the app. Beginners will be overwhelmed by its feature richness. Now there is another option, if you don’t want to use a Linux-system. A few days ago, Darktable has been made available for Mac OS X

Darktable: Lighttable, darkroom, tethering

It almost sounds too good to be true. But the project Darktable doesn’t need to hide behind the functionality of its commercial competitor Lightroom. Some even say, that Darktable’s RAW Tools are even better than those Adobe has to offer. Adobe recently changed the name of its product to Photoshop Lightroom and dropped the price for the most recent version 4 to an affordable 149 USD. As the competitors show similarities in the look of the whole user interface, I wonder who got inspired by whom…

Darktable’s lightroom in standard view

Darktable, available in several languages, that are automatically invoked, according to the operating system it detects, follows a modularized workflow. Lighttable lets you do administrative tasks in the likes of Bridge or Picasa or … Lightroom. Meta-data can be viewed and changed. Categorization can be done from here, as well as sorting operations in a variety of ways.

The module darkroom is responsible for the manipulative work. As darktable is limited to tasks that real photographers would do in real darkrooms, we don’t have the opportunity to work on collages or other montages. All effects, corrections and related functionality can only be invoked on photographs. Darktable’s methods are powerful and very finely tunable. The results are often described to be better than what can be achieved using so-called professional software such as Lightroom. The last module, called tethering, is used to connect cameras to Darktable in a way that their contents can be imported automatically.

Darktable’s darkroom with an image opened

The product is comfortable and fast, the results are high-class. Moreover, Darktable is completely free. If you’re into one of the many Linux-derivatives, you probably know that the software has been available for quite a long time to the users of the open source OS. Ubuntu-users will even find a version of Darktable pre-installed. Be aware that these usually are older versions, so make sure you update soon as possible, using one of the many repositories available. If your OS carries names such as Fedora, Suse or Gentoo, the same applies to you. Fit as a fiddle programmers of course just compile their own version using the Sourcefourge- or Github-sources, just like Chuck Norris would do. Wait, probably with Chuck Norris sources compile themselves to avoid having Norris compile them. Anyway…

Freshest member of the family is the Darktable-version for Mac OS X, which is available as a DMG using this link. If you read the blog entry that announces the availability of the Mac-version, you’ll feel flooded with comments of users stating to have a wide variety of problems using, configuring, but also even installing the app.

Darktable for Mac OS X: a little self-test

Gotten insecure from the comments I mentioned before, I decided to give Darktable a spin, so none of our readers would run into trouble and probably blame me for having gotten their MacBooks damaged. I installed Darktable as is usually done using the downloaded DMG. Darktable went from a lean 15,5 MB DMG to a not so much fatter 52 MB app. And I did not experience any problem whatsoever. I imported over 1.000 pictures into lighttable and I was able to fire effects and filters at chosen pictures without any misbehaviour on the side of Darktable. Everything worked absolutely flawlessly, until I tried to connect my camera via the tethering-module. I couldn’t get that to work, but a workaround for this problem is already in existence. As I never use automatic importing of pictures, I didn’t give this workaround a spin, though.

The recent version of Darktable carries the number 1.05. The whole project is organized professionally und comes with a documentation, that leaves no stone unturned. You should definitely check out the project’s ressources-section.

People seeking a solution to professionally manipulate their photos, need not push out cash any longer. As cash always tends to vanish as soon as you look at it, Darktable might save you from premature bankruptcy and help you lead a happier life. You should have a 64-bit OS, though. It still runs on 32, but you know…

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