The folks over at aiVault have a great intro tutorial on Adobe Illustrator’s Gradient Mesh tool. The Gradient Mesh tool is used to create a single multicolored object on which colors can flow in different directions , the color transitions achieved are smooth running from one color to another.
I’ve written a tutorial on how to create scanlines across your images before, but I found another great tutorial on using the scanline effect on text and wanted to share it. PSDLearning offers a tutorial that shows you how to easily create a nifty scanline text effect in Photoshop. The tutorial is easy to follow and uses only a user-created pattern and layer effects to create some really nice results.
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.
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.
One of the many fantastic tutorials for Adobe Photoshop that can be found at PSDTuts is this Flaming Text Effect. It’s probably the easiest and most realistic-looking fire effect I’ve come across – mostly because it uses an actual photo of fire to create.
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.
Russell Brown has a great video tutorial showing you how to create a life-like mirror image using Photoshop’s built-in clone source tools that goes a bit beyond just flipping the image and adjusting opacity.
As you may recall if you’re a long-time reader (going back to the CreativeGuy blog days in 2005), I posted an article titled Color shifting and replacement in Photoshop covering the easiest way to change the color of objects in your image. It’s an excellent and simple overview, which I re-posted here at TGM late last year. Veerle also covered the tool in this blog post in 2006. Well here we are in 2008, and video is all the rage these days, so here’s the same color replacement tip in a video post over at Sebastian Sulinski’s Design site. This tool is often overlooked by most designers – though professional photographers are most like as attached to it as they are their favorite lens. Play around with it for a while, I think you’ll begin to see how powerful the tool can be in no time.
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
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.
Chris over at Blog.SpoonGraphics has posted a great little tutorial on how to create a rotatable globe in Illustrator using the 3D tools Adobe built-in to Illustrator. The tutorial yields great results. But let’s face it, how often do you need to create a globe? OK, you’re right, not often. But take what you learn and apply it to other objects that fit within your design ideas.