A cartoon illustration & design project for a friend’s party required the resulting art to be suitable for reproduction on a photocopy machine. After some trial, error, Google search, trial, error, Google search, trial, error I discovered the magic combo that allows you to create a halftone in Photoshop for an image and print it out on your inkjet printer so the art will be perfect for photocopying.
This technique is perfect for flyers, newsletters or any other short-run printing needs you have where the cheapness of a photocopy is desired, but so are grayscale images.
Default Folder X is one of those shareware utility applications that seem pretty handy while you are demoing, but until you use another Mac without Default Folder installed (or the demo runs out), you don’t realize exactly how perfect the software actually is.
I constantly run across these “714 Absolutely Essential Mac Applications” blog posts that always leave this one out. And I think the only reason is that the author is unaware of it’s existence. There’s no other explanation. Half of the time the apps I see on those lists are so-so anyways.
So what is this so-called “Default Folder” anyways? In short, it’s a way for you to access — from the Open/Save dialog windows — not only commonly used folders, but also recently used folders and open Finder windows, all with (mostly) user-defined keyboard shortcuts.
If you aren’t familiar with cartoonist Tom Richmond, make yourself familiar. This guy’s work is absolutely amazing. Very much in the style of Mort Drucker from MAD Magazine — only taken to the extreme. Not only is his cartooning & caricature style excellent, but his color work is also phenomenal. Tom graciously has taken the time to outline exactly how he digitally colors his artwork in Photoshop in a juicily-detailed three-post tutorial/how-to series on his cartooning blog.
Ever need to temporarily reference another document while working on something – this may be an image, or instructions, or a PDF file. Many times you want it floating right on top of your current document so you can refer to it while you are working, and not have to switch back and forth between applications.
I do this a lot when working in Illustrator, especially working from reference images, but also the occasional email message or PDF file sent by a client.
Here’s a quick tip for you Mac OS X users out there: you can move any window behind the currently active window (also known as the window that has “focus”) without activating it/bringing it to the front.
This one’s real simple: hold down the Command (Apple) key, and then click on the background window’s title bar area (as you normally would) and voilÃ – you’re moving the window in the background. You can even grab the scroll bar and move it if you have access to it.
Layer Masks are basically clipping masks that apply to the entire layer (Layer masks need to be sub-layers, and the top-most one at that). The best feature is that they can be locked, and they are not tied to one specific object, or cause an entire group of unrelated objects to become “grouped” as they are when applying a clipping mask to them. This allows you to work normally with all the other objects on other sub-layers while still getting that clipping mask effect.
Here’s a cool little idea from the geniuses at CreativeTechs.com: “cheatsheets” for Adobe software that are designed to print on a 3×5 index card, complete with space reserved to punch holes for a binder. Designed with the GTD/Hipster PDA crowd in mind. And they’re free!
This link is to the PDF cheatsheet for the Adobe pen tool, since most (or all) of it’s features work the same across the Creative Suite. A real cool visual reference guide, and just one in a series of cheatsheets for Adobe apps as well as other computer and Mac related info that you just sometimes need at your fingertips.
Looks like they are just starting out with these, so be sure to subcribe to the RSS feed and collect ’em all!
Still using that pencil you found in the couch and an old dictionary as a drawing board? Don’t feel like the biggest computer wiz when it comes to graphics software? There are plenty of inexpensive tools out there that will boost your productivity and enjoyment level when drawing, sketching or just doodling. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money to expand your tool kit in ways that are sure to make your life much easier, giving you more time to draw.
So I was digging around in Illustrator’s Keyboard Shortcut preferences, and discovered some interesting commands available that I was totally unaware of, as well as some commands I had been wishing were available.
Some of these are my own fault for not exploring Illustrator’s menus properly, but others are just locked away in limbo, hidden from all but us intrepid (and geeky) explorers. And some of the commands are available, but with no default keyboard shortcut assigned to them, but they are available for you to add your own.
These are sure to be productivity boosters once you get the muscle-memory flowing for them. I know just coming back here to finish up this post after working in Illustrator I had already forgotten most of these. It’s weird how you get used to working within the limitations of the software even when you know a better way. I am just now getting used to using my fancy-schmancy new “Zoom to Selection” Illustrator plugin after having it installed for over a month and using Illustrator just about every day since then.