Category: Adobe Apps

Use Tilde to create outrageous Illustrator patterns and shapes

If you’re looking for something a little different for a background in Adobe Illustrator, try holding down the Tilde (~) key while dragging out a shape using one of Illustrator’s shape drawing tools such as line, circle, square, etc. Holding the Tilde key forces Illustrator to repeat the shapes in rapid fashion as you drag your mouse around the artboard. For fun, I set all the shapes to the same color, then went back and randomly chose a few dozen shapes and made them a different color, then set all shapes to Multiply in the Transparency panel. Try it and you may find yourself busy for an hour or so. Thanks to BittBox for the tip.

Photoshop Action Pack for Automator

Automator If you’re a Photoshop user running Mac OSX 10.4 or 10.5, you should be taking advantage of Apple’s Automator. Automator allows you to string a series of “actions” together to create a workflow. Think of them as shortcuts. The Photoshop Action Pack 3.7 provides 90 Actions which allow you to control a huge amount of Photoshop functions, and execute complex batch operations you just can’t do with Photoshop’s built-in Actions.

The following actions are provided in the new Action Pack:

Add Empty Adjustment Layer Flip Canvas
Add Graphic Watermark Gaussian Blur
Add Layer Glass
Add Watermark HDR Merge
Arbitrary Rotate Hue/Saturation
Assign Color Profile Invert
Assign Custom Profile Load Selection
Assign Epson 2200 Profile Maximum/Minimum
Assign Epson 2400 Profile Mono Gaussian Noise
Auto Color Motion Blur
Auto Contrast NTSC Colors
Auto Levels Ocean Ripple
Bleach Bypass Open as Raw Data
Change Bit Depth Open
Change Mode Paint Daubs
Change Pixel Aspect Ratio Photo Filter
Change Resolution Pinch
Channel Mixer Polar Coordinates
Clouds Posterize
Color Balance Purge
Convert to Profile Radial Blur
Copy Data to IPTC Reduce Noise
Copy IPTC to Spotlight Comments Render
Crop Resize Canvas
Deinterlace Resize Image
Desaturate Resize to File Size
Deselect Resize to X by 10%
Despeckle Restore Original File List
Diffusion Ripple
Do Action Scale Image
Duplicate Current layer Set Blending Mode of Current Layer
Dust and Scratches Shadow/Highlight
Edit IPTC Info Sharpen Edges
Exposure (CS2 only) Sharpen More
Filter by Aspect Ratio Smart Blur
Filter by Bit Depth Smart Sharpen (CS2/CS3 only)
Filter by Color Mode Sphereize
Filter by EXIF Strip Extra Channels
Filter by File Type Swap Colors
Filter by IPTC Threshold
Filter by Orientation Trap
Filter by Size Trim
Fit Image Twirl
Flatten Document Unsharp Mask
  Use Currently Open Documents

Version 3.7 is fully compatible with PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. In addition to the action bundle, an assortment of sample workflows is provided. The included 73-page manual gives you a reference for all of the included actions, as well as an introduction to using Automator, and strategies for building Photoshop workflows. The Photoshop Action Pack is free, but donations are accepted via PayPal.

Easily adjust transparency of layers and brushes in Photoshop

Adobe PhotoshopWhile most people know you can adjust the transparency of layers and brushes in Adobe Photoshop manually by using the sliders in the appropriate tool panels, many don’t know you can do it easily with just the keyboard. To adjust the transparency of a layer using the keyboard, simply click the layer you wish to adjust and type the percentage of transparency you wish to use. If you want the layer to be 54% transparent, just type 54. The same tip works for adjusting the flow (transparency) of brushes. Just select the brush tool (hit the “b” key) and type a number. If you want the brush to have a flow of 35%, just type 35. I love this tip for making small adjustments, rather than using the picky sliders which always seem to be a pain to make accurate adjustments easily.

Another Photoshop brush paradise

I’ve listed a ton of places to get Photoshop Brushes in the past. Today I have yet another to add to your bookmarks. PSBrushes has categorized thousands of Photoshop brushes along with convenient preview images for your download enjoyment. Categories like Grunge, Space, Plants, Oriental, and Fractals make it extremely easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the sets are quite large, containing over 80 brushes each. Others are smaller and very specific, with only 8 to 10 per set. All are quality sets.

Getting the most from InDesign transparency

Adobe InDesignLong, long ago, Adobe gave us transparency in InDesign version 2. In each subsequent version of InDesign, Adobe has added ways to enhance documents with transparency, making it even more enticing. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed, however, and that’s the need to flatten transparency for output to a PostScript device. In the article InDesign Transparency: No Longer the Forbidden Fruit over at CreativePro, you’ll learn everything you need to know to produce a successful printed layout when you download the PDF excerpt from InDesign Magazine.

Copy multiple Photoshop layers into a new document without flattening

Adobe PhotoshopIf you’re working on a multi-layer document in Photoshop and you want to copy a portion of the image into a new document, there’s no need to flatten the image first. You can easily do it by making a selection around the area you want to copy and select Edit>Copy Merged from the menu, or hit Command + Shift + C. This will copy all the artwork inside the selection area, regardless of what layer it is on. Then you can paste it into another Photoshop document. Just be aware that when you paste the artwork, it will be a flattened piece of artwork.

Learn Photoshop’s Color Replacement Tool

As you may recall if you’re a long-time reader (going back to the CreativeGuy blog days in 2005), I posted an article titled Color shifting and replacement in Photoshop covering the easiest way to change the color of objects in your image. It’s an excellent and simple overview, which I re-posted here at TGM late last year. Veerle also covered the tool in this blog post in 2006. Well here we are in 2008, and video is all the rage these days, so here’s the same color replacement tip in a video post over at Sebastian Sulinski’s Design site. This tool is often overlooked by most designers – though professional photographers are most like as attached to it as they are their favorite lens. Play around with it for a while, I think you’ll begin to see how powerful the tool can be in no time.

Underline or strike text in Adobe Illustrator

For longtime users of Adobe Illustrator, you may not have even noticed that back in Illustrator CS2, Adobe finally added a simple way of underlining text – rather than drawing a vector line with the pen tool and grouping it with your text. CS2 and CS3 users can use text underline and strikethrough by opening your Character Panel, click on the Options flyout menu and choose Show Options. Two new buttons should appear near the bottom of the Character Panel. Much easier for us old-timers!

Tilt-shift photography Photoshop tutorial

One of my favorite effects for an image is the tilt-shift effect. It makes an ordinary image appear as though it is a miniature model, as the photo of Times Square in NY above shows. Tilt-Shift Photography has a great tutorial to show you how to turn your image into a tilt-shift masterpiece, using just the tools built-in to Photoshop. Keep in mind that you want to give the impression of a miniature model. Miniature models are usually viewed from above so try and choose a photo with an elevated viewpoint.