There are very few tutorials that I come across which I find might actually be useful. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn a lot going through a tutorial even when the end result isn’t very useful in your day-to-day work. This stone textured text tutorial I found at DesignM.ag is one of the few exceptions. In going through the tutorial, I immediately thought of several uses (such as divider pages in long documents. I also loved the flexibility it offers you — you don’t have to follow the tutorial to the letter to get great results.
When I came across the How to Create a Social Media UFO Icon tutorial at PSDTuts, I couldn’t help but share.
The Adobe Photoshop tutorial, which has a whopping 57 steps, is fairly simple to follow. Though the writer claims it will take an hour to do, I was able to reproduce it in about 20 minutes. The tutorial assumes some knowledge of working with layers, gradients and how to adjust transparency. The beauty of this tutorial is that you don’t need to follow it word-for-word. You could create a square UFO if you wanted to, and add other lighting and shadow effects as I did.
If you’re looking for an excuse to try it, consider using it to create a great desktop wallpaper.
Callum Chapman has posted a great article on working with color in Adobe InDesign over at spyrestudios. This article is great for designers just getting started or still in school, and covers topics such as:
- Printing Requirements
- Color Models: RGB vs CMYK
- Adding Colors to the Swatches Panel
- Applying Colors to Objects
- Creating Strokes
- Creating and Applying Gradients to Objects
- Creating a Spot Color
Definitely worth a read. And be sure to check out the rest of the site, because it has some great stuff covering a variety of topics!
Back in 2007, I wrote a tutorial on how to create your own customized OS X Mail stationery when Leopard was first released. To this day, it’s still one of the most popular articles on this site. I decided it was about time that I took a look at it again to make sure nothing had changed with all the updates to Leopard, and the release of Snow Leopard.
This tutorial is fairly simple, and you’re only limitations are your graphics skills. Of course, if you have knowledge of HTML, you can do a lot more with your customization. For the sake of this tutorial though, I’ll keep it simple.
Charts and graphs are still the foundation of most great looking infographics, and Adobe Illustrator is still the premiere application for creates to design them in.
Tutorial9 has a fantastic tutorial that shows you how to create stunning 3D graphs and charts in Illustrator. Be sure to check out all the other tutorials and free resources available at Tutorial9.
In this tutorial at PSDTuts, you’ll learn how to create a shiny globe using the 3D features of Photoshop CS4 Extended. This will cover basic information about 3D layers and texture maps.
While you’re probably not running across the need to create Earth globes in your every day workflow, the tutorial will give you the knowledge of using a few of Photoshop’s powerful tools that you probably don’t even think about.
You’ve probably seen quite a few Photoshop tutorials showing you how to create a chrome text effect. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to go a step further and create a colored chrome text effect. I’m not much for text effects in my own designs, but this does look fairly cool.
If you regularly use iMovie or some other application to capture audio or video, or were wondering how to do it on the cheap, then you’ll love this handy little tip.
All you’ll need is a copy of Quicktime Pro 7 or later, or the latest version of Quicktime Player in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and a Mac with an iSight camera, or a connected video camera or microphone.
If you’ve worked in the print design business for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt heard the term “rich black” more than once. If you’re not quite sure when or why to use it, read on for a brief explanation.
Because large areas of black ink tend to appear a muddy brown or charcoal gray color lacking richness and depth, printers recommend using a rich black (a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink percentages) in large solid areas where black ink is desired.
When to use rich black:
There are no “set-in-stone” rules as to when to use rich black, but the following are times when I’ve found it best to do so.
- Solid areas – Rich black is best used in large areas where you want a nice solid black color. For instance, a pocket folder or brochure cover where you want a solid black background.
- Large type – If your type is a thick sans-serif type (such as Futura Black) and 40 points or larger, consider using a rich black.
- Overprint areas – If you have a light-colored background and want a large black area to print on top, use a rich black. For example, you have a textured yellow background and want a black circle with a logo in it to appear on top. If you use a regular black (100% black only), most apps like InDesign and Quark will overprint the black ink. When you print black on top of yellow, you end up with brown. The underlying color or image will show through. By using a rich black, you avoid the problem.
When not to use rich black:
While there are no rules as to when you should use rich black, there are a few rules on when you should NOT use it.
- Small areas – Small black areas on white or dark backgrounds. Trying to register a rich black on a 4 point thick line is virtually impossible – especially when it’s on a very light or dark background. The slightest offset in registration on the press will stand-out like a sore thumb.
- Small type – Registering multiple colors of ink on your 10 point type is bound to end-up looking poorly. Even the best of printers will have a difficult time.
- Newsprint – Though you can use rich black in newspaper ads, I discourage the use whenever possible. Putting that much ink in one area generally yields ink bleed and paper wrinkling.
Creating rich black:
Most designers eventually find a rich black that works best for them. For me, a 50% cyan, 50% magenta, 25% yellow, 100% black mix works great in most cases. But how did I come up with those percentages? Obviously 100% black is a standard. The remaining three colors are usually where the fluctuation occurs. I’ve found that having an equal amount of cyan and magenta, with yellow being about half those amounts, works best. I use less yellow because the yellow pigment in the ink tends to really muddy your black quickly. Why not use 100% of all four colors? You must take ink levels into consideration. Ink levels are the amount of ink your printer is putting down on the paper. Using too much ink will muddy the image, wrinkle the paper, and requires more time for the ink to dry properly; possibly causing you to miss a deadline. Using rich black is a trial and error type of thing. You can save yourself a lot of time by simply asking your printer what settings they get the best results with. Many printers have nailed down exact CMYK ink amounts for the best results on their particular printing press. If you’re using Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, be sure to visit the application preferences. You’ll find a section that allows you to display the color black accurately. Be sure to turn that feature on; it will save you plenty of grief later on.