Category: Adobe Apps

How to customize Photoshop’s toolbar

Photoshop Edit Toolbar iconThe single greatest feature of the latest Creative Cloud 2015 version of Adobe Photoshop is something I’ve longed for since… well, almost since I started using Photoshop.

Photoshop is for designers. Wait, uh… no it’s for Photographers. The fact is, Photoshop is a useful tool for an awful lot of people. In the past that’s meant that you had to have your toolbar contain the balance of tools that Adobe thought you would need–including the ones you never use. That day has now gone, and your Photoshop toolbar can finally be YOUR Photoshop toolbar.

Simply click that 3 dot icon at the bottom of the default toolbar in Photoshop. This brings up the Customize Toolbar dialog box.
Photoshop Edit Toolbar
Now you can begin dragging items out of the toolbar (the column on the left), and rearranging them in the order you want. Don’t worry, dragging them into the column on the right doesn’t delete the tool, it just hides it from view.

You’ll notice that some of the tools are grouped. That’s what makes the sub-tools where you hold the mouse down on the tool to reveal similar/alternate tools—such as the Selection and Shape tools. You can create your own sub-tool list if you wish, or simply remove a tool from a sub group to give it its own spot on the toolbar. For instance, you could move the circular selection tool out from under the rectangular selection tool if you wish.

The best thing is that Photoshop allows you to save your new toolbar as a preset. So you could create different toolbars for different tasks and call them up quickly when you need to switch.

Why the heck Adobe hasn’t made this an option in InDesign and Illustrator, at the very least, is beyond me.

Create a grid of InDesign frames from a single existing frame

Adobe InDesign has a built-in way to create a user-definable grid of frames from a single existing frame in your document. Why you might want to do this, you ask? Think of what a pain it would be to place the same image in a grid of frames to make it look like a single large image. Or, maybe you just need a grid of text frames made in the exact space that an existing graphic frame resides in.

InDesign frame grid

Open the Scripts Panel from the menubar under Window/Utilities. In the panel, navigate to Application>Javascript and double-click MakeGrid.jsx. The dialog box that pops up is self-explanatory. You choose how many columns and rows you want to transform the frame into, and how much space to place between them. Finally, you have the option of automatically placing the original image into the frames and adjusting their coordinates to look like it’s one large image. You can see the image above for the results.

How to switch from a CMYK to RGB workflow

RGB Color Workflow

The days of having to convert color images to CMYK are gone, yet most designers still cling to the idea that you MUST convert your images to CMYK to avoid all manner of disaster when printing a project.

The reality is that you really don’t have to deal with the CMYK color space any more, and haven’t for years.

David Blatner has a fantastic RGB Workflow walk-through about the subject over at CreativePro. It covers everything from the initial Photoshop file work, to importing into InDesign for layout, all the way to the end when you export the final PDF to send to the printer.

Manipulate 3D images right inside Photoshop with free plugin


The short video above should tell you all you need to know about what PixelSquid does. Manipulating images as 3D objects right inside Photoshop without the hassle of knowing how to use 3D tools is a concept I’m surprised more companies haven’t tried to tackle.

PixelSquid offers quite a decent-sized collection of 3D images, including a few nice collections like the Apple Collection—which features over 50 Apple objets from yesterday and today. I also liked the Money collection.

The plugin is free, though you do have to sign-up for the service.

Exclusive: Free mobile data infographic vectors

Mobile data infographic vectors

Today I’ve got another exclusive freebie from Vecteezy for you.

Mobile data infographics will likely come in handy if you have to build any sort of charts, graphs or infographics in your Keynote presentation, website or print design.

You can download Mobile Data Infographics here (direct link to 2MB zip file). The file contains AI, EPS, SVG, PNG and PSD files for maximum flexibility.

Be sure to check out all the other freebies and premium content Vecteezy has to offer.

Exclusive: Free vector graph pack

Free vector graphs pack

Vecteezy has provided some exclusive content for Graphic Mac readers in the past, and today they’re making a pack of 36 graphs & charts available. These handy icons come in ai, eps, svg, png, and psd file formats.

You can download the free vector graph pack here (direct link to 1.2 MB zip file).

These graphs would be perfect for creating infographics, or icons for Keynote presentations. Be sure to check out Vecteezy to discover more free vector art. They also offer a premium plan for even more vector goodies!

How to export InDesign layers as a layered PSD file

InDesign to PSD

InDesign Secrets shared this excellent InDesign script that converts your layered InDesign file to a layered Photoshop file. Mike Rankin takes you through the simple steps in the article, but I’ll tell you from experience that this is the sort of thing that is best left to designers who are obsessive about details like naming and organizing their layers, regardless of what program they’re working in. And as Mike points out, this is something that is best left as the “final” step—as you won’t know (or have a whole lot of control over) what remains editable after the conversion.

The evil Adobe empire

Evil Adobe Empire

I came across this article the other day and paused for a few moments to think about the Adobe empire. The discussion in the article is all-too-familiar, and becoming a real trend. Even I have a difficult time defending Adobe.

I’ve spent years defending Adobe’s business model and applications. I still feel they’re the best tools on the market for content creators. And I don’t feel like $50 per month is the outrageous amount people make it out to be.

But I’m done defending Adobe. Because I can’t anymore.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, the logos and images for the last three freelance jobs I’ve worked on, and the graphics for this site’s last several posts were edited with an app not named Photoshop or Illustrator.

I guess what I’m saying is, the little things I mentioned a few days ago are piling up. And there are finally real options out there. By the end of this year, they’ll be a competitive alternative to Adobe’s print-related suite of apps. All of them. And I’m going to give them a serious consideration.