Photoshop layer styles represent an incredibly versatile set of tools for changing the appearance of any object you create. The trouble is, it can be quite time consuming to figure out the proper mix of effects to get the look you’re going for. Fortunately, tons of designers have gone before you and created some really complex and beautiful styles that you can apply with a single click.
deviantART is a goldmine for Photoshop styles and we’ve gone through and narrowed down their vast collection to the 15 great styles you see below. Enjoy!February 8th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
I’m constantly trying to convince designers that SketchUp is a tool they should have in their arsenal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about or even have no interest in 3D modeling, SketchUp can plug right into your workflow as a designer in a number of helpful ways. And hey, it’s free!
Today we’re going to use SketchUp to build an extremely simple but stylish city skyline from scratch. The whole process should take you less than an hour and can be mere minutes if you’re already familiar with the application.February 4th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Color has always been a popular topic on the web. We used to throw around terms like “web safe colors” a lot more than we do now simply because the computer displays back then weren’t as great as they are now. In place of these discussions, design blogs revert mostly to discussions of color theory and of course, free tools to help you build color palettes.
However, color was a hot topic long before the web was around. Once upon a time, my discussions about color revolved around printing presses and processes for applying ink. I’d wager there are plenty of readers out there who are either interested in learning about print or still work in print today so in this article I’ll teach you all about the magic of ink.February 3rd, 2011 Posted in Graphics
If you hail from the U.S., which state are you from and how would you rate the level of design from the schools there? Today we’re going to jump into this topic by examining 50 website home pages, one from a university in each of the fifty states.
We’ve divided the schools up into the best and worst and didn’t pull any punches when it comes to calling out bad design practices. Let’s see how your state fared!January 20th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Today we’re going to learn all about how to make convincing reflections in Photoshop. Text reflections, 3D reflections, product shot reflections, all kinds of crazy reflections. We’ll discuss everything from custom transforms to blending modes and beyond. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll probably learn a thing or two.
You might be thinking that reflections were all the rage a few years ago, but are currently losing a bit of steam, and you’d be right. However, you can still see plenty of them in practice on Apple.com and other sites. You should definitely beware of over-using them and adding to bad web 2.0 trends, but also know that once in a while they can add class to a boring item.January 19th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Church home pages tend to suffer from many of the same problems that we recently saw with band websites. There’s so much content that gets thrown onto these pages and it all competes for attention to such a degree that most or all of it loses any intended visual significance.
Today we’ll learn how to battle that by designing a dramatically simple and attractive church homepage that still has plenty of room for various messages, announcements and more.January 13th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic app for creating complex vector typographical arrangements. The application is so big and complicated though that it can take years to figure out how to recreate some of the cool effects that you’ve seen elsewhere without coming up with complicated workarounds.
Today we’ll remove some of the mystery of working with strokes and fills by diving into the appearance palette to see not only how it works, but how to manipulate the items within to create some really cool effects.January 5th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
More people are using touchscreen enabled devices now than ever before. This includes tablet PCs and the entire list of mobile phone operating systems. These devices are all mobile and allow for access from most any remote location.January 4th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
You can simply never have too many grungy paper backgrounds at your disposal. Unfortunately, many roundups shoot for quantity over quality in this area so it can be difficult to track down real, usable resources. We sifted through tons of paper textures to bring you ten of the best we could find.
All textures are sourced from Flickr Creative Commons and Lost and Taken. They’re all very large and ready to use. About half require simple attribution in the form of a link while the rest are usable with no restrictions. Enjoy!January 3rd, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Once upon a time, designers discovered blogging. This changed everything for many long-time designers like me who now pretend to be writers for a living. The rapid explosion of the design blog industry has brought about an unending flow of articles that essentially use 1,200 words to tell you how you should do your job. The question we’ll answer today is, which blogs actually take their own advice?
To highlight those blogs that feature the best design, we’ll be handing out very prestigious awards in several categories that I made up on the spot. All awards are based solely on visual appeal and give no consideration whatsoever to the actual quality of the blog content. Winners can claim their trophies at any trophy store for a small fee. Let’s get started!December 20th, 2010 Posted in Graphics