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Creating ‘Reflections’ In Photoshop The Easy Way

You might find that The Christmas Baubles from our High Quality Christmas Icons and Christmas Vectors doesn’t come with the reflections as shown in our featured image, shown below.

This is to provide greater freedom for all users. Adding reflections and shadows are easy, but removing them is simply a waste of time.

Here, we’ve provided a short tute on adding reflections the easy way. In later tutorials, we’ll include masks and overlays, etc for advanced users. Continue Reading…

Print Collaterals: Differentiating the various fold types

I’ve come across numerous clients who’ve specifically asked for a double-fold leaflet, only to discover later that what they actually meant was 2-panel leaflet, which would in correct terms, refer to the ‘simple fold’. In this article, let’s solve the confusion once and for all.

In brief:

Simple fold: One fold made on the long or short side

Gatefold: Two folds, one to the left, and another to the right

Parallel fold: Folds in half and in half again

Tri-fold: One fold folds in another

Barrel or roll fold: All folds follow the same direction

French fold: Folded in one direction then folded perpendicular to the first fold

An illustrated guide

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 5]

In this tutorial, we will first go into the Gradient Mesh, Gradient tool, and Eyedropper.

1. Gradient Mesh Tool

For this purpose, we’ve chosen an apple to illustrate the tool’s functions.

Let’s begin with a plain green apple. Download working file here.

So, now we have the apple.

Step 1

We will need to set up some base colors. Select a number of green shades. The more you pick, the more detailed your apple will look. I’ve selected the colors below in my example.

Step 2

Select the Pen Tool(P) and start tracing the outline of the apple. Then select the Mesh Tool (U) and add a mesh line by clicking on the shape.

Step 3

Just keep adding more mesh lines. First add them horizontally, then move on to creating vertical mesh lines. Your image will look something like this.

Step 4

Select Mesh Point with the Direct Selection Tool (A), then click on the lightest shade of green. This will create the apple’s highlight color.

Step 5

Keep repeating the steps and filling the apple with different shades of green. You’ll have to keep experimenting – there are no 2 ways about it; practice makes perfect. Ultimately, your apple should look something like this.

2. Gradient Tool

For this part of the tutorial, please view one of our previous posts in which we’ve covered the Gradient Tool. Click here to view post.

3. The Eyedropper Tool

This one is pretty straightforward. Use the eyedropper tool to select a color from an existing object to apply it another.
In this example below, you can see that the bunny contains several shades of pink, while the bunny shape on the right is in black. The objective is to turn the black bunny into a light shade of pink as per the bunny’s body.

Select the black bunny, then use the eyedropper and click it on the pink part of the body on the left bunny. The black shape will become pink.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 4]

In today’s tutorial, we’ll be covering the warp, free transform, symbol and graph tools. You can download the vector bunny we’ve used as our sample file here.

1. The Warp Tool

This tool is similar to Photoshop’s Liquify tool, letting you bend paths around to create amazing distortions and styles. This guide will get you started experimenting with the warp tool.

2. The Free Transform Tool

This is used to distort the shape of a selected path or series of paths. This is different from the “Rotate Tool” which only turns or rotates a selection. First, select a path, object, or grouping of objects by dragging your cursor over them while the “Selection Tool (V)” (the solid arrow) is active. Once you create your selection, a “Bounding Box” will appear around the selected objects. Once the bounding box appears, select the Free Transform tool.

3. The Symbols Tool

This is a very useful tool that can potentially save you a lot of time. Illustrator comes with hundreds of symbols, and there are thousands more available on the Internet. First, you need to understand that a symbol is an art object that can be used over and over. Each time a symbol is used within an Illustration, it is referred to as an instance of that symbol.

An instance of a symbol can be added one-by-one, or can be sprayed onto an illustration via the Symbol Sprayer tool. Secondly they allow you to edit the symbol in one place and for all occurrences of that symbol to be updated. First open your Symbols panel (under Windows).

4. The Graph Tool

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 3]

In promised in Part 2, we’ve covered the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tools. Today, I’ll go into the rotate, reflect, scale, shear and reshape tools.

If you haven’t already done so, first download the sample vector file we’ve provided, to use as your practice file.

1. The Rotate Tool

2. The Reflect Tool

3. The Scale Tool

4.The Shear Tool

5. The Reshape Tool

The Reshape tool adjusts selected anchor points while keeping the overall detail of the path intact. Frankly, this tool is rather redundant, as there are so many other simpler ways of reshaping an object. I’ve yet to come across a designer who has ever had the need for using this tool. Still, here’s the tute on using this tool, just in case you’d like to experiment with it ;)

Learn about the warp, free transform, symbol and graph tools in the following part of this tutorial.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 2]

As promised in Part 1, I will now move on to the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tools. I’ve not covered the ‘Text’ tool as that’s pretty straightforward. Just click on the ‘T’ tool, click on a point on your artboard and start typing. That’s as complicated as it gets ;)

Download a vector bunny here and use this as your practice file.

1. Line Segment Tool

2. The Rectangle Tool

3. Paintbrush Tool

4. Pencil Tool

After drawing an image with the pencil tool, you can smooth out, or round out sections of your lines. Press the middle button which is called the smooth tool. Click and then circle an area you want to adjust. Release your mouse button and the line will become smooth.

If you made a mistake, or want to remove a portion of your line drawing, press on the third button on the pencil tool palate to activate the line eraser tool. Click and hold your mouse, then circle the area you want to erase.

5. The Blob Brush Tool

The Blob Brush is a convenient new tool in CS4. So if you’re not using CS4 and above, skip this part of the tutorial. Of course, it’s advisable to get the latest version of Illustrator, as this will keep you updated with Adobe’s newest additions to Illustrator – with more tools added to heighten productivity and convenience.

This brush allows you to draw merged paths, and is particularly useful with the addition of a graphics tablet. View the video below on the blob tool.

6. The Scissors Tool

Part 2 ends here. In Part 3, we shall go into the rotate, reflect, scale, shear and reshape tools.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 1]

If you’re new to Adobe Illustrator, the first thing you would need to familiarize yourself with are the tools. They may seem very alien to you right now, but this quick guide will help give you a clearer view of what each tool is and what they’re used for.

As there are so many tools, I’m splitting up the tutorial into 6 parts so that it gives you time to digest and practice ;)

1. The first most basic tool is the Selection Tool.

2. The Direct Selection Tool

3. The Magic Wand Tool

If you’ve been using Photoshop, taking one look at this tool tells you that this is the magic wand tool. But don’t be mistaken. In Illustrator, its functions and uses are not at all the same as how you’d use it in Photoshop.

4. Lasso Tool

A helpful tool that lets you select areas of a complicated object quickly.

5. Pen Tool

The pen tool is probably the most intimidating tool for beginners, but it’s also one of the most valuable tools.
Since I want to make it as simple as possible for beginners, I’ll just provide the very basics of using the Pen tool for the time being. I will do another more detailed post on the Pen tool in the near future ;)

6. Add Anchor Point Tool

7. Delete Anchor Point Tool

8. Convert Anchor Point Tool

Well, that’s it for the time being. In Part 2, we will cover the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tool. I’m also giving you the free vector bee for practice purposes. Download vector bee here.

Illustrator for beginners: Working with the Gradient Tool

Illustrator offers the ability to add transparency to gradients, as well as a new elliptical style. In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the expanded Gradient tool and controls to create gradient effects.

The first step in using the Gradient tool is to assign a gradient to an object. To assign a gradient:

Let’s say for example, you’ve drawn a simple chick (I’ve provided a vector file for you to use as an example. I’ve saved it as a lower version, CS, so that CS versions and above will be able to open the file.

Download sample working file here

1. Open the file. First, you got to choose the gradient color you want. Go under Windows > Swatch Libraries > Gradients > Simple Radials. For our example, I’ve selected ‘Simple Radials’, but you can opt for other swatches if you like. After you’ve chosen the color you want, click inside the object to apply a gradient.

2. Select the Gradient tool from the Illustrator toolbox

3. A bar showing the direction of the gradient appears. The color and direction of the gradient depends on the last gradient you applied.

4. Choose the direction of the gradient to achieve the tone you want.

5. You can also work with the Gradient slider.

6. In addition to rotating and modifying a linear gradient, you can also modify radial and elliptical gradients.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Work with the gradient tool and experiment with it to achieve the results you want.
Here’s our finished version of the chick :)

Feel free to email us if you have any questions, or you may leave your comments on this post ;)

Tips For A Successful Logo Design

As mentioned in my earlier post, a good logo design is remembered for ages and that is what drives multinational companies to spend millions of dollars on developing their logo and other branding materials. Take Louis Vuitton, for example. The very letters ‘L’ and ‘V’ combined symbolizes the brand.

Hence, when it comes to creating a new logo, whether you’re designing it yourself, or hiring professionals to do it for you, there are certain strategies and tips you should keep in mind while creating your logo.

1. Keep it simple.

Simplicity is the key. Most of the great logos of the world are mainly simple and it is always easier for us to remember and recognize a simple design than to identify a complicated one.

2. Typography

You should be careful while deciding on the typeface for your logo. Choosing the right typeface can make a lot of difference. For example, a financial institution depicting reliability and stability would choose a typeface that is bold and thick. If you select the right font, you may not even need a graphical element to support your logo. Some of the best logos are purely made out of typefaces. SONY is one example, and Google is another.

3. Color choice

You have to be extra careful when deciding on a color for your logo. It is advisable that you restrict yourself to RGB or CMYK color modes so that your logo looks equally goo in print as it looks on web. Another thing to keep in mind is to ensure that your logo looks good in black and white as well. Mind you, you might have to fax your letterhead and you don’t want your looking like crap in black and white.

4. Always use vector graphics

The advantage of having the logo in a vector format is that it can be resized easily without any loss of details and image quality. In addiction, vectors are generally smaller in size as compared to image formats.

5. Get a professional to create your logo

Finally, it is always better to hire a professional logo design firm or advertising agency to create your logo than doing it yourself. It is their profession, which means that they know better than you do, and would take many important factors into consideration such as brand positioning, etc.

Successful Logo Designs: Important Points To Take Note Of

A good design is remembered for ages and that is what drives multinational companies to spend millions of dollars on developing their logo and other branding materials. So, now you want to have your own logo. Whether you’re designing it yourself, or hiring professionals to do it for you, there are certain strategies and tips you should keep in mind while creating your logo.

Point 1:

Your logo reflects your business, and it’s the first thing people see and associate with your brand. Say McDonald’s for example. People associate the big M with them. It’s sunny yellow color and happy font makes it a memorable logo that portrays the happiness and fun times people get to enjoy at McDonald’s.

You should always take these points in consideration when designing your logo. Remember that a company’s logo is not something you change as and when you please, as it can affect the overall brand positioning of your business.

Point 2:

You need to keep in mind as to what you want your target audience / customers to see when they look at your logo. I’ve seen a number of badly designed logos that do not at all represent what the business does, but rather, reflects on a complete different nature altogether.

A good logo should encompass the nature and attitude of your business. A badly designed one, however, will bring about disastrous effects and create the wrong impression.
Take a look at the example given below.

This logo is one belonging to a 5-star Serviced Residence. However, the font-type and color choice fail to reflect that.

The only plus point of the logo is that it carries the word ‘Residences’, which immediately tells viewers that it’s an apartment of some sort. The biggest disaster about the logo is that instead of reflecting the residence as an upper class residence, it looks like something you’d see on a signage of a motel in a red-light district.

I managed to get this poster featuring their rooftop swimming pool. See example below.

See what I mean? When this logo is incorporated into its advertising materials, such as in the poster above, IT JUST DOESN’T WORK! Frankly, at a brief glance, this looks like some sort of BRA advertisement or even an offer of some kind of illicit service. Sigh!

The greatest no-no about the logo is it’s color choice. Certainly, it looks less ‘cheesy’ in reverse white, as shown in the poster below, but the font type used is simple inappropriate.

So, when designing your logo, put yourself into the minds of your target audience / customers and imagine what their FIRST reaction and impression would be!

Point 3:

Always check out the logos of your competitors. You are sure to find some logos that stand out from the others and this is going to help you conceptualize your logo design. While checking out logos that belong to others, you can also make sure that your logo does not look anything like the others. Remember, you want to be unique, and the last thing you need is for someone to take one look at your logo and say that you’ve copied from someone else.

Point 4:

If you’re a small company, you may not be keen on splurging out tons of dollars to get a custom logo designed. In that case, you might like to try using some high quality clip art and combining it with a suitable typeface for your company name. However, you should keep in mind that clip arts would never be able to give you the effect of a custom logo. Think about the future. Once your company grows, you would have to get a totally new logo customized to reflect your company’s business. Why not get it right the first time around? If you’re afraid of the costs, let me assure you that there are many companies on the web or freelance designers out there who are willing to offer their services at a reasonable price. You just have to look around ;)

Looking for clip art and graphics? Check out our vector graphics under our free section.

Read Tips For A Successful Logo Design

Simple Steps In Removing The Background In Photoshop: Complicated Images Like Firework Displays

It may seem like a real challenge to pull the fireworks out of the image below. Certainly, using the magic wand, magic eraser and pen tool is not going to produce very good results. Here, I’m going to show you a very simple technique for isolating the fireworks in this image using the channels palette. This technique doesn’t always work this smoothly for every image, but it can be used in combination with other methods for making more complex selections, which will be covered in future posts.

So, what do you do next? Open up the channels palette. Take a good look at the image and determine which color channel best represents the area we want to capture. As you can see, it’s obvious that the red channel contains the most information for capturing the fireworks. (since the fireworks are mostly in red). Image 1.

Image 1

Now, in Image 2, you will see that I’ve selected the Red channel. Do that.

Image 2

Next, drag the red channel down to the new channel button as shown in Image 3.

Image 3

You will now see a new channel named ‘Red Copy’ as shown in Image 4 below
Image 4

Now, go under ‘Select‘ and choose ‘Load Selection‘. Image 5
Image 5

A ‘Load Selection’ box will appear, select ‘Red Copy’ under channel, and tick the invert box as shown in image 6
Image 6

What you will see next is as per Image 7 below once you’ve clicked ‘ok’.

Now, click back on the RGB channel to load the full colors of the image. Image 8

Next, go under ‘Select‘ and choose ‘Inverse‘ as shown in image 9.
Image 9

Now, open up the new background on which you want your selected fireworks placed. Here, I’ve chosen a dark blue sky background.

Finally, all you got to do is to drag the fireworks from the original image onto the new background. Voila! You’re done!

RGB vs CMYK Color: When To Use RGB / CMYK?

Many a time have I seen graphic designers submitting their artwork for offset printing with images embedded in RGB format. This surprised me as I had assumed that every designer in the print production industry would be familiar with the use of RGB and CMYK color codings, when to use them, and what format of print they’re intended for. However, since there seem to be confusion regarding the use of RGB and CMYK color formats, here is a brief summary of these 2 types of color codes, and when to use them.

I will first define them

RGB stands for the colors of Red, Green, Blue. Add red, green, and blue light to create white light. Because you ADD the colors together to get White, we call these RGB colors the additive primaries. For images, we designate colors by the amount of red, green, or blue in the color. In your graphics software these numbers might look like this: 105 RED 200 GREEN 255 BLUE. A number between 1-255 designates the amount of each RGB color. RGB is the most common color mode used when creating graphics.

CMYK stands for the colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black. To reproduce full-color photographic images, typical printing presses use 4 colors of ink. The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of many more colors. CMYK refers to the 4 ink colors used by the printing press. Hence, all graphics to be commercially printed are converted from to CMYK mode, the colors used in printing inks. One of the most common mistakes made when submitting artwork for 4-color printing is not converting the images to the CMYK color space. This is needed so that the file can be separated into the four colors so that a separate printing plate can be made for each of the colors.

So, yes, you know the difference between the 2 color modes. So, when exactly do you use RBB and when to use CMYK?

Here is a brief list / guide to the use of the different color modes for the different production formats.

OFFSET Printing
Just remember that anything that’s to be sent for offset printing has to be in CMYK color mode, be it print postcards, brochures, leaflets, flyers, invitation cards and so on and so forth.
Let’s say, for example, you’re using the image above in a print brochure design. Converting the image from RGB to CMYK is just a click away.

For some odd reason, some designers classify items for large formar printing such as billboards, buntings, and other outdoor media as “offset printing”. This misassociation of outdoor media to offset printing is very common, and before I go in-depth on inkjet printing in another post, let me first clarify that you need not convert your images to CMYK for inkjet printing. Leave them as RGB as large format printers are ink jets. They usually have seven or more inks which allow a very wide color gamut. If you narrow your document down to only CMYK, you will not be using those seven inks to your best advantage.

Yup, RGB it is! Simple enough to remember that anything for the WEB = RGB, because RGB IS the color you see on-screen.

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