Top-notch Photoshop tutorials sites offer 30 beautiful illustration tutorials for Adobe Photoshop users. While you may not have the need to create a shiny green apple any time soon, the techniques used in all of these tutorials will surely give you a better grasp of what is possible.
Adding a little spark to your image is simple with Grinder Sparks, a free high-resolution Photoshop brush set from Nathan Brown at Room122. I love Photoshop brushes because they’re so versatile, and I can see that this brush collection offers many possibilities. The 8 brushes in the set are all of high quality, and large enough for most print resolution uses.
PanosFX Fan is a complex Photoshop action that will create a hand-held fan using any landscape oriented image. The action creates 20 slats, making use of semi-transparent layers and a number of decorative elements. I used the small image to the right to create the final image you see above. The action not only gives you a straight on view of the fan, but two perspective options as well. The results are fantastic, which is no surprise considering how many great Photoshop Actions PanosFX has to offer.
Tutorial9 offers up this simple Moonshine text effect tutorial. All that is required to create this elegant effect are four easy layer style settings. If you’re in a lazy mood, they even offer the Photoshop layer style as a download for one-click application of the effect.
I’ve written a tutorial on how to create scanlines across your images before, but I found another great tutorial on using the scanline effect on text and wanted to share it. PSDLearning offers a tutorial that shows you how to easily create a nifty scanline text effect in Photoshop. The tutorial is easy to follow and uses only a user-created pattern and layer effects to create some really nice results.
If you’ve got a particularly “uninteresting” image you want to use in your next design project and you’re looking for a way to spice it up a bit, consider adding a comic book style halftone-dot effect to your image. It’s quick and easy, uses only Photoshop’s built-in filters, and produces excellent results.
1. Choose your image.
Images with a decent amount of contrast and midtones work best, but virtually any image will do the trick. I chose this handsome little fella:
2. Duplicate the image.
Select the background layer from the layers panel and hit Command + J (or drag the layer icon to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel) to duplicate the image layer. Label the new layer “Comic effect” or something meaningful.
3. Prepare for the filter
Make sure the newly created Comic effect layer is on top of the original layer (if you left the original layer set as “background” you should be good to go). Now hit the “D” key to reset your colors to solid black & solid white. Then hit the “X” key to invert them so white is the foreground color and black is the background color.
4. Apply filter
With the Comic effect layer selected, go to your menubar and select Filter>Sketch>Halftone Pattern. For now, just leave the settings at their default, which is usually: Halftone Pattern Size: 1 Contrast: 5 Pattern Type: Dot Hit OK. Your image should now look something like this:
5. Invert the image
With the Comic effect layer still selected, hit Command + i to invert the image. It should now look something like this: If we wanted to have a black & white image, we could probably stop here, but I want color, so let’s move on.
6. Adjust the blending mode
Go to your layers panel blending mode drop-down menu and select Linear Light. You can try any of the other blending methods, but I’ve found that Linear Light works with the most predictable results and requires less tweaking. Your image should now look something like this: The image is too “muddy” like it is, so we have one last adjustment to make.
7. Set the opacity
With the Comic effect layer still selected, adjust the opacity to your liking. For this image, I chose a setting of about 60%, but it really depends on the image.
I added a thick black comic-style border, and a thought balloon with a comic-style font to complete the theme. There are several variations of this technique, but I’ve found that just playing around with the filter settings and layer blending modes can produce a wide-variety of effects by themselves. For instance, in the Halftone Filter settings from step 3, you could choose Line instead of Dot. Play around with it and see what you can come up with.
One of the many fantastic tutorials for Adobe Photoshop that can be found at PSDTuts is this Flaming Text Effect. It’s probably the easiest and most realistic-looking fire effect I’ve come across – mostly because it uses an actual photo of fire to create.
Russell Brown has a great video tutorial showing you how to create a life-like mirror image using Photoshop’s built-in clone source tools that goes a bit beyond just flipping the image and adjusting opacity.
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 Watermark||HDR Merge|
|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|
|Channel Mixer||Polar Coordinates|
|Convert to Profile||Radial Blur|
|Copy Data to IPTC||Reduce Noise|
|Copy IPTC to Spotlight Comments||Render|
|Desaturate||Resize to File Size|
|Deselect||Resize to X by 10%|
|Despeckle||Restore Original File List|
|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|
|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.
While 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.