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.
Primary, secondary, tertiary, complimentary, analagous, brightness, hue, value, saturation, tints, shades… do these words mean anything to you? They should.
A post by cartoonist Matt Glover points out ColorFAQ – very basic web guide to color theory. It got me poking around on the internet for some other sites with some more depth on the subject. Sometimes I forget how much I use color theory every single day, it’s just something that sometimes goes on autopilot and is an easy topic to forget to recommend to others.
Find out what those cryptic “2B”, “HB”, “6H” and the rest really mean. Knowing the difference, having a full set of pencils with all the grades in the range is a must. This is the way to lay down very thick, dark blacks in your drawings as well as fine, light grays. It’s all in the blackness and hardness my friends.
A quick search to test the database, I searched for “Mort Drucker, magazine cartoon, MAD Magazine” (by selecting from the pre-existing categories in the search fields). Turns out you only get a textual search result, much like an old-school computer card catalog in a library.
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.
Backup. It’s something most computer users – let alone artistic types – never think about, at least not until after it’s too late. Trust me, once it happens to you, it will never be forgotten. Perhaps I can convince you to never have to go through that by recommending you start your backup system now.
All that precious time spent creating, tweaking, and perfecting your masterpiece is well worth a few measly bucks and a bit of effort (which will be automated once it’s all set up) to ensure you don’t lose those hours of hard work.
This makes me think that not only could it use a bit of spicing up in the visual sense, but also that this would be pretty handy for Illustrator users as well… maybe even incorporating Modifier key shortcuts to boot.
The set includes keyboard shortcut cards for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator CS, Macromedia Freehand, Cinema 4D and 3D Studio Max. These are CS1 versions, but from what I can gather the shorcuts should be pretty much the same for the newer versions. Not too sure about the Macromedia apps (which are now Adobe apps) as I have never used any of them.
As anyone who has read this blog can tell, I am a huge keyboard shortcut junkie, and you should be one as well. I cannot even begin to emphasize how much knowing these will enhance not only your pleasure on using graphics software (and software in general), but how much of a marked increase in productivity you’ll see.
I cringe in geek pain when I see a fellow Photoshop or Illustrator user laboriously hauling their mouse over to the Tools palette, or even to the menubar for anything but the most arcane of Menu items.