Software

Reviews, tutorials, and news about apps and software for designers.

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.

How to Crank Out a DIY Mobile Site in Minutes Flat
Mobile / 30 Sep 2011

How to Crank Out a DIY Mobile Site in Minutes Flat

Huge strides are being made in professional web design in the mobile arena. More than ever, the web is a place that’s quite friendly to devices of all shapes, sizes and operating systems. If you’re not a professional designer, this news can be unwelcome and even overwhelming as you wonder how you’re going to afford or create your own mobile site.

Today we’re going to take a brief look at how mobile websites are becoming ubiquitous, why turnkey DIY services are a necessary part of the web design world and a few of these services for you to check out. We’ll even walk you through the process of using one of these services so you can see how easy it is to have your own mobile site up and running in minutes.

25 Extremely Useful Google Chrome Extensions for Designers and Developers
Software / 26 Sep 2011

25 Extremely Useful Google Chrome Extensions for Designers and Developers

Google Chrome was a fairly latecomer to the browser wars but was an overnight success that instantly became the favorite of Mac and Windows users alike. Everything about Chrome, from its minimal and highly practical interface to its solid Webkit Core and robust extension system, makes it hands down one of the best ways to access the web.

For all you Chrome lovers out there, we’ve got an awesome collection of 25 extremely useful Google Chrome Extensions for Designers and Developers. Whether you’re looking for a quick way to validate your page or create a custom grid overlay, we’ve got the tool for you.

8 Ways to Get the Selection You Want in Photoshop
Software / 7 Sep 2011

8 Ways to Get the Selection You Want in Photoshop

Mastering different forms of selection creation is one of the fundamental aspects of becoming a Photoshop professional. If you don’t know half a dozen techniques or more to create a usable selection, your toolbox of skills is unnecessarily limited.

Today we’re going to take a quick look at eight popular methods for creating selections in Photoshop and where each is the most applicable.

More Than Scaling: How to Make the Leap From Mobile to Desktop
Mobile / 30 Aug 2011

More Than Scaling: How to Make the Leap From Mobile to Desktop

In the last decade, much discussion time has been given to how both interfaces and user experiences translate from desktops to smaller mobile devices. Recently however, the conversation has switched and we’re now seeing trends begin in the mobile environment and make the leap back to the desktop.

This leap is deceptively simple and merits significant inspection as to the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop platforms and how that can and should affect how interfaces and experiences are crafted.

Why Adobe Doesn’t Understand Web Designers
Software / 18 Aug 2011

Why Adobe Doesn’t Understand Web Designers

Earlier this week Adobe launched a preview of a WYSISYG web design project currently codenamed “Muse.” Though it looked promising, disappointed and even angry reactions from the web community are already all over the web.

With all the time, effort and money that Adobe spends on creating a “code free” solution for designing websites, you’d think that they would be able to create something decently usable by now. So what’s holding them back? Today we’ll take a brief walk down memory lane, starting all the way back at PageMill, to see if we can discover any reoccurring themes in Adobe’s history with web designers.

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.