Category: Resources

Create a comic book halftone-dot effect for your Photoshop images

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.

Final 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.

Free textures for your Photoshop designs

I love “free.” Free is good. Combine the words Photoshop and free and I’m really happy! Lost/Taken has a plethora of high quality free textures for your design and photography projects. High resolution textures are categorized by tags, making it easy to find what you’re looking for in a nice clean layout. Rust, wood, foliage, metal and more textures await. These textures are free to use in your personal or commercial projects.

Find the perfect rhyming word for your creative writing

If you’re looking for the perfect rhyme for a word in the text of your next design project, look no further than Write Rhymes. Write Rhymes is a simple Web-based application that allows you to type in the text you wish and option + click on a word to receive a list of one, two or three syllable words which rhyme with it.

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.

Free font: Fusty Saddle

BitBox has just released another free TrueType font called Fusty Saddle (fusty means “Old fashioned in attitude or style). It’s a rustic, western-style font similar in style to the old Adobe favorite, Mesquite. Fusty Saddle makes for a great display font, to be used in headlines only. The only problem I have with the font is that there are no punctuation characters such as period, comma, quote or exclamation point. These characters are still important in headlines. That being said, it’s still a beautiful font. You can download Fusty Saddle here.

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.

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.

700+ MB of Free image textures

Smashing Magazine held a texture photo contest last month and has recently released the results. A variety of interesting, exotic or creative textures from all around the globe. Wood, stone, metal, nature, ice, sand, fabric, paper, glass, fire, food and plastic textures. A large number of daily routine things observed from a completely new perspective. All the images can be used for both private and commercial projects free of charge and with no restrictions. The images are all large, high resolution, and the compressed image files range between 1 and 15MB, for a total well over 700MB in size. Most all of them are suitable as backgrounds on brochures, pocket folders, posters and more – they aren’t just small seamless textures. Each image is an individual download, so you can grab just the ones you want. You can start downloading the images here.