Valentine’s Day cards

Original post by Peter Butler

romantic-sentiments

Creating your own Valentine’s Day cards with commercial design software like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW will provide you with a wide array of options for tweaking your images, text, and other graphical elements. Those programs also offer instructional assistance and templates to help you through the process. But if you’re willing to use a little elbow grease and your imagination, you can create a fantastic Valentine’s Day card using free design software.

For this tutorial, I’m going to use Paint.NET, a top-rated download that offers many of the important features that you’ll find in commercial image editors. GIMP is another great free program that actually offers a bit more power in terms of third-party plug-ins and online tutorials, but I find that Paint.NET is an easier program for new users to learn.

Also, I’m going to create a basic Valentine’s Day card that includes an image with overlaid text and the date on the front, and some graphic elements and romantic sentiments on the inside. If you’re the artistic sort and can create your own graphics, more power to you. One good free app for doing so is the vector-illustration software Inkscape. I’m artistically incompetent, so I tend to focus on using cool pictures and injecting some wit into my text.

Read More..

5 Important Rules in Website Design

When it comes to your website, extra attention should be paid to every minute detail to make sure it performs optimally to serve its purpose. Here are seven important rules of thumb to observe to make sure your website performs well.

1) Do not use splash pages

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like “welcome” or “click here to enter”. In fact, they are just that — pretty vases with no real purpose. Do not let your visitors have a reason to click on the “back” button! Give them the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Do not use excessive banner advertisements

Continue reading

Photoshop Tool Basics Part 1

This is a quick summary of Photoshop’s Tools palette with a description of each tool’s functions and shortcuts. Great for those brand new to Photoshop.

cs3

I decided to start at the beginning. The very beginning. For those people who just “picked up” a copy of Photoshop and have no idea what to do with it. The keyboard shortcut is in ( ).

tool_basics1.jpg
Rectangular Marquee Tool (M)
Use this tool to make selections on your image, in a rectangular shape. This changes the area of your image that is affected by other tools or actions to be within the defined shape. Holding the Shift key while dragging your selection, restricts the shape to a perfect square. Holding the Alt key while dragging sets the center of the rectangle to where your cursor started.

tool_basics2.jpg
Move Tool (V)
Use this tool to, well, move things. Usually you use it to move a Layer around after it has been placed. Hold the Shift key to limit the movements to vertical/horizontal.

tool_basics3.jpg
Polygon Lasso Tool (L)
Ok, this should be the Lasso Tool, but I use the Polygon Lasso a lot more often. Use this to draw selections in whatever shape you would like. To close the selection, either click on the beginning point (you’ll see the cursor change when you’re on it), or just double-click. When holding the Ctrl key, you’ll see the cursor change, and the next time you click, it will close your selection.

Resource: The ‘eezy’ Trifecta

What is the “eezy” Trifecta? Three. Awesome. Resources. Bookmark gold for a most any designer. The sites are simple and it goes like this: Vecteezy.com is a free vector site, Brusheezy.com is a free Photoshop Brush site, and Fresheezy.com is a free WordPress theme site. And these aren’t search engines or databases. All of the content has to be submitted by the owner, and is subject to “make the cut.” Only the good stuff makes it into the mix. You’ll see some of my vectors and Photoshop brushes as you snoop around.

Resource: The 'eezy' Trifecta - Vecteezy, Brusheezy, Fresheezy
Resource: The 'eezy' Trifecta - Vecteezy, Brusheezy, Fresheezy
Resource: The 'eezy' Trifecta - Vecteezy, Brusheezy, Fresheezy
Continue reading