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!

Introduction to High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR) photography

HDR, or High Dynamic Range Imaging seems to be all the rage these days. HDRI is described as:

In image processing and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range of exposures (the range of values between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques.

Digital Photography School has a fantastic Introduction to HDR Imaging, covering the methods used to achieve the effect. Photo by Wil Hybrid

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.

Using “Global” colors in Adobe Illustrator

First let me start out by saying that Global process colors in Adobe Illustrator are mostly useful only if you’re doing a complex illustration or layout that uses a lot of the same color or tints of the same color. Global process colors are easily identified in Illustrator’s swatches palette by their empty white triangle in the lower right corner of the swatch. Spot colors use the same triangle, but put a small dot inside it, and process colors have no triangle at all. Global process colors allow you to create a single color swatch that you can update and have it apply, of course, globally. For instance, if you apply the same global color to many objects in your Illustrator document, then you decide you want to change the color, it only takes a click or two to update all the objects. You simply alter the global color to your liking, and everything on the page updates. You can create a Global process color by clicking the Global check box in the New Swatch dialog or the Swatch Options dialog box. Global colors are disabled by default.

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.

Web design trends for 2008

WebDesignerWall has put together an extensive list of Web site design trends for 2008 to inspire your next Web design project. These sites which include vintage & retro, hand written note, grunge & splatter, watercolor, and large font styles, are all superbly designed and make heavy use of CSS, color and imagery.

Shrink O’Matic makes image resizing easy

With the release of Adobe AIR, the flood of AIR apps are beginning to roll in. If you don’t know, Adobe AIR is a development environment which allows developers to use Flash, Flex and Ajax to create rich Internet applications which are platform independent. You can download Adobe AIR here. One AIR app that caught my eye is Shrink O’Matic, which allows you to easily (batch) resize (shrink) images. It handles JPGs, GIFs and PNGs. Simply drag and drop images and they’ll be resized as you wish! Options allow you to choose the output sizes, names and formats.

Use Overprint Preview in Adobe Illustrator when using spot colors

Adobe IllustratorWhen you’re working with spot colors like Pantones in Adobe Illustrator, overprint settings can dramatically affect the output results. For this reason, it’s best to periodically go to your Illustrator menubar and select View>Output Preview>Overprint Preview and view your document for undesired overprint settings. This will give you a more accurate idea of what your file will look like when printed.

Free Photoshop grunge brushes by Aramisdream

If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you know I love Photoshop brushes, especially grunge-style brushes. Today I came across two sets of grunge brushes by Aramisdream, and they’re spectacular. Download set one here. Download set two here. Uncompress the downloaded files and move the .abr files to your Photoshop/Presets/Brushes folder. Then load them into your brushes panel in Photoshop to use. They’re all large, high-quality brushes and make perfect background textures for various projects.

Acrobat finds a new home on the Web

Remember when hardly a week went by in the early months of 2008 without some sort of Apple product announcement? The past few weeks, Adobe has been doing its best Apple imitation, with a slew of product news aimed at creative professionals. Macworld has an article covering the latest offerings from Adobe, Acrobat 9 and the companion Web site, Acrobat.com