Category: Photoshop

Extension compatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 apps

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, you’ve no doubt downloaded and installed the latest versions of the CC apps. Adobe has smartly opted to install the apps beside existing CC apps, so you now have two versions of the main apps. This is important because many extensions and plug-ins are not yet compatible with the latest versions of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Extensis has announced that Suitcase Fusion 5 font auto-activation plug-in updates are on the way (they currently don’t work in CC 2014) and will be free.

One of my favorite Photoshop plugins, GuideGuide, has been updated to work in PS CC 2014. AlienSkin’s EyeCandy, BlowUp and Bokeh (no longer sold) plugins appear to work fine simply by copying the plug-ins from the old PS CC plugins folder into the new version’s plugin folder.

I’m still waiting on an update for the incredibly useful FlatIcons extension to be updated.

If you rely on an extension or plug-in that hasn’t been updated to work with the new Creative Cloud 2014 versions, you can still use them in the older CC versions of the apps which are still installed on your hard drive – unless you un-installed them.

Adobe Bridge CC’s missing Output module: How to get it back

Bridge CC Output module

When Adobe shipped Creative Cloud, Bridge was missing a feature many designers and photographers use quite often – the Output module. The Output module allows you to select folders of images and create a customizable contact sheet in PDF or Web Gallery format.

Thankfully, Adobe has made the Output module available as a stand-alone install, which you can download here. It’s fairly simple to install, and of course, absolutely free to all Creative Cloud users.

Import free assets into Photoshop and Illustrator with BlendMeIn

BlendMeInBlendMeIn is a nifty new Photoshop and Illustrator extension that allows you to search thousands of assets, including popular icon packs, without leaving Photoshop or Illustrator, and place them in your document directly via a Panel.

Unlike FlatIcons, which I recently reviewed, the artwork available in BlendMeIn is free via Creative Commons Attribution license. Unlike FlatIcons, it works in Adobe Illustrator as well as Photoshop. I still prefer FlatIcons, but this is a great option.

Photoshop’s Align & Snap to Pixel Grid explained

When working with the vector tools (such as the shape tools), Photoshop has a preference to “Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid”. This preference is extremely helpful when creating shapes that need solid, straight edges as it snaps the edges of the shapes to be fully aligned to a pixel, preventing soft, anti-aliased edges. Julieanne Kost explains it as simply as I’ve seen.

Improve text appearance with Photoshop’s anti-aliasing

One of the most important things you can do to improve the look of your text in Photoshop is adjust the anti-aliasing of the text based on the size the text will be displayed at.

Photoshop text anti-alias
Text anti-aliasing can be found in Photoshop’s Control Bar (usually located at the top of the screen) when you have the text tool selected. You’ll find it just to the right of the point size entry box, as seen in the screenshot above. You can adjust the anti-aliasing by selecting the options in the drop-down menu.

There are four anti-aliasing options, Smooth, Strong, Crisp and Sharp. Which one you use depends on the size of your text.

Photoshop anti-aliased text sample
As you can see in the image above, larger text sizes look better with Smooth or Strong. Smaller text sizes tend to look better with Crisp and Sharp – with tiny text on a website almost always looking best using the Sharp setting. The image doesn’t really show the difference in smaller text as well as I would like, but if you adjust the settings in your own document, you’ll surely see the difference.

The one Adobe Photoshop plugin you should absolutely be using

FlatIcon for Photoshop
I’ve tried a LOT of Photoshop plugins. They all have their specific uses, and many of them are worthy of your purchase. But few are as useful on a daily basis as this one.

FlatIcon is a plugin for Photoshop CS5 and later that places a new panel in Photoshop that allows you to search for, and place in your document, vector icons from a collection of over 41,000. Best of all, they’re free. And because they’re vector shapes, you can resize and edit them without losing quality.

To use FlatIcon, visit Window > Extensions > Flaticon to bring up the panel. Then you simply search for the icon you wish to use, click and drag it to your document, and start editing it as you would any other vector shape in Photoshop. It couldn’t be easier.

FlatIcon is a plugin many designers, particularly web designers, will use daily. For me, having a collection of arrows and typical web elements is worth the install alone.

FlatIcon is free, works with Adobe Photoshop CS5, CS6 and CC. You can download FlatIcon here.

By the way, if Photoshop plugins aren’t your thing, you can also download the icons individually from FlatIcon as a PNG, SVG (vector) or Webfont from the main site.