Category: General

Beauty is in the details

Some people have waaaay too much time on their hands! Or you could say, they have way too much Photoshop talent. I ran this article back in 2006 on my previous blog, but thought it was worth revisiting. Bert Monroy, a digital artist, has composed what is claimed to be the largest Photoshop image known to the public. A quick look at the above image doesn’t do it justice. Here are some specs for that image:

  • The image size is 40 inches by 120 inches.
  • The flattened file weighs in at 1.7 Gigabytes.
  • It took eleven months (close to 2,000 hours) to create.
  • The painting is comprised of close to fifty individual Photoshop files.
  • Taking a cumulative total of all the files, the overall image contains over 15,000 layers.
  • Over 500 alpha channels were used for various effects.
  • Over 250,000 paths make up the multitude of shapes throughout the scene.

Most of the basic shapes and the Chicago skyline were created in Illustrator and brought into Photoshop for the final touch. The attention to detail is just staggering, as seen in the image at right. When you consider that the zoomed in image at right is such a tiny portion of the overall image above, it’s just an incredible amount of detail for something virtually nobody will see at first glance. Most designers and artists would have skipped such details in such a large image, but it goes to show you what attention to detail can do for your image, and your reputation. You can read more at – but be patient, the page WILL take a while to load.

Adobe CS4 Printing Guide available for download

adobeAdobe has posted the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Printing Guide, which serves as both a detailed technical reference for handling Adobe Creative Suite 4 Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat files from your customers, and as a training tool for your staff. If you want to know more about graphics, exporting and printing, font issues, working with book files, output troubleshooting, color management and more, you’ll find this downloadable PDF guide extremely helpful. Direct-download links: CS4 Print Guide – low-res (PDF, 4.6mb) CS4 Print Guide – high res (PDF, 18.1mb) If you’re still using Adobe Creative Suite 3, you can download the Creative Suite 3 Printing Guides here: CS3 Print Guide – low res (PDF, 6.6mb) CS3 Print Guide – high res (PDF, 24.4mb)

Font management with Suitcase Fusion 2

The name is familiar. Everything else is groundbreaking. Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 redefines professional font management with a sleek, modern interface, time-saving tools and unmatched stability. Dynamic searching and advanced auto-activation in Fusion 2 makes selecting and activating fonts a snap. I’ve written a full review of Suitcase Fusion 2, which you can read at Macworld’s Creative Notes blog, where I covered the user interface, auto-activation, and my real-world experience using the application. Over the last few months, I’ve been using Fusion 2 with great results. Gone are the days of slow launch times of not only Suitcase, but InDesign, Illustrator and Quark as well. This is partially because Fusion 2 no longer needs to be open in order for font auto-activation to work. I’ve had no issues with crashing, fonts embedded in .eps files, or any other issues that seemed to have plagued previous versions of Suitcase. The new tear-off preview menus are a nice touch, as is the simple interface – right down to the icon. Everything is just easier and faster with Fusion 2. If you’re looking to upgrade your font management application, take a look at my review of Extensis SuitcaseFusion 2.

Friday link blitz

Friday Link Blitz

Photo by amrufm @ Flickr

TUAW reports that computer security company Trend Micro is reporting that a new Mac OS X malware application is making the rounds. The application, called OSX_LAMZEV.A, gives hackers a way to take control of infected Macs. This Adobe Blog entry shows you how you can use the Batch Processing feature in Adobe Acrobat to OCR multiple documents at once. Gmail fans have been building unofficial extensions to spice up their inboxes for a while. This past week however, Google rolled-out 30 official themes for their Gmail Web mail service. Also in Google news, LifeHacker reports that some logged-in Google users are seeing an interesting new feature enabled on their results pages. SearchWiki adds two buttons to the right of each result that let users move their favorite or most relevant results to the top spot or kill out a result entirely for their page only. Would you leave your job as a creative at an agency or design firm if you were so unhappy because your boss was managing every little detail that you couldn’t even think for yourself? Adelle Charles at FuelYourCreativity looks at Micromanaging a Creative in her latest blog post. Ever wanted to know how some freelancers jump on Web job postings before everyone else, and still manage to get the gig? Joel Falconer at FreelanceSwitch offers up a few techniques to get your name in the hate early, and still leave a lasting impression.

Finding and using Flickr images for free

Blog posts and Web pages look better with images, this is a fact. But where can you find images to use that don’t cost a lot? You could turn to some of the free stock photo sites out there. Some are pretty decent, but most of the images have a distinct “stock photography” look about them. Instead, try using images from Flickr.

Creative Commons License

Photo by Spoon Monkey @ Flickr

Before you say “the images on Flickr are copyrighted, so they can’t be used for commercial work,” think again. Flickr offers thousands of great images under the Creative Commons, allowing you to use them absolutely free, with little more than a photo credit in some cases. Flickr offers non-copyright images in the form of several different licenses under the Creative Commons. The type of license the photographer chose to license the image under determines what restrictions you’ll have in using the images. Typically, these restrictions are limited to commercial vs. non-commercial, photo credits, and re-distribution.

Attribution license is your friend

The best Creative Commons license you can choose is the Attribution License. Images that fall under the Attribution License allow you to freely crop and alter the image, and use it any way you see fit for free, just as long as you credit the photographer. Generally speaking, you’ll know you’re looking at Attribution License images when you see one of the two icons above on the page.

Creative Commons images

Photo by Hyunlab @ Flickr

You can make your search for Attribution License images easier by starting on the Flickr Attribution License page. As I said earlier, there are several different kinds of Creative Commons licenses. The Attribution License is definitely the most flexible, but there are others that allow you to use Flickr images with more restrictions. For more info on the other available licensed images, visit the Flickr Creative Commons page.

10 tips to avoid designer’s block

Ever have a day where it feels like nothing is working, you’ve lost all your talent and you’ll never make another good design for the rest of your miserable life? Don’t panic – this is natural. So, the question is; how do I avoid designer’s block? GoMediazine has 10 great suggestions to help you get over the hump.

Type foundries you’ve never heard of before

Adobe, ITC, P22, and House Industries are some of the big boys in the font business, but there are plenty of smaller, lesser-known font foundries out there that put out quality fonts for affordable prices. Darden Studio is one such foundry that has some really nice fonts available, including Birra Stout – an old style display font available for free. Designer-Daily has put together a list of 16 Type foundries you’ve never heard before that’s worth taking a look at.

19 Creative Halloween advertisements

There must be innovation and creativity involved in any successful creative advertisement campaign. In this article at SmashingApps, you can see how different companies conveyed their marketing/promotion message for their products or services for the Halloween Season. All of them are worth taking a look at, even if most are for beer companies with bottomless pits of money for ad budgets!

20 creative movie posters designs

CoffeeandCelluloid takes a look at 20 amazing movies posters in the last year or so. What I love about this visual list is the diverse styles used in poster designs. Because movie posters have to appeal to a wide audience, many times they tend to be somewhat, well, boring and predictable. These 20 posters toss aside the norm, and dare to be different. Special thanks to long-time reader, Robert, for sending me the link!