Big Design in Small Spaces


It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture sometimes – what your whole site looks like or the message it conveys. Just as important though, are the small spaces. The look of your banner, sidebars and even the dreaded-in-some-circles above the scroll presentation can bring people into or turn people away from your site.

Effective design in restricted, and even constricted spaces can be the key to adding just the right flair to your site. Simple design tools such as cropping, color, text display and contrast can make all the difference when planning the design for the boxed-in spaces of your next project.
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A tight crop can give a small image the feeling of being much larger than it is. In small spaces, it is best to stay away from wide angle images where faces are unidentifiable. People like to see other people in photos, so crop your images so that faces are clearly visible and identifiable. Continue reading  

Clipping Masks And Type – Placing An Image In Text With Photoshop



Written by Steve Patterson. In a previous tutorial, we learned the basics and essentials of using clipping masks in Photoshop to hide unwanted parts of a layer from view in our designs and documents. We learned that clipping masks use the content and transparent areas of the bottom layer to determine which parts of the layer above it remain visible, and as a real world example, we used a clipping mask to place one image into a photo frame that was inside a second image.

In that tutorial, we focused mainly on using clipping masks with pixel-based layers, but another common use for them is with type. Specifically, they can be used to easily place a photo inside of text! As we’ll see in this tutorial, Type layers in Photoshop are different from pixel-based layers in that there are no actual “transparent” areas on a Type layer. The type itself simply becomes the layer’s contents. When we use a clipping mask with a Type layer, any part of the image on the layer above that sits directly over top of the text remains visible in the document, while areas of the image that fall outside the text are hidden. This creates the illusion that the image is actually inside the text! Let’s see how it works.

As with the previous tutorial, I’ll be using Photoshop CS6 here but everything we’ll cover applies to any recent version of Photoshop.

Download our tutorials as print-ready PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been easier!

Here’s a document I have open containing two images. The first photo on the bottom Background layer will be used as the main image for the project (friends enjoying snowfall photo from Shutterstock):

Two happy young female friends enjoying snowfall on Christmas winter night over snow background. Image licensed from Shutterstock by Photoshop

The main image that will be used as the background. Continue reading  

How to Composite a Destroyed City Scene and Retouch Characters in Photoshop


Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Fix Tone and Color with Levels In Photoshop



When it comes to editing images in Photoshop, the first thing we always want to do is fix any overall tonal and/or color problems in the image (commonly referred to as “global” problems) before moving on to more specific problem areas (“local” problems), and the tool of choice for the task is the same today as it’s been for years – Photoshop’sLevels command, which not only handles the job like a pro, it makes overall tonal and color correction incredibly simple and easy. In this Photoshop tutorial on photo editing, we’re going to see just how easy it is.

Download our tutorials as print-ready PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been easier!

Here’s the image I’ll be using for this tutorial:

The original image

And here’s how it will look after a quick overall tone and color correction with Levels:

The final result

Again, this is the step you always want to start with when editing your images, so having said that, let’s get started! Continue reading  

Quick Tip: Combine a Crocodile and a Frog in Photoshop


Final Product What You’ll Be Creating

One of the fun exercises I did as a child was to create my own animal species in my sketchbook. Drawing from a reference, I would combine the craziest parts of different animals together to make up a new animal and give it a name. 20 years later, I’m still doing the same thing. In this tutorial, we will use Photoshop to combine a crocodile and a frog to create a new animal species. Let’s get started! Continue reading  

Using A Photo To Mask Itself With Photoshop


Written by Steve Patterson.
In this Photoshop Effects tutorial, we’re going to learn how to use a photo as a layer mask, essentially using the image to mask itself, something that Photoshop doesn’t normally allow us to do. We’ll be using it to give the image a nice soft glow effect, but if you experiment on your own, you’ll find lots of creative ways to use this technique.

Download our tutorials as print-ready PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been easier!

Here’s the photo I’ll be using for this tutorial:

The original image

And here’s the finished result:

The final result

Let’s get started! Continue reading  

Mastering Photoshop With Paths


Anomalously residing within the pixel-gridded world of Photoshop are a series of tools waiting to break out of the canvas’ inherent squareness. Mastering these tools opens the stage for a higher level of flexibility, full of clean lines and non-destructive editing. Presented here is a guide to help you build proficiency, increase productivity and demystify the elusive world of Paths.

Photoshop Mastery Series: Paths

Creation Continue reading  

Photo Realistic Drop Shadows in Photoshop


Written by Steve Patterson. Let’s face it, Photoshop’s built-in drop shadow effect has it’s limitations. It’s fine for basic shadow effects, like making text appear to be raised slightly off the background on a web page, but if you’re after something more photo realistic, the drop shadow on its own doesn’t cut it. With a little help though, we can turn those plain, uninteresting drop shadows into something much more realistic looking by “mapping” our shadows onto the image using what’s called a displacement map. Displacement maps are what the pros use to add realism to images, but don’t let that scare you away. You don’t need to be a pro to use them. In fact, they’re really quite simple.

As we’ll see in this Photoshop tutorial, a displacement map is really nothing more than a separate, black and white version of your image which Photoshop uses to figure out how to reshape your shadows so that they appear to be following the natural textures and depths of the background behind them, just like what a real shadow would do. Think of a displacement map as Photoshop moving pixels from “dis place to dis place”. If that sort of makes sense to you, great! If not, don’t worry, it will by the time we’re done this tutorial.

Download our tutorials as print-ready PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been easier!

Here’s my original image, a simple photo of some water:

The original image

Continue reading  

A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Masking in Photoshop


Final Image


clippingpathzone_image masking


Several years ago a friend of mine asked me to teach him how masks work in Photoshop. This is my incredibly late response.

We’ll go over the basics of what masks are, what they’re used for and how wielding them properly will take your Photoshop skills to an entirely new level. Continue reading  

15 Advantages of Working in a Graphic Design Company



Working in a graphic design company is a fulfilment for many designers. It is where they get experiences that they would not be able to get when working alone. There are so many challenges that one needs to face when working in a graphic design company but after overcoming such challenges it is all worth it. Challenges would include dealing with your boss and co-workers. Not to mention the tons of work that you need to do for you do not have a choice but really do it.

But aside from those challenges, there are also some benefits and advantages in working in a graphic design company. Although you might have known the advantages of freelancing, it is now time for you to chew on the benefits of working in a firm. For this post, you will be able to know the good things you’ll get from your company. If you are at the point of thinking on switching jobs, then this article can help you weigh your decision. Come take a look.

1. Gives you a stable income.

Gives you a stable income
Image:shutterstock Continue reading