Header Graphics Creation Made Easy

Omaha Web Design

Have you ever wanted to create a unique header for your website or just wanted to jazz up an image and found yourself having to spend days or even weeks just learning how to use the image editor software? Aaaargh! That is one of the worst ways to spend your time – trying to figure out how something works just to find the learning curve is high in attention demanding kilojoules! And not entirely satisfying for your tummy either!

Actually, that is about the time I pull my hair out, throw my toys out the cot and then, after taking a few deep breaths, get onto Google to hire the first person I can find to create a decent image for me! This agonising process however is completely unnecessary if one has the right software in the first place. For me, the right software needs be easy and simple to use. Finding the right software is not always that straightforward though.

There are enough image editors on the market to pick and choose from, but finding the one that is right for you is a different matter altogether. For example, Photoshop is great image editing software, but the downside is that it has a huge learning curve, it is expensive, and it probably has way more functionality than the average website owner will ever need.

There are various free ones available as well, such as Gimp. But once again, huge program! Lots of functionality – but not too easy to learn how to use. Unless you want to spend a month trying to figure out how the program works, not really worth one's while, even if it is free!

Before I go out and buy software, I always sit down and make a list of what it is that I need in a program. For example, in this instance, looking for an image editor that is not too complex to use, and not too expensive – a Photoshop alternative without the huge price tag.

What I would need it to do is to be able to create:

· Header graphics

· E-book covers

· Box covers

· CD covers

· DVD covers etc.

It also needs to have the functionality to jazz up the images a bit, for instance if I want to use 3D text, new fonts etc. I will also need it to be able to let me "merge" images, for example if I want images to melt or fade into the background. I will also need it to be easy to use because I don't want to spend hours learning how to create or edit the images.

So, next time before you haul out your credit card, decide beforehand what it is that you want to achieve with the software that you have in mind!

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Joan Masterson

How to Be a Graphic Designer

Omaha Web Design

Graphic Design is a form of communication using a combination of art and technology. It is becoming an increasingly popular and more essential part of every industry. As the demand for good graphic designers grows, it is important for those wishing to pursue a career in the field to understand what steps are necessary in order to become one.

One of the most important qualities that a designer should have is an eye for art. Going through drawing classes in high school is usually very helpful when it comes time to further your education in the graphic design field. However, drawing is not the only important artistic aspect. Often, the more knowledge that a person has on every medium of art, the more talented and unique they will be as a designer.

Though some people do break into the graphic design industry without any formal training, this is becoming more and more rare. Having a degree in the field shows potential employers that the designer has a basic knowledge about the field and the elements it entails. It also demonstrates a certain level of dedication towards a career path. More often than not, having a college degree is essential to breaking into this field.

In order to be a successful, it is important to go to a college or university with a specialized degree in the field. Most graphic designers will receive a degree in fine arts, with a concentration in graphic design or computer art. When searching for a school to attend, make sure that the programs they offer are tailored to those wanting a career in the subject. Some schools offer basic introductory courses, but do not have a specific degree program this major.

Being well versed in different computer programs is essential to the graphic design industry. The majority of professionals use the Adobe suite programs. Photoshop can be used for anything from manipulating photography to creating a logo from scratch. Dreamweaver is one of the most common programs used to design a website. Magazines often utilize InDesign to create their layout, and Illustrator can be used for things like making product labels.

Though these programs are extremely expensive to purchase, most colleges and universities will offer free access to them for students, giving aspiring graphic designers the time to become experts in using the programs. Some schools also offer internship programs which can give students practical experience for when they try to get a job. Because there are many projects required of graphic design students, schools can also help to build a portfolio for future employers.

This field is becoming more demanding each and every year. Though it can be a fun and interesting business to get into, like most careers, there is some training require. Understanding what is necessary to become a graphic designer is important to becoming successful in the industry.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Susan Bean

How to Draw Caricatures

Omaha Web Design

Many people want to learn how to draw. And a popular cartooning expertise is how to draw caricatures. How to draw caricature, starts with a love for drawing faces. There are many books that show how to draw people. I really enjoy the Jack Hamm books; they give you multiple ideas and techniques in drawing simple and detailed cartoons. If you want to know how to draw a car, how to draw the Marvel way, is great for cars, helicopters, plane and space age gizmos. When teaching my students how to draw cartoons, I always work with different shapes and lines. The same is in how to draw a caricature, look at the shapes and lines in the face and try to represent the shapes and line direction. When looking to become a professional artist find your best current work for promotional art prints. Custom art prints sent to art directors are the best way to sell your drawing style. You can create portraits and landscape art prints, depending on the layout of your work.

Collecting famous art prints can influence your work and greatly contribute to the quality of your talent. Most of the framed art prints, I collect I see on a steady basis, which helps me creatively. I collect humorous art prints by Jack Davis and Mort Drucker of Mad Fame. Most of the art prints online, come unframed. Framing can become very expensive. I find art prints portraits of famous celebrities. These celebrity art prints can be very helpful in drawing your caricature art. Caricature drawings should always start out with a very lightly penciled sketch. Do not put too much detail in the initial caricature drawing. Try always to pick well known celebrities for your celebrity caricature. Drawing a lesser known actor, may prevent the public from recognizing the likeness you created. A custom caricature should always be your original work, but picking up on how other Caricature artists exaggerate the celebrity can be quite helpful. Most beginners exaggerate, just for the sake of exaggerating. If you want to become a caricature artist, try to find the most outstanding facial feature. A cartoon caricature should represent the person in exaggeration, but still maintain the likeness.

The most important factor is practice. A beginner can create a caricature for a gift, for friends and relatives. Caricature gifts created by an art student or hobbyist can be a cherished gift by your loved ones. Caricature cartoons can also be created digitally with programs such as Painter or Photoshop. A caricature gift can be drawn of a single individual or created as a group caricature. Photoshop can also create a photo caricature, stretching and distorting an actual photo of a face. The key to making a funny caricature is also in creating a theme or sport that ties into the persons interests. A caricature illustration can be as simple as a 5 minute drawing to works of art that take weeks to complete. Recently we have seen the rise of caricature software that creates a comical face from a photo. On Face book they have services that create a caricature free. The caricature free software can create a simple caricature portrait, But famous caricature artists still create their drawings from scratch. Ones ability to learn caricature can be helped by searching "how to draw" sites on Google. Google Images is also an online caricature treasure trove of classic comical images.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Steve Nyman

Learn Photoshop – Adobe Does It Again With New PS Version

Omaha Web Design

he new member of the Adobe family is Adobe Photoshop CS3 extended version. One of the hardest to achieve process is 3D compositing and texture editing, which stays as the major highlights of this version. The procedural steps for this task are made quite simple as delineated.

Smart filters option does not require you to save the image again to treasure originality. It allows you to include, modify, and delete filters from a picture. The nondestructive smart filter option allows one to make changes to test clarity, without changing the original pixel identity.

The fast selection and refine edge tool allows the used to select a particular picture. Casually sketch an figure on an area of ??the snap where you would like to compost the image. When you complete the sketching the quick selection tool optimizes the choice for you by selecting that area. The selected area can be further fine tuned using the refine edge tool.

Advance composting can be done by robotically arranging a number of Photoshop layers or pictures based on identical information. The auto align layers command immediately analyzes the picture, moves, rotates or envelops the layers to arrange them appropriately. The auto blend layers command combines the intensity of the various colors producing an editable graphic. Streamlined interface and palate management procedure increases the screen area for correcting as you enjoy the comfort of hanging the essential tools within reach. This series presents you with the option of thinning your palates to strips or mega blocks, or tiny patches based on your requirement. This process helps you achieve better screen space for your graphic editing process.

Better raw image processing is best accomplished with Adobe Photoshop raw plug in which now includes support for JPEG and TIFF formats. This provision allows good conversion quality that can be worked fairly quickly in images of JPEG and TIFF. The light effects compatible tools like fill light and dust busting are innovative additions to this series. Enhanced vanishing point editing is a process where in you can create multiple planes for an image and joint them at abstract angles. The plane thus produced can be combined together using images, text and graphics. The final output has a stunning finish of mock ups and abstract screen savers.

The dynamic range 32-bit feature optimizes multiple image exposures in the spectrum through light and darkness combining it to a single 32-bit image. This process prevents spillage and wasting of the light effects captured at the original click of an image giving finer quality of images.

Color images can be easily converted to black and white images with adjustment of tonal values ??and tints. There is an exclusive tool designed for this process. Preset black and white images can be used to achieve this option. You can also customize your own standard set of values ??adding and speeding up your routine needs.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by David Martin Peters

Why Is It Important For A Web Designer To Know How To Code?

Omaha Web Design

Contrary to the popular belief that web designers should not worry about web development, geeky programming codes can actually help the creative bunch to a great extent. Almost every web designer has a basic knowledge about HTML and CSS. However, they often feel that a detailed knowledge about coding will make them abandon their Mac Pros, afternoon coffees and Photoshop brushes.

I do not feel that a designer's creativity can get hampered if he becomes a code jockey. In fact, there are chances that his designing skills will get better and sharper. Are you wondering how this is possible? Here are some reasons why it is important for a web designer to know how to code:

# 1. Better Design

Web designers have a great knowledge when it comes to color theory and typography. However, he should always look for ways to expand his skill-set. He must make sure he becomes unparalleled with his vision and talent. Just as a painter needs to learn about bristle qualities, paint compositions and canvas types to become a complete artist, a web designer will find it easy to execute his ideas if he knows the intricate details of the development process.

# 2. Better Communication

It is natural for a web designer to find the techno-jargon of the developers totally alien to his ears. And it is obvious that he will find it hard to understand when exposed to a discussion among developers. However, efforts to know coding and working with codes will make him familiar with the terms, and as a result, "meaningful" conversions with developers will help him design more efficiently.

# 3. Better Expression

The official website of WordPress has a message at the bottom: " Code is Poetry ". What is the meaning of this message? It means that the power to transform a code into something visual is the highest form of art. If a web designer can write his own codes, it will help him express in a better way. He will have the power to enhance his designs by creating pathways and developing wire-frames all by himself. The more he will know about the medium he works in, the better he will work in that medium.

# 4. Better SEO

Why should we rule out SEO from the discussion? After all, SEO is also a part of a website. SEO helps a website get better visibility on the search engines. When a web designer is able to write codes, he is also able to design in such a way that will benefit an SEO campaign. And when a designer is SEO-friendly, it will just become another feather on his hat.

# 5. Better Accessibility

When SEO knowledge meets the power to code, it creates better accessibility. A great accessibility helps in reaching more people via a website. Designers will not only develop codes for accessibility, but also understand every consideration. It will become easier for him to present information in a clean and coherent way, and visitors will find it easier to navigate.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Aston Abraham

Photoshop Fast Track For Newbies

Omaha Web Design

Adobe Photoshop is not easy to handle especially to the layperson, as he or she may not be as computer savvy as the others. Well, that description should fit us to the T as most of us have trouble with even the basic online activity such as opening an email account. Even with basic Internet skills, trying to edit a photo with the help of Adobe Photoshop will seem like an impossible task for many. But this is the digital era and there are quite a few online resources that we can use to help us understand how to use Adobe Photoshop effectively. The only catch is that most of them tend to use complicated terminology, so at the end of the day, we are none the wiser. Basically, we need an online resource that has been written for the beginner from the beginner's point of view and with Photoshop Fast Track For Newbies as well as some of the other e-books, we should have exactly that. Such e-books are perfect for us in the sense that it uses simple terms and comes with video tutorials, all geared to help us make sense of Adobe Photoshop.

With such e-books, we should be able to manipulate Adobe Photoshop and perform complicated editing tasks in no time at all. This product as well as some of the others, come with a whole range of video tutorials, seeming more like a 'show and tell' more than anything else. But considering the fact that so many of us lack even the basic Internet skills, this is actually a good thing. This particular product comes with 34 videos (14 videos + 7 CS2 videos + 13 CS3 videos). In addition, there is a text transcript providing us with all the tips and techniques that we need to know in order to be able to get around this editing software.

The Photoshop Fast Track For Newbies as well as some of the other online guides like it are perfect for us in the sense that they manage to simplify a very complicated subject and make it possible for us to handle the same in under 2 hours. With this, we should be able to resize a photograph with ease as well as learn how to add / drop shadows from one.

This product may not be well suited for those on the lookout for advanced tutorials on Adobe Photoshop but is perfect for us newbies – hence the name. With Photoshop Fast Track For Newbies, we should be able to make our own logos, something that would have been beyond our abilities earlier on. We should be able to re-touch photographs and even improve the quality of those old ones; with this product the sky is the limit in more ways than one. From the step-by-step instructions to the video tutorials, e-books for beginners on photoshop are indeed a valuable find!

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Reuben Wallis

Learning Photoshop In Just 2 Hours

Omaha Web Design

Adobe Photoshop is a great product for both seasoned photographers and keen amateurs but like all software systems it takes some learning for the uninitiated. There is online training available known as Learn Photoshop in Just 2 Hours that aims to take the difficulty out of learning. This review looks at what it has to offer.

In essence, Learn Photoshop in Just 2 Hours is a set of online tutorials given by David Peters, who is an experienced Adobe Photoshop coach, and is designed to give Adobe Photoshop users a good grounding in all that is on offer. If you follow the tutorials you should be able to comfortably utilise the basic applications of Photoshop. Follow the entire series of videos and you should start to feel accomplished as a user in no time.

In all there are 14 videos included in the training system. In the first two videos you will be taught how to navigate your way around the different Photoshop applications. The following videos take you through the various Photoshop techniques that can be used repeatedly to generate graphic designs. You will learn how to use the methods of painting and drawing as well as adjusting images and photographs.

All the training is conducted in simple and easily understood language so as not to confuse the learner and anyone should be able to readily comprehend the video lessons supplied with the course.

There are also additional resources such as ongoing access to an informative blog and regular updates on the tutorial package. Any new purchaser of the system will be given over $US200 in complimentary bonuses as part of the deal.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Anthony Parker

Best Image and Photo Editing Software Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop – My Reviews

Omaha Web Design

“Photoshop” has gone beyond being merely a brand name to become a regular household word, a verb and a noun. However, Photoshop is really just a brand of fancy image editing software. Fancy, and expensive, image editing software. Adobe Illustrator is a standard vector graphics editor, and Adobe Photoshop is a standard photo editor for pretty much everything else. According to Adobe.com, Standard Adobe Photoshop (not the Extended Version) is $599 and Adobe Illustrator is $699. The Design Standard Suite is over $1,000. What are your options for photo editing software if you can’t afford Adobe Photoshop?

Below is a list of my favorite image editing software, including a couple of online photo editors:

1. IrfanView

Experience Level Required: Novice

Pros: Fast, compact, uses minimal resources, many features (even more with plugins installed), many easy keyboard shortcuts available, functions as a viewer as well as a basic image editor, batch conversions, slideshow creation, precise cropping, variety of screen capture options, handles tons of file types, straight forward and easy to use.

Cons: Does not seem to do background saves (file saving requires overwriting the previously saved version every time), photo edits apply to entire image even if only one area is selected.

My Review:

IrfanView is far and wide my absolute favorite image viewer/editor. It is not for advanced edits but IrfanView has many useful features for basic and somewhat advanced editing. It’s the most fast and efficient viewer I’ve seen or used, with the editing functionality that is lacking in many general image viewers. IrfanView is quick, compact, and not a resource hog. Rotating and flipping can be done with a single key.

IrfanView also offers a variety of screen capture options that prove very handy. The screen capture function gives you a choice of capture area (whole screen, current window, foreground area) as well as method of capture (timer, programmable hot-key). IrfanView gives you the option between capturing with or without the cursor. Screen capture and zoom are done with another tap of the key.

Editing in IrfanView is basic, but convenient. Rotate, flip, crop, brighten, sharpen, resize, simple bevels, saturation, hue, add text, etc. Basic editing is simple enough even for a novice to perform without reading a lengthy manual.

One of my favorite features is the crop tool. Unlike cropping in some Windows programs, IrfanView allows you to see the pixel size of the area you’ve selected. If you try to crop a selection and find out it’s still too large, the Resize/Resample function allows you to size it down to the exact proportions you want. Resize/Resample also offers some popular preset size options to help you make your decision. The Resample option allows you to resize images without losing the image quality.

A unique feature in IrfanView I use very frequently is IrfanView’s Batch Conversion/Batch Rename function. The Batch Conversion feature is invaluable for resizing multiple photos at once. Likewise, Batch Rename is great for organizing those large groups of camera-named images. IrfanView even an option to rename your converted files. This is exceptionally useful if you are trying to make a photo CD for someone and have folders full of high-resolution, 1MB+ sized images that need to be shrunk a bit.

All this packaged into one compact – FREE – little program

2. Inkscape

Experience Level Required: Intermediate to Advanced

Pros: Relatively easy to use, variety of in-depth editing features, supports a variety of input and output types including support for Adobe Illustrator.eps files, filters make professional looking edits with ease, many features are easily tweaked to accommodate your particular needs, many options for exporting bitmaps.

Cons: Some features are more technical than novices may be comfortable with (prior experience with Adobe Illustrator would likely be helpful), resource intensive program, viewing files at full size has to be done carefully to avoid locking up the program, cropping took some time to figure out.

My Review:

I’d like to start by saying that I’m still only a beginner with Inkscape. Yet despite of my lack of knowledge about vector graphic editors, and vector graphics in general, Inkscape is still a convenient and simple way to create professional, impressive looking logos and buttons with little technical expertise or knowledge of graphics editing software. The simplest way to do this is to use the text tool to type out what you want, choose a nice font, and then play around with the various filters until you get the effect you want.

One filter is nice, but multiple filters can make something even more impressive looking. The logo on my blog is a result of doing just that. The rainbow-swirled paint splash is actually the product of a square with a gradient and several different filters stacked on top of each other. You’d never know by looking at it that it started as a square (a gray square even, if I remember right). Working with text is pretty simple with Inkscape and you don’t need to rasterize it to use the filters.

Filters are in abundance. Options include the very basic (lighten, darken, sharpen, blur, etc), textures, colorize, “non-realistic 3D shaders,” overlays, materials, bevels, and more. Resizing and rotating individual components is a breeze, but cropping them can be a bit confusing. Cropping in Inkscape is actually called “clipping” and it doesn’t function exactly the same as most cropping tools. I had to conduct a Google search to figure it out, and even then I only found one or two sites that explained it in a way that made sense. I have re-posted it on my blog for your convenience.

You also have to watch your actual file sizes in Inkscape. If you work without setting the canvas size and go mostly freeform, you can end up with a very large image file without realizing it. If you’ve done this and try to zoom in, Inkscape’s performance reduces significantly, depending on your computer’s technical specs. It corrects itself well, but you may have to give it awhile.

The most advanced part of Inkscape is working with paths and nodes. Admittedly I am not experienced with paths and nodes yet. I have used them a little in experimentation, but for the most part I can’t give a good review on the usage of paths and nodes with Inkscape. Flattening layers is also something that I imagine is possible, but I have yet to figure it out exactly. That’s where the “Advanced” recommendation comes in. If you are comfortable using Adobe Illustrator, figuring out paths and nodes in Inkscape should be simple. I never got comfortable enough with Adobe Illustrator to have a definite opinion on the paths and nodes functions in Inkscape (and have not had a reason to use them much in Inkscape, either).

3. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

Experience Level Required: Intermediate to Advanced

Pros: Great feature list, hover tips explain feature icons, supports a variety of input and output types including support for Adobe Photoshop.psd files, variety of filters for professional looking image edits, clean and efficient interface, generally faster load time than Adobe Photshop, many tweakable features for enhanced control, ability to easily reset defaults, supports a variety of keyboard shortcuts, results using GIMP are generally comparable to using Adobe Photoshop.

Cons: Lacks some features of Adobe Photoshop, certain functions take some getting used to, recreating some Adobe Photoshop type results may require additional steps.

My Review:

After familiarizing myself a bit with Adobe Photoshop, it took me a while to switch gears from Adobe Photoshop to GIMP, and a couple tools took me a little Google-searching to figure out. I can’t say it’s because GIMP is that hard to learn, but rather that I was frustrated and impatient.

Selection, crop, layers, filters, set the image size, etc. are all pretty easy. Gradient, fill (color and pattern options), clone, blur, smudge, airbrush, and various selection tools were also easy, but the clone and gradient tools took me some trial and error to figure out. The brush sizes also originally seemed to be lacking.

Once I experimented a little more, I was very pleasantly surprised with the ability to tweak the brush in a wide variety of ways. This helps greatly with pixel-by-pixel editing around curves and edges. You can tweak the hardness, opacity, angle, shape, aspect ratio and radius of the brush. GIMP even lets you add spikes and make uniquely shaped brushes. Editing the brush sizes and shapes proved to be an invaluable feature when using the clone tool to capture a very specific portion of an image. The brush editor allows you to create a brush up to a huge 1,000 pixels in size.

Another convenient feature of GIMP is the ability to open new images as layers, and open multiple images simultaneously. The locator icon (not sure its actual name) in the bottom right hand corner is also useful. If you zoom in too far on a given image and want to locate a specific portion, you can drag the cursor around the icon and go right to the desired spot in the image.

I didn’t find as many filter options in GIMP as I did in Inkscape, or maybe they just weren’t as cut-and-dry, but there are still a good range with many options. The real power to GIMP comes very similar to Adobe Photoshop. Layers and masks are allow you to create a wide variety of effects that are not necessarily built in.

Many of the realistic, elegant, or impressive effects can be created with layers. Just like using paths and nodes in Inkscape, layer and mask functions require a more advanced level of knowledge (layers and masks are present in Inkscape as well). You can use layers and masks to create more subtle effects than what I have had to use personally. Rays of sunlight, shiny and/or colored hair, realistic looking shadows and more can be created with these functions.

4. Pixlr – Online Photo Editing Software

Experience Level Required: Novice to Advanced

Pros: Offers 3 different types of editors – Pixlr O-Matic, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr Editor – ranging from novice level to advanced, creates beautiful photo effects without the hassle, allows you to save your files online, downloadable plug-in allows you to edit images “grabbed” off the web, variety of preset settings, lighting effects, frame effects, more advanced editing options available, allows you to edit images from anywhere, easy to use interface, many languages available, no registration required.

Cons: Pixlr Editor (advanced) and Pixlr Express (novice to intermediate) may run slowly when applying certain effects, functionality of Pixlr Editor is not as in-depth as GIMP or Adobe Photoshop, requires internet connection, may resize your original photo.

My Review:

Reviewing Pixlr is almost like reviewing 3 separate graphics editing software programs. I found and tested out Pixlr O-Matic first, which contains many preset settings for the photo style, then light effects on the photo, and finally a framed appearance around the photo. The photo styles all have interesting names, and some seem too unusual to be useful, such as having your entire photo in a double-vision appearance.

Using Pixlr O-Matic on a particular photo, I eventually decided on the “Melissa” setting, with a Vignette, and set the frame as “Cornered”. Combined, the three effects made the person in the photo stand out with a hazy, dark background and a torn appearance around the edges of the photo. All in all, it gave it an elegant, aged appearance and all in only three quick steps.

Pixlr Express offers the same image effects, but allows you to edit them some. It offers basic image editing functions (rotate, crop, etc) and breaks down some of its other effects that are combined in Pixlr O-Matic. While Pixlr O-Matic is extremely fast, Pixlr Express may take a little longer to apply some of the effects to your image. Pixlr Express is still good for the novice user as it is quick, easy and very self-explanatory.

Pixlr Editor on the other hand resembles an online version of GIMP or Adobe Photoshop. There is a toolbox, layers, brush options. advanced editing, and more. It is not nearly as robust as GIMP, but just as with Pixlr O-Matic and Pixlr Express, its presets make more advanced editing possible in fewer steps. You can edit the brush, layers, masks, etc and also use the filters and other basic image editor functions.

As with Pixlr Express, Pixlr Editor ran slowly when applying effects, since it is an online editor. When I was testing each version out, Pixlr O-Matic had no delay, Pixlr Express had a delay while applying some effects (not others), and Pixlr Editor got held up a few times trying to make edits or test out various effects. When all is said and done, Pixlr can make time-consuming work into child’s play.

The only issue I had with Pixlr was when it ended up shrinking my photo unexpectedly. It had been reduced in size by roughly 50%, maybe even more. I may have just overlooked an option to prevent that though, so I can’t say that it would happen every time.

5. Picnik – Online Photo Editing Software

Experience Level Required: Novice to Intermediate

Pros: Easy to use even for a novice, basic editing options, lots of filter effects; ability to create collages, calendars, and other professional looking photo-imprinted items; no registration required, doesn’t resize your photos by default, photos can be edited from any computer.

Cons: Many features and effects are not available unless you upgrade to a premium account, tweaking options may not be enough for advanced users, registered accounts only allow 5 photos to be saved.

My Review:

Aside from the landing page, Picnik looks and acts, in many ways, almost identical to Pixlr Express. The filter options are generally pretty similar, although Picnik has more framing effects. Some of the image effects are drastically different than those found in Pixlr Express. On the other hand, many fancy features require you to be a registered, paying user. Granted, registration doesn’t exactly require a month’s pay. Picnik’s premium features are advertised at a price of “as little as $2.08 a month”.

The feature list advertised (for Picnik Premium) sounds pretty robust, and the benefit is the additional features with the same ease of use. Picnik Premium includes more effects, collage styles, advanced editing tools, “stickers”, frames, and more. Picnik Premium also lets you work without ads, and offers touch-up tools (burn, dodge, etc aren’t included in Picnik by default), batch uploading, and special fonts. Prices start at $4.95 for one month, to $24.95 for 12 months (where the “$2.08 per month” pricing comes in). $19.95 for 6 months, if you want to get half a year less for the cost of one extra month. The 6 month plan almost sounds like an insult.

$25 a year isn’t a lot if you’re a novice user wanting to do a lot of photo edits. If you have more advanced skills, it may be worth it to you to minimize the amount of time you spend editing any one photo. Then again, if you are well versed in photo editing software, you may find Picnik’s features to be too constrained and prefer more control over your images.

Overall, the basic free version of Picnik is an incredibly useful tool that anyone could use. If you don’t want to register at all, you don’t have to. You couldn’t save your edited photos and edit history in Picnik, but you can always save your originals in one folder and then download your edited photos in another to maintain backups.

So which graphics editing software is really the best? You’ll have to decide for yourself. Each of the ones I’ve listed (with the exception of Pixlr [Express] and Picnik [Free Version]) have their own defined purpose, and they all have their own unique qualities.

The best image editing software for you depends on your expertise, the amount of time you are comfortable spending, how often you’ll need it, and what you’ll typically use it for. Try each one and decide for yourself. Or better yet – use them all.

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Source by Heather Bjorkman

Using Selection Techniques in Photoshop

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When you use selection techniques, essentially you are setting apart a portion of an image so that you can make changes to it. Or you may want to include that portion with other images. That portion is considered a selection.

With the selection, you can still utilize the tools used to edit images and other commands. The selection portion is protected and is considered a "mask". This part of the image is protected in Photoshop. You will see an outline of this on the screen.

Using a tool icon, you can make a selection. Whatever tool you will be using will be in the Options bar. Use Windows and Options if you don't see t hem. You will not see all of the tools right away. You may have to click on some tools in order to see the ones that are hidden.

Use the Ctrl-H function to show and hide the outline. Using Select, then Inverse will make the image inverted. If you wish to reverse the image, choose Select> None. To save what you have done, choose Select, then Save Selection.

If you need to include more on what your are currently working on, use the Shift key. To remove from a current view, use the Alt key. If you need to add more to a current image because of color, choose Select, then Similar. If you need to move a selection or part of it, use the move tool and drag it to where you want it. If you want to feather a selection, use the Feather checkbox. Using this will allow your selection to look softer.

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Source by Sean Mize

Make an Awesome Logo in Photoshop

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Back when I was studying, I remember a time when the teacher asked us to make our own personal logo; it was my graphic design class and I really hated it. I don't know what to do or what to make, I don't even know how to use Photoshop at that time. In spite of that, I was trying to discover and make myself familiar with it. I learned to love photoshop, and thus my journey in designing started.

Now, before we begin our tutorial, we need to keep a few things in mind when making a logo.

Before you start on a logo creation project for a client, it is better if you gather information of what your client is looking for. It is better if you ask such questions like the name of the product or service, any slogan or tag line, specific colors etc.

Furthermore, if you are trying to make a logo, it should be a mixture of old and new especially if it is a business logo. There is no need to be trendy with a logo; because not all people can relate to it. Second, use colors that are related to the business. You must explore colors carefully before they are used in your logo. And last, don't steal ideas form other business logos.

To start with, we will be using Photoshop since it has a wider audience than illustrator.

First, set up your Documents in Photoshop.

  • Open your Photoshop, then go to file and click new.
  • Specify the name of the file and the size – the height and width.
  • Secondly, if you have the company name then you can experiment with the font selection. Remember, the readability of the logo is important. The logo must be effective; it should stick in your head.
  • Select the Text tool at the left menu.
  • Type the company name in the document space; the document background should be blank or a white background.
  • You can adjust the setting on the Text Properties, located at the top.
  • You can even go to the Character window – where you can adjust the distance or thickness of the text font.

Experiment, until you come up with something that you think will work.

The Logos' font should be simple. Now, adding the symbol. Some logos work well with text only but most of the time a significant symbol is needed which will make the logo stand out.

You need to figure out a symbol which you think will represent the company. When making a symbol or logo design using the Pen tool is very important if you want to create shapes and still maintain a vector format.

It is better if you make an original drawing on your logo, but if you don't have the skill then you can copy the picture or vector tracing.

If you have the picture to trace, open it up in Photoshop.

  • Select the image (Ctrl + A) then Copy (Ctrl + C)
  • Go back to your logo and then paste (Ctrl + V)
  • After you have pasted the image, go to the left menu and then select the Rectangular Marquee Tool – use it on the part of the picture that you won't need, and then hit the delete key.
  • Click the magnifying glass to zoom the image in closer, and then select the Pen tool. Before you start tracing make sure that the foreground color is the same. Then at the layer window which is located at the right side, select the circular icon and click on Create New Layer.
  • Next, at the layer window make the Opacity of the new layer 0%, because it is more convenient tracing without the color hiding the image.

You can use separate layers for every color that you are going to use so that it would be easier to fix things if you made mistake. You can just delete the layer then redo it.

After you finish the drawing, select the first to last vector layer you uses. Just hold down the Shift key to select them all. Click the circular icon at the window layer then select New Group from Layers, so that you can easily move around the image.

Now, you can move the text and image to what ever position you think best. Furthermore, you can use effects on the logo using gradient overlay.

If you are a first timer, it is okay if the logo does not come out that great on the first try. All you need to do is experiment, explore, practice and be creative. Just play with the tools to be become familiar with Adobe Photoshop just like I did.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by John L Allen

How to Find Free Photoshop Tutorials

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Adobe Photoshop is incredibly powerful software, however this power comes with a fairly steep learning curve if you want to take advantage of its many features. Luckily, the web is filled with many resources to help you on your journey from beginner to advanced.

There are thousands of sites out there with detailed instructions on Photoshop's array of tools. A quick trip to Google will allow you to uncover page after page of resources focusing on any topic imaginable. Many of the best designers used these articles to teach themselves Photoshop from the ground up, experimenting and learning on their own time.

The majority of learning resources will come in the form of a step-by-step tutorial with images and text to explain in detail the steps needed to produce the desired outcome. This allows the reader to follow along at a comfortable pace and revisit areas that give them problems.

You can also go to YouTube and find a wide variety of video tutorials. Some concepts can be difficult to follow with images and text; videos giver the viewer the opportunity to see exactly how a technique was executed. Many videos are produced by industry veterans that are skilled and experienced teachers.

If you're unsure where to start, think of a tool or area that you want to learn more about. Head to Google and type in the exact subject you are interested in, followed by the words "photoshop tutorial". For example, if you're interested in learning how to add a frame to a photo, search for the phrase "add a frame photoshop tutorial". You'll be hard pressed to come up with anything you can imagine that someone hasn't written a detailed explanation for.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by Timothy Wills

Learn Photoshop Like A Pro Through Photoshop Tutorials

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At the dawn of computer generation, image editing was made more efficient and remarkable by various photo editing software. But when people talk about the world leader in digital image editing, Adobe Photoshop takes center stage.

Photoshop is, above all else, a superior image editing tool, one that will always be remembered best as the software that forever changed the way the world looks. In many ways, Photoshop has become almost indistinguishable from photo or image editing. And as technology advances, it has become one of the most proficient tools in creating web-based images.

For all of their bells and whistles, however, Photoshop still serves best when used with Photoshop tutorials. Many people are familiar with Photoshop but not all of them are fully capable of managing the tricks and tips of the program. Hence, Photoshop tutorials can facilitate the full use of the software for better image editing.

There are so many websites that offer Photoshop tutorials nowadays. The best thing about Photoshop tutorials is that people can access them for free. Hence, they can learn many things about photo editing and other services needed to enhance the images.

When it comes to Photoshop tutorials, there are so many factors to consider in order to get the lessons you need to know. Some may go for the advanced tutorials while others may find basic Photoshop tutorials beneficial. If you really want to learn the basic tips and tricks in Photoshop, you may find these Photoshop tutorials useful:

1. Photographic effects

With the help of digital cameras, photographers nowadays can really make wonders on their images. However, with the help of Photoshop, they can truly create a new perception of the world. Professionals know how to do their thing but ordinary people cannot. Hence, with the help of Photoshop tutorials, they can create different photographic effects in their images the way the experts do.

2. Lighting

With light, you can create different moods in the picture. Through the use of lenses, flares, and other lighting effects, images may appear surreal, romantic, or morbid. Photoshop tutorials can teach you the basic tips in creating different lighting effects to achieve the mood that you want.

3. Touch ups

This is the most basic section of Photoshop tutorials. In fact, this is what Photoshop is all about. People would want to enhance their pictures. If the camera may not seem to do the tricks, Photoshop can fix it. All you have to learn is to identify the basic steps in doing touch ups. With Photoshop tutorials on touch ups you can even make an old picture look new or arrange some flaws and make it more appealing.

4. Image presentation

Photoshop tutorials can give your picture a good lift from the ordinary. You can make two people appear together in the picture even if they were taken separately. Photoshop tutorials will teach you various means of presenting your picture – totally different from the way you have captured the moment. You can mix and match, combine and contrast, or simply create a new background without having to take a new shot. You just need to learn the basic Photoshop tutorials on image presentations.

So if your books and magazines cannot tell you more than what you need to know about image editing, hook yourself to the Internet and learn the different image editing tips and tricks through Photoshop tutorials.

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92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by Mario SG Churchill

How Can You Make Money by Learning Photoshop?

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You are certainly aware of the Adobe Photoshop, right? In fact, who is not familiar with this? Whether you are a professional or an amateur, you just need to learn Photoshop. It is best software that is available on the market for editing your photographs. Moreover, this program offers a variety of tools that are required for editing your pictures and these are very easy to learn. Although, this software is a bit expensive, but you can get your entire money back if you follow certain steps. Just take time to know all the things related to Photoshop, follow the Photoshop tutorials well and along with this add some of your imagination. Thus, you can earn lots of money.

Here are some important tips for the people who are willing to make money with the help of Photoshop. First of all, you can commence a photo reformation service. In many houses, there are photographs, which are damaged by water vapor, sun rays, wear or tear and due to this reason, these photographs are regarded as priceless. So the owners of these pictures want to repair them. This can be done by using Photoshop very quickly. You only need three tools, such as, the healing brush tool along with the spot healing brush tool as well as the patch tools. With the help of Photoshop tutorials , anyone can know the technique of converting an old damaged photo into a new one and can make money. In addition to this, you can also become a photo doctor. In this case, you have to fix the red eye, 'finger over lenses', pet eye, the poor lighting of the pictures, etc. you can also adjust the dark pictures as well as can rectify the photos having bad exposure. You can convert a colored photo into black and white and vice verse, which you have learn in the Photoshop tutorials. For all these technical things, you can demand huge fees and in this way, you can make a great deal of money. Just believe me, the photo doctors are in huge demand now a day!

Apart from these, you can use Photoshop for other services as well. For instance, you can transform the present picture into a better one. Want to add images in the post cards or the greetings cards? This is also possible if you know the use of Photoshop very well. Trying to create a group photo of your family or your friends but all of them live in separate places now? Don't worry! With the help of this graphic software, you can combine numerous single photographs into a big one. The Photoshop tutorials have also taught you different tools by which you can prepare condolence cards, Christmas cards and even birthday cards. You can sell them as they are always in demand and earn a lot of money. With the help of Photoshop tutorials, you can create some unique designs of the T-shirts and by selling these can easily make a living.

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92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by Kelvin Koh

10 Best WordPress Themes for 2019

If you’ve just started up your own business, run your own blog or have needed to create your own website for any other reason, chances are you’ve heard of WordPress websites. Of all the open source Content Management Systems available today, WordPress is by far one of the most popular. It’s free to install and use, with the option to utilise extra paid features. Thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins and website templates are available, so we’ve decided to narrow down our top 10 best WordPress themes of 2019 to make choosing your design elements a little bit easier. All items featured today are available with a subscription to Envato Elements.

A sleek, theme with a modern design, number 10 on the list is the perfect way for a creative design professional, freelance photographer or artist to show off their products or portfolio. It’s fully customizable with a plethora of home page layout options so that you can showcase your portfolio in precisely the way you wish.

This theme brings to mind all things natural, organic and healthy for the mind, body and soul. Showcase your organic juices, fruits, vegetables, skincare or clothing with the beautiful, fresh look this theme provides. 

A highly versatile, rectangular, clean cut design makes this theme perfect for any new (or well established) business wanting to showcase their services. This modern, stylish and highly customizable theme will make creating and maintaining your website an easy feat.

With a strong focus on image display, this theme is an absolute must-have for any architecture or property management firm. Tech companies could also put this theme to good use due to the modern design and bold features. Two complete website layouts and 13 special elements allow for a super easy initial setup and further adjustments.

Designed specifically with educational institutions in mind, this theme works best when set up to showcase course material, teacher profiles and learning tools. The clean design allows students to easily navigate the entire website to avoid wasting time and becoming frustrated before they even reach the course information. Use this theme to help your company stand out in the education space.

We’re midway through our top 10 best Envato Elements WordPress themes of 2019 and our number five entry should be on your radar if you need a website to make a splash within the fashion industry. The minimalistic design of this template allows products and designer items to take centre stage and really shine. With room for product descriptions, other text and blog posts, your website will contain everything your clients could want and more.

Our number four theme just screams “photography portfolio”. With capabilities to show full screen images, an amazing square collage home screen with a sizable, pop-up cover photo and minimalistic navigational menus it’s every photographers dream. It also includes features such as a blog, an About Me section and a Contact page. Start your photography career off the right way with this amazing template.

Fantastic readability and usability partners with an attractive home page design to give users the ultimate theme for a magazine, blog or creative work in any other written format. A highly organised and easily customisable template allows users to spend their time on the important things – writing their next viral article, for example.

If you aim to sell products, our number two theme has got you covered. Specially designed to cater to online businesses and their client base, it covers all aspects of the art of selling. There’s room for product images and descriptions, reviews, blogs, promotions, an online checkout and more.

Number one on our list of Envato Elements top 10 best WordPress themes for 2019 is a luxurious theme catered towards all styles of blogs and magazines. Highly customisable and easily updated and maintained, you will love using this theme to showcase your work – and your readers will love how easy it is to navigate your site. It’s a super stylish way to make sure your work gets the attention it truly deserves.

That was our list of our top 10 best WordPress themes for 2019. Did you connect with any of them? Which one would you use to showcase your products? If you know of any friends who are looking to update their website or create a new one, make sure you share this list with them.

Subscribe to the Envato YouTube channel to check out our upcoming video content specifically designed for creatives like you.


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The Development of Adobe Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop is a software standard for many professional graphic artists. It features many powerful tools that can do basic to advanced image manipulation efficiently with outstanding results. Photoshop is one of the prides of Adobe Systems, a company leader in developing graphic applications.

Photoshop is an ideal software in producing great quality output for web designs, advertisements, posters, photography, desktop publishing, and many other graphic works.

The latest development of the product is the Photoshop CS4, which will be released in September 2008. It features more advanced tools for enhancing images.

Features overview:

o Capable of painting directly on 3D graphics

o Wrap 2D images around 3D shapes

o Convert gradient maps to 3D objects

o Give depth to text and layers

o Better print quality output together with the inclusion of latest ray-tracing providing engine

o Supports common 3D formats

o Improved Adjustment and Mask Panels

o Fluid Canvas Rotation

o File display options

o 64 bit compatible

Presently there are eight products of the Photoshop software:

o Adobe Photoshop CS3

o Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended

o Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 for Macintosh

o Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 for Windows

o Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 & Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0

o Adobe Photoshop Express beta

o Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

o Adobe Photoshop CS4

Adobe Photoshop can seamlessly work with other Adobe products such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe ImageReady, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Adobe Encore DVD.

Photoshop uses the color models lab, RGB, CMYK, binary bitmap, grayscale, and duotone. It is capable of reading and writing both raster or vector images such as EPS, PNG, GIF, JPEG, Fireworks, and many other file formats.

The traditional file formats of Photoshop are:

o PSD – Photoshop Document

o PSB – Large Document Format

o PDD – PhotoDeluxe Document

Thomas Knoll was the key person who started this amazing program we know today. It all started in 1987 when Knoll wrote a program in order to display grayscale images on his Macintosh Plus. He was able to display monochrome images in his computer. He named his program Display.

Upon knowing this, John Knoll, Thomas’ brother who was then working at Industrial Light and Magic, convinced Thomas to develop it into a full image editing software. Thomas spent six months together with his brother in developing the software. From the name Display, they changed it to ImagePro. Adobe would buy license several years later and rename it to Photoshop.

Barneyscan, a company that manufactures scanners decided to bundle the software with their products. 200 copies of the software were shipped. The software was then demonstrated by John Knoll at the Silicon Valley and Adobe impressed everybody, and later decided to purchase the license. After further developments, Photoshop 1.0 was then released to the market in 1990 but for Macintosh only.

Eventually, more developments have been made with Photoshop. The Windows version was made available eventually and reached a larger market.

Because of the popularity of the software, it was developed to support many other languages like Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Third party plug-ins are also supported by Photoshop. These plug-ins provide more additional effects, which can be applied instantly to any images. Example is brush plug-ins.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by David Urmann