Jeff Witchel, an Adobe Certified Instructor for Adobe Illustrator and a frequent contributor to Layers Magazine(which many of you know is one of my favorite resources), has created a video tutorial for the addition of Gradients to type, WHILE keeping the type editable. This is one of those un-obvious Illustrator controls (uses one of my favorite tools – the Appearance Panel) that will help a bunch of you!
When I don’t get a chance to make my own tutorials, I still appreciate the work of others. Graphics.com has posted a nice tutorial on using the History Brush to control where Filter Effects…um… affect your image. Check it out!
Free – and Open Source Clip Art. Not only are they free in the public domain and usable for any purpose whatsoever, but there’s also a cool collaborative environment in which you can make your own alterations and share them. A great graphics resource, and an excellent way to get involved in the practical design of these images.
Demo image made in 4 minutes with Fumy and Photoshop
Here’s a little program I love! I bought a program named Smoke some time ago, at a discounted price. I thought it looked like a cool, fun toy of a program, but it’s so much more! Smoke underwent a name change. It’s new name is Fumy, and the newly released version is Fumy 2.0.
Painting in Fumy is like painting with smoke, or waves, or patterns or light. Version 1, with all it’s point updates was very cool – choose a style and some colors and then paint. You could place the end results into Photoshop documents (or simply create a stand-alone graphic). The only “real” limitation was that the end-result image was opaque. You could use any color background, but you created an opaque image for which you might have to use Blending Modes in Photoshop to influence the result.
Now, with version 2.0, we have layers! This means that not only can we create images with transparent backgrounds, but we also have some limited blending modes inside the program, and we also have the ability to export individual layers of our image.
The names of the controls present a bit of a learning curve: names like “Flow”, “Range”, “Intensity”, “Density”, “Fluency”, “Gravity”, and “Quality” may not make immediate sense, but that’s part of the idea of working in this Fumy. It’s all about experimentation (you all know that’s a BIG teaching point of mine anyway, right?)
Version 2.0 just came out a few days ago, so there’re still a few “issues” to resolve. For example, the tooltip names don’t align and so you have to trust the icon more than the name of the tool. Also, there seems to be a bit of a problem with the function of exporting individual layers, but you should also be aware that the developer is extremely responsive. I’ve had a few questions over the past couple of versions, and I received response emails the same day!
On top of all this coolness and fun, here’s the real kicker – I’d originally bought this program for $6 via Maczot.com. It was also included in a software bundle I’d purchased at MacLegion.com. But I never needed the new version. Every update has been free – and the recent UPGRADE was ALSO FREE! Any developer with such a cool product, who is so responsive, and has such generous upgrade policies should be commended! I encounter so many programs with ridiculous and draconian upgrade costs, I’m especially impressed by this (see Adobe’s new upgrade policies, for example!)
Despite the few bugs in this new version, I highly recommend it – and the developer. If the regular $19.99 seems a bit much, wait… you’ll see it in a bundle, I’m sure. Also, Neatberry (the developer) seems to have a slew of other cool programs. I’m looking forward to checking them out.
Oh, and the image you see in this post was done using a stock image from stock.xchng, and a quick image from Fumy 2.0, created and composited in about 4 minutes using Photoshop.
Okay – so many of you who have taken my design classes have seen me “pick on” the Helvetica font. As you know, although I consider it a classic, beautiful, clean and highly versatile, I have some issues with it’s built-in kerning at large sizes, so I usually use it for my kerning lessons.
So, today, Graphics.com posted a Facebook link to a great page with 40 great logos designed using Helvetica. Now, I don’t personally agree that all of these do, in fact, use Helvetica (eg: Nestlé, even if it started as Helvetica, didn’t remain Helvetica, IMO), but if you check these out, you’ll gain some great inspiration as to the effects of tracking and kerning, color, use of space, and all things typography and design. Check it out!
Russell Brown (www.russellbrown.com) has created a really good tutorial on how to use the History Paintbrush in Photoshop.
Those of you who’ve taken my Photoshop classes know that I don’t often teach this tool. I actually think it’s an awesome tool – but of course I’m ALL about non-destructive techniques, and this isn’t one of them. This technique changes original pixels permanently (there are work-arounds, but they’re rather indirect). So, I recommend knowing how this tool works, what you can do with it, and then knowing you can use it for more of your “quick and dirty” retouching and repair needs.
So often, my students ask how to select an appropriate typeface for their projects. This article clearly explains the main groups from which you can choose, and helps you choose which are best to combine for your specific needs.