I told you FlatIcon was the one Photoshop plugin you should absolutely be using back in March. It’s so convenient. When I updated to Adobe Creative Cloud 2014, the Photoshop plugin stopped working.
Thankfully, the folks over at FlatIcons have recently updated the FlatIcon plugin to work with the latest version of Photoshop.
All is right with the world again!
You’ve probably heard about some of the features of the latest version of Photoshop CC 2014, but like my post about my favorite new InDesign features, it’s the little things that make upgrades worth having.
Rather than writing a repetitive post here, I’ll point you to an excellent look at a few of the new Photoshop CC 2014 features over at CreativePro.
I will note that I’ve not played with all the new features, but the ones I have are pretty cool. The new motion blur on path feature is nifty, and reminds me of the motion trail feature in Alien Skin’s excellent Eye Candy 7 plugin. That being said, I find the Eye Candy plugin much more flexible, and much easier to use.
The font rollover previews are extremely handy, as are the auto-updating comps and the new smart(er) guides. I have not tried the new Focus Mask feature, but I’m looking forward to putting it to good use.
In any case, if you haven’t upgraded yet, or aren’t aware of some of the smaller features in the new version, check out Steve Caplin’s excellent overview.
BlendMeIn 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cristen Gillespie has a great article over at CreativePro that will help you understand and use Adobe Photoshop’s Isolate Layers feature. Isolate Layers lets you work on objects without having to search through dozens of layers, locking or hiding everything that might get in your way.
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.
Clean and modern 3D type is a cool effect, and it’s surprisingly quick and easy to create. With the combination of Photoshop and Illustrator, this effect is can be created in minutes. Here’s a quick tutorial on creating 3D type from WeGraphics on how to do it easily.