Category: Software


Adobe Illustrator 101: 10 Things You Should Know About Ai
Software / 15 Jun 2011

Adobe Illustrator 101: 10 Things You Should Know About Ai

Adobe Illustrator is one of my absolute favorite applications. For vector work, Illustrator simply can’t be beat and you should really set your reservations aside and give it a shot. Even if you’re commonly creating raster graphics for the web, there are a number of things that Illustrator simply does better than Photoshop so getting to know both apps and their strengths/weaknesses is a must.

Today’s article is for the extreme Illustrator newbies. You have the Adobe Creative Suite installed on your computer and have seen Illustrator sitting there quietly begging to be played with but you’ve never jumped in. We’ll go over ten basic things you should know before starting.

Apply Graphics to Textured Surfaces With Displacement Maps
Software / 31 Mar 2011

Apply Graphics to Textured Surfaces With Displacement Maps

Do you ever wonder how Photoshop masters create such realistic compositions? Seemingly simple tasks such as throwing some text onto a brick wall can easily lead to lackluster results if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So what sets you apart from the pros? Why are their final results so believable while yours reek of Photoshop? The simple answer is that they know more tricks than you! Let’s fix that.

25 Professional and Incredibly Powerful Photoshop Plugins
Software / 10 Mar 2011

25 Professional and Incredibly Powerful Photoshop Plugins

Freebies are awesome, and design blogs are full of them, but sometimes you need a professional tool to handle professional tasks. There are a wealth of extremely powerful and high quality photoshop tools that can dramatically improve your workflow and are worth every penny you have to spend to get them.

Today we’ll look at a number of the best tools available for making color adjustments, adjusting focus, enlarging images, transforming layers in 3D, reducing noise, creating textures, applying complex masks, and even taking that PSD into full-blown HTML.

10 Fresh Mac Apps With Beautiful Interfaces (and What We Can Learn From Them)
Software / 16 Dec 2010

10 Fresh Mac Apps With Beautiful Interfaces (and What We Can Learn From Them)

Interface design is a valuable skill to possess. Every decision you make, be it something as major as a color scheme or as minor as a stroke width, can potentially have a huge impact on whether or not people decide to use the application, website, etc. We designers know this better than anyone because we tend to be interface snobs, meaning we flat out refuse to use an app with poor design, even if the functionality is stellar.

The next time you’re faced with the task of designing an interface, why not learn from those who have already succeeded? Below we’ll take a look at the interfaces of ten beautiful and fairly new Mac applications and discuss what went right.

Mastering Variable Width Strokes in Illustrator CS5
Software / 8 Oct 2010

Mastering Variable Width Strokes in Illustrator CS5

Photoshop CS5’s fancy new feature set has garnered a lot of attention and tutorials, but Photoshop was by no means the only app to gain a little awesomeness. Illustrator CS5 has a few really stellar new features that make it even easier to create complicated vector art.

Today we’ll go over how to use one the many new features in Illustrator CS5: variable width strokes. With the new “Width Tool” you can make complex line shapes in seconds using only a few quick click and drag motions.

50 CMS Alternatives to WordPress
Software / 5 Oct 2010

50 CMS Alternatives to WordPress

Is WordPress a CMS? Many developers say “no” while countless others continue to use WordPress as a content management system regardless of its definition or intended use as a blogging platform.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, you should know that there are a lot of robust and powerful alternative CMS options that have been built from the ground up to help you manage the content on your site. Below you’ll find 50 content management systems perfect for designers, end users, churches, media sites and more!

Mastering Photoshop History and Layer Comps
Software / 9 Sep 2010

Mastering Photoshop History and Layer Comps

Sometimes the key to moving ahead in Photoshop is to look back.

There are a number of different tools, features and methods in Photoshop that you can and should be using to track and manipulate the history of your designs as they progress.

Today we’ll take an in-depth look at the Photoshop history palette and how it can help you diversify your designs and keep track of various ideas. We’ll also learn how to use the History Brush and those incredibly handy but difficult to figure out Layer Comps.

15 in-Depth Examples of Addictive User Experience
Graphics / 7 May 2010

15 in-Depth Examples of Addictive User Experience

Today we are going to examine 15 bits of user interface and experience design that really heighten the experience of using a site or application.

Use these website, iPhone and desktop application examples as inspiration for creating your own uniquely addicting user experiences.

Photoshop CS5: A Sneak Peek
Software / 26 Mar 2010

Photoshop CS5: A Sneak Peek

In the last few days there has been a lot of online buzz about the upcoming launch of Adobe’s next Creative Suite (aka CS5) in April 2010. Today I want to briefly run down some of the new features we’ll be seeing in the most beloved of the applications in the suite: Photoshop.

Take Part in the BaseKit Beta
Articles / 12 Dec 2009

Take Part in the BaseKit Beta

Various services are available for converting PSD files to HTML code, all competing from a different angle. Some offer a very quick turn-around, others a ridiculously low price. Whilst some designers regularly use them as part of their working process, there are various advantages to completing the process yourself.

BaseKit is a new web service that allows you to maintain control over this process, easily moving from a PSD to a fully marked up website. It’s still in Beta, but we have 50 invite codes to give away. Read on for a preview video of the service in action, and information on how to apply for an invite.

GoodBarry Review
Software / 17 Oct 2008

GoodBarry Review

GoodBarry ReviewGoodBarry is a system which, rather than simply providing a content management service, attempts to offer all the facilities you need to turn your website into a fully functional online business. These range from e-commerce, to newsletter provision, to a complete customer management system. This review is going to cover what my main likes and dislikes are about the system, along with explaining under what circumstances it is particularly suitable.

Before reading this, it might be worth a minute of your time to watch the introductory video at It gives you a quick flavour for what the system does and how it helps to manage your online business.

Integrating Flickr With WordPress
Articles / 22 Jul 2008

Integrating Flickr With WordPress

Flickr and WordPress PluginsWordPress is undoubtedly one of the most popular blogging platforms, so it’s no surprise that there are a huge variety of different plugins to allow you to integrate Flickr with your blog posts. This article does include a sponsored review of iFlickr, but we’ll also be looking at other plugins available to mix these two online platforms together.

iFlickr Review

By way of a basic introduction, iFlickr is a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily find free images on Flickr and insert them into your blog post while automatically putting the attribution link underneath. It can save you quite a bit of time when looking for related images to your blog post, but doesn’t satisfy the requirement you may have for putting your own personal images on your blog (we’ll cover some methods for doing this later on).

Here are some of the various bits we liked and didn’t like so much about iFlickr:

The Good

  • iFlickr makes it very easy to search for images as you’re writing
  • It gives you more flexibility and precision than other plugins which attempt to automatically find related images
  • It’s a very simple way to add some graphical content to a news article or blog post
  • It’s fairly easy to use CSS to customize the way the image appears
  • It’s completely free!

The Annoying

  • iFlickr only works with PHP5. This may be fine, but not all servers come with this by default
  • You can’t choose to only show your own images
  • It can be a bit tricky to get working correctly (it took us a while)

If you’re looking to use an appropriate Flickr photo with your blog posts on a regular basis, iFlickr is definitely a good way to go. However, if you’d like to mix things up in a different way, trying one of the following might be a better option:

Other Flickr/WordPress Plugins

  • WordPress Flickr Manager – This is a very fully fledged offering, which lets you search for both personal and public photos and insert them into your posts. It’s not as simple as iFlickr, but you might appreciate the bigger set of features.
  • Flickr Photo Album – This plugin allows you to add a set of photos to your site as an album. Rather than picking one or two images, you are able to display a whole collection. Great for showcasing screenshots, or your holiday pictures!
  • FlickrRSS – This lets you display a selection of your Flickr images as a sidebar widget. There are some useful advanced options for customising the display exactly as you want it.

We’d be really interested to hear about any other plugins which you find useful for integrating Flickr with your blog – drop us a line below!

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