An advanced Photoshop tutorial if you want to be a pro

Sometimes I see these amazing computer generated images and, even though I am pretty proficient in Photoshop, I wonder how did they manage to do that. Seeing this tutorial opens up opportunities and really gets down to nuts and bolts of the more advanced techniques. Like for instance, I had no idea you could take a remote apart and then change each part to look how you need it to look. To me a remote was a remote, a single element in the design, and they went and made sub-elements from it. That is great!

So above is what the finished product looks like, and here is a quick run through how it go there. This all started with 4 components, a remote control, a bullet and a couple of circuit boards.

The remote underwent surgery and was chopped up into it’s parts and some additional parts were created using the circuit boards. The buttons were extracted form the remote and some were created fron thin air.

As I said before, each individual part was ripped, warped and bent. Did I mention that Photoshop is amazing? Yeah, it is. Now each part is ready for assembly.

Put it all together and slap some background behind it and here you go, an awesome shot, a slow motion freeze frame.

To see the entire tutorial, and if you’ve read to here you have to see it, go here:

Photoshop Tutorial: Create A Slow Motion Bullet Shot Effect

Optimizing You JPEG Formats

Phalaenopsis_JPEGCompressing image files has become a necessity due to the constrained space of hard drives, flash disks, and web hosters. This is because a common text file is comparatively smaller than an image file; an 800×600 24 bit color image file will usually take up 1.37 MB of space, and those are just small ones. One of the more popular formats to save a compressed image is JPEG which usually has an extension name of .JPG or .JPEG. It can achieve compression ratios of 10:1 with practically no lose in image quality.

There are two options with which you can compress your JPEG files. They refer to the same thing but are polar opposites of each other. Saving the file at 60% quality will mean a compression of 40%. Depending on the program you use, you will find either of these two options, but the results will always be the same: more quality will mean less compression and vice-versa.

Different programs also have different quality scale. By saving an image at 55 to 60 quality in Photoshop, it will look and have the same file size of other softwares saved at 80%. Also, never get tempted to save an image at 100% quality because this is not the highest possible quality rather it is the mathematical optimization limit, which will give you an unreasonably big file. Save the image at 95% quality for optimal results. This will be enough to prevent loss in quality and will produce the smallest file size for that quality.

Besides those options, some programs such as Paint Shop Pro and Corel Photo Paint allows you to choose the type of image downsampling or subsampling. A subsampling of 4:4:4 means that the image is not subsampled, 4:2:2 is standard subsampling, and 4:1:1 produces the lowest quality downsampling, although rarely used.

Aside from these tools, you can also optimize your image file by changing how the image data is stored . JPEG format is stored in a 8×8 pixel block and by saving the image exactly within the image block, it will produce a sharper image and save you a couple of MBs in the process. You will be able to see this if you set the JPEG quality parameter to low.

When a JPEG image is saved the image will be divided into blocks of 8×8 pixels. Each block will then be optimized independently. The image will look fuzzy if it does not fit exactly into the pixel block. Also, by adjusting the image right into the pixel blocks, you are decreasing the number of 8×8 blocks used up by the file. This way, the file will be save in to smaller size.

By doing these tips, you will be able to save up on disk space or web space when uploading your images. Every KB is precious due to the limited space it offers, and by effectively decreasing the size, even by a couple of KBs and not sacrifice any quality is well worth it.

Thumb Image Styling

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Here are some good ideas for styling those thumbnail images. This can add a touch of uniqueness and a character to the web design. Nice collection from TutorialFeed called 12 Excellent Thumb Image Styles for Web Designers. Although these are not complicated to make, they also have  a PSD file you can download for these images so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Unique Background In CSS

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The CSS way of creating great website backgrounds. Nathaniel from tutvid.com did a nice video tutorial that shows how this is done.

Using a top gradient image with a background color you can acheve unique looking backgrounds for your websites. Just use your imagination to create the one that will work with yours.

Wood Navigation & Images

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Wood look anyone? This website that belongs to Komodomedia has really nice wood theme going. It gives a warm cartoony feel. The navigation bar, the nice wood seal, the heading bars, all in wood. I also like the foliage that they have hanging here and there. Good illustration work. 

Clever Logo Design

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While I was visiting Digg, I came across a submission for cool looking Photoshop images. So, I took the bait and went to check the images out. Several of them were really cool, creative photos. Others were just okay. But, what I did find and was really pleased about was the logo for the site. Just Creative Design is the name of Jacob Cass’ graphic design company and his blog. The logo is a great piece of work. Duality is the first word that comes to my mind. Not only is it the initials of his company, JCD, but it’s a pencil too. Awesome and creative! Of course, these days I’m very partial to logos with pencils in their design, haha!

Anyhow, check out Jacobs site. I’m sure you will find lots of useful information and inspiring tips and photos there. Enjoy!

Either you are going for taking 642-845 exams or you are appearing in MCTS 70-272 exam, you need to be well prepared in them. Online resources can really help you in preparing for 1z0-042 exam, or even 642-552 exam. If you have skills in CVOICE Cisco Voice then only success in 642-436 exam can prove this.

Great Dynamic Portfolio Widget

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This one is awesome, a portfolio menu. As you hover over the small rectangles, they expand to a square where you can see the project, as you leave each it rolls back up. This was submited by one of our readers.

No, this is not Flash, this is DHTML, CSS folks. Very nicely done. Make sure to check out the live version on their website.

Go to: http://www.guerrillawebsitedesign.co.uk/portfolio.php

30 Free Web-Based Image Editing Applications

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Recently we were made aware of an article listing 30 Free Web-based Image Editing Applications. After reading through the article, we agreed that perhaps one of these applications might be useful to designers. Having the ability to use a web based system to edit and store images is a great way to save space on your own computer and utilize an easy to use system. No downloads, no hard drive space…piece of cake.

I suggest reading through their well put together list and selecting the service that works out best for you. By the way, there is also another interesting article listed in The News in Print. 20 Creatively Hacked Urban Garden Shed Offices sheds some light on creative office space design for people who work from home. Again, check it out. But, be forewarned…it will cause you to think about making your own unique, creative office space at home!

**This article is based on a request by a reader. If you would like the team at WDI to create a post about a particular subject or website, please send us a message with your request! Thanks!

Need an Image?

Need a quick image for a blog post or an article? If you’re cheap (like me, haha), check out Stock Xchng (www.sxc.hu). SXC has over 355,000 images in their database. Best of all…they are all completely free. Free is a great price. The only stipulation is that you must make sure that the image owner has not placed special restrictions on a particular images usage. There are lots of great photos available…you’re sure to find what you need!

Need and Image

Soft, Embossed Image Effect Design Idea

The source site for this is: http://www.darrenalawi.com/blog

Soft, Embossed Image Effect Design Idea

I found this nice image effect tat looks like the logos are laying on a soft, padded background. The way this look is a chieved is very simple. Just apply a soft outer glow in white or some light color and bam, it’s done. Of cource there are many other ways and many other situations where this by it self will not work and you might need to do more adjustments but for majority of the situations this should do the trick.