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A Few Tips for Prototyping with Atomic

A Few Tips for Prototyping with Atomic

Needless to say that there is a wide range of prototyping tools out there and I won't say which one are the best ones because there isn't one. I liked to say it all depends on your workflow and what's your purpose of this tool. That being said, I've been using this prototyping tool called Atomic and what I enjoyed the most about this tool is how fast it is and the fact you can customize with CSS is a must (for me). Here's a few tips that will make your experience with Atomic more accurate and fluid. In Atomic's Words Type To quickly and conveniently select a color within the color picker, just type the name of the color or paste the HEX code into the color selector. You can even type different shades of popular colors. Just be sure to exclude the spaces between words when you type them. For example “darkgreen” or “lightblue”. Gradients • Open a Custom CSS Gradient Generator such as this. Choose your preferred colors, angle and opacity. In the CSSmatic example, there’s quite a few settings you can play around with. Just tweak it until it feels right. • Once you’ve chosen your settings, select ‘Copy Text’ and navigate back to Atomic. With your element selected, paste the CSS into the Custom CSS field in the Atomic. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Convert • Import your image into Atomic • With the image selected, navigate to the Custom CSS window and paste in the following: border-radius:50%; Mask • Import your image and full size • Convert your image to a Container. • Resize the boundary of the Container to mask the image About Atomic Atomic is a prototyping tool and collaboration web app for designers. Originally from New Zealand, this team has been making buzz on the Web with their fast and efficient tool with awesome weekly content. For more information and get your hands on Atomic: https://atomic.io. Originally from: http://blog.atomic.io.

Useful Articles for Wordpress Development

Useful Articles for Wordpress Development

Lately I've been up to my neck in a Wordpress personal project, developing a nice website environment to be proud about and I've ran into many issues along the way, from simple things like adding classes to the body tag to more complex ones like security issues and things like that. I thought it would be nice to share with you some of best articles I've found during this time. These are some of the most useful articles I've used and saved for future reference. Some of these are quite basic, other are super complex, but I find amazing how some developers are super awesome for sharing their knowledge with the community. I hope you find use for this, because these have definitely helped me at some point. Also, if you have your own Wordpress developing bookmarks, please, share it with us! The issues you have encountered and solved might be someone else's current problem. Cheers. ;) Developing WordPress Locally With MAMP "Local development refers to the process of building a website or Web application from the comfort of a virtual server, and not needing to be connected to the Internet in order to run PHP and MySQL or even to test a contact form. One of the most annoying parts of development, at least for me, is the constant cycle of edit, save, upload and refresh, which, depending on bandwidth and traffic, can turn a menial task into a nightmare. With application platforms such as WordPress, which require a server back end to work, you would normally be constrained to develop on a live server, with the headaches that go along with that. MAMP and its Windows counterpart, WAMP, are tools that allow you to locally develop applications that require a server on the back end." -Read the article at Smashing Magazine. How to Build A WordPress Theme From Scratch Part One "So you have WordPress installed and now you are ready to install a theme to give your blog/site the look you want.For most people, this involves using a theme that was purchased or using a free theme that they found on the Internet. But these don’t have to be the only two options you have to choose from. A developer with some skill in CSS and HTML can easily create their own WordPress themes to give their site the ability to provide a unique experience for their visitors. This tutorial will walk you through the steps of creating your own theme." -Read the article at Developer Drive. Wordpress Body Class 101: Tips and Tricks for Theme Designers "Through out our experience of using WordPress, we have found that often theme designers overthink a certain functionality. They are looking for crazy WordPress filters and hooks to accomplish a task when all they need is some simple CSS. WordPress by default generates a lot of CSS classes. One of these CSS classes area ia the body class styles. In this article, we will explain the WordPress body class 101 along with sharing some useful tips and tricks for beginning theme designers." -Read the article at WPBeginner. 10 Most Common WordPress Errors (With Solutions) "If you are a WordPress user who likes to get your hands dirty with the codes, or one who just loves installing plug-ins and changing themes, you’ll understand that encountering an error is an inevitable occurrence. WordPress users (like us) know how frustrating it is to stumble into an unexpected error and not be able to find a solution for it. Most WordPress problems are solvable; If you hit an error, don’t fret because chances are, some other WordPress user had the same problem and had already gotten it solved." -Read the article at Hongkiat. 55+ Most Wanted WordPress Tips, Tricks, and Hacks "There are times when you come across a feature in a blog, and you just start thinking to yourself: How can I get this in my WordPress blog/site as well. Everybody have experienced this feeling. Sometimes you know you want it, and don’t know where to look for, or even what to look for. In this article we will be sharing some of the most wanted WordPress Tips, Tricks, and Hacks that you will definitely find useful. These tutorials are classified under various skills level. For some tutorials, you will need to know basic HTML and some WordPress Knowledge." -Read the article at WPBeginner. Widgetizing Themes Widgetizing is a pseudo word that describes the process of implementing Widgets and Widget Areas into your Theme. -Read the article at Wordpress Codex. 10 Useful WordPress Loop Hacks "The loop is a very important aspect of WordPress blogs. In fact, the loop is what allows you to get posts from your WordPress database and print them on the screen. A set of useful and user-friendly functions, the loop is incredibly powerful. With it, you can get a single post, a list of posts ordered by date, title or category, a list of posts written by a specific author and much more. In this article, we’ll show you 10 useful things you can do with the WordPress loop to make your blog even more powerful than it is right now." -Read the article at Smashing Magazine. Adding Disqus comment count links to your home page "Most websites implementing Disqus will want a way to display the comment count for each page with comments, on their home page. We offer an easy to use JavaScript code snippet which displays the number of comments for pages with Disqus embedded." -Read the article at Disqus.

Working with Type in Photoshop

Working with Type in Photoshop

In this post I'm going to show you some of the tools that I use in my workflow when working with type in Photoshop. Anti-Aliasing The elephant in the room seems to be as good of a place as any to start this post. In previous versions of Photoshop (pre-CS6) selecting the type of anti-aliasing method to use came down to choosing the best from a bad bunch really. However, a few months ago Adobe introduced two new OS-native options in the anti-aliasing settings in Photoshop: “Mac” and “Mac LCD”. These options aim to replicate the system anti-aliasing for fonts: “Mac” replicating OS X’s greyscale font smoothing and “Mac LCD” its sub-pixel font smoothing. For web designers, the CSS equivalent to “Mac” would be: `-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased` and the equivalent of “Mac LCD”: `-webkit-font-smoothing: subpixel-antialiased` As iOS uses greyscale anti-aliasing for all of its type rendering, you should use the “Mac” anti-aliasing method in Photoshop when designing for iOS devices. Character and Paragraph styles Character and Paragraph style panels shipped with CS6 and allow you to save the attributes you've set for a specific text layer to then re-apply the exact same styling to other layers. To display the panels, go to Window > Character/Paragraph Styles in the main Photoshop window. I find this feature very useful for keeping all of my typography consistent throughout a project. If you are unfamiliar with this feature, Tuts+ have a handy getting started video on their site. Wrap text with paths I only really use this when doing web design but it’s still good to know about. If you want to wrap text around an image then you can do so fairly easily with vector paths. Make sure to have a look at this [video tutorial from “Method and Craft”](http://methodandcraft.com/videos/shaping-textfields-in-photoshop) if you're unsure how to achieve this. In essence: draw the shape you want your text to be wrapped within then pick the type tool. Click on the shape you just created and the text layer’s bounds will be wrapped around the shape. Check out the end result below: Filter Text Layers This is a fairly well known feature in Photoshop but I still find it useful. At the top of the layers panel there are various filtering methods including “Filter for Type Layers”. Activate this to only show text layers in the panel. It can be handy for making bulk changes to a project. Paste Lorem Ipsum Another useful little time saver that shipped with CS6 is the ability to paste *Lorem Ipsum* text into your document from within Photoshop. When editing a text layer, go to Type > Paste Lorem Ipsum in the main menu to paste a paragraph of dummy text. I would recommend assigning a keyboard shortcut to this to make it even quicker. Font Management I use OS X’s built-in Font Book to manage the 269 fonts I currently have installed on my system. I have tried a lot different 3rd party font management applications in the past but they always ended up breaking something and felt unnecessary for the few fonts that I actually use. There we have it. These are some of the things I do when working with type in Photoshop to improve my workflow. Hopefully you found this post useful! Let me know if there are any other aspects of Photoshop you would like me to talk about in further blog posts, on Twitter. The original version of this article was published on the Realmac Software blog Elliot Jackson is a Designer at Realmac Software, a small, award-winning independent iOS and OS X development studio behind Clear, Ember and Rapidweaver

Best Web Builders for Designers without Development Experience

Best Web Builders for Designers without Development Experience

Fortunately for web designers, their skills are still in high demand now and years in the future, even with web builders that advertise anyone without development or design experience can design their own website. So, why are site builders not putting web designers out of commission, and, in many ways increasing business for them? Although website builders provide a very professional site for businesses, the designs are templates - basic and unbranded. In fact, web builders are an excellent tool for designers, especially for those who lack development experience. And, no, it's not "cheating" to use a template to build a website. Your client does not have the skills to customize for their brand like you do. And if you have some SEO experience, all the better. While many site building tools include some SEO customization, there's a lot there that still needs to be added for best results. So, if you are a web designer with little to no coding skills, you may want to strongly consider checking out the following website builders. The list below includes a variety of web builders for a variety of needs, at a variety of costs, and with varying degrees of customization. Different clients may require different features, so you may find that you use several of these, depending on your clients. However, some of the following do have designer account options with which you can create multiple websites and domains for your clients all underneath your account. WebStartToday While WebStartToday.com is one of the easiest and most basic web designer tools in this list, it comes with many features with which not even the more expensive web builders can compete. For instance, WebStartToday has one of the largest template libraries with 1,000s of highly customizable designs. Even better, their templates are organized well so that you won't spend hours looking for the right design for your client. In fact, they advertise that you can set up a website in only minutes. Every template also comes with a variety of stunning color themes, and their image editing tool is more than capable of handling intermediate editing. And, as always necessary when setting up a site for a client, their templates come with a CMS so that your clients can make basic changes on their own, calling on you only when they get stumped. The pricing for this web builder tool is quite affordable at $9.99/mo (or discounted at $99/yr if paid in a lump sum), and this comes with a unique domain name and free hosting. If you don't want to pay the fee until after your client views the site first, then you can simply set up the free version using a domain of businessname.webstarttoday.com for up to a year. You can switch at any point during this free version to the paid version. Here's a few more reasons why WebStartToday is a great option: Page content is industry-specific and editable Templates and content available for 72 industry verticals SEO and Google Analytics support Google Apps Interactive options including maps and videos Absolutely unlimited storage for data! 24/7 support system Breezi Breezi.com was made specifically for creatives with no development experience, and at only $9/mo, this web builder is quite a steal. Taking a look at all of the design features, you can see just how perfectly it fits designers, as it would probably leave business owners without design experience a bit at a loss. With Breezi, it does take more time to launch a website than with other web builders, but you get some amazingly fun tools for creating a highly unique website. For instance, let's say that you set up your layout and have entered the content and apps and such. Then your client comes back and says they just don't feel like the style fits their brand. No problem! Simply try a different skin - no need to start over from scratch - your layout and content remain intact while you scroll through and try on different skins. Or maybe you need to change up some of the CSS but you know absolutely nothing about code - Breezi allows for visual editing of CSS content. The complete control of your content along with incredible tools such as the image editor and tons of apps make Breezi quite a robust web builder. Here's more: FTP and DropBox syncing Designs are responsive/adaptive for mobile compatibility Store templates also available Domain hosting CMS for clients to easily maintain Easy layout builder Unlimited storage and bandwidth IMCreator With IMCreator.com, you can choose from a regular account or a designer version. Both allow for easy drag and drop customization of HTML templates, but the designer version comes with more options, such as a CMS and the ability to upload your own template. You can also submit designs and receive an income whenever they are used. While there are not a huge amount of templates from which to choose, all are extremely stunning, highly professional, and fairly original since they were created by individual designers. Plus they are all very easy to edit completely for your client's brand. You can also choose to use the stock photos included in the templates or upload your own. Image galleries include slideshow options, and other awesome, editable features included are contact forms and video players. Check out more of what you get with IMCreator: Use IMCreator domain and hosting or your existing one Templates organized by industry including restaurants, musicians, models, etc. Google indexed Custom email address Compatible with PCs, Macs, mobile, tablets, and most browsers SquareSpace Start on SquareSpace.com with the most common pages of a website - home, about, blog, gallery, store - and add or subtract from there. If your client needs a full website and e-commerce combo, SquareSpace provides quite the robust web builder and features for such a task. For instance, their store management system provides great tools to make it easy for your client to keep up with items such as inventory and printing packing slips. You can even choose to remain the main admin and add your client and others as additional contributors. While the templates are search engine optimized, you may need to do a bit more customization in this area for your client, but SquareSpace allows you complete control. There are three pricing options and a 14-day free trial. And all versions come with a free custom domain. For $8/mo you get 20 pages, 500GB bandwidth, and only 2 GB storage. However, for both the $16/mo and $24/mo packages, you get unlimited pages, bandwidth, and storage plus much more. Other awesome features include Incredibly stunning editable templates Ability to use preset designs or customize your layout, colors, and fonts Easy drag and drop editing Awesome image editing tool Blog posts come with auto-publish options All templates are optimized for mobile viewing Analytics are built in to every template 24/7 support Site2You Site2You.com boasts the ability to create a website in only minutes and comes with a 7 day trial. After the trial, you can choose from several packages. The monthly packages come with different webmaster assistance allowance. This webmaster assistance is basically free help in customizing and adding features beyond what their web builder tool is capable of doing, which gives designers the ability to really take a website above and beyond without any need to learn code. For $24.95/mo you get 10 hours of webmaster assistance. For $49.94/mo, you get 3 hour/month webmaster assistance. Another amazing option available with Site2You is that they allow you to download your source files, no strings attached, with the purchase of one of the Turnkeys packages. Both Turnkeys packages are yearly subscriptions and come with $15/hr webmaster assistance. The Turnkeys 2.0 package requires you to purchase hosting on your own, but as with the monthly packages, the Turnkeys Facebook package comes with free hosting with Site2You. More incredible features include Ready-to-use website content Templates with various forms, maps, SEO keywords, and much more Use of webmaster to match color scheme to your logo colors Store designs with PayPal button and shopping cart feature Excellent 24/5 support Use licensed stock photos or your own Additional services available for further customization Jimdo The appeal of Jimdo.com is how much you get for the cost. The business/store option is $240/yr and creatives option is $90/yr. But both paid versions come with 1,000s of incredible features. And there's more good news - Jimdo does have a free version that includes a 5 item store with the ability to accept PayPal or credit cards, widgets, varied designs, photo gallery, blog, and much more. The paid versions come with a newsletter system, meta tags, email accounts with forwarding, domains, lots of payment options, and much more. Creating multimedia sites is very easy with Jimdo's amazing tools and easy-to-edit layouts. And the speed is very fast, especially for the paid versions. While the content is not optimized for search engine, the layout of the templates are tweaked for search engines, including in the free version. Here are just a few more reasons why you may want to check out Jimdo: Store and website both work for mobile Flash and HTML photo galleries Use stock photos or your own Add text with photos Contact forms, reservation request forms, guestbook Social media tools Many customization features - widgets, blog, images, RSS feed, Flash Customizable layouts WebsiteBuilderPro WebsiteBuilderPro.com comes with lots of pricing options, making it easy for designers to choose one that works best for their clients. Prices start at $4.99 and go up to $25.99/mo and include varying amounts of bandwidth and number of sites. So, if you plan on using WebsiteBuilderPro to create several websites for several clients, you may want to go with the Plus version (10 websites) or Max version (unlimited websites). And amazingly, all price versions come with an unlimited number of pages, which means you can add pages whenever you want. To create a website, you simply choose from one of their many templates, add pages, and add content. The templates come with the ability to be customized completely. Like most website builders, there is no need to pay until you decide to launch your design. Other great features include Google Adsense, free hosting, store, no ads, and much more: Choose from stock images or use your own Upload videos easily Click to edit any part of the page Product catalog and shopping cart Mobile optimized Add members and creative private pages Forums, chatrooms, contact forms Weebly Choose between the completely free version or the white labeled designer version with Weebly.com. In fact, the designer version is extremely affordable at only $7.95/mo and the ability to design multiple sites with CMS. There are only 100s of designs from which to choose, but all are highly professional and very customizable. Like most web builders, you simply drag and drop content into place. Plus, you get free domain hosting that Weebly monitors 24/7. If your client is a blogger, they may really enjoy Weebly's easy drag and drop blogging. Or if your client also needs a store, e-commerce solutions are also available. Let's say you are on the go but need to make some quick changes to your client's site. Simply make edits on your iPhone. Weebly also comes with the option of using their website statistics tracking system or also adding Google Analytics for further data tracking. More amazing features include Photo galleries with slideshows Video and audio players Easy form builder Excellent image editor Full HTML/CSS control Templates are mobile optimized Ecommerce features SEO with additional settings available If you are unsure which of these web builders is right for you and your clients, remember that all come with, at the least, the ability to design a website for free. While all of these site builders listed above are excellent options for web designers, you may need certain features one of these have that the other don't. So take a look, try them out, and choose which one you are most comfortable with. Then see just how easy it is to become a successful web designer without the need to learn any coding at all! Tara Hornor Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a company that specializes in guest blogging and building backlinks. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

The book suggestion of this week is titled Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon and it's a New York Times bestseller about tips on being creative. As the author says, it's all about being yourself. You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination. Buy Now

Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint

Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint

Hi guys, what's up? Hope everyone enjoyed my last tutorial about stencil art, because today we're going deep on spray can techniques. Not only we're again focusing on alternative techniques, but this time we're going to do this also thru video, check this out. So first of all, let me explain what is the main idea here: Lots of people ask me how could I achieve such interesting results using a media as spray paint. Well, it takes time and dedication, but after three years of hard work, I could come from this crap: To this: It takes time, it takes passion, but I believe that my way to here would be much easier If I had someone to show me some really basic tricks. But let me emphasize here: these are not drawing or composition tricks, these are just dinamics that will make you have a better motricity with a spray can. I already wrote many written tutorials, but this time I though that a video tutorial would be more appropriated and easier to understand than just images and pictures, so here's a brief explanation of what this is all about. Chapter #1: Understanding the Spray Can I did this diagram that exemplify the past of the spray can, as you can see, there's no big deal in here: Cap/Biqueira: This is a essential piece for spraying, it's what regulate the diameter and quantity of paint that get off the can. There're dozen of type of caps, each one with a specific use and some more generical. Donut: This is usually a circle on the top of the can that displays the color you're using. Some cheap brands don't use this piece and rather place the name or a sticker of the color, my advise: If the brand don't even use donuts on the can, don't even buy it. Air/Ar: There's air inside the can, it's actually makes it possible to spray. But there's a golden rule about it: The air should be always on top for a good spray performance, so you should try to use it on 90º degrees and never turn it upside down. Valve/Válvula: This part is responsible for getting the ink off the can, it works along the pressure that you put on the cap. As it get the ink from the bottom, I will repeat again, you will spray only air If you turn it upside down. Paint/Tinta: Most spray can use oil based paint, it sticks and cover better than acrylic. In the other hand, they're toxic as hell, so make sure to use gas mask and gloves while dealing with it. Ball/Bola: This little metallic ball is helpful for mixing properly the ink, depending on the density of the ink, there can be more than one ball (MTN 94 white color uses three metallic balls, it's almost dense as butter). Concave/Côncavo: Don't know exactly the function of the concave on the bottom, but I know for sure that every aerosol has it, just look at the bottom of your deodorant. I think is something related with the pressure dinamic. The five variables There're five variables that will influence the diameter and blurriness of your spray trace, here's a brief explanation why they are so important. 1) Cap - The cap you choose will have a big role on the trace you will get. Nowadays there are dozens of types of caps, each with a specific diameter and usability. The one I'm using in this tut is a NY fat cap, it's a really ecletic cap as he can goes from thin to thick lines easily. 2) Can Pressure - The pressure of the can is something you should look before going to the wall, there are high, medium and low pressure cans, you should check what are better suitable for you use. Low pressure cans are recommended for beginners and for those who want thinner traces. Just remember: The highest the pressure, the biggest will be the trace 3) Wall distance - The more distant from the wall, the more blurry will be the trace, the more close to the wall, more solid will be the trace. 4) Cap pressure - The strenght applied on the cap will determine how much paint will get off it, so I must say the stronger you push it, the more will get off. 5) Speed - Spray paint is also about speed, the more quickly you do your trace, it will have less chances of get blurry or drip, also it will be thinner. But If you want a thicker trace, you should spray it slowly. Chapter #2: Useful exercises for spray dexterity So guys, I cannot teach you how to draw with spray paint without teaching you techniques on handling a can. So this will be about get used to this new tool, so please don't get anxious about doing a badass artwork right now, focus on get good on this tasks. Exercise #1- Make a tiny square So, let's start by trying to draw a really small square, try to draw the smaller you can. Don't be shy, I know you probably will make a huge mess on the beginning, but we will try again this exercise later and you will see that it will be much easier. Please take this as a invitation to use the can. Exercise #2- Make three different diameters Now let's test the dynamics of distance and pressure on the cap. Try to spray three different diameters, this will take time to master trust me. Exercise #3- Make a thin and thick line Now let's test the speed and cap pressure, so try to make a thin line by spraying it fast, close to the wall and pressing softly the cap. Then, try to make a thick line by spraying it slowly, far from the wall and pressing harder the cap. Exercise #4- Make both thin and thick lines You probably already realized that you can get a blurry or solid trace, so here's a exercise you should try: Try making a blurry to solid trace by vary the distance from the wall, this is a bit hard to master. Exercise #5- Connect the dots to make straight lines The best way to learn how to do straight lines is by doing a really silly exercise: Connect the dots, yep, like we used to do on kindergarten drawing books. Draw two points, posicionate the spray over the first one, aim on the second, then connect both. Don't move only your arm, spraying on wall also needs body movements, don't be a robot so. Exercise #6- Connect the dots to make shapes Now do the same exercise, but this time try to draw simple shapes, easy huh? Exercise #7- Make tiny circles Now that you already master lines and sharp shapes, let's try something round. Try to draw the tiniest circle you, start by doing it big then go smaller as you can. Exercise #8- Make a circle, a triangle and square Now, after all this exercises, you probably got some good dexterity with the can, so let's try to draw this basic shapes and try to draw them smaller and smaller. Exercise #9- Make a square with gradients Now for a final task, I gotta say I'm not the best on it hehe let's try to use gradients to create shapes, try first to create a square using gradients. You can achieve this by inclining your spray and by aiming the cap to the side you want to make the gradient. The Video So guys, in order ot make it more visual I decided to make this self explanatory video, hope it help and answer all your doubts on this exercises. Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint from Marcos Torres on Vimeo. Just a brief introduction to spray paint and some pretty basic exercises to understand how it works and to get dexterity on this tool.

Super Useful Photoshop Tips

For the next few weeks we'll be posting some of the best Photoshop tips from Photoshop Secrets. Some of these tips can greatly optimize your workflow helping you work faster and more precisely. Move Gradients, Patterns and Shadows from the Style Panel When adding gradients, patterns and shadows to a layer, you can drag your canvas to adjust the relative position of the effect. Separate compound shapes or masked bitmap layers into a new layer If you have 2 compound shapes in one layer and decide to separate them, the easiest way to do it is to select the shape (with the Path Selection Tool) then hit ⌘⇧J. This also works if you mask a bitmap layer, it cuts and duplicates it. ⌘J Will duplicate the shape or mask and leave the original intact. Open a duplicate window of your document so you can work on a detailed version When creating icons or small assets you may want to see both the 100% view and a zoomed in view so you can edit details and see the original at the same time. You can do so by clicking Window > Arrange > New Window for [doc_name]. The shortcut you see on the image I created myself by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Press ⇥ while renaming a layer to rename the next layer Double click a layer name to rename it, Instead of pressing return, press ⇥ (tab) and the layer below will be selected and ready to be renamed. (CS6 only) Hide / show all effects on your document ⌥ click on effects icon to expand/collapse all effects in document (CS6 only) Change Layer opacity and fill opacity with keyboard Select a layer and press: 0 for 100% - 1 to 9 for decimals from 10 to 90. You can also type numbers in fast sequence to set specific opacity such as 25, 37 or 00 for 0%. Pressing ⇧ plus the numbers changes the Fill opacity. Make sure that you have the Move Tool (V) selected otherwise this will not work. With the Brush Tool the same shortcuts will set the opacity of the brush. And in case you don’t know, this is the difference between Opacity and Fill. Opacity changes the opacity of the entire layer including its styles, whereas Fill keeps the styles intact but knocks out the fill. Change Layer Blending Modes with your keyboard Select a layer then: ⌥⇧- Previous Blend ⌥⇧+ Next Blend ⌥⇧W Linear Dodge (Add) ⌥⇧E Difference ⌥⇧T Saturation ⌥⇧Y Luminosity ⌥⇧U Hue ⌥⇧I Dissolve ⌥⇧O Overlay ⌥⇧A Linear Burn ⌥⇧S Screen ⌥⇧D Color Dodge ⌥⇧F Soft Light ⌥⇧G Lighten ⌥⇧H Hard Light ⌥⇧J Linear Light ⌥⇧K Darken ⌥⇧L Hard Mix ⌥⇧Z Pin Light ⌥⇧X Exclude ⌥⇧C Color ⌥⇧V Vivid Light ⌥⇧B Color Burn ⌥⇧N Normal ⌥⇧M Multiply Change text size with your keyboard Select text by double clicking a text layer or manually selecting. ⌘⇧ ⌘⇧> Bigger by 2 points ⌘⌥⇧ ⌘⌥⇧> Bigger by 10 points Make your Layer Styles into Layers. Disconnect Styles from Layers by right clicking on effects and clicking “Create Layers”. This allows you to better manipulate effects, especially good for patterns, so you can morph them around a “3D” shape. You can also better adjust a drop shadow by cropping it or transforming it.

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2 What's up guys? Following my last tutorial, today we're going to proceed with some more techniques using stencils. Just in case you missed the part one, you can see it here. The focus of today exercise it's more complex techniques as multiple layers and color. So, I believe most of you have already done some stencils from our last tutorial, so just in case you may feel this exercises may be quite simple, remember to focus on the technique and not on the result, it's just a sample. So before we can start it out, here are some materials you may need: 1- Cardboard pieces; 2- Razor rather than a scissor (will be explained further); 3- Pencil, eraser and a little notebook; 4- Rulers; 5- A black and white printer; 6- 3 different color of aerosol spraypaint. Multiple Colours Stencils So people always ask me how could I achieve this effect on the layers, well, it's ridiculous, although it takes some care and patience to achieve. So, let's get a previous stencil we used on our last tutorial, it don't have to be the "paz" stencil, but I would like you to use a more solid stencil, you will understand later. Let's first find a surface to apply it. I decided to use a dirty and already tagged surface. I already said this on the list of material, but just to emphasize: In order to make this technique possible you should have at least four different colors of spray paint. I just made a flat base color to give more contrast to this piece, you won't need to this If you're applying on a blank surface. Let's simplify this process: you're going to fix the stencil on the surface on the same position all the time, If you take it out, you will probably lose the application site and will look like a mess, so please make sure to pin it with a duct tape or masking tape. Let's start by applying softly the first color, the trick here it's to aim to the stencil border, not on the cut-out hole itself. This way you won't get a massive amount of color, just a little gradient, don't forget that spray paint can get really blurry. Apply the second color, try to use the same technique. Apply the third color, try to use the same technique. Apply the forth color, try to use the same technique. And here it is, If you done the procedure as I told before, you should get this kind of fill, with more than one color and gradient. This a quite useful technique when trying to reach a exotic textures. Multiple Layers Stencils When I say multiple layers some of you probably got in mind Photoshop or Illustrator and I know why, because both programs work under layers logics, so If you're already keen with them, this creative process will be piece of cake for ya. Basic shapes This may look a bit boring as the output it's nothing gorgeous, but let's start by making a multiple layer stencil using the basic shapes we already worked with on our latest tutorial. Could you guys make scheme of how I got this result? Let me try to be more didactic: Let's think as Photoshop / Illustrator layers, when trying to make this simple black and white shapes you should first start with the white fill, so the first layer should have only the silhouettes. The second one will have the black stroke, but please don't forget to create the islands and bridges as I said on the last class, other wise you won't get this effect. So, this is how your stencils should look like, it's really important to make this shapes with the same width and height, the only thing that will change it's the cut-out holes. If you're going to make them digital, then print and cut it, this should be no problem. Although, If you're a willing to try it all manually, the first thing you should do it's to get two sheets of cardboard and cut them with the same width and height. Then, draw the first stencil shapes, make the cut-out holes. Now drop the first layer over the other cardboard sheet, mark the shape shapes with a pencil, almost as a stencil. Now you already have the same measures as the first layer, you just gotta make the strokes following the rules of making the islands and bridges to make the stroke shapes possible. Now just find a surface to apply, please try to find one with a texture, as one of the main things we want to test here it's the contrast, so it would be pointless to do a stencil with white base layer on a white wall, did you get it? So, apply the first stencil using a black fill, let it dry a bit. Now this step it's really important: If you haven't cut the borders of your stencils with same width and height, for sure you will have problems here on trying to aim the stroke layer on it's perfectly position. So, If you haven't done it before, now it's the time, try don't make a mess. Yep, it looked so simple when I just showed it first, but now you can see it take more time than you imagined. So I recommend to try this exercise a couple of times before you start making it with more layers. Mickey Remember that we did a Mickey? I would be really happy If you still had that stencil, as now we're going to try the same technique but with a more complex shape. You probably already noticed that the first layer it's always the simplification of all the drawing. Most of the cases, it's all about the silhouette and on this Mickey stencil it's not different. The other layer it's same we already created on our last tutorial, just in case you can't remind how we did, please visit the tutorial. Don't forget to respect the islands and brigdes rules. Do whatever technique you feel more comfortable when producing the stencil, I rather always draw the figure than just print and make the cut-out holes, but again, this is just me. After you made the cut-out holes, make sure that both stencils got the same borders width and heigth, it's the only way to make sure you will overlay them correctly. Now this is basically the same process as the exercise above: Apply the first layer, let it dry, apply the second layer, done. Four layers stencil Ok Marcos, but how about a 4 layers stencil? Well, the more layers you use, the more complex will be the output and so the process to get there. So, let's try something really easy and later you can try it with more complex shapes as you wish. If you paying attention, you probably already figured the way I created this eye figure. It's just 4 overlapping layers, I just made a scheme of how it is bellow: Simple, isn't it? So here are the cut-out holes you should create on each of the layers. You can print it on 4 sheets of paper and cut them or you can do it traditionally as I'm going to show bellow. So this is how I did it manually: First I cut 4 sheets of paper with the same width and height. On the first one I draw a big wide circle. Then just made the cut-out hole. Now I just picked another layer and placed the first one over it, then drawed a smaller circle inside of the stencil. Then just made the cut-out hole. I repeated the same procedure for the pupil stencil, so just overlay the two previous sheets and draw inside of it. Then just made the cut-out hole. The eye reflexes were a bit boring to do, as part of them are not inside the other sheet cut-out hole. So what I did was to draw part of the ellipses I knew were going to be in front of the pupil. Then I took the other layers of it and draw the rest of the circles. Ok, so you might be asking yourself "Why the hell would I create the stencil this way?" . Well, Iknow this way may seem harder, but think that this is the best way to prototype and understand how it will work later, even with you work with Illustrator and separate it on layers, you will only see If it really works when you make it more tangible. So now it's all about applying the layers on the correct order, that's why I just numbered them previously, this way you won't have the chance to make any mistake. Let's start with white fill. Do the same with the red and black layers, one thing you should be really careful it's with the drying time, every spray paint has it's own drying time and, of course, this also depends on weather and the surface. The more wet and cold the weather and the more flat and non porous the surface, the more time will take to dry. Don't know why, but more than one person already reported me that the last stencil it's the harder to apply. I think it's because not only you already built a structure and will feel afraid to make a mess in the end, but also because, at least in this case, this layer actually overlay part of the previous, so If you did not cut it exactly, you probably will fail. Well guys, hope you all got till this point, now you're ready to start making your own multi layer stencils, I would be really glad If my tips and trick work and help you. Please feel free to send me a e-mail If you have any doubts, it was a great time teaching this knowledge.

Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Hi everyone, today we're going to go back in time and continue a series of Quick Tips more focused on techniques and less on results. We already featured wheatpaste and spray paint techniques, so today I though about teaching you some cool tips and tricks on making stencils.I hope you guys join us on this exercise, even though most of you are more keen to do digital work please take a look at this as a way expand your graphic abilities and to recognize new ways of thinking.So, what are we going to learn today?Stencils are basically any sheet of material with cut-out holes that are applied pigment instruments, most commonly spray paint. The cut-out holes work as a template for previous designed graphics be placed on a underlying surface. More malleable materials as paper, cardboard, plastic are better to use on this technique, but depending on the number of times you might want to use it, a stronger material such as wood and metal sheets may be more handy. This may sound as a really complex explanation, so I decided to make this more visual and posted some artists that use and abuse of this technique: C215 Blek Le Rat BanksySo before we can start it out, here are some materials you may need: 1- Cardboard pieces;2- Razor rather than a scissor (will be explained further);3- Pencil, eraser and a little notebook;4- Rulers;5- A black and white printer;Parts of the stencil: Safety BorderI call it safety border because it's minimum distance you should have from the cut-out hole and the border, this it's not specific in terms of measure, it's more about a distance you should calculate in order to avoid any leak outside of the cut-out hole. IslandAs the name already says, Islands are independent parts inside of a cut-out hole, as you may notice shapes can't float, so that's why they need bridges. BridgeThis are the ligatures that make the island possible to exist on the cut-out hole, knowing where to make this connection may seen a bit hard at the beginning. Cut-out holeThis is the place where we place the pigment, it should be stretched and pushed hard against the wall or surface to avoid leaks and blurs.How to make a basic stencil:So,now your probably wondering how to make your first stencil. Let's start by designing some simple and solid shapes, I decided to make some sketches of the basic shapes (triangle, square and ellipse). Notice that I did solid shapes, only silhouettes, this might be boring, but before you get the practice of making cut-out holes, you will rather do this kind of stencil. Let's say this is "Level 1". Now with your razor and a ruler, make the cut-out holes on the shapes you designed. Try not to use a scissor, as they are not precise for this kind of work and you probably may have to cut outside the design, what will screw everything.How to make lines using stencils:After praticing some other basic shapes you probably will get bored of it at some point, it's time to go to "Level 2". So, do you remember the stencil parts I explained before? More specifically the bridge and the islands, this will be necessary in order to create more complex shapes. So, how would you do the basic shapes with only lines? The answer would be probably this: As you probably notice, in order to make the line just transform the inside of the shapes in big islands, this can vary depending on the size of the outline you want to get.Making letters:The same logic goes for making letters, you can make more solid and square shapes in the beginning like the sample bellow: With time and patient, you will understand how to apply the bridge/island technique on the letters too, it's like rendering but on paper.Applying the stencils:I supposed most of you guys never used spray paint, so here some tips before getting your hands dirty:First of all: don't get your hands dirty, you can use gloves as you will have to use one of your hands to stretch and push the stencil. Just a glimpse of how your hand will look like If you don't use any gloves. I also advise you to use a 3M gas mask with a niosh filter (with a black stripe) as spray paint always have some toxic fumes that can't be prevented with regular paper masks. Please take care of your health, you will thank me later. Talking about spray brands: My two favorites brands are Spanish Montana (the MTN 94 line more specifically) and Ironlak. These are paint created specially for aerosol art, so they have a really good drying, coverage and pressure. Both these cans are middle/low pressure, what I think it's better when dealing with stencils. A New York Fat Cap it's the most recommended spray cap for this technique, as it can range from thin to thick lines. Also the coverage of this cap is quite uniform, the one displayed on the picture is a Ironlak New York Fat Cap. Now this is really important: Your spray trace is determined by factors as type of cap, distance from the wall, pressure applied on the cap and speed of the spray. So here's a example that show the most common traces:1- This usually happens when you put your spray can too close to the wall, please notice that it makes a solid trace without any blurring. This kind of trace is good when you're making a Graffiti piece trying to fill letters, but it's not that good for stencils, as If you cross the trace on the same point more than one time, you will probably make it drip and that's not cool.2- This one is actually what I think it's the best for using stencils, not too solid and not too blurry. With a low pressure spray can you can do it without much hurry and worries about drips.3- You should avoid this one, unless you're working with gradients as on a realist painting. This trace happens when you put your can far from the wall, even If you push the cap harder you will see that it takes more time to fuel the circular trace. Not recommended for stencils as they usually blur outside the safety border. This is actually what I think is the best distance to get the second type of trace, don't forget to measure the strenght you put on the cap as it's one of the factor that will influence on making a stencil. Now for some instruction on placing the stencil: you can't just grab it with your fingers and try to fill thru the holes, this way you will only get some really blurred shapes, even If you spray correctly. You should stretch and push it against the wall, try to minimize at maximum the space between the stencil and the wall.Patterns:Lot of artists use stencil for creating patterns on their paintings, it's actually the best way when it comes to traditional methods as you can reuse the stencil many times. At first I would recommend you to create a more geometric stencil, as it's easier to create and have a good result. I decided to do this arrows as used on some street signs. Now just apply the spray, there's not great deal about it, just make sure you're not spraying over where you already made the stencil.But Marcos, I don't know how to draw - Making stencil with photos and drawings:That's funny but most person who create stencils are not virtuose artists, most of them don't even know how to draw actually. So here's some tricks you can do If you're one this persons. First grab a magazine cover with a picture on the front. Using a Sharpie or other atomic pen, mark all the shade of the figure. Later just cut the shades you marked, you will notice that they will give a volume to your stencil. Another way is to get a drawing on the internet, open it on Photoshop and turn it to black and white (command + shift + U / ctrl + shift + U). I decided to get this classic Mickey and cut only the head, as we should start with a simple shape. Later, with help of a white brush, I created the bridges for a future stencil. This is quite easy, later I just had to print and to cut the black areas with the razor. Or....you also can draw it, the Mickey head is basically three circles (one for the head and two for the ears). This is quite logic for anyone who already have experience in drawing characters. Don't matter If you drawed it or printed it, the important it's to define the parts you're going to make the cut-out holes. And here it is: ConclusionI hope you guys had a great time on experimenting these simple stencil techniques. On the next tutorial we will explore some more complex tricks involving this technique, that's it folks!

Photoshop Quick Tips: Advanced Techniques for UI Design

As with all creative suites there are many ways to achieve your end result in Photoshop. The difference between these approaches lies in the speed they can be created and modified. After talking to fellow designers I discovered I used many techniques that they were unaware existed, doing things "the hard way" instead. So I made this video screencast to share those techniques with the community. Video Advanced Photoshop Techniques for UI from Edward Sanchez on Vimeo. Preset Styles http://cl.ly/8347ee3d593be1a72924 Preset Patterns http://cl.ly/51f799c44c7344185999 Keyboard Shortcuts http://cl.ly/b2a95fde98ba6aa17f2a Further Reading: Group blend effects http://cl.ly/96aa4541b17c73635c26 Create a knockout http://cl.ly/54330b04d3a0ce7bd441 About the Author Edward Sanchez is a UI designer working in Sillicon Valley. For more information about his work visit his personal Web site at htp://edwardsanchez.me or follow him on Twitter at @edwardsanchez.

Targeting Kids: Various Strategies Involved in Designing their Websites

Have you ever wondered, “ Children don't read to find their identity, to free themselves from guilt, to quench the thirst for rebellion or to get rid of alienation. They have no use for psychology.... They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.... When a book is boring, they yawn openly. They don't expect their writer to redeem humanity, but leave to adults such childish illusions.” And,there is no doubt that they form the most important targets for the marketeers. The research says that the expenditure of the advertising industry in regard to the children has exploded. This is most probably because children have their own purchasing power. This is in terms of their power to the decision-making within the family, incorporating the tool to take advantage of the 'pester power' that comes in-built in today's kids. The marketeers follow in-depth study of the developmental, emotional, behavioral, and the needs of the children at different stages of their lives. They tend to sow the seeds of brand recognition/identity at a very young age. And, 'word-of-mouth' forms an integral part of this conquest. Finding the coolest kid in and around, and then, enjoying the fruit is another successful way, but actually accompanies to what we call, Online Marketing and Buzz Marketing. “Online marketing is potentially way more powerful that the television ever dreamt of being.” And there is no doubt to the fact that today, it has become really important for all the web designers to learn to design a website that creates an ever-lasting impact on the psyche of children. This post has actually been written to highlight the trends and practices one should follow while designing a website for children. And, it is actually true when it is said that one needs to be extra-particular regarding the way he/she handles the design, because kids are the most vulnerable section of the society and tend to be molded in the right direction. Here is the list that would help you cater the attention of the kids audience. Stimulation Is the key To be able to stimulate a child's senses, is a task that requires a toil and to be handled with care. The senses play a key role when you see something for the first time. Step into the shoes of a kid, and try and visualise things. Have you ever tried and think what captures a kid's attention at the first go? No...? Then, the answer is the bright colours. As we all know that colours form an integral part of our lives. The more bright the colour is, the more happy our mood tends to be. The choice of the colours and the combinations that a designer tends to choose becomes really important. The choice of the bright, variety of happy-go-lucky colours such as, yellow, pink, bright red, green, orange, blue, etc. proves to be a choice and creates an everlasting impact on the children. Mood of the website is also a determining factor in the website creation. A positive, cheerful, and a 'smiling' website tends to result in creating in baiting more and more of the kids towards the particular brand. For children, though creativity is an essential element, yet, children tend to follow recognisable elements. The designers ought to incorporate the maximum they can, in this respect. As we know that children are the most related to the elements of Nature, such as, trees, birds, fruits, sun, snow, moon, grass, and may more. Try and incorporate them in your designs. I am hundred and one percent sure that they would never fail to relate to your site. Try and think large Large does not mean that you need to widen the scope of your design and the content, but it is actually using the larger than life figures and the characters to be able to create a platform for the kids audience to develop a relationship between your brand website and themselves. There is no denying to the fact that children tend to relate themselves to the animated characters. Mickey, Donald, Barbie, Dora & the Backpack, and many more being their favourites. They are naturally drawn towards these characters and doubles the chances of baiting more and more visitors. There is a need to emphasise on the need to allow the child's imagination run into a fantasy world and then, see how well you are able to grab hold of their fascinating world. If we talk about the navigation system in the world of the websites for the kids, it is actually very important for you to relate them as well. A total cartoon-like theme, a kind of story-telling pattern where they can find a novel scramble of their favourite cartoon characters would bear unbelievable results for sure. Interaction is the another key As we already mentioned that stimulation is the first key in any process, similarly interaction becomes the another. Interaction has always played a key role in one's life and rhythm is the basis of any life. If children are allowed to play and given a scope for entertainment, they would love to visit your site again and again. Animations, Flash designs, and sounds are the keys to a successful kids website. We have already discussed that a kids' website would be completely different from the regular websites and the trends they follow. Interactive videos, and yes, the Interactive Games... how can we forget that? You need to follow a habit of educating the kids audience at every step in a very unique manner so that even their parents encourage their children to follow your website. Allow them to sparkle their own creativity. Let them enjoy colouring, something tangible. Avail your website with the printable designs so that even they can let their nourishing creative juices flow. Try and not forcefully incorporate any stuff in their minds. Gone are the days when a designer tend to follow a set pattern and the preconceived notions for designing a website. There is a lot more you can do to your website. Just as you made the design larger than life, you can make out of the box and a lot of creative cursors for the website. According to the theme, create a unique and yet, attractive cursor with a lot of glittery, and shining effects. Get away from the conventional methods of navigation used in the regular website. See... there is no denying to the fact that there is a lot more scope to the to creativity and actually kids are fun to work with. But, at the same time they ought to be handled with the utmost care. There is a need to incorporate in the sense of responsibility from the designer as well as the company's side as well. There is a need to be able to develop in that level of trust with the kids' parents so that they don't have any problem. You tend to educate the kids with a lot of user interactivity. Last,but not the least, its actually quite helpful if you test your website beforehand. An extensive test is actually quite apt and help you observe and analyse the shortcomings and the positive side of your website. There is no doubt that creating and developing kids centered website is a difficult task but its actually more similar to going back in your childhood days once again, where you get to connect with the Nature, colours, larger than life characters once again. Recommended Reading Designing Websites for Kids: Trends and Best Practices About the Author This post is shared by PixelCrayons, a creative web design and development agency that specializes in custom web design & development, PSD to HTML service, CMS & E-Commerce solutions.

Web Localisation is Important... but Why and How?

Today, Internet is the fastest and the most reliable source to reach out to the international market. Participating in the international trade, and that too just one click away, avails you to incur maximum profits. But, how come its possible? You set up a business website of your own, and what next...? “Globalisation was a deep trend pushed by technology and right ideas, as much as anything else.” If we talk about the International market, if we do not modify a product to usable and accessible to the market all across the globe, then, what's the use? This is actually what the World Wide Web is meant for. It is a medium that supports web localisation, which has actually become a necessity. Language barriers “Thought is the blossom, language the bud, and action the fruit behind it.” It's not that every person in the world knows the English language. Its no longer the International language and web localisation surpasses all the boundaries, and incorporating almost all the foreign languages. No website is alien to anyone now. Boosts up the revenue Obviously, if web localisation is accessible to all the people in and around the world, that would multiply the chances of a good revenue. Website localisation is a huge investment, and is not an easy process to handle. So, a good web designing and development agency is what you need, who can actually understand the cross cultural aspect of a web based business. Then, what do we need for this? A good and a creative website that incorporates all the cultural considerations in mind so that the outcome is accompanied by the capability to lure almost everyone's interest. There is no denying to the fact that not everyone is pleased by your site, but trying to adapt considering each and every cultural aspect in the mind is something of the priority these days. Now, coming to the main aspect, if we stressing on to the concept of web localisation, we need to create a website that suits the purpose. “A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” By Louis Nizer This is what a designer has to do while designing a website. There are some aspects that needs to be considered while designing any website. And they are as follows— 1. The Content As mentioned again and again that content is the King, and only the vibrant colours and a nice layout won't do anything for you. Keeping the visitors' requirements in mind, you need to keep the content as informative as you can. And, if we talking about the language being the global aspect, we need to keep in mind the different writing systems and scripts. The use of the Unicode is quite essential, which is a standard numeric representation of characters that could be used for over 90 scripts, and has a a repertoire of over 100,000 characters. Almost all the standardised web design applications support Unicode documents, giving you the option to choose the language of your web page. 2. Colour Colours play a different role in every culture and, what is the most important thing is that they are of a significance because the first thing that someone notices are colours one carries. If we take example of the Chinese civilisation, red colour represents good luck, symbolised by the element Fire, happiness, and joy. While, in North America and Western Europe, it represents danger or passion, but on the other hand, it is known as a symbol for purity. Similar to this, when it comes to the colour black, where it represents death in the Western culture, white represents the same in the East. This does not mean that you need to have different colour scheme for everyone, but its something of importance that you need to understand before deciding on to the colour scheme. 3. Graphics What do you understand by this? It may mean that there are still some areas where 'the so-called revealing imagery, would not be acceptable. Here we go like this, when we talk in terms of graphics and flash images in the web world. A more simple version to the ones who have slow Internet connections, and the other ones for the speedy connections, is the most appropriate technique to the problem of graphics and imagery. While considering the fact on a global level, then, you need to be pretty sure about such aspects so that it does not hinder in baiting the potential customers worldwide. 4. Horizontal-ism Is the Key There is no doubt to the fact that there are different reading styles when we talk about the languages. For example, the Arabic language is read right to left, and many others as such. Therefore, it becomes really important when it comes to the scrolling navigation bar. Horizontal-ism is the key and it saves you from the technicalities involved with the different languages. A vertical navigation bar is not universal. Therefore, horizontal-ism is the key you ought to follow if you stepping into the 'e-world' and to incorporate the international success in your business. Give variations in the foreign standard, if you considering localisation becomes a real important factor. And, “We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world's people share the benefits of globalization,“ once said Kofi Annan. This is what we are considering in this era of a “virtual” global market. The websites form an integral part in the current scenario. They tend to form the mirror image of an individual, organisation, corporate, or be of everyone that relates to that particular site. Therefore, website localisation forms an integral part if we want to consider the global market. About the Author Jenny Warner is from PixelCrayons, a creative web design and development agency that specializes in custom web design & development, markup services, CMS & ecommerce solutions.

Public Question: Dealing with Creative Block

This post is part of our new series of articles in which we will be answering questions related to design, inspiration and creative process sent by our readers via email. If you have any questions, let us know. Send them via email to abduzeedo@abduzeedo.com with Public Questions as subject. Question What is your top recommendation for avoiding uninspiration in graphic design as a job? Amanda Macedo Avoid having days too rigidly planned. I hate routine and try to steer from it as much as I can. Of course that's not always a realistic goal, but I think it's important to dedicate some time whenever possible to doing nothing and letting your mind wander. You'll come to find that often times that's when creativity flows best and you'll be most inspired. I get hit with the best ideas when I'm in the shower. Try it. Be active in the design community. Sharing links and discussing ideas is vital to being constantly inspired. Load up your Twitter feed with designers and bloggers and engage them in conversation. If not that, then simply listen to what they have to say and the interesting things they share. You're connected to so many people on the Internet; take advantage of it. Subscribe to RSS feeds. This is probably your best bet to avoid being uninspired. I often start off my day with a cup of coffee, a poptart, and a solid hour going through my Google reader. These mornings make all the difference because they get my creative juices flowing. Also: use Feedly (thanks, boyfriend). Surround yourself with passionate creative people. My social circle once consisted of people with a wide range of interests and hobbies. While this in part is great because it opens you to different things and new ideas, it can also at times be a little discouraging because you have no one to fuel your passion or talk design over coffee with. Get out and meet new people! (Keep your old friends too. Nobody likes a fickle friend…) Fabiano Meneghetti I believe it's really important to have good design briefing about what will have to be done, either for a client's project or personal. If we can get as much details as possible about the project and expectations it will be easier to achieve the goals and the best result. Besides that a good search for references for inspiration, sketches on paper, which is faster and easier to make some ideas come true, and experimentation will definitely help you to overcome the lack of inspiration. Another thing I believe is really important is a good workspace, with nice music playing and that you feel comfortable, that definitely makes a lot of difference because makes you want to stay in there working and will help you get inspired :) Fabio Sasso I talked a little bit about that in my last post in wich I share my thoughs on creativity and design process. In my opinion the most important thing before starting anything is talk with the client, ask as many questions as possible about the project and the target audience. That will give you the clues to search for inspiration. The same goes for personal projects, ask yourself what you want to do and have a clear idea in your mind, then stick to it otherwise you will be having cool ideas all the time and none of them will turn into real results, you will get frustrated and that's not good. I also believe that we need to have a good set of skills and visual references so we can automatically start brainstorming ideas. That comes from art and design books, magazines, movies and the web. Inspiration is everywhere, as cheesy as it might sound it is totally true, the secret is how to find the right now. Image inspired by the movie Clash of the Titans Another thing I do when after a few hours working on a project and not getting satisfied with the results is stop everything and go to the GYM or to run a few miles. That really helps me to freshen up my mind and ideas. Most of the times I will get some answers or new ideas. Paulo Gabriel I think one must avoid all preconceived notions on the subject you're designing for. You must be set free of these strings, so that your design is not tendentious. Along with that, it's important to learn the subject and see it as an insider. Your answer We really want to hear from you as well and we believe that sharing opinions and knowledge is the best way to evolve not only as individuals but the whole industry, so please, leave a comment with your answer for the question above. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What I have learned after almost 4 years of Abduzeedo

It’s been almost 4 years since I started Abduzeedo and my life has changed in ways I could never imagine. In particular when it comes to meeting new people and learning new things. Because of the blog and its visibility around the world, I have been invited to talk at many universities and conferences worldwide. I'll be the first to admit that I am far from being a good public speaker, but to get an opportunity like that is really cool. I'm always learning from these experiences, and that in itself is awesome enough. When I ask people what they want me to talk about at these events they always say, "Talk about how you made the blog popular", or "Talk about how you make money from the blog". That leads me to think that all everybody wants is fame and money. Well… what else might you want? I can tell you one thing, if you do something just because of the money and the fame it’s pretty hard to get both because your decisions are made based on this logic and by this logic we sometimes close doors to greater good. There's this really good book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. It talks about this: Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth. Why do I bring this up? I have some examples in my life that might enlighten you further. The Robbery In 2006 I was just a graphic and web designer doing my best to deliver good quality work. I noticed that the blogosphere was getting bigger and that this social media thing was the future. But I always had some excuse to not get into it…usually external factors such as, I don’t have time for such a thing, or nobody will pay attention to what I say, or there are guys much better than I. My brother had a blog back in those days and he kept asking me why I didn’t and that I should start one. I was very stubborn until something happened. Towards the end of November 2006 my office was robbed and with that I lost my laptop and backup disks. That was a key factor that led me to start Abduzeedo. This whole thing made me forget those excuses and simply do something…which is exactly what I did. First logo I learned that sometimes we have to think less and do more, because when we have too much information it’s pretty hard to make a decision. And also, this information might suffer the influence of other people’s opinions as well. Doing what I love helped me improve my skills Because of the blog some great opportunities started appearing. One in particular helped me to evolve a lot: writing for PSDTUTS. When Collis invited me I accepted on the spot and was pretty happy about it, but when I talked to some friends they always asked, "You're going to write tutorials for a competitor?" Well, I didn’t even think about it that way. I just wanted a motivator to push me to explore and learn more about Photoshop. Plus, they were also paying me for those tutorials, so that was amazing. I learned Photoshop so much in those days and it was so much fun. I loved writing those tutorials especially trying to simplify effects and share with the community. Writing for PSDTUTS turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for Abduzeedo. After the few months I wrote for them the traffic on Abduzeedo grew considerably and besides that, more people got to know me. As a result, I was invited to write for magazines and other publications as well. Digital Arts Tutorial Traveling Well this is something that doesn’t make much sense at first, so let me explain. In 2008 I decided that I would go to the US for the summer. I told my business partner, Fabiano Meneghetti and he understood and totally supported me. However some people thought I was crazy simply leaving my company here and going out there. Even though I thought it was the right thing to do, those bad comments got me thinking and sometimes made me a bit unsure and insecure about my decision. Nevertheless, I went. After those 3 months in the US I got the chance to meet so many people, and even got a job which ended up paying for all my traveling expenses. But the most important thing was that I learned so much from that experience. I also was able to improve a little bit of my english with the help of my amazing cousin Amanda Macedo AKA @amlight. The same happened in my other trips, and in the last one it was no different. I had just gotten back to Brazil when some guys invited me to join them in this new venture: an american startup with a mobile platform project. So, we went to San Francisco. While planning the trip I was kind of scared after looking at rent prices. Nevertheless, I went…again. And thank God I did. Going to San Francisco was incredible and once again the experience I had was gold. If I had stayed here and done the right thing in terms of logic, I never would have visited Adobe and talked about my work to the Photoshop engineers or shaken hands with Russ Brown. I never would have met Trey Ratcliff and seen him speak at Google, or hang out with Vitor Lourenço one of the mighty designers behind Twitter. Rodrigo Mazzilli (wellknown.as), Vitor Lourenço (Twitter) and I at Twitter HQ With Bert Monroy, the master of the masters :) As you can see a lot happens when you make a decision. Of course there’s always a downside. Nothing after-all is perfect. Life would be boring otherwise. Also, everything takes time. It’s sort of like planting…you'll never get results right away, because you need to get experience, learn and be prepared. We have to persist if we believe in what we’re doing. At least it was like that with Abduzeedo. It took over one year for the results to start appearing. I believe the most important thing in life is to do what you like and make decisions based on your own opinion and not based on what other people think. I know that's pretty much what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford and it makes so much sense. Or perhaps it makes more sense now after these almost 4 years of blogging, because that is the most important thing I have learned. In other words, put yourself out there, have passion, confidence, and persistence. Recommended reading Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Rework Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Tips on How to Become a Better Designer

I've been working and, you could say, living as a designer for over 12 years now. Throughout these years a lot has happened, all of which caused me to grow as a designer and learn new things. In the beginning I had a vague idea of what was necessary to get better and succeed in the design industry, but it took me quite a few years to discover some basic concepts that really made me become a better designer. I will share some with you today. Promote your work "Put yourself out there, being awesome is long tail" - Allan Branch In the beginning I was naive. I thought if you were good enough people would find you. I was never promoting my work until my office got robbed. Then I decided to create Abduzeedo and put my work out there. I made a Flickr account, DeviantArt, Behance... you name it. These services are much more important in promoting yourself than an own site can be. If you use the right tags and produce good work, these sites will make you more visible to the community. Tips Start posting your work on sites like Flickr, DeviantArt, Behance, Carbonmade. Participate in groups on sites such as Flickr. It's an easy and simple way to get your work out there. Eventually create a separate portfolio site as well. It will give you more credibility. Illustration tag on Behance Smashing Network is selecting good blogs to be part of their network, when it comes to Smashing Magazine, we cannot expect anything less than let's say smashing ;) Experiment Your best work is your expression of yourself. Now you may not be the greatest at it, but when you do it, you’re the only expert - Frank Gehry I think one of the main things that I really learned, is that personal projects are the best way to evolve when it comes to techniques and aesthetics. Being our own client and consumer, gives us the freedom and time to do what we want. Every time I see a nice effect in movies, posters, magazines, books, etc., I make a mental note to myself and then go home and try and recreate that effect. Doing that has really increased my arsenal of skills. It gives me more confidence when I have to start a new work for a client. Another great thing about experimenting is that it makes your portfolio bigger, better, and more versatile. Tips Try to recreate effects you see and like just to learn the technique. Experiment with new trends that way you will be able to absorb those details that characterize the trend and apply them to future projects if necessary. "Chocolatopia" - Personal illustration, that I worked on during 2008 in my lazy spare time. with some longer breaks... Basically it's a photo montage, with some strong retouch / paint work and some 3d additions. - Pawel Nolbert Personal project inspired by a scene from the Ironman movie This is a Personal Project to launch my nw website to middle of November. A little preview of the new image and brand of PLAYFUL. A lot of fluorescent colors, shapes, geometries, typography and tones of LOVE. - Pablo Alfieri Encourage Feedback Feedback is really important for designers. Sometimes you might get a lot of criticism, but that's okay, it's part of the game. The secret is to use the criticism as a motivator to evolve and not as a reason to get angry. You might even get some useful tips and advices. Sometimes we get so used to what we're doing that we become oblivious to some details in our work that is pretty clear to everybody else, it's important that we let other designers or really just anybody to take a look at our work. The small details are what will make your work better and unique. Tips Ask questions when posting your work. Respond to the comments and post versions of the images with the suggested adjustments. Never argue or get extremely upset with the criticism, it not only won't help you but it might also ward off others from commenting. Signalnoise Live Broadcast is a great example from James White on how to interact and get feedback from the community Give Feedback “It looks good” is the worst feedback you can get - Whitney Hess When it comes to design, giving feedback is as important as receiving it. Participate in the community expressing your opinion when people ask. Try not to be rude or cocky. The idea is to help, get help, and evolve. The clash of ideas and point of views will really broaden your design skills. Comment on posts and sites where images are shared. Help others by giving valuable tips and ideas. Share The easiest way to promote yourself as a designer is by sharing your skills. Before Abduzeedo, I used to experiment in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc but I used to keep them to myself. Then my office was robbed and I lost everything. So I started Abduzeedo and with it, the tutorials. At first the tutorials were just a way for me to backup my files and have a quick overview of my techniques, but some became really popular which made me realize how important it is to share what we know. I get a lot of emails with people asking me what the point is in making these tutorials and giving the source files away. Well, my answer is simple. I can show someone how to create a light effect or how to use Photoshop filters, but I can't show them how to come up with the idea themselves. The tutorials are about how I use the apps to make the ideas come true. Tips Write quick tutorials showing some techniques you think might be useful to others. Write guest posts for other sites sharing your experiences and thoughts. Reader tutorial by Chanito You can even make money by sharing your skills. Sites like PSDTUTS pay you to write for them Pursue Simplicity “Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated” -Paul Rand Less is more. That was one of the Bauhaus mottos almost 100 years ago and it's still new and true, even more now in the internet age where we live with an overflow of information. It's important to be simple and efficient. Everything that is good is simple, but not everything that is simple is good. Making something simple and good isn't easy. It requires a deep understanding of what we have to do and whom we're doing it for, so we can simplify things. I believe simplicity is all about being confident in the thought that less is more and making decisions to remove unnecessary features and elements. "Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent". — Joe Sparano Like I said, it took me more than 10 years to fully understand these things. I can call it experience because most of them I learned through my own mistakes. Now it's up to you to see if it'll be worthwhile for you. These aren't exactly rules, just thoughts and suggestions. I would love to hear your take on becoming better designers. Magazine cover for Super Interessante based on a tutorial that the client saw and liked.

Creating a Graphic Portfolio Without a Client

The main problem designers face while beginning their careers is to find a client without having a portfolio to show. It’s hard to find a client to trust you to design him something without having any quality previous work to show him that you can make it. Here you will see and learn many ways that you can find to create a good quality portfolio without having that first client. Creating a portfolio without a client doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. This is not going to be easy and quick; this will take a lot of work and time but it all pays off at the end. Be Organized Organization is the key for saving time and being more productive. If you willing to put time and effort to work on creating a portfolio that can set your freelancing career you will have to organize your self and make a schedule in order to be able to produce more. Organize your work space and set working hours, that’s the only way you going to get yourself to produce something. For more time and organization tips read: How To Find Time For… Everything! Work for Yourself Work on personal projects that can further help promote your work. Designing something for yourself will be your first task, the good thing about working for yourself is that you have total freedom on the design but remember that is very important to set deadlines based on the time you have to work the same way you would if the work was for a client. Design Wallpapers Start working on a set of wallpapers, 3 to 5 wallpapers based on a theme, also make sure to transform them into iphone wallpapers as well. When you done creating your portfolio this will help promote your work. Wallpapers by Pablo Alfieri Design Posters Designing Posters and printing them can give you an extra edge to your portfolio and give a future client the feeling that you have good knowlegde of what you doing both in designing and printing. The same way you worked on a set of wallpapers work on a set of posters based on a theme, that can help you create a series of posters related to each other which can be a rich set on your portfolio. In the future you can giveaway a couple prints of your posters to help promote your work. Typography Posters by Stefano Joker Lionetti Design a Calendar Designing a nice and creative calendar can show a lot of your creativity and print solutions, this is a chance to make something inovative to show your future clients what you capable of creating. In the future you can giveaway a couple calendars and also promote your work. Design a Picture Book Select a few of your own photos and make a nice picture book, mix it with some good typography and have a one of a kind piece in your portfolio. This can also bring the interest of your friends and family to getting one too, it all ads up on your portfolio. Composition and Content by Andre' Wright Jr Design for Contests Designing for good contest can put a nice piece on your portfolio and also carry a name to it. Such designs contests like HugoCreate give you the opportunity to work on your own for a big brand. You don't have to win the contest, just by making a good piece to later display on your portfolio is already a win. Hugo Create work by goshaptichka Collab Work Do a collab work with other designers that are in the same situation as yours. It's a great way to expand your work and learn more about working in group. Look for people that are hungry for work just as much as you are and invite them for a private project, trade ideas and built a design concept, at the end it's all going to your portfolio. Collab work from Matt W. Moore and Magomed Dovjenko Brand Yourself Now that you already got some decent and creative pieces on your portfolio it's time to move on and get your self a nice logo and a website, that's another way to improve your portfolio within your own work. Every client that goes in your website will analyze it as well as your portfolio because it's also part of it. Here is a great article on The Art of Branding Yourself and Your Freelancing Business Design a Logo Your first identity client can be you, design a nice logo for yourself to show as reference on your portfolio. Make sure to read Vital Tips For Effective Logo Design Logo for his own studio by Hoang Rabbit Design a Website Designing your own website can be a challenge but at the end it you can say you did, get help from web designers if you need. There is a lot of services that convert PSD to HTML in case coding is a problem. Remember to stay away from templates in order to remain original. Design a Business Card Now that you got a nice portfolio with a website to display them, it's always good to have a nice business car that you can give away everywhere you go, remember that the business card will represent you and your work when you not there. Here are some great samples and good finish options to print it: 5 Finishing Options to Print a Business Card Each worker got their own business card at ID Branding Conclusion If you follow through you will get the experience of designing different projects for different medias and learn a lot on your own with your own mistakes. Building a portfolio on your own without clients is very difficult, very difficult to stay focus on something that doesn't pay off right the way. Make sure to set deadlines to every project and work on it as if it was worth a million dollars, it all pays off in the end. Now all you need is a client, with a nice portfolio it will be like a lot easier than before. "Everybody makes mistakes at first; and if a painter never learns what his mistakes are he will never correct them. Therefore test your work; and if you have made mistakes correct them; and don't make the same mistakes again." Leonardo Da Vinci Good Luck!

Becoming a Professional Creative

If you are considering on becoming a creative professional, you should make an important decision: whether you will admire it or do it. The difference? I always admired great footballers all over the world. But to be a professional soccer player would have meant committing to that lifestyle, including intense training, enduring difficult challenges, and challenging myself physically and mentally. But I decided not to and I'm ok with that. I'm a big fan. I read about it. I follow it. I love to coach my kids and watch lots of games. I don't do it. I admire it. Decide whether you will be a hobbyist or a professional. Here's a good example. My wife makes amazing cakes. My grandmother gave her a family recipe and some awesome secret methods that result in beautiful and scrumptious cakes. Every time she makes a cake for some event, she's asked to make another one. Inevitably, people comment, "You should go into business!." However, making cakes isn't her passion. It's a hobby that she loves. And if she made it into a business, she'd probably end up hating it. Instead, she takes the comment as a compliment and keeps making cakes for fun. Remember that you have you are faced with deciding whether it's something you love to do (leisure) or something you will do to pay the bills (work). Be mindful of whether you want to turn your hobby into a career. If your answers are "admire it" or "hobbyist," then enjoy it as such. If your answers are "do it" and "professional", please read on. 1. Know what it takes. What is good design? What are the principles? Who is a good designer? Why are they good? What is good code? What are the standards? 2. Start from scratch. A good cook starts from scratch. So does a good website designer. Learn at least a basic working knowledge of html, css, typography, and grid-system design. 3. Give yourself assignments. You are at an awesome time in your career where you can do anything. So do it. Build a website for someone who needs it and tell them you need a guinea pig. Tell them you'll do it for free as long as you have zero restrictions. Non-profits are usually great for this sort of thing. Then, pretend they are your best client. Blow them out of the water with brilliant ideas. Use illustration, stop-motion, ink in liquid, paper or hand puppets to execute and solve their problems. 4. Get out of your comfort zone. In order to be inspired, I have purchased books, dvds, and downloads from Japan, the UK, Italy, and other places around the globe. I've covered a wide span of subjects, including architecture, interior design, urban art, fabric, and fashion. It's important to also find non-computer methods to solve problems. 5. Politely bow to the greats, but don't worship them. These great designers are your peers. Read about their methods. Respect their work. Then go create your own unique style. There's no problem with establishing a network of colleagues -- follow them on Flickr, stalk them on Twitter -- whatever. But there's way too many people right now who worship people on the web, steal their ideas, copy their work, and devalue the industry. 6. Be great at something. You've heard the old saying, "It's better to be great at one thing than good at a lot of things." It's true. At the beginning, you'd be smart to learn a little about everything. But eventually, be great at something. Design or front-end development, back-end development, or user interface design. It took me 8 years, but I finally figured out I was pulled in too many directions. Now, I focus a majority of my time on interactive design and brand management. 7. Ignore trends. It's fine to check out nice sites every once in a while, especially to recognize standards and user interaction. But the longer you look at other sites, the more likely that your sites will look a lot like them. Take them for what they are, then throw them out before you design. Someone, somewhere started that trend by doing it different than everyone else. (See #5) 8. Remember to solve the problem. It's usually not "just a website" for most. Often times, people are sinking a lot of money into the investment and would like to see some kind of return. So they push their own goals, needs and desires onto the project. But remember to solve the problem for which real people are using the website. A good solution gracefully balances all aspects. 9. Avoid templates. Most of them are not good. They'll give you bad habits and more headaches than you would've imagined. 10. Give great attention to detail. I can't tell you how many times I've huddled around a computer talking about whether a pixel or an extra click matters. If you want to make great websites, it does. 11. Take advantage of content management systems. BUT understand what they do first. A CMS is a great way to get tools that you couldn't program yourself. But don't think for a minute that you've solved the client's problem simply by installing one. (See #8) 12. Build your own portfolio site. This is your personal place to experiment. Don't feel like you have to represent yourself as a "company" or show a bunch of sites. But this is one place where you can blog, install things you wouldn't want to try out on other people's sites, and try out new visual concepts. So now what do you think? Is becoming a full-time creative the right path for you? When you're making the decision, remember that becoming a creative requires a lot of effort, so you shouldn't make the decision lightly. This isn't like deciding whether or not to mow your own yard. See you online.