Graphic Design Tutorials

Tutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

by Maddie Stearn on March 5, 2017 1 comment

“If I can’t paint with real brushes, why should I paint with Photoshop brushes?”

The idea of painting in Photoshop can be daunting, especially if you gave up on watercolors in elementary school. But here’s a secret that your 5th grade art teacher never told you: Photoshop will help you fake it ‘til you make it. While this is probably not a great lesson to teach 5th graders, as adults sometimes we need to figure out how to work within our limitations.

Watercolors are popular graphic design trend, but in real life they’re messy and difficult to master. Budding graphic designers shouldn’t be discouraged; with stock images, you can create custom Photoshop brushes that will make it look like you know how to paint.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to quickly make several watercolor brushes in Photoshop using stock images and vectors. You can even use these same steps to make any custom brush.

 

Step 1. Pick Your Watercolors

 
You should have your watercolors ready before you begin the tutorial, so here are some stock watercolor images from the GraphicStock library to get you started.

 

Step 2. Convert Your Images to Black & White

 
Open your images in Photoshop, then add a black and white adjustment layer. You can also add a brightness/contrast adjustment layer to vary the depth of color. You should also make sure that the background is as white as possible.

We recommend adjusting the image size so that your bush doesn’t start out too large (but you can always play around with the brush size later). To adjust the image size, go to Image > Image Size.

photoshop

 

Step 3. Create the Brush

 
With the brush tool selected, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. Name your brush, then click OK. Repeat this step for all of your watercolor images.

photoshop

 

Step 4. Test Your New Brushes!

 
Open a new Photoshop document and select the paint tool. Open the Brush Presets browser (go to Window > Brush Presets) and select any of your watercolor brushes. Adjust the brush size using the slider or using the bracket keys on your keyboard.

Finally, click once on the canvas. You do not want to click and drag because that will just create a large blob.

Now start experimenting! Switch among your new watercolor brushes while adjusting the color and size. In the next step, we’ll show you how to adjust the angle of the brushes to prevent the image from looking too patterned.

photoshop

 

Step 5. Adjust the Brush Angle

 
To simply flip your watercolor horizontally or vertically, go to the Brush Presets tab and check the Flip X and Flip Y boxes, respectively. You can also adjust the brush angle in this tab.

photoshop

If you want to add some more variation to the size and position of your brush, click on the Shape Dynamics tab on the left. Experiment with the sliders and start clicking on your canvas. If you adjust the Size Jitter, for example, the size of your brush will change every time you click on the canvas.

photoshop

When you’re done, you’ll have a custom watercolor painting! Pat yourself on the back and relish not having to clean up any paint.

Using these same steps, you can easily create any custom Photoshop brush. Or check out our hand-picked gallery of stock watercolor images to find more inspiration for your next Photoshop brush.

 

Brush Up with Stock Images

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

How to Design Unique Resumes with Stock Vectors and Icons

by Caroline Mercurio on March 1, 2017 No comments

Does your resume help you stand out as a creative or blend in with the crowd? Showcasing your experience and skills in a new and updated way puts your creativity at the forefront—without compromising on professionalism. Using stock vectors and icons—plus a few other design tips—you can create a more dynamic and appealing resume.

Show your future employer you’re more than just another cog in the machine with these easy to apply tips—and get the creative job of your dreams!

 

Tip #1 – Hierarchy and Simplicity Are Your Best Friends

There are some components of a resume that need greater recognition than others—your name, for example. Using the concepts of hierarchy in your resume will help the reader focus on key elements and helps draw their eye to important information. Let your name be the spotlight with bold and large text. Each section should be headed by bold keywords, with the body text taking a supporting role.

If you’re going to use color in your design, do so sparingly. While this is a resume for a creative position, function should rule over form—which is the guiding principle behind all design, anyways. Our strong recommendation is to choose one color and then play with rich black and a variety of grey shades. At most, use two typefaces—usually a serif and a sans serif. Even more simplistic is to use one font family and vary the weights to create your desired hierarchy.

Check out our focus on simplicity and color in the design below.

 
Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.

 

Tip #2 – Keep the Layout Organized

Although it might be the least sexy part of designing a resume, maintaining a well-planned and organized layout is a very important component of your design. Recruiters and hiring managers scan dozens—and even hundreds—of resumes for each hiring round, so the information should be structured in easily digestible chunks for quick absorption.

Use a grid layout with rows and columns to make the most of the space on the page. Visual dividers combined with generous white space break up the details and provide greater clarity from one section to another. This also makes it easier for readers to quickly refer to sections of information in conversation with a colleague or during the interview.

Make sure each section of your resume aligns with another section or design element. You can see in our design below how much attention we gave to alignment. Nothing is out of place or randomly staggered into the white space. See how we streamlined our alignments in our resume example.

 
Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.

 

Tip #3 – Catch the Eye with Stock Vectors and Icons

This is where you can have a little more fun—adding in vectors and icons to draw attention to key areas and highlight your skills. Once you have a good base of strong hierarchy, clean design, and an organized layout, adding in some design details can take away the monotony of a resume and bring a little personality to it.

You can use icons to highlight your contact information, skills, and personal interests. Meanwhile, you can use stock vectors to bring some color to the page or to show side by comparisons of how developed each of your skills are. See our use of icons below.

 
Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.

 
Remember, a resume is how you present not only your skills and experience, but also your personal brand to a potential employer. Are you more formal and business-like? Or are you playful and fun? The right combination of fonts, colors, layout decisions and graphics can communicate your personality before someone even reads a word on the page.

What are you waiting for? Put your best foot forward and create a resume that stands out.

 

Get Attention Grabbing Icons

 

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Caroline MercurioHow to Design Unique Resumes with Stock Vectors and Icons

A Beginner’s Guide to Designing Website and Mobile App Mockups

by Caroline Mercurio on February 21, 2017 2 comments

As a designer, you’re really good at what you do. When a client comes to you with a clear vision for their business but zero idea of how their website should look or function, you know how to deliver amazing results that double or even triple their ROI. Yet sometimes your clients need a little more convincing—a little extra push—to really seal the deal. Or maybe you’ve got quite the collection of website or app designs for your portfolio, but want a flashier, more engaging way to present these designs to your future employers and clients.

Enter product mockups. By providing important visual context for your designs, mockups are key to helping your client fully grasp your collaborative vision when a simple screenshot or Photoshop file just isn’t quite cutting it.

Mockups provide context for your designs and help clients envision your final product in a real world setting. They can also help model your responsive design solutions—allowing you to showcase your ability to design for mobile screens, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Using mockups to showcase your designs is an effective way to highlight your talents. Luckily it’s easy, too—which is why we made this beginner’s guide to show you how it’s done.

For this example, we used this mockup kit along with resources from our library of stock graphics.

 
MockupsDownload the stock graphics used in these designs.

 

Step One: Download a Mockup Kit

 
Mockups
 

The internet boasts a plethora of design resources all at your fingertips—and often for free. Our suggestion? Simply google “free photoshop mockups.” You can also use well-known resources like Mockup World, which is what we used for the designs in our guide to designing swag and our Pantone spring color guide.

Once you’ve chosen your desired mockup, simply download the file, unzip it, and open it in Photoshop. Most photoshop files for mockups have highly organized groups and layers, and should be easy to decipher. Take a moment to understand the layers of your chosen mockup kit—a good kit will name its layers clearly.

 

Step Two: Insert Design

 
Mockups
 

Most kits will name the layers you want to edit something obvious like “Put Your Screen Here” or “Edit This Layer.” The editable layer will be a linked smart object, so double click it and it will open another Photoshop file.

 
Mockups
 

After you create your design and export it as a jpeg or png, simply drag and drop it into this photoshop file, resize it as needed, save it, and then it will automatically populate the the original composition.

 

Step Three: Save and Export

Now you simply save the composition to whatever file type and size you desire. It really is that easy to elevate your designs so that your clients or future employers will be that much more impressed.

 
MockupsDownload the stock graphics used in these designs.
 

Need new stock graphics to inspire and amp up your next designs? Check out our top 20 graphics for web design.

 

Start Designing with Stock Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioA Beginner’s Guide to Designing Website and Mobile App Mockups

11 Must-Have Vector Graphic Tutorials for Creative Marketing

by Jordan McElwain on February 9, 2017 1 comment

How eye-catching is your marketing creative? Does it stand up and demand your audience’s attention—or does it simply blend into the background? Keeping things fresh can be a challenge in today’s overly-saturated advertising world, which is why it’s important to keep learning new design skills and techniques. Vector graphics are the essential building blocks for design professionals—who often rely on time-saving and easily customized royalty-free stock vectors—and Adobe Illustrator is the editing program of choice. So, whether you’re just getting started in the design world or you consider yourself an expert, these tutorials will guide you in your journey to more creative marketing.

 

Save Time by Mastering Techniques

Every designer has to start somewhere, and mastering certain techniques can expand your skills. Below you will find a mix of basic and intermediate techniques that will speed up your workflow and allow you to focus on creating.

 

Editing Vector Files

When it comes to designing with Adobe Illustrator, it’s important to know that you can save yourself both time and energy by using customizable vector graphics rather than creating everything from scratch. Learn how to edit vector files, then check out our graphics library to start practicing this crucial skill.

 

Using the Color Picker and Color Palette

Use the Adobe Illustrator color palette panel to find the best colors to compliment your brand’s colors. Learn how to use the color picker and palette panel in just over 3 minutes.

 

Joining Paths Three Ways

Joining paths is a useful technique for creating complex shapes and objects. These objects can be used to make logos or icons for infographics. Astute Graphics demonstrates three ways to join paths in only 90 seconds.

 

Distorting Text

Quickly learn how to distort text to make it fit within a shape. This technique will help you create typographic effects for your designs.

 

Using Clipping Masks

Clipping masks allow you to confine a pattern or image within the boundaries of a shape or letter. Learn how to use clipping masks to place your photos and patterns seamlessly into your designs.

 

From Illustrator to After Effects

YouTube is now the second largest search engine, and video marketing has become the key to engagement. One of the amazing features of the Adobe programs is their compatibility with each other. Learn how to pull your work from Adobe Illustrator into Adobe After Effects in order to be the ultimate marketing designer.

 

Tracing with the Pen Tool

It can be difficult to design exactly what your boss or client has in mind, but if they can draw it or photograph it, then you can create it! Mastering the pen tool will allow you to trace even the most detailed images. See the possibilities with this tutorial.

 

Practice by Creating Marketing Materials

Basic marketing materials can be made with limited knowledge of Adobe Illustrator—this makes them perfect for practicing. As you progress in your development, you will be able to produce more creative marketing materials.

 

Creating a Typographic Logo

Every business needs a logo, and typographic logos are becoming more and more popular. Typography is a difficult skill to master, but text is fairly easy to create and manipulate in Illustrator. Watch this video to learn the basics of typographic logos.

 

Creating Your Business Card

Creating a business card is a simple task, and a great place to start practicing making shapes and organizing your work. Use this tutorial to help you get started.

 

Designing Flyers

Anyone can make a flyer, but Illustrator allows designers to create clean and creative flyers that will catch their audience’s eye.

 

Designing an Infographic from Scratch

This tutorial goes through the entire process of designing an infographic and is jam-packed with everything you need to know—including designing flat icons. While it’s nice to understand how each element is made, keep in mind that you can save yourself time by using pre-designed vector graphics.

 
Explore our unlimited library to find the perfect vectors and photos to assist you in your creative design process. What will you create?

 

Get Creative with Vectors

 

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Jordan McElwain11 Must-Have Vector Graphic Tutorials for Creative Marketing

Top 50 Adobe Illustrator Tutorials for Designers

by Caroline Mercurio on January 30, 2017 No comments

Whether you’ve worked with Adobe Illustrator for a few weeks or a few years, tutorials are the best way to expand your knowledge and discover new techniques for your projects—but sometimes finding the most useful tutorials can feel like a wild goose chase. That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up 50 of the best Illustrator tutorials from around the Internet. Each one features easy-to-follow teachers and narrators who will show you unique tips and tricks for getting the most out of this essential design program.

You can use Illustrator to create any type of vector art or image, from simple shapes to detailed diagrams. Each of Illustrator’s tools performs a specific function, giving you the most control over the finished product.

Since its launch in 1988, Illustrator has gone through 13 versions, culminating with today’s Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud (CC). All of the tutorials here feature the most recent version of the program, CC—although some of the tools may be different, many of the tips and techniques highlighted here can also be applied to earlier versions of the program

Here’s a quick rundown of the tutorial categories we’ve gathered.

Illustrator for Beginners
Using Tools in Illustrator
Designing Line Art
Creating Logos and Icons
Creating Portraits and Characters
Styling Typography

Check out these 50 Adobe Illustrator tutorials that cover everything from beginner’s guides and overviews to step-by-step instructions for creating logos and portraits.

 

Illustrator for Beginners

When you’re just starting to use Illustrator, video tutorials can help you master the basic tools and understand the program interface. These tutorials give broad overviews of several beginner tactics and answer some of the most common questions.

 

1. How to Get Started with Adobe Illustrator CC – 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How to Do

 

This video answers 10 of the most common Illustrator-related questions for beginners.

 

2. Illustrator CC – Tutorial for Beginners


This tutorial takes an in-depth look at fill and stroke settings, as well as manipulating vector points.

 

3. Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial for Beginners


If you want to work with multiple documents in an art board, this video will help you master this all-important skill.

 

4. Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial Using Shapes


Artists will love this video, which details how to use shapes in the program by designing a monkey’s face in detail.

 

5. Adobe Illustrator CS6 (and CC) for Beginners


If you’re not quite sure how vectors work in Illustrator, this tutorial will help you better understand them.

 

6. Adobe Illustrator Tutorial 1: Basics You Need to Know


This tutorial covers shapes, fills, strokes, and other basic actions in Illustrator.

 

7. How to Draw a Leaf in CS5 Illustrator – Beginner Tutorial – Using the Pen Tool and Gradients


In this more specific tutorial, you’ll follow along as you design a leaf with a water drop.

 

8. Interface Introduction to Adobe Illustrator


Get familiar with the Illustrator interface in this easy-to-follow tutorial and learn how to customize your own workspace.

 

9. An Introduction to Adobe Illustrator


This encouraging tutorial covers some of the most popular Illustrator tools, as well as covering shapes, patterns, and swatches.

 

10. Illustrator Gradient Mesh Beginner’s Tutorial


Follow this tutorial’s instructions to turn a photograph of an apple into a vector graphic.

 

Using Tools in Illustrator

Each Illustrator tool serves a specific purpose. These beginner to intermediate Illustrator tutorials show you in detail how some of the most common tools work and how you should apply them. Learn where they’re located, how to access them, and what they can do.

 

11. Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial – Pen Tool


Learn how the Adobe Illustrator pen tool works and how to use it properly.

 

12. Adobe Illustrator | Pen Tool Tutorial


Another guide to the pen tool, this tutorial takes you into more detail and shows you how to use the related tools.

 

13. Illustrator Tutorial: Blend Tool Line Logo


Learn to master the blend tool in this tutorial, which helps you understand the tool while creating a logo.

 

14. Drawing with the Pen Tool, Pencil Tool & Brush


This tutorial covers the pen, brush, and pencil tools in detail and shows you the subtle differences between each tool.

 

15. Adobe Illustrator Blend Tool


Work with spirals and other distinctive shapes in this tutorial covering specific techniques for using the blend tool.

 

16. Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 – The Type Tool


Conquer the type tool in this basic tutorial, which helps you understand how text interacts with Illustrator.

 

17. How to Use the Lasso and Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Build your selection skills in this tutorial that focuses on the wand and lasso tools.

 

18. Introduction to Adobe Illustrator Shape Tools


This tutorial guide you through a basic line art graphic while covering the shape tools and guides you through a basic line art graphic.

 

Designing Line Art

Line art is an illustration that consists entirely of straight and curved lines. It’s one of the most essential and straightforward skills an Illustrator user can master—you can create almost everything from icons to portraits.

 

19. Adobe Illustrator CC – Line Art Tutorial – Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts


Once you’ve mastered line art tools, use them to turn a photograph into a work of art.

 

20. Line Art Photo with Adobe Illustrator


Here’s another line art tutorial that goes into more detail as to how to give your line art depth while keeping its simplicity.

 

21. Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: How to Draw a Vector Pirate Skull


Have a little fun and walk the plank during this tutorial for pirate-themed line art.

 

22. Ink Lineart by Converting Strokes into Fills


This tutorial covers a specific technique in digital line art: inking your projects by converting strokes to fills.

 

23. How to Make a Custom Brush for Line Art in Illustrator


Line art requires brushes of different flow rates, sizes, and other qualities—you’ll learn how to create your own in this tutorial.

 

24. Illustrator CC Tutorial: Tracing Line Art


Follow along with one of the most essential online teaching resources, Lynda.com, as you learn how to trace line art in Illustrator.

 

25. Illustrator CS4 ”Line Art” Tutorial


Learn how to accurately manipulate vector lines and duplicate them to simplify your workflow.

 

26. How to Draw Cool Lines (Line Weight Variation)


Create cartoon line art with this in-depth tutorial.

 

Creating Logos and Icons

Whether you’re designing for yourself or for a client, logos and icons are some of the most popular and requested types of illustrations. Use these video tutorials to master the tools and tricks that will help you effectively design logos and icons.

 

27. Adobe Illustrator CC CS6 Tutorial – Logo Design


This advanced tutorial takes you through the logo-creation process.

 

28. Tutorial: Create a Text Logo in Illustrator


Learn how to create a text logo or icon using simple shapes.

 

29. Flat Icon Design Tutorial in Illustrator CC


Embrace the popular flat icon trend with this tutorial.

 

30. Tutorial: How to Make a Professional Logo in Illustrator


Learn new ways to create custom logos.

 

31. Adobe Illustrator Tutorial – How to Create a Professional Eagle Logo


Add some shine to your logo using this guide.

 

32. Learn How to Draw 8 Vector Music Icons in Adobe Illustrator


Design music-related vector icons in Illustrator.

 

33. Adobe Illustrator | Shutter Icon Tutorial


Go through the process of conceptualizing and creating a custom icon.

 

34. Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: How to Make a Simple Type Logo


Focus on typography instead of imagery with this logo tutorial.

 

Creating Portraits and Characters

Whether it’s a simple avatar or a detailed portrait, knowing how to draw people and characters can help you advance as a designer. Mastering the Illustrator tools and techniques for this can prove challenging, but these video tutorials will help you get ahead of the curve.

 

35. Tutorial Vector Portraits – It’s Cool Man


Learn how to create a detailed cartoon portrait.

 

36. Adobe Illustrator Portraits Part One: The Setup


Achieve more lifelike results with this Illustrator tutorial.

 

37. Illustrator Tutorial: Low Poly Portrait


Learn how to create a geometric-inspired portrait.

 

38. Illustrator Tutorial: Flat Design Portraits


Apply flat design to a portrait drawing in Illustrator.

 

39. Tutorial: Vector Portraits Using Adobe Illustrator


Follow along with this tutorial for creating a cartoon-style portrait.

 

40. Illustrator Tutorial – Flat Design Portrait


Learn more strategies for flat design portraits with this video.

 

41. Adobe Illustrator Vector Portrait


With this tutorial, convert a photograph into a portrait in Illustrator.

42. Draw Vector Hair Photoshop Tutorial


Focus on hair with this detailed Illustrator tutorial.

 

Styling Typography

Plain typography can work in certain designs, but sometimes you want to add more style to your canvas. These tutorials show you how you can manipulate typography for various results. Add embellishments to the typography itself or words into art.

 

43. How To Create Typography Illustrations


Use typography to customize an illustration.

 

44. How To Create Custom Type Designs in Adobe Illustrator


Customize your typography with flare.

 

45. Tutorial Create Lettering/ Typography with Adobe Illustrator


Use typography to create wall or screen art.

 

46. Illustrator Tutorial | 3D Text | Abstract Typography


Take a stab at abstract photography with advance learning tutorial.

 

47. Typography | Text Effect | Adobe Illustrator


Add whimsical effects to your type with this tutorial.

 

48. Vintage Logo Tutorial for Adobe Illustrator


Use text to create a custom logo.

 

49. Illustrator CC CS6 : Proper Vintage Typography


Fit text into shapes and illustrations in this trendy typography tutorial.

 

50. Learn How to Create a Neon Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator


Add a subtle glow to your text with this neon typography tutorial.

 
With all of this information under your belt, create your own unique Adobe Illustrator designs—or combine your work with royalty-free stock vector images to create professional graphics.

 

Start Creating

 

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Caroline MercurioTop 50 Adobe Illustrator Tutorials for Designers

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools

by Caroline Mercurio on January 17, 2017 No comments

More than 100 tools exist in Adobe Illustrator—which can seem like an overwhelming number to master if you’re just starting out with the program. Even seasoned designers familiar with the ins and outs of Illustrator can forget what each tool does. But don’t worry, that’s why we’ve put together this quick reference for the six most essential tools—And if you’re just getting acquainted with the software, learning how these basic tools work will save you a lot of time and frustration.

So whether you’re editing customizable vector graphics or designing a project from scratch, this guide will help you find the right tool for the task. To start, you’ll find the Illustrator tools on the left side panel after you open the program. If you click on one of the icons, a submenu opens to show more tools related to the main tool.

 

Selection Tool

Shortcut Key: V

The selection tool in Illustrator lets you isolate certain pieces of a design for small, minute adjustments. You can also use the tool to order objects on top of or behind one another, group or ungroup pieces of a design, and apply effects to only one selection.
 

 

  • Learn how to create and remove anchor points.
  • Find out how to create curves and straight lines.
  • Discover the different ways to manipulate anchor points.

 

Shapes Tool

Shortcut Key: M (for rectangles); L (for ellipses)

The shapes tool in Illustrator helps you create—you guessed it—shapes quickly. You can choose a rectangle, ellipse, star, flare, or another option from the menu.
 

 

  • Learn about the different shapes for the tool options and how they work.
  • Discover different ways to manipulate the sizes and proportions of shapes.
  • Find out how to use keyboard keys to change how you manipulate shapes.

 

Type Tool

Shortcut Key: T

Use the type tool to create and manipulate text in an Illustrator document. Choose fonts, font weights, glyphs, and other details to create the style you want.
 

 

  • Learn how to use the type tool and its menu alternatives.
  • Use text to fill shapes.
  • Discover ways to create stylized text for a project.

 

Eraser Tool

Shortcut Key: Shift + E

If you make a mistake in Illustrator, or if you want to remove portions of a fill or stroke, the eraser tool becomes invaluable. The eraser works just like the eraser of a pencil.
 

 

  • Find out how the eraser tool works when you select specific objects.
  • Learn how to separate one object into two objects by splitting them.
  • Watch how anchor points change after applying the eraser tool.

 

Blob Brush Tool

Shortcut Key: Shift + B

You can use the blob brush tool to create vector shapes. This tool works similarly to the pen tool—but the resulting image serves as a full vector shape.
 

 

  • Learn how to create drawings using the blob brush.
  • Discover the differences between pen and blob brush.
  • Find out how the blob brush interacts with color swatches.

 

Artboard Tool

Shortcut Key: None

Artboards allow you to work on multiple panels or canvases at the same time. You might export them to After Effects as slides in a stop-motion video or design a corporate mockup with multiple elements.
 

 

  • Learn how to create and manipulate artboards.
  • Duplicate objects among different pieces of an artboard.
  • Synchronize actions across all pieces of an artboard.

 
That’s it! With just these six tools you’re already well on your way to Illustrator mastery. Ready to test out your prowess? Download our royalty-free stock images and vectors—including awesome infographic templates and abstract designs—and start creating.

 

Unlock Your Creativity

 

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Caroline MercurioA Beginner’s Guide to Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools

The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

by Caroline Mercurio on January 4, 2017 No comments

These days, Photoshop is everywhere—in your newsfeed, on your Pinterest board, and maybe even amongst your New Year’s Resolutions. The ability to transform and customize stock photos and create graphics is one of today’s most sought-after skills.

Whether you’re a Photoshop novice or expert, efficiency is key—and that’s where this printable guide comes in. Sure, there’s going to be some memorization involved, and maybe even a bit of a learning curve—but once you master these handy shortcuts, you’ll be flying through your projects faster than a cheetah on a coffee break. You can download a PDF version here and tape it to your desk for easy reference.

 
Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
 

Keep it for yourself, or spread the wealth—Photoshop mastery is at your fingertips. You can share the guide on your own blog or website using the embed code below:

<a href='http://blog.graphicstock.com/graphic-design-tutorials/the-ultimate-guide-to-adobe-photoshop-keyboard-shortcuts/'><img src='http://d2436y6oj07al2.cloudfront.net/assets/gsblog/2017/01/GS_Photoshop-ShortCuts.png' alt='Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts by GraphicStock' width='800px' border='0' /></a>
 
 
Best of all, these are the standard keyboard shortcuts in PS, so there is no setup involved.
With all this knowledge literally at your fingertips, go ahead and jump right into any Photoshop project.

Need a little inspiration? Check out these tips, tricks, and tutorials, or explore our library of royalty-free stock photos for the perfect start to your next Photoshop adventure.

 

 

read moreCaroline MercurioThe Ultimate Guide to Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

Tutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

by Maddie Stearn on January 3, 2017 No comments

Let’s talk patterns—sometimes it’s good to repeat yourself. From paisley medallions to bricklay to interlocking geometrics, there’s no end to repeating designs to choose from when looking for the right background or texture. And there are certainly plenty of stock seamless patterns out there—but what if you have a specific design in mind? In those cases, it’s helpful to know how to create your own custom seamless patterns.

Adobe Illustrator’s pattern tool makes creating seamless patterns incredibly easy–so easy, in fact, that the hardest part is deciding what to put in your design. Luckily, our library of stock vectors can help with that part of the process. We’ve even curated a gallery of vectors to help spark some creative inspiration.

To get started, pick a shape or design that you want to use in your pattern. It’s also easy to pick and choose elements from existing patterns or preset design elements. For this tutorial, we used these stock owl vectors and stock animal vectors.

0-patterns

Step 1. Open the Files in Illustrator

Open all of the files that you’ll be using to make your custom design.

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Step 2. Select Objects

Use the group selection tool to select the first object for your design. If you select more objects than you intended, just Shift+Click on the elements that you don’t want to include in your final design.

Once selected, copy the element and open a new file (of any size) in Illustrator. Paste the element into the new file. Continue to copy all of your desired elements and paste them into the same Illustrator file.

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Step 3. Create a Custom Design

Experiment with the placement and colors of the objects until you’re satisfied (this is the difficult part).

Here is the design that we created and the hexadecimal codes for each color:

4-colors-2

Step 4. Add a Background (optional)

If you’d like to add a background, draw a rectangle that covers the entire canvas. Expand the Layers tab and find the rectangle layer. Double click on the empty space just to the right of the eye icon. A lock icon should now appear in that space. Locking the rectangle layer will ensure that you will be able to select your design elements without the rectangle getting in the way.

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Step 5. Use the Pattern Tool

Select your entire design and click Object > Pattern > Make. Click “OK” on the box that pops up.

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Step 6. Experiment with Placement and Spacing

The pattern tool has some great functions, so we recommend that you do some experimenting. In the images below, we highlight some quick and easy changes you can make to your pattern to achieve the desired placement and spacing.

Tile Type
This function allows you to change the alignment of each “brick” in your pattern, In this case, we decided that we liked the “Brick by Row” option best for our owl pattern.

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Brick Offset
This function is only available for the Brick by Row and Brick by Column tile types. The Brick Offset button determines the location on the canvas where each row of the pattern starts. Click through the different options to get a feel for how this tool works.

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Width and Height
This option allows you to change the width and height of the spaces between each brick in your pattern.

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Copies
This function allows you to see what your pattern would look like with different dimensions. Each option measures your pattern by bricks, so for our current example, the 7×7 option will show 7 owls x 7 owls.

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Dim
The “Dim” option has no effect on your final pattern, but you might find it useful as you experiment with the size and spacing of the bricks. The lower the percentage, the dimmer the rest of the pattern becomes while the highlighted brick retains its original luminosity.

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Step 7. Click “Done”

Once you are happy with the spacing and placement of your pattern, click “Done.”

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Step 8. Put Your Pattern to Use and Start Creating!

This is where we get to test out our custom pattern. Select the rectangle tool, then select the last swatch under “Swatches.” This swatch is the new pattern that we’ve just made.

Once the swatch is selected, simply draw a rectangle. If you adjust the size of your rectangle, the pattern will automatically fill the entire area.

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But how can we tell that this is a seamless pattern? Simply copy and paste the rectangle you just made. Align the rectangles and you’ll see that the pattern lines up seamlessly!

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There you have it—your pattern is complete!

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Now you can let your creativity run wild and create your own seamless patterns. There’s no need to feel limited by existing designs—just pick and choose what you like to create something completely new. To get you started, you can check out our hand-picked gallery of stock vectors, all royalty-free with unlimited downloads when you’re a GraphicStock member.

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

by Maddie Stearn on December 28, 2016 No comments

2016 has been on point in the world of Photoshop tutorials. With dozens of new and unique tips and tricks for Adobe’s most popular design program, Photoshop has only gotten better with age. From trendy effects like double exposure and text portraits to evergreen favorites like added grunge textures, there’s always more to learn. Even better, it’s never too late to start since there are always new and updated tutorials to help you along the way.

We’ve curated our 50 favorite Photoshop tutorials from 2016 for designers of all skill levels. Stock photos and graphics are also a great resource for testing these tutorials—check out our library to help you get started.

Tutorial Categories

Beginners
Text
Illustrations
Vintage
Small Businesses
Special FX & Fantasy

 

Beginners

It’s never too late to learn Photoshop, especially since every year brings a wealth of new tutorials. Whether you’re learning for the first time or looking for a refresher, these are some of the best beginner-level Photoshop tutorials from 2016.
1. How to Add Textures in Photoshop

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2. This Game Will Help You Conquer Your Fear of the Adobe Pen Tool

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3. How to Change Colors in Photoshop

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4. How to Add Bokeh Overlays in Photoshop

happy childredn outdoor
5. How to Create a Dazzling Holiday Card with Your Annual Family Photo

Holiday Card Photoshop Tutorial
6. How to Easily and Accurately Select Image Areas

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7. How to Use the Lasso Tool in Photoshop


8. Create Animated GIFs in Photoshop


9. Color Luminosity and How to Change It


10. The Channel Mixer Adjustment and Creative Coloring


11. Photoshop Tip: What to Do If Your JPEG Image Won’t Open


12. How To Use The Content Aware Crop In Photoshop

 

Text

Fonts and lettering have surged in popularity in recent years, so it’s no surprise that 2016 really pushed text to the limit.
13. How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop 

Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
14. Hand Lettering Tutorial for Beginners


15. Create a Realistic Fire Text Effect in Photoshop

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16. Create a Long Shadow Text Effect in Photoshop Using Layer Styles

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17. Create a Multi-Stroke Text Effect Using Photoshop’s New Layer Style Functionality

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18. Banksy Style Stencil Graffiti Effect in Photoshop

 

Illustrations

Illustrations can be one of the most important and versatile assets for a design project. Luckily, 2016 provided us with plenty of Photoshop tutorials to keep our illustration skills sharp (regardless of drawing ability).
19. How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop

How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop
20. How to Create a Realistic Pencil Sketch Effect in Photoshop

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21. Photoshop Tutorial: Low Poly Portrait


22. How to Create a Blueprint Effect in Adobe Photoshop


23. How to Create an Abstract Polyscape in Adobe Photoshop

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24. Create Digital Collages Without Using Filters

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25. Using Patterns in Digital Art

 

Vintage

No matter how close we are to a robot-controlled world, we hope that vintage design will always have its appeal. At the very least, vintage Photoshop tutorials were still hugely popular in 2016, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites.
26. Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

Vintage Grunge Effect Photoshop
27. How to Create a Distorted VHS Effect in Photoshop

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28. Re-Color a Black-and-White Photo

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29. Creating a Film Noir “Light Coming Through the Blinds” Look in Photoshop

 

Small Businesses

Knowledge of Photoshop can make a significant difference for small business owners, and these tutorials from 2016 will help you stay ahead of the game. We also recommend checking out these stock photos for social media images, stock vectors for creating logos, and stock graphics for website optimization.
30. The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Image Sizing

Facebook Image Sizing
31. How to Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop

Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop
32. Learn How to Design a Profile UI in Adobe Photoshop


33. How To Create a Watermark

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34. How to Create a T-shirt Mockup

 

Special Effects & Fantasy

These tutorials give us a glimpse at Photoshop’s incredible power, supernatural or otherwise. From fireworks and surreal photo composites to mesmerizing smoke and shattered glass effects, these tutorials will take your projects to an unreal level.

 

Special FX:

35. 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites
36. Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Light Beams to Images

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial How to Add Light Beams to Images
37. Create a Shattered Glass Portrait

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38. Cutout Paper Style in Photoshop CC


39. Smoke Effect


40. How to Photoshop a Tattoo on Someone

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41. Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial


42. Photoshop Tutorial | Fire Portrait Manipulation


43. Create Sun Rays in Photoshop


44. Glass Window Reflection Effect in Photoshop


45. How to Create Realistic Jedi Levitation Portraits

 

Fantasy:

46. Create a Fantasy Seascape with Stock Photo Composites

Photoshop Tutorial Create Fantasy Seascape Stock Photo Composites
47. How to Create a Game of Thrones-Inspired Crest in Photoshop

How to Create a Game of Thrones inspired Crest in Photoshop
48. How to Create Double Exposure Effects in Photoshop

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49. Create a Lightbulb Composition

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50. How To Create a Surreal Hollow Face Portrait in Photoshop

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With all of these awesome tutorials, it’s hard not to feel inspired. Get your creativity flowing and take these how-tos for a test drive using royalty-free stock photos from our library—all with unlimited downloads for our members.

 

Discover Creative Stock Photos

 

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Maddie Stearn50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

Tutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on November 16, 2016 No comments

Grunge textures are one of the most popular search terms in our GraphicStock library–and for good reason! Textures are an invaluable resource to graphic designers and photographers alike. Grunge textures, in particular, can send a picture back in time, creating a dramatic, vintage effect. That’s why we’ve created this simple tutorial to show you how to quickly add grunge-styled textures using stock vectors and photos.

Whether it’s for home decor or website illustrations, the grunge effect is one of the most versatile graphic design techniques. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to add a grunge texture to an image in five easy steps. And if you’re anxious to learn more, you can also check out our tutorial on adding background textures in Photoshop.

 

Step 1. Choose an Image

You’ll want to pick an image that looks convincingly vintage when you add the grunge effect. To get you started, we put together a gallery of stock photos that would work well with this tutorial. You can also download the image we used here.

Once you’ve selected your image, go ahead and open it in Photoshop.

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Step 2. Add the Grunge Texture

Select a grunge texture. To make things easy, we curated a gallery stock grunge textures from the GraphicStock library.

Drag the grunge texture file onto your Photoshop workspace. Adjust the size of the texture as needed by dragging the corners of the image.

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Step 3. Choose a Blending Mode

Select a blending mode from the drop-down menu under the “Layers” panel on the right. You can experiment with blending modes until you find one that fits your project. We selected “Hard Light” for this tutorial.

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Step 4. Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer

Under the “Adjustments” panel, click the “Black and White” icon. You can also go to the menu bar and select Image > Adjustments > Black & White.

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Step 5. Adjust the Opacity on the Grunge Texture Layer

Select your grunge texture layer, click “Opacity,” and adjust the slider until you achieve the desired effect.

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Pro-tip: Remove Unwanted Marks from the Image

If you find that the texture is just a little too grungy, you can always make more adjustments to the image. For our picture, we wanted to get rid of a few of the marks that were obscuring the girl’s face.

Select the texture layer, then go the menu bar and select Layer > Rasterize > Smart Object.

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Once you have rasterized the texture layer, click on the “Healing Brush” icon on the left (it looks like a Band-Aid).

Before you can fix the image, you need to select a “source point.” The source point is a location on the image that you want to use to repair a damaged area. To select a source point, just Option+Click on a clean area near the damaged area. We selected a part of the girl’s cheek without any grunge marks as our source point.

Once you have selected your source point, just click and drag your mouse over the area that you want to repair. You can experiment with the length of your strokes to see what technique works best for your image.

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Voila, your image is complete!

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Now go forth and create faux-vintage photos!

Check out our galleries of royalty-free stock photos and stock grunge textures to find some inspiration. You can download all of these photos, textures, and more as part of your GraphicStock subscription. Once your project is complete, share it with us in the comments, or upload it to Instagram and tag @graphicstock_.

 

Unlock More Grunge Graphics

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop