Category: Software

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Software / 5 Jul 2012

How to Organize Your Shoots and Catalogs in Lightroom

Typically I stick to strictly design related topics, but today we’re going to stretch that a bit with a quick discussion on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Tons of designers take photos for their projects whether they consider themselves “photographers” or not so I’m sure lots of you will find this to be a useful topic.

The main struggle that I see with Lightroom users is simply organization. How can you keep multiple shoots separate? Where should you import your files? These are important questions and the answers aren’t very intuitive so today I’ll walk you through my basic process for keeping various shoots organized.

Software / 2 Jul 2012

Help Prevent User Screw-Ups With These Awesome Tips

As a user, don’t you hate it when you click a button, only to realize that the resulting action really isn’t what you wanted at all? Sometimes this is a minor annoyance and sometimes it’s a complete disaster that ruins hours or even days of work.

As a designer, it’s up to you to help your users avoid these tragic mistakes whenever possible. Today we’ll look at some methods that you can use to achieve this goal.

Software / 27 Jun 2012

Brackets: Adobe’s Innovative Text Editor Project

Unlike Apple, Adobe seems to love sharing its product ideas when they’re in their infancy. This is both a good and a bad thing. As a user, it’s fun to see what Adobe has up its sleeve. Admittedly though, it’s frustrating to spend time working with a project only to see it vanish completely, never to come to full fruition. There’s also the frustration involved with using any sort of early beta project. Allowing users to check out the barely functioning version of your product might dissuade them from ever trying the finished one.

For better or worse, Adobe often shows its burgeoning products to the public, and the latest app in this trend is a text editor called Brackets. Adobe claims this new text editor will be innovative, open, focused and extensible. Will brackets live up to these lofty promises? Read on to find out.

Software / 19 Jun 2012

Adobe Creative Cloud: Is Subscribing to Software a Good Idea?

Fresh off the heels of purchasing my new MacBook Pro, I decided that it was time to make the jump to CS6. This of course brought up a critical choice: how should I purchase the software? These days Adobe provides you with a plethora of options for getting your hands on their apps and choosing the best method for you isn’t always easy.

The newest method of obtaining the Creative Suite caught my interest right away: Adobe Creative Cloud. Under this model, you’re really leasing the applications instead of buying them. Is this a good idea? Is Adobe Creative Cloud worth it or is it a short term convenience that turns into a long term nightmare? Let’s explore.

Software / 23 May 2012

Ode to the Option Key: 30+ Cool Option Key Shortcuts in Photoshop

The Option key (that’s Alt for you PC folks) is an amazing little helper for the Photoshop user. For the most part, you can probably get along without it but when you learn to wield it well, you open up tons of time saving features.

Why is it so great? What are all these great things you can do with the Option key in Photoshop? Read on to find out!

Software / 15 May 2012

Adobe Muse Test Drive: Is It Worth $15 Per Month?

Adobe has an interesting relationship with folks who design websites. Photoshop and Fireworks have you covered from a static image perspective, but tools to build live, functioning websites are another story completely. Flash is no longer the poster child of modern web technologies (quite the opposite), GoLive went the way of the dinosaurs and Dreamweaver, though still widely used, is regarded by many to be a bloated mess.

One area that Adobe is intent on pursuing is web design for non-coders. They’ve made it their mission to bring the world of professional website creation to the huge market of designers who can’t write a lick of code. Thus far, they’ve largely fallen short of that goal (Project Rome anyone?). Their latest attempt, Adobe Muse, has finally exited beta and is available as a part of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service ($50 per month) or as a stand alone product ($15 per month). Is Muse worth your time and money? Will it really allow you to create professional level websites without coding? Read on to find out.

Articles / 30 Mar 2012

Have a More Successful Brainstorming Session

One of the most important aspects of the creative and design process is the sharing and development of ideas. Seldom does a first draft of anything — from an ad concept to a new web layout — see the light of day without planning and revision. Jumpstart the process with more productive and creative brainstorming sessions for your team. The concept sounds simple, right?

The best planned brainstorming sessions take some work. As the leader of the group you must decide how many people to invite and what ground rules will be set. Most of all you want to help bring something positive away from the meeting. Try these tips to spice up your next brainstorming session.

Software / 28 Mar 2012

3 Fantastic & Fresh Tools for Web Designers

I love to keep an eye on the every growing world of single purpose web apps that are specifically aimed at making part of your job as a web designer a little bit easier. Today we’ll check out three of these tools that I’ve found fun and helpful recently.

We’ll start by looking at Colllor, a great way to turn a single color into many. Next we’ll jump into Warp CSS and create some amazing CSS typography that you probably didn’t even think was possible. Finally, we’ll check out Bear CSS, a way to quickly generate a starter stylesheet based on your HTML. Let’s get started!

Software / 28 Dec 2011

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Using Scatter Brushes in Photoshop

In web design we often focus on using Photoshop to create pixel perfect designs that are meticulously shaped and layered until they’re absolutely pristine. Repeated patterns, tiny strokes, complex gradients and reflections are trademarks of this design style.

But what if you’re going for something more organic? How can we use Photoshop to create complex and random particle arrangements that don’t look cheesy and contrived? The answer of course is to utilize scatter brushes. This awesome tool seems fairly simple on the surface but there’s a ton functionality and limitless possibilities to explore so even if you’re a Photoshop pro, read on to see some great ideas for how to use scatter brushes in your work.

Software / 30 Nov 2011

Designing a Website With IM Creator

In the ever expanding world of online website builders, it’s pretty difficult to find anything that’s worth spending more than ten minutes with. This market is flooded with clunky interfaces, hideous templates and brutal freeform design restrictions.

I recently came across a product called IM Creator that stands out though both in style and functionality. Does it live up to its promises or join the rest of the sites in this market and fall short of a decent DIY website solution? Read on to find out.

Software / 21 Nov 2011

5 Simple Steps to Stunning Portraits in Photoshop

Today’s article points out a harsh but true reality: just because you know how to use Photoshop for design work doesn’t mean you know how to edit photos. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.

Follow along as we show you five simple and lightning fast steps you can take to transform your plain, boring portraits to stunning images that look straight out of a professional photographer’s portfolio. Along the way you’ll learn several important tips such as how to properly sharpen an image and how to draw the viewer’s attention to where you want it to go.

Software / 16 Nov 2011

10 Ways Photoshop Actions Can Improve Your Workflow

Photoshop actions are an extremely easy way to automate all of the mundane daily tasks that have made their way into your design workflow. Whether you’re in web or print design, odds are there are a few repetitive tasks that you could let Photoshop handle for you.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to automating your workflow is simply coming up with ideas for where Photoshop actions could help you out. Today we’ll help you solve that problem by going over 10 ways Photoshop actions can improve your workflow.